Big Picture

BIG PICTURE Update for Tuesday eve June 20th
TIDES: Our annual ‘KING Tides’ are with us especially end of this week peaking Friday-Saturday with -.4 Low tides early AM pushing to 2.6’ at 4pm Friday and 5pm Saturday. Watch for more run up/run off on the SSW, too. 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 week for about the first time all year. There’s a trough/dip Monday our side of the dateline which allowed for this 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 change 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 back 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 alas. No more.
#3 Last: A huge strong high centered in the gulf has a fetch off its SE flank near Oregon spinning off some 4’ NE surf… maybe even a few 5’ at focals with 12 sec around by dawn Monday the 26th and still be 4’ surf at 11sec Tuesday the 27th …it’ll fade from there for the rest of the month. ‘Hats Off’ to June.

Cranking with activity the past couple weeks down under. Although the Jets not looking great right now it did over a week ago thus the current surf. 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.
NOTE: Our  New PACioos Pearl Harbor Buoy sit's at the entrance and have not been accurate on swell height nor direction; it is being worked on. This low swell height is linked to the shallow location of just 35 m (100'). The 'downed' Barbers Point buoy was in 300 m (over 600'). Also, the extra travel time of swell over the Mamala Bay shelf results in frictional loss of swell size . The swell direction at Pearl Harbor is also impacted by the sea floor shape (bathymetry) and the proximity to the deep water channel biases the angle toward 165 degrees or SSE when the source was really SSW.
#1 Recent: We had some fun S to SSW surf over the weekend. All the buoys (W, SW & SE) were off including the new Pearl Harbor buoy calling it a SSE but the Low was off the N Island of NZL about 3200 away for a SSW. I spoke with them and they’re working on it. SSW popped 16 sec forerunners late Friday reaching 2+’ SSW swell at 15sec Friday night. Saturday. We had solid head high surf all weekend (2-3’ local size). A small low with up to 25’ seas just to the North of NZL about 3200 miles away last weekend is the main source. Plus, a big but zonal system SE of NZL last weekend added long period esp Sunday but smaller heights due to E to West track.
#2 Next: RECAP of Tuesday: it was a bit disappointing due to strange seabreezey NNW winds (an anomaly) and surf lack forecasted size and consistency esp later in the day on the KING high tide. We hoped for 4-6’ maybe even plus. But alas, sets were mostly 4’ with some 5’ here and there.
Source: 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.
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. Winds 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 will likely see Trade/Seabreez mix again. By Monday night it was already at 2-4’ plus the Lite trades will make great conditions.
#3 Next: A nice sized South overlaps the dying SSW on Thursday with a straight South reaching at least 3-5’ Thursday and Friday! Swell could be 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 double overhead sets for top ‘refractors’.
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 into Tuesday and may drop 2.5’ max by Wednesday. Light to Moderate Trades with short period energy of 8 sec. don’t lead to significant shoaling, refraction & diffraction (read below). 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’ easy 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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