Monday, May 29, 2017

9.30am lahaina side still fun with occasional head high sets

6am hookipa seemed smaller than yesterday in the dark and light offshore. Lahaina side belly to shoulder with occasional bigger sets and no wind.

Monday 5 29 17 morning call

South shore topping the heights yesterday, but surprisingly good waves also on the north shore. Let me start my story of the day in chronological order with a Gopro shot showing the beauty of the early morning conditions.

The morning light was so gorgeous, I made sure to come out of the water early enough to have at least half an hour of time before going to work. Of course I also wanted to take some photos for the blog, but what I really wanted to do was just sit shirtless in the sun, get the vitamin D production going and suck the beauty of everything in. Haleakala was majestic as usual.

There were some small runners going all the way.

Surprisingly good waves on the north shore I was saying, after work I went for a totally unexpected wave sailing session at Hookipa that had shoulder to head high 11 seconds waves.

"11 seconds?!?! It was only 8 and coming down yesterday, what happened?" was the disquieting dilemma that tortured me all afternoon. That's when my archive of wind maps comes handy. Below on the right is the map of May 24. The fetch responsible for this 11s swell is the one further away. I even went on Google Earth to measure the distance: 17,000 miles. 11s travel at 17.16knots, that's 4 days and yesterday was that was it! Pat Caldwell had it in his table, Surfline had it in their forecast, I made the beginner mistake to only focus on the south swell and completely overlooked it.

I also failed giving the deserved attention to the Pauwela readings that I reported yesterday morning: one of them was 1.3ft @ 13s from 48° (NE) and that built to 3f 11s during the day.
Sorry about that.

3am significant buoy readings
South shore

2.9ft @ 14s from 154° (SSE)

3.5ft @ 13s from 166° (SSE)
4.9ft @ 6s from 111° (ESE)

4.3ft @ 11s from 109° (ESE)

Interesting readings at the outer buoys, another good example of how the direction indications at these buoys should be taken with a grain of salt. A difference of more than 30 degrees compared to yesterday would make no sense, specially considering how remote the source is. The fetch couldn't move that fast even at the Screaming 60's latitude. I'm going to blame that 6s energy reported by the SW buoy (and with unreported minor readings also by the other ones) that probably comes from a patch of strong trades below the equator.

The Surfline forecast calls for 3f 14s slowly coming down in size from 196 instead and that's what I'm going to trust. In other words: still plenty energy on offer also today. Check the webcams and keep an eye on the wind (see discussion below).

North shore
2.8ft @ 11s from 41° (NE)
1.4ft @ 9s from 38° (NE)
1.4ft @ 6s from 43° (NE)

NE swell still there, but it's predicted to decline all day. I don't hear any noise out of my window, but that could be due to the offshore wind that 4am is blowing 5(2-7)mph from the South at Hookipa. Pauwela's graph below is a bit confusing, but I circled the NE swell in red. As you can see, it peaked yesterday and now is coming slowly down.

This is the 5am wind map that shows a light southerly flow, probably associated with that local low highlighted in the cloud maps at the end of the post. That should stay like that for most of the morning and that seems less that ideal wind for the south shore. Really good for Hookipa though.

The 2pm one shows the usual sun induced tradish thermals on the north shore and a more westerly component on the south one.

North Pacific maps show very little wave generation today: a tiny NNW fetch that was much better yesterday. Related swell still predicted by Surfline at almost 4f 11s on Wednesday.

South Pacific maps show very little wave generation too. All the energy is directed towards South America. 13f 15s for next weekend is the prediction for southern Chile, for example.

There's a local disturbance to keep an eye on. Red arrow shows the way the clouds are moving.

Big Blue shows the same.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

7.30 Maalaea update. That was more waist to chest. I got fooled by that one set. Nice and glassy though.

6.30am hookipa was surprisingly still waist to chest high. Maalaea has inconsistent chest to head high sets.

Sunday 5 27 17 morning call

Outrageously gorgeous days of big waves on the south facing shores yesterday. I went on a photo  safari and visited several spots. The first one was going totally off and this guy was on a tear (next three photos).

Lots of closeouts, but also the occasional barrel.

Granger Larsen grew up surfing this wave. You can tell he's quite comfortable there (next three photos).


Spot 2 was Breakwall where the HSA contest was running kids heats. Solid double overhead for them.

Spot 3 was doing the Teahupoo thing, which I failed catching properly on camera.

Spot 4 was were the longboard contest was held. I got to watch two heats with non particularly good surfers and the result was totally boring (no lack of respect for longboarding or nose riding, but I do have a preference for high performance shortboarding). I'm sure the level picked up later on, but I got out of there pretty quickly. These two lost boards floating over the reef symbolizes what I just wrote. The reef walks that followed looked gnarly.

Spot 5 was the one I surfed and unfortunately got dropped in on a beautiful looking wall. He's already apologizing, no worries brah! Let's all make an effort to be respectful of the etiquette and to be tolerant with the undeliberate violations. A positive vibe in the lineup makes the whole experience a lot more enjoyable.

Spot 6.

Spot 7.
4am significant buoy readings
North shore
2.2ft @ 8s from 27° (NNE)
1.6ft @ 9s from 32° (NE)
1.3ft @ 13s from 48° (NE)
1.1ft @ 10s from 18° (NNE)

North shore nearly flat but if you have a longboard there will still be something to ride at Hookipa.
South shore
3.1ft @ 14s from 169° (SSE)

3.2ft @ 14s from 176° (S)

3.8ft @ 14s from 186° (S)

South swell didn't go down that much in size, just a second or two in the period. That does translate in less size on the reef though, so today you can expect slightly smaller waves, but still plenty energy. It should overall be a better day on the Lahaina side, where I found the most spots couldn't quite hold the size yesterday and were closing out in the biggest sets. High crowd advisory still in effect.

Here's an early morning overhead bomb I just caught on the webcam.
Another windless day, here's the map at 2pm. The model was totally right about Maalaea yesterday, btw.
North Pacific maps show a narrow NW fetch, but fetch nonetheless. Resulting swell forecasted at 4f 11s on Wednesday by Surfline.
South Pacific maps only show a weak SSE fetch which I would have totally missed if it wasn't for the Meteogram map.
I don't think those clouds will bother us, so hopefully another stunner of a day is on its way.
Thanks a lot to blog reader Ben who informed me that the reason why there's so much fuss about the tides is that they have been higher than predicted. I quickly investigated and found out on this website that he was right. Here's a graph showing the predictions (blue) and the actual level of the water (red). That also explains why I didn't notice any particularly low tide when surfing (I remembered much lower tides in the past years). I didn't surf at high tide, but yes, 3-6 inches more than the prediction are a lot.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

It wasn't a mirage

7am hookipa looked small but clean. Maalaea had inconsistent head high sets. Lahaina side low consistency but bigger size. I think I saw a double overhead set, but that might have been a mirage. Mostly chest to head very clean and packed everywhere

Saturday 5 27 17 morning call

Gorgeous day of surfing on the south shore yesterday, with a couple of fun sessions for me. Here's photos from three different spots.

3am significant buoy readings
North shore
3.1ft @ 8s from 17° (NNE)           
2.2ft @ 9s from 22° (NNE)
0.5ft @ 14s from 60° (ENE)
0.3ft @ 16s from 343° (NNW)
Let's get rid of the north shore first, since today it should be all about the south, even though I admit that Hookipa looked awfully fun with a longboard yesterday at sunset: really clean waist to chest. I believe that's what 3f 8s will do today too. No beach report from me as I plan on leaving home in the dark, but that is definitely a possible option if you don't feel like driving.

South shore
Thanks to Jason Hall, today we have a graphic representation of the those outer buoys I've been using lately. As you can see, unlike the local south facing ones (Lanai and Barbers, offline at the moment), they are exposed to all kind of swells that will influence each other in the readings, in particular the direction. For example, the W buoy complete readings are:
4.2ft @ 8s from 33° (NE)
3.5ft @ 15s from 173° (S)
Now try to picture the buoy being rocked four feet up and down every 8s along a NE-SW axis. At the same time, the buoy is registering a much less consistent 15s 3.5f swell coming from the south and that makes the direction detection a lot harder. In other words, I never trust the direction registered at the outer buoys as 100% precise. A confirmation of that is offered by the other two boys, which instead register a bit of west in the same swell.

Anyway, 4f 15-16s are solid numbers (totally in line with the latest Surfline forecast) and today and tomorrow should be two days of relatively big waves on any south facing shore.

I always like to analyze the fetches that created a swell. In this case, we'll first read Pat Caldwell's description of what happened back a week ago:
A complex pattern of low pressure in the New Zealand vicinity 5/17-21 had strongest winds to the S to SE of New Zealand 5/18-19. The limiting factor for the source was proximity to New Zealand which made the fetch width narrow. A captured fetch was set up as post-frontal winds pushed parallel to New Zealand to the NNE 5/19-21, with near gales reaching into the subtropics. The combined fetch length from 65°S to near 30°N was near 2000 nm.

And then we'll have a look at the fetches of the three days of main wave generation: 19 (it was Friday), 20 and 21.

As predicted long ago, another great aspect of today will be the lack of strong trades. Some waves will benefit from that, some won't. Below is the 2pm map of the Maui Surf Report customized model on Meteogram that actually shows ESE winds up at Pauwela Point. Notice the light onshores at Maalaea, if that really happens, it would be a bummer for the famous wave which today should offer some action, even though a very early morning report I received said that there's not much there...

Not much wave energy generated in the North Pacific for us today.

And not much down south either. All those strong fetches are aming at the South American continent.

Morning sky and another glorious day in Hawaii is on its way. 

Watch out the minus half foot tide at 10.06am in Lahaina. I don't understand all the big fuss made by the media about the "king" tide of these days (never heard that before). The highest tide swings (confusingly called Spring tides) happen each lunar cycle in coincidence with full and/or new moons (that's when Moon, Earth and Sun are lined up).
In Hawaii, they normally are about 2 feet, but in Spring and Autumn they can reach a total of 3 feet. And that happens each single year.

In coincidence with a relatively big swell, some of the ocean water can occasionally overflow the highway on the Lahaina side and slow down the traffic, but since it happens in the afternoon, that's not gonna be a big deal: the traffic is going to be slow anyway!

Massive day of surf constests in the Lahaina area. We have:
1) the Kimo longboard contest at Mala Warf (minimum 9feet, single fin and and no leash)
2) the HSA contest at Breakwall.
Here's the tentative heat order of the second one.

Friday, May 26, 2017

10am olowalu chest high and fun, but still slow and packed

6.45am hookipa looked 8s chest high and relatively clean from lanes. Lahaina side waist to chest with occasional bigger sets and clean. No wind at Ukumehame.

Friday 5 26 17 morning call

Lahaina surf session and early Hookipa windsurf session for me yesterday.

You can tell it's low tide.

Hold that reef.

There were some occasional leftover overhead waves at Hookipa, but mostly it was shoulder to head high. Photo by Jimmie Hepp from this gallery.

Significant buoy readings 4am
South shore

1.6ft @ 17s from 149° (SE)
1.5ft @ 12s from 152° (SSE)

1.6ft @ 17s from 211° (SW)
1.4ft @ 12s from 178° (S)
1.5ft @ 17s from 183° (S)
1.2ft @ 13s from 175° (S)

All the outer buoys show similar readings. The (declining) 12-13s energy belongs to the swell that had blessed us the whole week, the 17s one is the new "big" one. I've been putting "big" in quotes, because despite being the biggest so far this season, I don't think this swell is going to be particularly big at all. I wasn't impressed by what the Samoa buoy registered, at least at the beginning. Unfortunately, I forgot to save those readings, so you'll have to trust me on that.
In the meantime, the Lahaina cam is showing some beautiful long lines, so there's waves that's for sure.

North shore
4.2ft @ 8s from 12° (NNE)
1ft @ 12s from 351° (N)

What you read is what is in the water. Not much changes expected on the north shore, if not a slow decline in the windswell, since the generating fetch has become gradually smaller/weaker.

Wind map at 2pm shows some light trades on the north shore. Unfortunately this model is not being particularly accurate around the Thousand Peaks area, which is on the most difficult to predict. I'm still missing the MC2km maps, to be honest.

North Pacific maps only show a very weak northerly windswell fetch.

South Pacific maps show some strong storm activities, but not much of those winds are oriented towards us.

Morning sky looks totally clear again (yesterday was ridiculously beautiful and sunny).