Forecaster Blog: Hawaii Forecast Update

2 Dec 2014 0 Share

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

Forecaster Blog issued 3.00pm, Tuesday, 2 December 2014.

If you’re a fan of watching pro surfing live then the next 18 days should keep you busy – or at least distracted - depending on which way you look at it. The last two big Hawaiian contests for 2014 go back to back over the next few weeks; in all likelihood kicking off with the recommencement of the Vans World Cup at Sunset Beach on Tuesday, (Hawaiian time) as a new NW swell arrives with just five days left to run the remainder of the contest.  This is closely followed by the Pipe Masters commencing on December 8 and ending on December 20; the critical 12 day waiting period to decide the three-horse-race for the ASP World Title – and the Triple Crown. Although Medina is the favourite Mick Fanning can take the title if he wins Pipe and Medina finishes 3rd or less, but Slater is a long shot; needing to win the event and have Medina bomb out early. Although it's still a little early, it's looking like there will be plenty of swell on tap throughout the Pipe Masters waiting period.

John Florence takes his recent spectacular form to his home break of Pipeline on December 8. Photo: ASP/ Cesari.

John Florence takes his recent spectacular form to his home break of Pipeline on December 8. Photo: ASP/ Cesari.

OVERVIEW
Tuesday December 2 marks the arrival of a new WNW groundswell that should be large enough to produce 6 to 8ft sets at Sunset Beach as it peaks during the day. This episode follows the evolution of deep low pressure system that developed off Japan last Thursday before tracking out across the northwest Pacific through Friday, generating maximum significant wave heights of 30 to 40ft last weekend. The system was upgraded from last week’s projections to give rise to a solid round of WNW groundswell inbound out of the 300 to 310 degree band and this also mixes in with a continuation of short period (10 to 12 seconds is short in Hawaii) NNE swell, linked to a slow moving low that hovered over the north-east Pacific late last week.

Although the primary, WNW groundswell scales down in the wake of Tuesday’s peak it will continue to generate solid surf across the North Shore; conservatively ranging form 4 to 6ft across exposed breaks both on Wednesday 3 and Thursday 4 December. Over the same time frame another oblique pulse of pulse mid period NNE swell mixes in with the WNW swell, producing varying surf heights depending on each location’s exposure.

Friday 5 December then marks the arrival of a new NNW groundswell, building steadily throughout the day. This arises from an intense polar low currently located over the southern Bering Sea, supporting a broad area of zonal, WNW gales across the far northwest Pacific. This is projected to give rise to a strong round of refracted NNW groundswell inbound from 335 degrees on Friday – again large enough to produce large surf ranging either side of 8ft across the North Shore as it peaks throughout the afternoon. At this stage the tail end should continue to run at solid 6 to 8ft levels on Saturday 6 December ahead of a new, reinforcing NNW pulse arriving on Sunday – again presenting scope for another full day of surf in the 6 to 8ft plus calibre.

LONG RANGE
Given this proves accurate we should see the tail end of the NNW swell subsiding for the first day of the Pipe Masters on Monday 8 December; speculatively starting out around 4 to 6ft before tapering off into the afternoon. Beyond that a new, complex low forecast to develop off Japan this weekend holds potential for intensification over the northwest Pacific on Monday 8 and Tuesday 9 December. This holds good potential for a two back to back pulses of WNW groundswell; the first arriving across the North Shore around Wednesday 10 and overlapping with the second on Thursday 11 December; speculatively in the 6 to 8ft range at Pipe. This remains contingent on how the storm evolves later this week.

North Shore Oahu Forecast Summary: All surf heights are on the Hawaiian scale. Expect wave faces about double this size on the larger sets.

Tuesday 2
Mix of WNW groundswell and mid period NNE swell. 5 – 8ft exposed breaks early, easing to 3 – 4ft plus during the afternoon. WIND: ENE 10 to 15 knots.

Wednesday 3
Mix of smaller NW groundswell and mid period NNE swell. Sets to 4 – 6ft exposed breaks early, easing during the afternoon. WIND: ENE 10 to 15 knots.

Thursday 4
Mix of NW groundswell and mid period NNE swell. Sets to 4 – 6ft early, easing during the afternoon. WIND: ENE 10 to 15 knots.

Friday 5
Rising NW groundswell. 4 – 6ft+ exposed breaks early, building to 6 to 10ft during the afternoon. WIND: Light ESE to 5 to 10 knots.

Saturday 6
NNW groundswell. Sets to 6 - 8ft+ exposed breaks early, dropping to 4 – 6ft during the afternoon. WIND: ENE 5 to 15 knots.

Sunday 7
New NNW groundswell builds in at 6 – 8ft+ exposed breaks. WIND: Light E 5 to 10 knots.



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