Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wednesday 2 22 17 morning call

18 year old Zack is in vacation in Maui with his mom and I took him surfing at Honolua Bay.

Conditions looked very dubious from the cliff (as reported at 6.30am on this very page), but we decided to paddle out anyway and lucked out into an hour an a half of much higher consistency. Within the first 5 minutes, he caught 3 waves. We had a lot of fun.

At 10 I was at work at Hi-Tech and after 2 I took him windsurfing. He's my dream customer, up for everything and good at everything.

5am significant buoy readings
South shore
Nothing at the buoys, probably flat but check the webcams.

North shore
2.2ft @ 14s from 327° (NW)

2.6ft @ 15s from 307° (WNW)
A new WNW swell is on the rise on the two NW buoys. At the moment, the numbers are very unimpressive: already down to 14-15s and only 2-3f, but the size should improve later today. As usual, the low but long period readings didn't even get registered by those buoys out in the very rough waters.
Also, do not pay attention to the different directions, we have learned that we need to wait for bigger numbers for more reliable information on the direction. Fortunately you guys have the luxury of having someone that is willing to pull back up the wind maps that show the position of the fetches that generated the swell, and that is the best way of knowing what direction a swell is coming from.
Below are the maps of Feb 19 and 20 (I managed to forget to number the fetches for 2 days in a row) and you see the fetch in a fairly distant WNW position on the first one...
Wind map Feb 19
... and a little closer and less west position on the second one, but worse oriented (max energy is going to miss us to the north and hit the American west coast instead).
Wind map Feb 20

Surfline has the peak of this swell at 7f 14s at 2pm tomorrow from 318 (after refraction). What about today? Below is the NOAA WW3 model output that predicts the first presence of this swell in the Maui waters only at 3pm with a mere 0.5f 19s that will eventually became a full foot at 6pm. Which translates into the possibility of a few long period sets at sunset.

So, with pretty much nothing from this swell in Maui today, what are we going to surf? Here's the local buoys readings at 5am.

5.4ft @ 9s from 355° (N)

6.9ft @ 7s from 62° (ENE)
How can Waimea feel 5.4f 9s from the N and Pauwela only 7f 7s of windswell? I'm not really sure, but I'm gonna blame the "insensitivity" of the buoys and assume (and hope) that the northerly energy is also in the Maui waters. That'll add a bit of juice to the otherwise weak (7s) windswell. You guys should check Pauwela later to see if that energy reappears. Or just wait for the beach report that I will possibly do today from Hookipa. Beach report or not, Pavillions will be the spot to (try to) surf today, since it's going to be blowing pretty strong already.

NAM3km map at 7 shows 20 knots of trades and similar speeds for the rest of the day.

Oh look, MC2km maps are available early today, and this is the 1pm one that confirms the strong wind.

Current wind map shows:
1) a strong fetch in the NW corner. 7.5f 16s from 309 on Saturday predicted by Surfline
2-3) tiny little fetches (fetchetielli in my dialect) that won't do much

That fetch n.1 is so strong that I'd like to post an "old school" weather map. Don't you guys miss those isobars? I do. Actually I don't, because I check it every day, I just don't post it every day. Link n.1 of GP's meteo websites list.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

6.30am Honolua has waist to very occasionally chest high clean waves. 2

Tuesday 2 21 17 morning call

Yesterday was a really tough day to find some decent surfing conditions. I drove all the way to Honolua and didn't even think for a second to paddle out. As stated in the beach report, the waves were big and far from perfect. Take this first photo for example, and notice that big wedge induced by the mix of periods in the water. This wave ended up being quite useless.

This other one looked good for a second, but it shut down. That happened quite often.

And even this one that looked fine, didn't really do much for the surfer.

I so decided to go chase the small waves in Lahaina (there was a little wrap coming down all the way from the Bay). At least it was sunny and not windy. And that, compared to the weather on the north shore, was a blessing by itself.
Louise and her dad are two French Hi-Tech rental customers. I rented them those boards and by what I could see, they are absolutely perfect for them. She's on a Takayama In The Pink 9'3 (we also have it in 9.0 and 9.6) and he's on a T&C 10'0.
I told them to check the blog today... envoie moi un email you guys, I got more photos.

4am significant buoy readings
South shore

Nothing at the buoys, check the webcams.

North shore
5.3ft @ 10s from 346° (NNW)

4.6ft @ 12s from 331° (NNW)
4.4ft @ 9s from 339° (NNW)

5.6ft @ 7s from 38° (NE)
4.8ft @ 11s from 328° (NW)
3.1ft @ 10s from 341° (NNW)
NW swell is pretty much half the size of what it was yesterday, as the NW101 and Pauwela graphs show below. Not that that matters much, since the north shore is going to be blown out again by the strong trades.
I put an arrow on the time I was at the bay yesterday and Pauwela was reading a solid 10f 14s. No wonder that were some doh+ bombs.

Instead, let me point out how useless is this "spot report" I checked yesterday evening on Surfline. At the same 8am time, the surf was predicted (or reported, whatever that is) to be 6-7 feet. That's probably what most people look at on their phone apps (I don't know for sure, because I don't have and don't want one).
The only forecast I find valid on Surfline (or anywhere else, really) is the one you get by clicking the "offshore swells" tab on link n15 (or 14 for the south shore). That's the one that looks exactly like a buoy output and tells you what the swell will be just offshore of your spots.

It will then be up to you to integrate that information with your local knowledge and try to guess the size at your spots. It doesn't take much to build that knowledge. Every time you are going surfing or even just to check the spots, check the buoy page (link n.11) to see what's in the water. Then look at the size of the waves and make a mental association between the two. Once you've done that 10 times, you'll know a lot more. And once you've done that every day for a month, you'll be an expert compared to someone else who only reads predictions like the one below and never knows what actually is in the water.

NAM3km map at 7am shows some moderate trades, which will continue to blow all day. West side still the call for clean surf, IMO. Size should be much more manageable than yesterday.

Current wind map shows:
1) solid NW fetch. The resulting swell will be much cleaner than the actual one, because the fetch is far more distant
2-3) little windswelly fetches that are not going to do much for us.
Still nothing down south.

Monday, February 20, 2017

8.30am Honolua has waves, but it's far from the usual perfection. The set in the photo was a solid doh at the cave, but didn't have a good shape. Swell is stormy and being the bay there will be some diamond in the rough, but overall it's a 3 (for here).
20 guys at the cave, 10 at the point.

Monday 2 20 17 morning call

I recently purchased a GoFoil at Hi-Tech. As soon as we received them, we were immediately sold out ( I was pretty high on the waiting list), but we ordered 40 more that should come in anytime. Steve's waiting list is filling up again very quickly, so call him up (and please let him know you're a blog reader) if you don't want to miss out on the next shipment.

The board next to me is a Starboard 8.2x32 Wide Point that is already equipped with tuttle box for the foil and footstrap inserts (once you learn, you might take advantage of them). The other foil-ready board that we have is the 7.4x30 Hypernut.

After a week of sitting in my car, yesterday finally the right conditions arose (no good waves for regular surfing anywhere) and I put it on my SUP board and went windsurfing on it. It was cold at the harbor and to also protect my shins I pulled off the 4/3 wetsuit. I also had an impact vest and a helmet (thanks to HST windsurfing for the lend) and that's how I looked. Not a typical Maui look.

Below is the setup. It's probably all wrong, but it's better than nothing. All the windsurfing foil setups I've seen, have the foil box more back (maybe because they're using a pre-existing tuttle box for a regular windsurfing fin?) and the mast truck more forward that right in the middle where I have it. That includes Ken Winner's setup, who I briefly chatted with in the water after he showed up with a prototype of his. A random chat in the middle of the Kahului harbor with a legend of the sport whose name I knew from 35 years ago and I never met before. Things that happen only in Maui...

The foiling was still difficult, but it seemed easier than the other two other ways I've tried (behind a heavy boat that made a huge wake and catching small waves on the south shore). I was trying to keep the board half foiling (most of the board out, but with the very tail still touching the water) for as long as I could. As soon as the whole board came out of the water, everything suddenly became quite and I was filled with... peacefulness? That might eventually come one day, but nah, I'm still at the terror stage. Terror because you know that that thing is going to do something unexpected and uncontrolled at anytime, like rounding up into the wind or bearing off downwind (this last one being the most dangerous).

That can be caused by the relative closeness of the foil and mast boxes but, again, that's all I got. Nonetheless, I estimated that the 1.5h practice I had was equivalent to at least 5-10 sessions of surfing. As soon as I lost the half or full foiling and the board went back fully into the water (without wiping out), I was in fact immediately ready to try again. No need to paddle back out for the next wave. Even though I'm still far away from foiling, I believe I improved quite a bit and I'm slightly more in control now. This thing ain't easy, you guys. But the real bottom line is this: yesterday was a shitty day for all the disciplines I do and yet, thanks to the foil, I did something I never did before and got that awesome beginner feeling again.

We'll see when the next practice opportunity will arise. I intend to relegate this to the very few cases in which I have no other options of fun water activities. I'm probably the least eager-to-learn foil owner on the island. And that's not because I don't think foiling is fun. That's because I have a lot of fun doing all the other things I do! So, be patient if you're interested in this topic and keep reading the blog... you never know, I might go again today!

Here's the latest video posted by Kai Lenny of a wave he foiled at Sunset Beach (it's gonna loop forever, unless you click on it to stop it).
A post shared by Kai Lenny (@kai_lenny) on

4am significant buoy readings
South shore

Nothing at the buoys, check the webcams

North shore
10.9ft @ 12s from 335° (NNW)

6.8ft @ 9s from 335° (NNW)
6.1ft @ 14s from 330° (NW)
5.6ft @ 12s from 325° (NW)

8.6ft @ 13s from 325° (NW)
3.6ft @ 9s from 334° (NNW)
2.9ft @ 7s from 11° (NNE)
2.7ft @ 11s from 334° (NNW)
Below is the graphs of the NW101 and Pauwela buoys. Notice how the first one is still very much up and so I don't expect the size to go down much at all locally. Also notice how the second looks just like the Surfline forecast I posted yesterday. Lastly, notice all the different periods insisting on Pauwela.

This swell is closely generated so all the periods tend to arrive together because they didn't have time to space out from each other, and that will give a very stormy character to the waves, also due to the strong wind that we'll be on it. So look for a place that possibly filters out some of the extra components and is sheltered by the wind. Honolua is obviously the first place that comes in mind.
No Hookipa report today, because it's gonna be big and messy and there's no need of report to know that.

NAM3km map at 7a shows a lot of wind already, but this time from a more traditional trades' direction. Plenty sailing/kiting action on the north shore later.

Current wind map shows:
1) a solid NW fetch aiming at the west coast. We'll get the angular spreading that Surfline estimates at 7f 14s from 3176 on Thursday.
2) a small NE windswell fetch associated with the high that is going to sit N of us for a few days and save some sailors/kiters from depression by producing a good deal of trades.
3) a little low (I didn't circle it) in the Tasman sea that we'll keep an eye on.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sunday 2 19 17 morning call

After 5 days of pumping waves, yesterday the ocean took a little break and the sizes went down considerably. But that was compensated by the lack of wind that offered clean conditions pretty much all day long. Here's Axel Rosenblad on a beautiful left at sunset.

He could have done two turns on it, instead he stayed high and gained speed to pull off this aerial off the closeout end section.

Other than the small size and low consistency, the conditions were quite pristine.

"Surf early, because some models show a light onshore/trades flow as early as 9am" I wrote on yesterday's call. Blame those models if that didn't happen and conditions stayed clean all day instead.
At the time I do this call, what I consider the most reliable wind prediction model (WRF on MC2km) is not updated yet. So, no matter what the other models (or I) say, you guys should ALWAYS check the MC2km website later in the day if you want to know what the wind is going to do.

For example, look how beautifully that model predicted the sunset glass off in yesterday's 6pm map. Too bad that those maps were not available at 6am when I do my call.

5am significant buoy readings
South shore

Nothing at the buoys, check the webcams.

North shore
8.3ft @ 12s from 331° (NNW)
6.6ft @ 10s from 324° (NW)
4.4ft @ 7s from 332° (NNW)
4.8ft @ 6s from 2° (N)
3.0ft @ 11s from 322° (NW)
2.8ft @ 9s from 320° (NW)
3.8ft @ 5s from 12° (NNE)
2.3ft @ 9s from 348° (NNW)
1.8ft @ 12s from 321° (NW)
1.1ft @ 14s from 340° (NNW)
Lots of periods at the buoys and that should be no surprise for those of you who pay attention to the fetches in the "Current wind map" section.
The swell that will pick up today will be messy and disorganized because:
1) it was generated (and still is) very close to us
2) there's plenty active wind on it.

The "mess" is also reflected in the buoys graphs below where I almost made it more illegible trying to highlight the 9s and 11s components at the NW101 and Waimea buoys. I also squeezed in the three days Surfline offshore swells forecast and that is not clear either, with a big gap in the graphs.
Anyway, keep in mind that at 12s the waves take roughly 20h from the NW buoys to us, so you will see the size increase pretty steadily but only in the afternoon. It won't matter much though, because the conditions are going to be extremely poor (on the north shore) due to the strong NE wind.

NAM3km map at 7am shows moderate NE winds. Check the MC2km maps at link n. 17 later for more updated info about the wind.

Current wind map shows:
1) NW fetch off Japan
2) N fetch that is generating the current swell and active wind. The high pressure to its right will move more east and give our desperate wind/kitesurfers the gift of a few days of wind. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are the only good days for sailing on the north shore. Next weekend it should be back to a lovely calm.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

6.30am hookipa has still head high sets, but also smaller stuff. Clean, but a bit wobbly.

Saturday 2 18 17 morning call

Fun day of surfing on the north shore yesterday, here's a photo by Jimmie Hepp from this gallery.
Can't remember the name of that guy, but that's an example of a guy you can call moke.

Unlike my friend Moke (whose real name is Mark), whom I dropped in at the Bay (and posted the video) a couple of weeks ago. He got his two favorite boards stolen off his truck during a 2 minutes surf check at Paia Bay. Sucks.

Here's the photos I took at sunset at Hookipa after my afternoon session. You usually see much younger surfers trying that.

Classic relaxed body language from Sean Ordonez.

It's been a while I haven't posted one of those.

Sometimes it's good to have a look at what happens behind you.

I crashed into Tatiana's Butterfly Effect's (April 15) staff meeting. Lovely bunch of girls.

4am significant buoy readings
South shore
2.2ft @ 13s from 261° (W)
Waves in Kihei were around waist high yesterday with a higher readings. Probably knee high today, but check the webcams.

North shore
3.2ft @ 11s from 287° (WNW)           

3.6ft @ 13s from 309° (WNW)           
2.4ft @ 10s from 334° (NNW) 

3.1ft @ 12s from 328° (NW)
2.7ft @ 10s from 339° (NNW)

Relatively small waves (for the season, at least) on tap on the north shore today. Should be still head high at Hookipa, check the beach report that I will do again at 6.30am from the lookout where I'm going to meet my surf guide customer for another session together.

Surf early, because some models show a light onshore/trades flow as early as 9am. As I said yesterday, this is going to be a pretty bad week from the wind point of view. The windguru table below is pretty explicit. Fortunately it's just a week.

Euro model shows no wind at 7am.

NAM3km map at 4pm shows the onshore getting stronger starting from the west side, but a light onshore flow is predicted to start already in the morning.

Current wind map shows:
1) small and distant new  NW fetch
2) intensifying and very close NW fetch. Related swell will peak Sunday night/Monday morning at around 10f 13s
3) tiny NNE fetch