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The Surf & Weather Forecast for

Southern California

July 21, 2016



Tropical swell from Estelle and some SSW (200-210) leftover from earlier in teh week continue to ease as new S-SSW (185-195) arrives for the weekend.  We’re also expecting a little increase in windswell for the weekend and some very warm weather.  Next week there will be some inconsistent combo energy from the S (180-190) and SW (220-230).  Long range models show potential for better swell around the end of the month.  Read more for details.

Get the live buoy forecast graph here –

Friday we’re going to see wave heights increase a little bit as new S (180-190) energy shows up and mixes with building windswell.  Saturday and Sunday look like they are going to see the surf top out…. Great news for the US Open contestants.

Anyways that means W-NW exposures and average southerly exposures are going to see knee to chest high surf.  Standout S-SW exposures and top combo breaks should be seeing surf increase in consistency and size a little bit.  Wave heights are expected to be running chest to head high.  There’s potential for bigger set waves in the overhead-overhead+ range for a few magnets.  Not to bad for what could end up being a very warm weekend, in need of a nice refreshing surf.  Despite some new S/SW combo energy arriving early next week, wave heights are expected to slowly ease through midweek, with smaller surf expected for a few days after.

Some models are showing a little eddy spinning up Saturday morning, which could add some unwanted texture on the surface early on, but overall conditions are looking fairly seasonal through the forecast period.  Cleaner morning conditions with increased afternoon texture as the sea breeze takes over.

Tropical Overview

We’re still watching two areas of low pressure that have been slowly developing over the past few days.  The global models continue to disagree about these two… GFS is on the weaker side, not showing either system developing into much of anything at all.  The NAVGEM and ECMWF are a little more bullish with the system shown in red above.  That means we could see a tropical depression forming over the next few days, but even then it doesn’t look like it will be strong enough to send much if any swell to California.  The storm would be in the Southern California swell window though, so we’ll have to keep an eye on it.  If anything happens here over the next few days I’ll have an update for you on Monday, but I wouldn’t be too hopeful.


North Pacific Swell Forecast

Nothing really going on in the NPac right now.

South Pacific Swell Forecast

Potential swell makers are going to start to work into the South Pacific today, but inconsistencies in the models are making it hard to nail down exactly what’s going to happen.  Here’s what we know right now.

The first system is currently working its way around New Zealand, but despite having a pretty good NE trajectory it looks like a lot of the energy is going to be stuck behind the Tahiti/French Polynesia swell shadow.  Originally it wasn’t looking like too big of a deal because the trough of low pressure was expected to track east and re-strengthen near the Pitcairn Islands…

The models have continue to show the system on the weaker side as it shifts east, but there have been many changes over the past few days as to what is going to happen after that.  The most recent update has shown a secondary front moving up away from the ice and strengthening as it approaches the Pitcairn Islands.  A similar solution was shown earlier this week, but it has been downgraded since.  A storm expected in the Tasman Sea over the next couple of days has also been dramatically downgraded.  These recent changes are lowering my confidence in the long-range models and also making it hard to trust that the systems wont be downgraded more over the next couple of days.

Either way, the system south of French Polynesia is going to bring some fun moderate sized S-SSW (185-205) on/around the 31st.  Size is a little hard to call, but I’d say a little more consistent and a little bigger than what is in the water currently.  The SW will be on the smaller and much  more inconsistent side.  Southern California will mostly see knee to waist high waves from that one.  Central California could see a few more waist-waist high+ sets at better exposed spots.

The next long-range forecast will be posted on Monday, July 25, 2016.

Austin Gendron
Surf Forecaster

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