Big Picture

BIG PICTURE Update for Friday June 23rd
TIDES: Our annual ‘KING Tides’ are peaking Friday-Saturday with -.4-6 Low tides early AM pushing to 2.5-3’ at 4pm Friday and 5pm Saturday. Watch for more run up/run off on the reinforcing South. Heights may be higher than the charts. These higher highs and lower lows occur near Hawaii Solstices (June 21 is the Summer Solstice).
The Energizer Jet finally gives up the ghost this past week for about the first time all year. There was a trough/dip Monday our side of the dateline which allowed for the soft NW and lighter trades toward midweek. Our large upper air current flowing west to east up over 30,000’ has been above average for this time of year thus those pulses of NW to NNE. By Thursday/Friday the Jet is barely detectable to our North…. blue above Hawaii latitude across a huge chunk of the central pacific basin. But things are changing as they always do. This weekend the Jet shows up off Japan enough to assist in weak surface low creation. There’s more consolidation and length toward the end of this 7-day outlook from date at top. See swell #2 below.

#1 Recent: Last Wednesday/Thursday a broad gale low ~1600 miles NW tries to organized near the dateline. Since the track was SE toward us we got a super fun 2-3+’ NW-NNW surf event which filled to 3’ late Sunday at 14 sec. She peaked just over 2-3’ today with good form and conditions with light E trades. It’ll fade Tuesday onward with shorter periods of 10 sec and veer NNW before becoming trace swell Friday.

#2 Next: Models backed down and disintegrate the weak east tracking low this week Wednesday 6/21st. It was going to send some WNW short period ‘spring time-like’ surf of 2 Monday the 26th but No more.

#3 Last: A bit of a downgrade. A strong high centered in the gulf has a fetch off its SE flank near Oregon spinning off some 3’ maybe 4’ NE surf at focals with 12 sec around by dawn Monday the 26th …it’ll fade from there for the rest of the month. ‘Hats Off’ to June.

Cranking with activity the past couple weeks down under. But now the Jets not looking great. For now, the two weak branches and both are zonal but we do get some significant tho’ complex troughs or dips none of which are in the typical zones but they’ll still help lead to spinning air at the surface and some fetch pointing in our general direction over the 7 day or thru this Monday 26th.
#1-#2 Recent: Fun 2-4’ occ 5’ this week and a new 15 sec South is here on Friday up to 4’ tho’ not at all consistent or sizable due to in part the KING TIDES.
Sources of overlapping episodes: A powerful complex area of Low pressure & fetch set up from a storm that slammed NZL ~Tuesday June 13th and struggled to move out off the land. Still, Wednesday-Friday she tracked NNE right up the coast toward Hawaii. Some captured fetch tried to make up for the loss of sea development from NZL’s proximity which narrowed the fetch. This is the likely cause of Tuesday’s peak but we still have Wednesday at easy 4’ plus.
Seas reached 30-40’ so if this storm were to have been say 300-600 miles further east we may have seen some 8’ SSW. We claimed 6’ at peak surf spots on the higher tide Tuesday afternoon (around 1pm) but it didn’t happen expect for very select spots. Winds Tuesday were anomalies from the NNW in the afternoon/a strange Seabreeze mix from the cold front 500 miles NW of Kauai compromising the trades. Wednesday saw solid Trades again
The Enforcer Thursday-Saturday. A nice sized South overlaps the dying SSW on Thursday with a straight South reaching 4’ late Thursday and into Friday! With some 5’ sets likely. Swell is 3’ with 15 sec. average. Source: A strong Low last Thursday deepened 600-800 miles off NZL with a much broader fetch tho’ weaker than the prior system. Still, since it was unobstructed we’ll see some 4’ overhead sets for top ‘refractors’. Issues: the tides and consistency.

We may also see some insignificant SSE swell mixing in but over run by the two swells above this week.

After this week we go into a longer than seasonal quite period with only tiny long period SW Taz sources keeping it rideable. July ‘may’ kick off a bit better with some 3’ SW to SSW surf. But we see no hint of real overhead surf.

Trades swells of 3’ along Windward shores hung round all week from upstream and local Trades. Our typical 7-8sec trade swell will be 2’ or 2.5’ or waist to chest next week but the 12 sec NE will crank it up to 4’ Monday-Tuesday. Read NPAC event #3 above.

TROPICS: nothing for Hawaii.

NWS uses the criteria below for the issuance of High Surf Advisories & Warnings in coordination with civil defense agencies & water safety organizations in Hawai`i.

All surf height observations & forecasts are for the full face surf height, from the trough to the crest of the wave.

Advisory and Warning Criteria
Location Advisory Warning
North-Facing Shores 15 Feet 25 Feet
West-Facing Shores - Big Island 8 Feet 12 Feet
West-Facing Shores - Remaining Islands 12 Feet 20 Feet
South-Facing Shores 8 Feet 15 Feet
East-Facing Shores 8 Feet 15 Feet
'Travel Time' Buoy 51101 to Waimea Buoy
Distance: 269 nautical miles (~310 miles)
Angle: 307 deg

Wave Wave Wave Depth Wave Direction (deg)----------

Period Length Speed Shallow 295, 305, 315, 325, 335, 345, 355

(s) (ft) (nm/h) (ft) Travel Time (hours)----------

10sec. 512. 15. 256. 17.3, 17.7, 17.6, 16.9, 15.7, 14.0, 11.9

12sec. 737. 18. 369. 14.5, 14.8, 14.6, 14.0, 13.0, 11.6, 9.9

14sec. 1003. 21. 502. 12.4, 12.7, 12.5, 12.0, 11.2, 10.0, 8.5

16sec. 1310. 24. 655. 10.8, ,1 1.1, 11.0, 10.5, 9.8, 8.7, 7.4

18sec. 1658. 27. 829. 9.6, 9.8, 9.8, 9.4, 8.7, 7.8, 6.6

20sec. 2047. 30. 1024. 8.7 8.9 8.8 8.4 7.8 7.0 5.9

22sec. 2477. 33. 1239. 7.9 8.1 8.0 7.7 7.1 6.3 5.4

24sec. 2948. 36. 1474. 7.2 7.4 7.3 7.0 6.5 5.8 4.9

Surf Advisory and Warning Criteria

Location/shoreline Advisory Warning
North-Facing Shores- 15 Foot faces (8' Local) 25' Foot faces (15' local)
West-Facing Shores - 12 Foot (7' local) 20 Foot (12' local)
West-Facing- Big Is. - 8 Foot (4'+ local) 12 Foot (7' local)
East-Facing Shores- 8 Foot (4'+ local) 15 Foot (8’ local)

Tropical Storm - winds 39-73 mph (34-63 kt)
Category 1 - winds 74-95 mph (64-82 kt)
Category 2 - winds 96-110 mph (83-95 kt)
Category 3 - winds 111-130 mph (96-113 kt)
Category 4 - winds 131-155 mph (114-135 kt)
Category 5 - winds 156 mph and up (135+ kt)

Please visit the Central Pacific Hurricane Center website at for the most recent bulletins.

ENSO is a single climate phenomenon, it has three states, or phases. The two opposite phases, “El Niño” and “La Niña,” require certain changes in both the ocean and the atmosphere because ENSO is a coupled climate phenomenon. “Neutral” is in the middle of the continuum. The MJO (Madden-Julian Oscillation) is an eastward moving disturbance of clouds, rainfall, winds, and pressure that traverses the planet in the tropics and returns to its initial starting point in 30 to 60 days, on average, unlike ENSO which is stationary. In a nutshell, more active means more surf.

Kelvin wave (A Kelvin wave is a wave in the ocean or atmosphere that balances the Earth's Coriolis force against a topographic boundary such as a coastline, or a waveguide such as the equator. A feature of a Kelvin wave is that it is non-dispersive, i.e., the phase speed of the wave crests is equal to the group speed of the wave energy for all frequencies. This means that it retains its shape as it moves in the alongshore direction over time.)

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