Analysis: First XXL swell for 2019

Craig Brokensha
Swellnet Analysis

Late last week the first significant storm for 2019 was progged to develop in the North Pacific Ocean, with the likelihood of an XXL swell event for this coming weekend.

Early this week, however, the global forecast models backed off the intensity and scope of the storm, and a downgrade was made in the North Pacific Forecaster Notes to a lesser 15-20ft.

Fortunately for big wave surfers the downgrade was an anomaly. The models each reverted back in favour of the storm and held true through a series of models runs, so we're now set to see a significant long-period NW groundswell impacting the Hawaiian Islands.

The storm formed east of Japan and it's currently bombing with its central pressure dropping from 988hPa down to an incredible 933hPa in a 24 hour period. That's a drop of 55hP, well over the required 24hPa to classify it as a weather bomb.

With such a rapid drop in central pressure we'll see core wind speeds reach hurricane-force, that being 70-75kt (129 – 139km/h).

These hurricane-force winds - which are supported by surrounding severe-gale to storm-force winds - will be aimed towards Hawaii for nearly 24 hours, generating long-period forerunners that will register on the Hawaiian buoys in the order of 24-25 seconds with the bulk of the groundswell arriving not too far behind and falling between 17-18 seconds.

For comparison, it looks very similar in size, if not a touch bigger, to the swell seen through the Jaws Challenege event where they had to postpone the contest after one heat. It is a couple of degrees more west in direction as well resulting in heavily bowling waves on Peahi's inside reef.

Timing wise, the swell is forecast to arrive across the North Shore mid-morning Saturday, building rapidly and dramatically to 20-25ft at the marquee big wave breaks and outer reefs by late in the day, with Peahi seeing the swell arriving a few hours later, kicking XXL through the afternoon and evening.

Unfortunately, a peak is likely overnight, with similar if not slightly smaller surf easing slowly through Sunday. Winds on the North Shore look excellent with weak east-southeast trades, while Peahi will see strong afternoon easterly trades, more favourable and weaker out of the east-southeast each morning.

This swell should meet the thresholds required to run the In Memory of Eddie Aikau contest at Waimea, but there's been no word from the event organisers regarding yellow-lighting the event.

The Da Hui Backdoor shootout is also on standby, but the weekend will max out while Monday could be excellent as the swell eases back down to 10-12ft range. Still at the upper size limit for Backdoor but it will keep easing through the day.  The wind will be light easterly trades.

The rest of the week will provide oversized backup NW groundswells through Tuesday and Wednesday with great conditions ahead of Kona (S'ly winds) winds developing on Wednesday.

North Shore Forecast Graph
North Shore WAMs

Comments

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Thursday, 10 Jan 2019 at 1:48pm

I think EC had it dropping 36hPa in 12 hours. Whopping!

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Thursday, 10 Jan 2019 at 3:07pm

Is this anything to do with the reason Stunet passed up being Gilligan to my Skipper ?

Or just good luck ?

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Thursday, 10 Jan 2019 at 3:56pm

Couple of great satellite passes..

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Thursday, 10 Jan 2019 at 4:07pm

And the storm in connection..

blindo's picture
blindo's picture
blindo commented Thursday, 10 Jan 2019 at 5:36pm

craig where do you get this rest of the world satellite imagery from?

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Thursday, 10 Jan 2019 at 6:18pm

This site. It’s great and puts together hi-res satellite composites http://Zoom.earth

Walk around G's picture
Walk around G's picture
Walk around G commented Thursday, 10 Jan 2019 at 6:21pm

WOW! Now that is one big angry system, I can't even imagine trying to take it on, no contenitial shelf or refraction over there, it must be so so bloody powerful and scary. I'll hide away on the lee side of Cape Otway thanks and pretend that I'm a Hellman next time Bells is solid. Goodluck chargers!

evosurfer's picture
evosurfer's picture
evosurfer commented Thursday, 10 Jan 2019 at 8:03pm

This is bad news my 16 year old son is determined to surf Waimea with this swell
all I can hope for is it dosent happen or goes hard onshore. Nervous times.

IF im not surfing im racing

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Thursday, 10 Jan 2019 at 8:08pm

Just gonna have to show him the ropes out there ay Evo :p

surfstarved's picture
surfstarved's picture
surfstarved commented Thursday, 10 Jan 2019 at 10:07pm

Will the swell keep heading east and hit hit the US west coast at all? Any chance of a possible Mavericks swell?

Don't let the bastards grind you down

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Friday, 11 Jan 2019 at 8:25am

Yeah it will, it'll be very inconsistent but provide waves at Mavs, I haven't looked close but I think winds were dicey?

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Friday, 11 Jan 2019 at 8:28am

Another great satellite pass..

Also the altimetery has picked up open ocean wave heights of just over 44ft (pink/purple readings).

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Friday, 11 Jan 2019 at 12:42pm

And a couple more altimeter readings. Peak reading is 55.57ft! (just above that 0635 label).

evosurfer's picture
evosurfer's picture
evosurfer commented Friday, 11 Jan 2019 at 4:36pm

Wish they would call on the Eddie

IF im not surfing im racing

Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython commented Sunday, 13 Jan 2019 at 1:31am

Frothing!!

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Sunday, 13 Jan 2019 at 7:58am

51001 buoy (NW of Hawaii, around eight to ten hours upstream) is 19.4ft (5.9m) at 19 seconds. Local winds are under 10kts, so those wave height readings are almost pure groundswell.

The leading edge reached the 51208 buoy (Kauai) around seven hours ago with peak swell periods of 22 seconds; the 51205 buoy (Maui, near Peahi) just picked up the 22s forerunners an hour ago too.

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Sunday, 13 Jan 2019 at 8:01am

So is this good for waimea........

simba

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Sunday, 13 Jan 2019 at 8:01am

Nothing but silence from The Eddie too. Their website doesn's have any news and there appears to be no active social media accounts either.

mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207 commented Sunday, 13 Jan 2019 at 11:01am

Have you had a look at invites and alternates for the Eddie this year? Some really random choices, they must be having a tow surfing division looking at some of the names on the list, several big wave surfers who have never paddled big waves but rip on the rope from WA. Some interesting choices left off the list too. Politics is a bitch

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Sunday, 13 Jan 2019 at 12:25pm

too much period for Waimea

hamishbro's picture
hamishbro's picture
hamishbro commented Tuesday, 15 Jan 2019 at 10:15pm

Some raw footage here of that swell hitting jaws... go to
10.00 for the biggest air drop you’ve ever seen
https://youtu.be/LMZioa6uR7g

Jono's picture
Jono's picture
Jono commented Wednesday, 16 Jan 2019 at 4:57am

hamishbro here's a nice shot of the same drop - https://www.instagram.com/p/Bsn3Hpxg2sb/