Thursday, January 19, 2017

7am hookipa has doh+ sets. Couple of guys out.

Thursday 1 19 17 morning call

A lovely longboard solo session marked my return in the water yesterday. I think Tuesday was the first day I had to take off the water in this winter due to injury (and it wasn't even strictly necessary). Pretty stoked about that, considering that last year I spent most of the winter dry (three long months) due to a rib injury. Life is good.

Windsurfing looked pretty bad for my taste (strong and gusty because of the offshore direction), so I wisely sat and took photos of my friends before going to work. Here they are in chronological order.

Bernd Roediger.

Jake Miller.

Steve Sadler.

Jason Hall.

Matt Pritchard.

Casey Hauser.
4am significant buoy readings
South shore
2.5ft @ 17s from 282° (WNW)

That is the WNW wrap, check the usual NW buoy to Maui travel time and shadowing angles post if you want to assess your chances of surfing in the Kihei side. If you can't be bothered, do check the webcams instead.

North shore
11.5ft @ 15s from 295° (WNW)

11.4ft @ 15s from 308° (WNW)

8.6ft @ 17s from 312° (NW)           
5.2ft @ 13s from 314° (NW)

5.8ft @ 17s from 314° (NW)
3.8ft @ 11s from 334° (NNW)
The "mistery" of the absence of the signs of the swell at the NW buoys yesterday morning was explained with their usual lack of sensitivity to the small long period energy. The local buoys are much better at detecting those, and my guess is that is because they live in relatively calmer waters. They might just be more technically sophisticated too, I have no idea.

Anyway they finally went up once the energy got significant in the 15-16s range and the NW101 peaked around 4pm (red arrow).
Here I NEED to elaborate about the travel time again and offer you a revised version of GP's rule of thumb for calculating it.
As you can see from the post I linked above, I based my calculation on the NW buoy to Oahu distance indicated in the Surfline article and just added 100nm for Maui: 255 + 100 = 355. Well, that wasn't too precise, since the real distance is 383nm instead, as the Google Earth image below shows.
Here's the new table, still based on those four speeds indicated in the original Surfline article. Got no time this morning to verify them and to come up with a new rule of thumb, I'll try to do that later. Help from the readers appreciated.

20sec--30kts--12.7 hrs

17sec--26kts--14.7 hrs

14sec--21kts--18.2 hrs

11sec--17kts--22.5 hrs

Back to our swell, the new table suggests that 15s deep water waves will take more like 17h to make to Maui, and that would imply a peak around 9am. But the waves do slow down in more shallow waters, so it might even be a little later than that.
Let's talk about size now. The Pauwela 4am reading was  5.8ft @ 17s from 314° (NW). In the meantime that I was researching all of the above, the 5am reading became available: 6.3ft @ 17s from 312° (NW). That is a confirmation that the swell is still building. Surfline's highest part of the graph (not necessarily the peak, since every point is spaced every 6 hours) is at 8am with 10.6f 15s from 313. That is definitely possible, also considering that in the meantime Waimea went up to 10.5ft @ 17s from 314° (NW).

6f 17s is already over my Hookipa limit (it's good to know these things, specially if you want to decide where to go before the sun rises) as it will offer some solid double overhead + sets. I'm a little perplexed because I don't hear the noise from the ocean I would expect with such size. That could be due to two factors, both true:
1) because the original direction is around 295 and the Hookipa to Molokai shadow line is 305, the sets will be less consistent than a unblocked swell. Less sets make less noise.
2) the shadow line of the Pauwela buoy is instead 299 (see image below), so the buoy might be getting a bit more energy than Hookipa.

Current wind map shows:
1) a wide but really weak NW fetch. A bit of a day of pause in the wave generation machine as the strong fetch associated with today's swell (circled in blue) has now moved north of us and it's aiming its fury towards the west coast. 31f 16s from 284 if the scary open ocean forecast for Monterey. I wonder if Mavericks is surfable at that size. My guess is not.
2) a small not well oriented fetch down south

NAM3km map at 7 shows light sideoff trades. The later maps don't change much, but I really don't like that you can't zoom in anymore without screwing up everything. If someone has time to report the bug, there's a procedure explained on their website. Thanks for that.
In the meantime, check the MC2km maps when updated (link n.17) because they are way more reliable.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

8.45am hookipa has chest to head high sets and moderate trades. 4

Wednesday 1 18 17 morning call

Just a SUP downwinder for me yesterday, I preferred to keep my cuts dry.

Here's a shot from the SUP lesson the day before. As I wrote, perfect knee to thigh high waves and my student improved a lot.

No wonder, with all those waves he caught in 2 hours! He had a GPS watch and sent me the stats of the session. Pretty impressive.

4am significant buoy readings
South shore

0.4ft @ 18s from 211° (SW)

Lovely tiny long period SW reading. The WNW energy went down enough for the buoy to feel that. It intrigued me enough to go retrieve the wind map of 7 days ago (Jan 11) and sure enough, there's a small fetch in the Tasman Sea. Good job Lanai buoy, very impressive.
What's that gonna do? Probaly nothing, other than the odd long period knee to thigh high set once in a very long while. Check the webcams for confirmation.

North shore
5ft @ 11s from 299° (WNW)

4.5ft @ 11s from 304° (WNW)
4.3ft @ 9s from 312° (NW)
2.3ft @ 15s from 307° (WNW)

4.4ft @ 12s from 301° (WNW)

4.6ft @ 11s from 313° (NW)

3.8ft @ 6s from 71° (ENE)           
3.8ft @ 9s from 54° (ENE)
3.3ft @ 11s from 321° (NW)

No sign of the new forecasted WNW swell at the NW101 buoy. The NW001 has a very unimpressive 15s reading that makes me think it's not that either. Those buoys have shown not to be particularly sensitive to the long period small waves (the Lanai one just showed us how that is done instead), but it's understandable considering how rough the open ocean out there must be.
We'll probably still have to live with the old westerly energy all day. 3.3f 11s can be fun (if it wasn't for the wind and the windswell...). Probably still head high sets, but blown out by the trades as we'll see at the end of this post. Overall, it should be a pretty average day of surfing.

Intrigued by the lack of signs of the new WNW swell, I went to check out that Stormsurf website I published a map of a few days ago, to try to find out what time they think the swell will arrive. Not a particularly easy thing to figure out from their maps, I have to admit.
Below is the surf forecast map for 2pm. The violet stuff is 20 feet or more. Really? I'm curious to see what the Hanalei buoy will register. As you can see, it should have already reached Oahu too, while in Maui the numbers indicate still 8 feet. The little arrows are the wind barbs and make the reading of this busy map even more difficult.

The next available map is the 8pm one. I like the fact that it shows the big stuff just offshore of Maui, but not quite hitting our north shore. That's because of the WNW direction and the blockage of the upstream islands. But, how big is the waves going to be by the coastline? I can barely read a number 12.

Allright, 12 feet what? To have an indication of the period, you have to select another map. This is back to 2pm and you can see that by then the violet area of 20s should already be hitting. Wait, wasn't the surf 8f at 2pm? 8f 20s would be a massive swell, but that is so not gonna happen.

Those maps are ok if you want to qualitatively show someone the effect of the of the blockage of the upstream islands (like I'm doing with you guys), but they are useless for gaining the forecasted size of the waves. That might be somewhere else on the website, but I couldn't be bothered to dig in further because I went straight back to Surfline. Call me weird, but that's as clear as a wave forecast can get, IMO.

The arrows are spaced every 6 hours, and that's exactly the same temporal spacing of those maps above (confirmation of the fact that they probably use the output of the same models). By hovering with the mouse on the 8pm arrow (the first of the new yellow swell), you get a reading of 2.6f 18s from 320. Which means that, if that is true, we won't see much energy before dark at all.
The blue swell is the old one still lingering and the red one is windswell. Below you got the wind, the tides and even temperature and sky prediction. Simple and complete, I honestly cannot think about a single improvement for this graph. I hope they'll never change it.

In the meantime instead, Windity did change something and now this is the minimum resolution in which I can have both north and south pacific in the same map. Don't like it too much.
Current wind map shows:
1) WNW fetch. There have been continuous WNW fetches, so we're gonna have continuous swells from that direction.
2) Impressive Tasman Sea fetch in the middle of January. They're having a really bad summer down there (unless you're a surfer, of course) and Fiji's off season guests are having a good time.

The change they did reflects even worse in the minimum resolution that I can get the local NAM3 maps before they get all screwed up.
NAM3 map at 7am shows some moderate trades and it should stay like that pretty much all day.
As a matter of fact, the Hookipa iWindsurf sensor is reading 6 to 16 at 5am and I can hear gusts outside the window. I might as well go back to sleep...

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

6.45am hookipa has head high sets with a little bit of morning sickness on them. 5

Tuesday 1 17 17 morning call

A surf session, a SUP lesson and a windsurfing session is the way I filled another gorgeous day off in paradise yesterday. I guess it's not a day off anymore if I teach a lesson, but it felt like because also that was a lot of fun.

Reading the wave is obviously one of the most important aspects of a successful ride, and one of the most difficult to teach. It takes a lot of practice and the more waves you observe, the better you'll be at it. Here's a tip.
You have to aim to take off in the section that will offer the ideal degree of steepness that will allow you to catch the wave without being too steep. That depends on:
- the surfer's skill
- the board (the bigger it is, the less steep the wave it needs to be)
Unfortunately, there's not a red X on that spot of the wave, so you have to guess when the wave is approaching and paddle towards it.

The windsurfing was extremely fun, since the light sideoff wind made for some really clean inside sections. Unfortunately I got a little unlucky at the end with a combination of zero wind on the inside and a 10 waves set that sent me on the rocks. Thanks to a very poor floating through the rocks action, I even managed to slam my face on a rock. No big deal, a few scratches and a bit of swollen eye is not going to keep me out of the water. Below are a couple of shots of my first wave by Jimmie Hepp taken from this gallery.

3am significant buoy readings
South shore

No direct southerly energy registered by the buoys, but I taught my lesson yesterday in perfect knee to thigh high waves. Check the webcams if you wonna go.

North shore
5.6ft @ 11s from 299° (WNW)
4.8ft @ 10s from 292° (WNW)

6.2ft @ 10s from 318° (NW)

4.4ft @ 12s from 318° (NW)

3.6ft @ 9s from 65° (ENE)
3ft @ 11s from 327° (NW)
2.8ft @ 5s from 75° (ENE)
2.6ft @ 13s from 339° (NNW)
The graphs of the four reported buoys below shows:
1) as predicted, there was a slight bump in the size yesterday also at Pauwela
2) a new bump happened at the NW101 buoy as indicated by the red arrow, so we should expect that to propagate through the islands. I do see the Hanalei graph going up a bit, so that's a good sign. In Maui it won't be anything major because the original direction of the swell is still less than 300, but there will be chest to head high waves with some bigger sets at the usual wave magnet sections of the reef at Hookipa, like Green Trees or The Point.

Current wind map shows:
1) a new westerly fetch coming off Japan again. When the "Tokyo express" (as Pat Caldwell indicates a lowering of the jet stream to that area), it usually lasts a few days.
2) the fetch associated with the next westy that is forecasted to be 12.5 16s from 312 (after refraction) by Surfline at 8am Thursday. 8f 18s from 314 already at 8pm on Wednesday, so if that happens, there should be already massive waves at sunset tomorrow.

NAM3km map at 7am shows great light offshore conditions for the north shore.

1pm map shows much more wind, that's why I chose today to schedule a SUP downwind guide. Should be fun.

Monday, January 16, 2017

9am during my session hookipa went from 7 to 3 and now that I'm leaving, the point looks like an 8. All changes by the minute depending on the amount of wind.

7.15am hookipa has inconsistent and relatively clean head high sets. Ese trades blowing light at the moment but can increase any time.

Monday 1 16 17 morning call

Just a short windsurf session for me yesterday, that's my way of giving my paddling muscles a rest...

Everything went as predicted, but the size of the waves at sunset that were a lot smaller than I suggested. Sorry about that, I'll elaborate in the buoys section below.

In the meantime, this picture of Jimmie Hepp from this gallery shows:
1) the size of the waves in the morning. The surfers is on a wave that is barely chest high, but:
   1a) judging from the wave behind, the wave was probably much bigger at the take off
   1b there's another bump in front that hides the very bottom of it, so it might actually be a few inches bigger than it looks
The one on the back is head high for what we can see, but the same 1b point applies.
I use these opportunities to clarify my way of judging the size of the waves. There should be no need, since they're quite self-explanatory, but I can see that years of use and abuse of the Hawaiian scale has left a tendency of calling the waves smaller than they are in most surfers.
2) the easterly trades that picked up just exactly how the MC2km maps predicted. It was sunny, so maybe a tad stronger, but with the correct timing. If you want to know the wind for the day and it's after 6am (when they usually gest updated), that's the website to go. Link n.17 of GP's meteo websites list on the right column of this blog, below the banners.

5am significant buoy readings
South shore

2.2ft @ 12s from 269° (W)

3.8ft @ 12s from 301° (WNW)

No direct south readings (even though 8 days ago on Jan 8 there was a tiny fetch east of New Zealand), the WNW swell is still big enough to "overwhelm" the buoys. Check the webcams, I just added another Kihei Cove webcam link that a reader sent me. The webcams section is just below the GP's meteo website list.

North shore
5.3ft @ 12s from 291° (WNW)
5ft @ 9s from 316° (NW)

5.5ft @ 13s from 309° (WNW)           
4.6ft @ 9s from 345° (NNW)
5.1ft @ 13s from 331° (NNW)

3.9ft @ 9s from 75° (ENE)           
3.4ft @ 6s from 73° (ENE)
2.6ft @ 13s from 320° (NW)
1.8ft @ 11s from 320° (NW)
The buoys this morning give me a wonderful opportunity to elaborate on the behavior of westerly swells.Let's start with the direction. Please notice how it changes from 291 at the NW buoy, to 309 at Hanalei, to 331 at Waimea and back to 320 at Pauwela. Now if the last two numbers were inverted, everything would make more sense, right? The swell wraps around the islands of the chain and loses a bit of west each time. But "nature doesn't like to be put in the cookie cutter" (epic Pat Caldwell sentence) and it leaves us wondering why the hell is it like the way it instead is.

Two possible explanations.
a) the bottom contour of the NW tip of Oahu's north shore is shaped in a way that it really refracts that particular size and period in a way that it then hits the buoy from 331.
b) the buoy readings don't have to be taken too precisely. I sample whatever last reading is on when I do this call. If you guys check them an hour or two later, they might as well be quite different.

But the most important part of this morning's readings is the size, IMO. Check the 13s component at those four buoys: 5, 5, 5, and half of 5 at Pauwela. That tells us that the amount of energy lost for refraction (and extra travel) in Maui is much bigger than the sister upstream islands.
In the NW buoy to Maui travel time and shadowing angles post (accessible through the labels section of this blog) I calculated the "geometrical" shadow line from Pipeline to Kauai as 295. The one from Hookipa to Molokai is 305 instead.
I saved the picture below a few days ago from a facebook post. It was a long term forecast of this WNW big swell that just hit. Don't get into the detailed numbers please, just notice how much more Kauai receives, then visually compare it to what hits the north shore of Oahu  and then continue to Maui's north shore. And if you feel depressed at this point, just look at the Big Island and feel better.
I am not a fan of these kind of maps. I used it in this occasion, because it helped me explain the concept, but you should not take them too literally. Big Island's southwest coast got plenty energy from this swell, for example.

Back to us, anything more west than 305 and Hookipa gets robbed of some of the energy. The bigger and longer period the swell is, the less this is true, because those can wrap around better (still losing some energy, though). So what happened yesterday afternoon is that the period went down a couple of seconds and the resulting energy that was hitting Pauwela (and Hookipa) went down accordingly.

Below are the graphs of the four reported buoys. I put an arrow on a very slight bump that happened (and that was predicted from the Surfline forecast) yesterday at the NW101 (the top left) and is propagating through the island chain. Is it going to happen also in Maui? Maybe, but with the period now down to 12-13 seconds, I'm afraid that the portion of the energy we will get compare to our upstream islands cousins will still be fractional. Stay tuned for the beach update for an indication of the size in the water.

Current wind maps shows:
1) a very strong WNW fetch
2) a hint of a windswell fetch
3) a small/weak southerly fetch

MC2km map at 7 shows strong ESE trades lurking just behind the Pauwela Point corner.

The noon map shows the strongest moment. Very offshore today, it will take some sunshine for the wind/kitesurfing to happen and it will be very gusty if it does.

PS. I made these following slight changes to the blog:
- I introduced a weekly rotation for the paying banners (the rest are old trades). Once a week, I'll move the top one to the bottom and keep the whole thing circling.
- I added a webcam to the list (kihei cove from the side)
- I was requested to add back the "donate" button, but I actually never removed it. It's still there at the very top of the list of banners.