Pipeline Masters early forecast

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Analysis

On Friday, the waiting period of the final contest of the Championship Tour begins. The Pipeline Masters begins with four surfers in mathematicial contention for the title, but only two - John John Florence and Gabriel Medina - have a realistic chance of clinching it.

The last four weeks have seen unusual surf in Hawaii with large, slow-moving highs blocking north-west storm activity. What little surf there's been has been very close to northerly in direction. This pattern is breaking down now, just in time for Pipeline, and we'll see storms following a more traditional path towards the islands.

In fact, we'll see a lot of storms. I can't recall a waiting period quite like it.

The first system is due to hit two days before the waiting period yet it's worth flagging here as it'll provide two days of 10ft+ surf which could potentially wipe the sand off the reef. Four weeks of north swells have built up truckloads of sand from Pupukea to Rockpile which will present a hindrance to classic Pipe.

The first two days of the waiting period will see good size waves cruelled by poor wind. It's possible they may be presented with small windows of opportunity but more likely they'll call laydays.

Meanwhile, the day before the waiting period begins a low pressure system will move off the Kamchatka Peninsula while cradled in a broad high to the south, the resulting pressure gradient setting up a wind field directed toward the Hawaiian islands. This swell will strike on the third morning of the waiting period - Sunday the 10th - with NE tradewinds quickly established in the wake of the system.

What sounds ideal is likely to be a bit too much of a good thing - at an expected 12-15ft the swell will overrun the Pipe reef even with an ideal wind flow. Expect Waimea and the outer reefs to be cooking.

As the swell settles over the next day the wind will remain close to NE, however just as the swell again becomes manageable the wind will go southerly. This wind shift is the precursor to a very large NW swell that will hit Hawaii on Tuesday the 12th, and if we had any worries about sand left on the reef, this system will clear it all.

Click here for a more detailed forecast of this swell.

Starting as a multi-centred low, the system will move off Japan and track north before deepening just south of the Aleutians. From there the system will slingshot in an ideal direction toward the Hawaiian islands. The system is forecast to back off just before it reaches Hawaii, however westerly winds will clip the islands ruining what would otherwise be red letter day on Hawaii's north-facing coasts.

It's the biggest storm we've seen in a few years and it'll hit right in the middle of the Pipe Masters

This final point is moot in a Pipeline forecast, the swell will be far too big for the Pipe/Backdoor stretch. At an expected 30ft-35ft (don't ask me how many Xs that is) the only possibilities are offshore deepwater breaks: Makaha, Waimea, Jaws, Outer Logs, hell maybe even Kaena Point.

Even the next day, Thursday the 14th will be too big for Pipe despite having light easterly winds. It'll be another outer reef day, maybe even Pipe's outside reefs. What say you keep the webcast cameras rolling, WSL?

By Friday we'll be halfway through the waiting period with few heats run owing to the barrage of swell. The far reaches of the model runs are showing more manageable swell, however we'll update the forecast once the competition begins.

// Guest forecast brought to you by STU 'all care, no responsibility' NETTLE

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Comments

derra83's picture
derra83's picture
derra83 commented Tuesday, 5 Dec 2017 at 9:51am

All this swell will bring even more media attention to Hawaii. The place will be skitzing over the next fortnight which isn't ideal for a world title showdown when the guys involved are trying to stay calm and focus. If we're looking for possible side-effects of all this swell I think Gabs will be the beneficiary owing to his automaton concentration.

GreenCT's picture
GreenCT's picture
GreenCT commented Tuesday, 5 Dec 2017 at 10:02am

Bordering on out of control conditions will be ideal for JJ

I agree about the camera call

tux's picture
tux's picture
tux commented Tuesday, 5 Dec 2017 at 10:15am

Will the WSL wimp out like they did at Cloudy or will they send them out to 3rd reef pipe and say suck it up buttercup the colosium needs blood on the dance floor

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy commented Tuesday, 5 Dec 2017 at 10:27am

A pity the Eddie isn't going ahead.

Clam's picture
Clam's picture
Clam commented Tuesday, 5 Dec 2017 at 12:27pm

Holy Guacamole !

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Tuesday, 5 Dec 2017 at 2:31pm

Yeh baby !
Explore.org cams for all day Pipe action

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Tuesday, 5 Dec 2017 at 3:12pm

Kona winds for the jumbo swell. .......
Jeez it's one thing to watch it online. Though to be there and experience it first hand is another ..........

TotalKOOK's picture
TotalKOOK's picture
TotalKOOK commented Wednesday, 6 Dec 2017 at 11:18am

What's the best site for pipeline webcams or Hawaii webcams?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 6 Dec 2017 at 11:26am
savanova's picture
savanova's picture
savanova commented Wednesday, 6 Dec 2017 at 11:57am

Sheeet they gotta surf it huge. Its been a 4ft beach break for the contest for years. Send the million dollar mummies boys out there and find out who the REAL champion is. If the WSL want us to watch it on line give us something worth watching.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Thursday, 7 Dec 2017 at 1:31pm

It's going to be interesting to see how they play this out.

There'll be a bit of swell easing from 8ft+ with variable winds and likely shifty lumpy conditions on Friday. Saturday looks small and with deteriorating winds, likely a lay day.

Sunday will become very large very quickly and with poor winds, with raw surf overpowering Pipe.

Variable winds from the south will create decent conditions as the N/NE swell eases steadily from 10-12ft or so. They could find a window through the afternoon.

Winds then go terrible again with the approaching front bringing Wednesday's XXL surf, and while the specifics around the generation of this swell have moved around, we're still likely to see waves in the 20-25ft+ range with an onshore N/NW breeze.

Thursday looks out of the question with slowly improving but strong N/NE tending NE winds and easing XL surf.

Friday and Saturday look like surf days, with large windy easing surf on the former, and a new N'ly swell on the later, but this may change with the still fluid nature of next week's big storm.

shoredump's picture
shoredump's picture
shoredump commented Thursday, 7 Dec 2017 at 2:02pm

I think they’re limited to a small number of contest days too. No half days....

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Thursday, 7 Dec 2017 at 2:03pm

So potential kick off Saturday morning here you reckon ?

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Thursday, 7 Dec 2017 at 2:09pm

Possibly, lets see what the longer term outlook looks like tomorrow.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Thursday, 7 Dec 2017 at 2:39pm

Cheers mate

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy commented Thursday, 7 Dec 2017 at 3:52pm

You have to drink something other than beer now, blowin?

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Thursday, 7 Dec 2017 at 5:32pm

I guess.

It's going to be a different viewing experience sitting there drinking flagon Port from the bottle. I'd better get a few news papers to keep me warm and set up a park bench to sleep on in front of the TV to complete the look.

Take it on the chin I guess. I've hit the skids on everything . Eating like a monk . Well a monk that doesn't eat shit food anyway.

I'm sure I could get away with one or two here and there ....

upnorth's picture
upnorth's picture
upnorth commented Saturday, 9 Dec 2017 at 7:04am

Kelly back for pipe?

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Saturday, 9 Dec 2017 at 1:14pm

Good question ?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 15 Dec 2017 at 6:53am

For such an active forecast period, it sure hasn’t been very productive for the competition. Just goes to show that a vigorous North Pac storm track doesn’t necessarily result in a great surf.

Forecast for the rest of the waiting period isn’t to crash hot either.