Billabong Pipe Masters Early Forecast

Craig Brokensha
Swellnet Analysis

I don't know 'bout you, but it's been an exciting early season in Hawaii. Dual-screening the beautiful walls of Honolua Bay and the blunt rawness of Sunset, culminating in great performances from Steph and Carissa in Maui, while a bunch of young Aussies won their way onto the CT for 2020.

There isn't much downtime heading into Pipe, with the Billabong Pro waiting period set to kick off this Sunday the 8th of December (Monday Australian time).

We'll be looking at a title showdown between five surfers. They being Italo, Gabs, Jordy, Felipe and Kolohe. 

But will it be decided in waves equal to the occasion?

The answer, thankfully, is yes. We're approaching a very active period of storm activity and swell generation in the North-West Pacific Ocean, producing multiple pulses of moderate to large north-west groundswell.

For the first day of the waiting period we'll be seeing an unusual N/NE groundswell, produced by a strong and stalling low between the Aleutian Islands and the US mainland, directing a fetch of gale-force N'ly winds on the edge of Hawaii's swell window.

The swell us due to arrive Saturday afternoon across the North Shore and peak overnight, easing Sunday, from 5-6ft on the sets and smaller into Monday. This isn't ideal for Pipe and will favour Backdoor though with early variable winds due to swing onshore from the west and then north-west, it'll likely be a lay day.

Swell from this direction can sometimes shift sand from Pupukea onto Pipe's reef. We can only hope this isn't the case.

Monday will provide mixed surf as the N/NE swell eases and a new moderate sized mid-period NW builds through the day, reaching 6ft+ into the afternoon with freshening east-northeast trades.

The source of this swell will be a broad low forming off the Kamchatka Peninsula, moving east towards the Aleutian Islands, producing a broad fetch of strong to gale-force W/NW winds through Hawaii's swell window for a prolonged period.

The swell is expected to perk up a little into Tuesday to 6-8ft while tending a touch more northerly in direction owing to a south-east projection of the storm towards Hawaii. The European model has stronger core winds resulting in even more size, but we'll keep an eye on this. Conditions will improve into Monday with morning easterly trades, shifting less faovurable north-east through the day, hopefully holding out of the east-northeast all day Tuesday.

Following this initial activity, a much more significant frontal progression is forecast to move to a similar position, with all this activity linked to a strengthening node of the Long Wave Trough over the Aleutians. Both models have significant developments for Hawaii, with only the timing and sizes that'll move around over the coming days.

At a glance, back to back lows will push east, generating fetches of severe-gale to storm-force W/NW winds through Hawaii's north-western swell window, stalling off the Aleutians in its later stages.

A very large, long-period NW groundswell is expected late week, arriving Thursday and building rapidly to 12-15ft, maxing out Pipe. The easing trend will be slow as the swell swings more north in direction, likely still XL into Friday.

Conditions unfortunately look to become problematic as the frontal progression interferes with the Islands, bringing strong northerly winds. Here's hoping this changes for the better.

In summary we should see competition get underway Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning, but from then the outllook revolves around the local winds with the incoming XL swell event.

North Shore 16-day Forecast Graph
North Shore WAMs

Comments

kang's picture
kang's picture
kang commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 11:14am

Finals day in 12-15ft maxing pipe... oh yes please

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 11:17am

The winds Kang, what about the winds...

FreddyWaters's picture
FreddyWaters's picture
FreddyWaters commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 12:58pm

Even if they catch the back end of the swell with better winds and likely still 6-8ft, should make for some entertaining viewing. Tuesday/Wednesday both looking awesome as well

mibs-oner's picture
mibs-oner's picture
mibs-oner commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 3:22pm

Are these sizes in Hawaiian or surfline heights?

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Friday, 6 Dec 2019 at 7:02am

Our normal scale, which aligns with Hawaiian.

teaqueue's picture
teaqueue's picture
teaqueue commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 3:54pm

JJF coasts to the final but loses to Jack Robbo. Jordy takes the title. Slater retires on the beach.
You heard it here first.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Saturday, 7 Dec 2019 at 12:19am

Slater retires ? Highly unlikely........

GONAD_MAN's picture
GONAD_MAN's picture
GONAD_MAN commented Friday, 6 Dec 2019 at 7:38am

If its big and gnarly, I reckon JJF and the big 'O' will fight it out for the win.

jamespeach's picture
jamespeach's picture
jamespeach commented Friday, 6 Dec 2019 at 8:15pm

Craig, just wondering, latest updates seem to favour big, clean pipe For two days
Is this correct or just wishful thinking?
In advance thank you!

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Saturday, 7 Dec 2019 at 12:23am

Let them finish it in 12 + foot waves at the Pipeline.
Please no on shore gums "2 foot surfline" finals.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Sunday, 8 Dec 2019 at 6:46pm

Any major changes to above Forecast ?

inoshishi sex

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Sunday, 8 Dec 2019 at 7:26pm

Is it all about the West swells if it has serious size and NE winds are pretty crook?Looks big and wild going by those numbers. Thursday, 4.7m @ 16+ secs...NW swell. But that wind!?? Maybe they'll pull the trigger Friday, but i remember them pulling the pin on many occasions when the conditions were 'dangerous'....meanwhile the locals paddle out and get their 'wave of the winter' bombs...standard.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Monday, 9 Dec 2019 at 12:18pm

Harry Bryant in the Trails
7'4 Gravelle waxed and ready....

inoshishi sex

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Monday, 9 Dec 2019 at 12:13pm

Better winds for the XL swell on Thursday morning, but it'll be too big for Pipe and then poor winds Friday as it eases.

I'd say running tomorrow, Tuesday, Wednesday, maybe Saturday (though not ideal). A couple of good follow up swells next week, which I'll look at in more detail later.