Eddie Or No Eddie, That Is The Question Of The Next 72 Hours
FORECAST | The Quiksilver In Memory Of Eddie Aikau At Waimea Bay, Hawaii
After organisers gave the green light to run the Eddie a fortnight ago, big wave surfers from around the globe swarmed onto the North Shore of Oahu. Unfortunately, as the saying goes “The Bay calls the day”, and that it did. The XXL swell that was due to fill in during the morning came in undersized, leaving organisers no choice but to call it off; frustrating surfers and spectators alike.
The end of the waiting period looming is looming and it looks like they’ll have one last chance to run, as the biggest swell of the season bares down on Waimea Bay. At this stage, organisers have issued a ‘yellow alert’ for Thursday, February 25 (Hawaiian time), with the hope of getting in the required full day of competition.
The Hawaiian Island chain is already in the midst of an XXL swell that is being generated from a near-by storm. In fact, this large swell combined with high tides saw road closures across Turtle Bay and Haleiwa, with reports of some damage to coastal properties in the region throughout the course of yesterday. However, that just looks like the precursor of bigger things to come. A deep low pressure system consolidated off the Kuril Islands on February 21. It has since tracked east and is expected to maintain its intensity for the time being before weakening slightly as it tracks NNE. This already powerful storm is being cradled by a favourable high pressure system to the south, setting up a very steep pressure gradient, capable of generating extremely strong winds. Luckily for big wave surfers (not so lucky for your average surfer), these gale force winds have aligned favourably in the Hawaiian swell window, with all indications pointing toward the largest swell of the season.
This long period NW groundswell is forecast to fill in on Wednesday afternoon, as the faster leading forerunnners make their way to shore. By Thursday morning, it is expected to be huge. If the current model guidance is anything to go by, the peak of this swell should be in the water by mid-morning, with deepwater wave heights exceeding 20ft. Whilst this is impressive, the long period nature (18+ seconds) of this swell will culminate into some of the largest waves Hawaii has seen in a number of years.
When the forecast is looking this big it’s hard to call wave heights. My guess would be 35-45ft faces at Waimea, with the occasional larger bay breaker. It is important to note that the local winds are still uncertain (hence, why it’s not a green light), but seem to be getting more favourable with each model run. As it stands, the winds will start out from the ENE during the morning, but are forecast to swing around to the E (which is more favourable). So from this, surfers in the early heats may have to deal with an early wobble, whilst those in the later heats should see some pretty epic conditions.
Keep in mind that whilst the Eddie may be going down at The Bay, Jaws will be even bigger, with some early murmurs indicating that the “largest wave ever ridden” could be on the cards. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what Mother Nature does on the day; just cross your fingers and toes!!
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