Saturday, March 25, 2017

7am hookipa has waves up to head high, wind is light.

Saturday 3 25 17 morning call

Yesterday morning I contributed to the happiness of a fellow surfer by taking him out for his first time at Hookipa. As the photo below shows, there were some solid head high sets (the word solid denotes mostly head high, but with some occasional bigger ones). The day was perfect for his abilities, the size was definitely pushing his limits, but the low crowd due to light rain, wind and clouds was a key facilitating factor.

I explained him how the current works, how and when to use the channels, and had him catch a wave at each single sub-break, with the exception of Pavillions which of course was too crowded to bother. His last wave was a really steep head and a half bomb at middles, he set up a super low Waimea style stance and stuck the drop. He was overly stoked.

Can you tell?
Here's what he wrote in an email last night:" Thanks again, couldn't stop smiling, had a blast and so stoked finally surfed Ho'okipa!!"
To which I reply: thank YOU brother Justin, your smiles and stoke set me on a high for the rest of the day. I'll see you next time.

Later on the windsurfers hit the water and the conditions were excellent (if you like strong wind).

So good that I had to grab two photos from this gallery by Jimmie Hepp.

5am significant buoy readings
South shore
2.2ft @ 12s from 245° (WSW)           
1.7ft @ 9s from 175° (S)
Lahaina side was waist high yesterday, check the webcams for today's size.
North shore
5.2ft @ 21s from 283° (WNW)
2.9ft @ 9s from 315° (NW)
3.3ft @ 11s from 318° (NW)

3ft @ 12s from 319° (NW)
1.8ft @ 9s from 321° (NW)                      
0.5ft @ 25s from 297° (WNW)
3.1ft @ 12s from 325° (NW)           
2.2ft @ 9s from 348° (NNW)
2.1ft @ 6s from 81° (E)

New massive swell on the rise today, let's dig into the analysis of the buoys. Below is the graph of NW101, Waimea and Pauwela. The first two are the only ones that are feeling the new swell. Hanalei still doesn't report them, but I can guarantee you it's there. Waimea is one of the most sensitive buoys, or at least one of the most protected by other swells, so it's the one that is able to feel low long period energy the best.

The double arrow on the NW101 graph indicated a sharp rise from 1 to 5 feet from 9pm yesterday to 5am this morning. Waimea's steepness is not up yet, but that's because it hasn't even reached one foot yet. Soon it will and soon it should start ramping up similarly. By applying GP's rule of thumb for the travel time from the NW buoys to Maui (16h @ 16s +/-1), at 20s a swell takes 12h to get here and I drew a dotted red line accordingly. But with an original direction of 283, the shadow from the upstream islands will be significant. So guessing the size is a bit of a gamble, but there should be fairly big sets by sunset.
A reader asked in a comment if the swell is going to hit Kihei, Lahaina and Honolua. The answer to the first one is yes, to the second one is maybe (if it squeezes south of Molokai and north of Lanai, and to the last one is probably not, even though I wouldn't be surprised is someone reports inconsistent sets at sunset. Keep an eye on buoys and webcams.

As far as this morning goes, 3f 12s will provide similar size to yesterday morning, so it should still be up head high. Stay tuned for the beach report, which I should post around 7am, but I'm taking it easy this morning.

6.30am reading of the Hookipa wind sensor is 8(4-14)mph from 91, could (and will) be worse.
MC2km map at noon shows strong easterly trades. Should be a cracking day for windsurfing in the late afternoon.

The weather has always been one of the top five things I like about Maui. Today should be no exception.

Current wind map still shows the wide fetch associated with the swell we will receive today. It's gonna be another long lasting one.

And also today there's a massively long fetch down under shooting at central/south America of which we'll get the angular spreading.

PS. Thanks a lot to blog reader Fernando who found another webcam for the Ohukai area in north Kihei. I updated the list.

PPS. Thanks to Jason who pointed me to this awesome video analysis by a guy called Gary Kewley in Oahu. The only thing I don't like is that he often uses the Hawaiian scale, which I consider extremely confusing. Things like "4f 20s at Sunset can be 10 feet" or 11f 16s at Jaws will magnified 2.5 times and so at least 30 feet (faces) which we call 18f Hawaiian. Why introduce another conversion scale is a mistery for me, but the good news is that I will have plenty practice opportunity before leaving for me trip on April 4th. Check it out.

Friday, March 24, 2017

6.30 hookipa has waves up to head high, wind is still light at the moment, but definitely blowing.  Light rain.

Friday 3 24 17 morning call

Surfing and windsurfing was my winning combo yesterday, the latter being the more fun, despite riding a thruster with only two fins (I have a bad box situation... pun unfortunately intended).
Here's the lovely Maria Andres showing us the size of the biggest sets. Because of the light wind, conditions were actually much cleaner that what it looks. I gave it a 7.

4am significant buoy readings
South shore
2.3ft @ 13s from 266° (W)
0.2ft @ 22s from 210° (SSW)
Buoy still feeling the wrap of the current swell and a lovely 0.2f 22s from SSW that could be indication of something small to play with over the weekend.
North shore
4.5ft @ 11s from 316° (NW)
3.3ft @ 10s from 335° (NNW)
3.5ft @ 13s from 322° (NW)
1.5ft @ 10s from 317° (NW)
3ft @ 6s from 80° (E)
2.4ft @ 13s from 323° (NW)
2.1ft @ 9s from 44° (NE)
Current swell still hanging in there (yes, if the fetch lasts 5 day, the swell lasts 5 days (or more) too). Numbers are small, I'm guessing head high in the bigger sets. Should stay pretty steady during the day, maybe going down a bit with the period, judging by the NW101 readings. Stay tuned for the beach report.

As we know, there's a large swell about to knock on the door and I'm going to take the opportunity to explain once again, despite the fact that I already talked about it in this post, how I use the Surfline forecast. The two links for north and south are n.15 and 14 in GP's list in the right column of this blog. Below is the north forecast (I can only show you the first three days, the rest of it requires subscription) and you get that with clicking on link n.15 and scrolling down a bit.
My opinion about that is: useless. The page is called "Maui North Regional Forecast" and assuming those are wave faces heights and focusing on the last one for Sunday, I'd like to know where exactly it is going to be 12 to 14 feet. Is that Hookipa, Paia bay, Kanaha or Jaws? Those four spots, just mention some, are going to be extremely different in size in fact. If you hover with the mouse over that red circle it actually gives you the forecast of the open ocean swells and, as we are also about to learn with the next picture, the big swell is forecasted as 11f 16s from 309 at that time. Whatever formula they use to put 12 to 14 faces is totally wrong. There is no such a formula that is right. It depends enormously on the particular spot.
But it only takes one more click on the offshore swells tab (indicated by a red arrow in picure above) to get all the information you need. The picture below is what shows all the open ocean swells and if you hover with the mouse over that late Sunday time, you get what I wrote in red. Warning: this graph does not show with my IE, I need Firefox for it. And it might not be smart phone friendly, but I've seen the Surfline app and that is totally useless too.

Now, if every day you check the buoys to see what's in the water (that's the link n.11) and then compare it to what you see at your spot of preference, in a matter of a couple of weeks, you'll start having a pretty good idea of what any combo of size, period and direction does to it. The more you do it, the more your knowledge of that spot increases and you won't need no more useless forecasts that try to predict the size of the waves at any spot.
MC2km map at noon shows a hell lot of wind. Fortunately, the Hookipa sensor only reads 4(3-6) mph from 93 at 6am, so dawn patrol should be ok.
Looks like some clouds, but I'm not a cloud reader.

Current wind map shows:
1) the strong NW fetch still accumulating water molecule after molecule on top of each other.
2) the head of a fetch down under.

I wanted to investigate better on the down under fetch and I scrolled the map to show it better and a monster long one showed up. This morning I have no time to try to figure out if that fetch is oriented towards us or not. Don't forget that maps try to represent in two dimensions something that instead has three, and down by the poles the Earth curvature will introduce an even bigger mistake when represented flat. But the Surfline forecast shows 3f 15s next Friday/Saturday, so we are gonna get something.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

7am the wind got lighter after a squall and the waves got more consistent, so now I call it shoulder to head high and a 5. Things can change quickly at Hookipa.
6.15 hookipa is flat to shoulder, very occasionally head high. Light trades.

Thursday 3 23 17 morning call

Early morning surf session at Hookipa was quite poor again. This is a photo of Jason Hall riding his latest craigslist score, that I took when I got out of the water. I didn't shoot for long, but it was pretty clear that I wasn't gonna see any better rides.

Fortunately I surfed late morning somewhere else and that was much better. I was actually planning on an windsurf session, but the wind quickly got way too strong for my taste. This photo by Jimmie Hepp from this gallery shows how the lip of that wave is literally torn apart by the wind.

4am significant buoy readings
South shore

2.2ft @ 8s from 173° (S)
1.8ft @ 14s from 267° (W)
1.5ft @ 12s from 252° (WSW)
Wrap getting smaller, it's probably tiny, but check the webcams.

North shore
4.8ft @ 13s from 300° (WNW)
2ft @ 10s from 323° (NW)

4.2ft @ 13s from 314° (NW)

2.6ft @ 7s from 79° (ENE)
1.8ft @ 14s from 323° (NW)
1.6ft @ 10s from 342° (NNW)
1.5ft @ 12s from 320° (NW)
The swell never made it over 3f 14s at Pauwela yesterday, confirming the westerly nature of it. Waves at sunset were very clean thanks to the finally light sideoff wind, but barely head high. They should be even smaller today (stay tuned for the beach report) with those weak readings at the buoy. Below is the graph of the three reported buoys. I put a couple of arrows to show a clear decrease in size recorded by all of them.

This swell has been long lasting and the NW101 reading shows that it's not going anywhere anytime soon. Here's Pat Caldwell wordy explanation of why: A long-lived low pressure system 3/15-19 in the far NW Pacific has kept steady surf in Hawaii 3/19-22. Gales 3/17-18 slowly weakened to marginal gales 3/18-19 with wide, long fetch beyond 2000 nm out.

And here's GP's graphical collage of the NW Pacific of the days he mentions: 15-19 from left to right. Notice how much more intense and south (west compared to us) the first day was. 5 day later, Kihei Cove had head high waves. The other four days the storm moved a tad more north (less west for us), but was still confined between 295 and 310, I'd say. If you guys read the Buoys to Maui travel times and Maui's shadow lines, you should remember that the Molokai shadow line for  Hookipa is 305, so that explains the difference in size with the Waimea readings.

The wind sensor at Hookipa reads 6(4-9)mph from 99 at 5.45, so despite the smaller size, this morning the conditions should be a lot better than the last couple of morning.
Below is the MC2km map at 2 and shows no wind down the coast, and very offshore trades up at Hookipa. I'm calling no sailing because of the 10 man rule, but obviously I can be totally wrong.

Some clouds today.

Current wind map shows:
1) a strong and getting closer NW fetch. Weekend forecast staying strong with 10f 16s on Sunday.
2) a weak NNE fetch

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

6.15 hookipa is occasionally head high with light trades. I saw some clean sections and I give it a 4, but it's a bit of a stretch.