Big Picture

BIG PICTURE: Friday Update 2/16/18…We have 4 swells in this 10-day cycle, most are small but one of them is sizable.

NPAC:  The Jet thickened up again this work week with ~ 200kt off Japan and there’s a broad split to our NW due to that High pressure dominating the East Pac. It’s been strong enough to block that Jet from getting under 600 miles from us. Though the Jet’s weaker winds do nose & dip toward Hawaii just a couple hundred miles to the WNW. So, we’ve seen plenty Cold fronts, troughs and sketchy weather along with Kona winds. On Sunday the Fat Jet troughs or dips near Japan aiding in the counterclockwise spin at the surface. This leads to the biggest of all 4 swells in this 10 day Wednesday-Thursday the 21st-22nd. Read below.

By next week the Jet backs off from Japan with its large loop up and over the High still controlling the EPAC and Jetting into Alaska. The Jet keeps trying to grow longer off Japan but is limited by the High which by the end of this 7-day model run, has the High all the way out to the Dateline from the west coast!

Recent-Current: Surf’s been declining since the 8’ WNW this past weekend. Recently conditions are semi ok to bad due to Kona winds at various angles and speeds, but there’s been ‘moments’. It was just 4’ today, Thursday and onshore. It gets better Friday along with the weather.

Next: This Friday’s event has been downgraded as has been the case of many of Feb’s model fantasy. A Low off the Kurils tracked improperly (away) to the NNE for HI surf production. We get some 2-3+’ surf Midday 2/16 from lunch to afternoon at 14-15 sec.

Next: Surf boosts again Sunday to 2-4’ from the NNW at only 12 sec. Source: the once medium-sized 45kt Low- now small and 40kts- neared the dateline Wednesday Valentines Day. Plus, it tracked NE away from us and thus, we’ll see just 4-5’ 12 sec NNW swell pushing up waves to 2-3’ overhead Sunday. At least the Buffalo Big Board Surfing Classic42 presented by Quiksilver will have surf plus the Variable winds should make it fun smooth water early in the day. But since the sun will be out again so will the sea breezes Saturday. Then some weather hits and that’ll keep land heating down thru Monday.

Next: An ENE bound 35-45kt Low off Japan spawned Thursday the 15th. Tho’ the track is not ideal thanks again and again from the blocking Ridge of the stubborn High. Still, due to winds and seas being decent we can hope for the building of 3-4′ deep water at 16-15sec Monday the 19th. This should and could make 4-6′ surf into Tuesday the 20th.

Long range: The Last storm is the most powerful and lower in Latitude off Japan Sunday the 18th.  Its seas peak at ~48’ and it’s finally holding an East track toward the dateline. By Monday it touches the dateline as it weakens and lifts ENE. WW3 suggests WNW forerunners now as early as Tuesday 8am at .5′ 22sec reaching 1.5′ 20s in the afternoon. Wednesday gets the peak (6-7.5′ 18-16s) then periods ease 7′ 15s into Thursday. There’s partial shadowing. Wednesday should hit 8-10’+ thanks to refraction + shoaling at these long periods (multiples of 3X the swell height). E Trades could make it really good. Let’s keep an eye on this one and see how models hold up. So far it looks good as models have only increased the seas and even brought the episode in earlier than first projections.


The Jet is overall weak broken and zonal with occas flows NE toward the end of the 7 day but no significant storms are spawning.

Recent/current:  It’s been bad as it gets. Onshore and blow to bits but up to 2’ but that doesn’t matter.

First: Saturday surf may struggle to get 2’ from the SSW 14 sec from an average Low off NZL last weekend. But with only ½’ of groundswell you just can’t expect much.

Next: A huge wintery Low SE of Tasmania tracks east this Friday-weekend. We may see some long period 2′ surf from the SW the 23-25th of Feb.

Last: groping but…a Low under Tahiti ‘may’ bring up some 2’ S to SSE sideband surf March 2 or 3rd.

Windward Shores:

Currently: Surf’s just 2’ on wind swell breaking close to shore. Higher ENE trade swell this upcoming week coming from upstream and local trades from the persistent High covering the East Pac. It could hit 2-4’ and maybe higher from the NE. It will ease up toward Friday the 23rd.

Tropics: nothing for the next couple days.



NWS criteria for High Surf Advisories (first number) & Warnings (second number).

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

Advisory and Warning Criteria Shoreline or Location

North-Facing Shores 15 Feet and 25 Feet

West-Facing Shores – Remaining Islands 12 Feet and 20 Feet

West-Facing Shores – Big Island 8 Feet and 12 Feet

South-Facing Shores 8 Feet and 15 Feet

East-Facing Shores 8 Feet and 15 Feet


Links: Get the latest Central Pac Hawaii go HERE

Terms:  split Jetstream

blocking ridge

short-wave tough

Notes: Spectral density graph in the SNN Buoy Page GO HERE  shows slivers of forerunners that initial text readings of new swells which often do not ‘show’ till later on written/text buoy updates. Also, note the vertical graph is not ‘wave height’ rather its a measure of wave energy in hertz (frequency or cycles/sec) for the whole ‘band’ (the distribution of power/period in the total wave energy field/spectrum). For the SNN Buoys ‘per shore’ arrangement  GO HERE

Links: Get the latest on the Eastern North Pac GO HERE For more on the West Pac Typhoons GO HERE


Back to Top