Forecaster Blog: Hawaii Pipeline Forecast

16 Dec 2014 0 Share

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

Forecaster Blog issued 3.00pm, Tuesday, 16 December 2014.

It sounds like some serious dues were paid at Pipe the other day. On Sunday on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu competitors relegated to round two of the Billabong Pipe Masters paddled out in big, treacherous conditions; characterised by 10ft closeout sets and a line-up agitated by strong ENE trade-winds, backwash and every other kind of wash – by all accounts not an ideal day-at-the-office for The Pros. Since then the contest has gone on hold in anticipation of more contestable conditions and there’s now only a critical five day window left to get the business end of the ASP World Tour done and dusted. No pressure or anything. The good news is there is new swell on the way and the gusty ENE tradewinds that have been cutting through the lineup over the last few days are set to drop off and tend a little more to the east over the coming days, making for improved surface quality into the final days of the waiting period.

This guy is rolling the dice for yet another ASP world title and another Pipe Master title, to be decided over the next five days. Photo: ASP/Cestari.

This guy is rolling the dice for yet another ASP world title and another Pipe Master title, to be decided over the next five days. Photo: ASP/Cestari.

OVERVIEW
An overnight drop in NW swell saw smaller surf at Pipeline in the 3 to 5ft range early on Monday December 15 and an easing trend is set to continue in the short term; probably bottoming out on Tuesday 16 in the 2 to 3ft range ahead of a new WNW swell starting to show at low levels throughout Wednesday 16 December. Unfortunately this impending episode looks fairly small – even by Australian standards – and again isn’t anticipated to produce much more than inconsistent 2 to 3ft sets. It probably won’t be until later on Thursday that the North Shore begins to stir once more under the influence of a stronger WNW groundswell that’s projected to build in steeply; doing the typical Hawaiian thing of going from 2 to 3ft in the morning to a thumping 6 to 8ft plus in the space of a few hours during the afternoon.

This episode follows the evolution of a compact low forecast to deepen as it tracks eastward across the northwest Pacific over the next 48 hours, generating a broad area of NW gales across its southwest quadrant. However, the system begins to draw the fetch out of direct range of Hawaii as tracks swiftly northeast on Tuesday and Wednesday, resulting in a relatively short-lived episode peaking Thursday night and steadily easing throughout Friday. By Saturday (the final day of the waiting period) there should still be manageable leftovers probably not exceeding 4 to 6ft and this will continue to wane as the day progresses.

A pair of deep North Pacific low pressure systems developing over the course of this week set up back to back NW and WNW groundswells, but only the former will arrive in time for the final days of the Pipeline Masters waiting period. Source: FNMOC.

A pair of deep North Pacific low pressure systems developing over the course of this week set up back to back NW and WNW groundswells, but only the former will arrive in time for the final days of the Pipeline Masters waiting period. Source: FNMOC.

LONG RANGE
Beyond that there are good indications a larger, long interval WNW groundswell will fill in one day late on Sunday 21 December; starting out at low levels early before kicking into the 6 to 10ft range into the afternoon and holding peak size early on Monday 22 December.


North Shore Oahu Forecast Summary. All surf heights are in the Hawaiian scale. Expect set wave faces up to double this size.

Tuesday 16
Residual NW swell 2 – 3ft+ at Pipeline, fading during the afternoon. WIND: E 10 to 20 knots, easing to 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon.

Wednesday 17
Small WNW groundswell 2 – 3ft+ at Pipeline, undersized early. WIND: ENE 10 to 15 knots.

Thursday 18
NW groundswell builds in late. Around 2 – 3ft all morning picking up to 4 – 6ft during the afternoon and up to 6 - 8ft+ during the evening. WIND: ENE 15 to 20 knots.

Friday 19
Easing NW groundswell. 6 – 8ft+ at Pipeline early, dropping to 5 – 7ft during the afternoon. WIND: ENE 10 to 20 knots.

Saturday 20
Easing NW groundswell. Sets to 4 - 6ft at Pipeline early, fading to 3 – 4ft+ during the afternoon. WIND: Light ESE.

Tags: Billabong Pipeline Masters , topnews (create Alert from these tags)

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