Hawaii's Winter Season Gets An Early Start
In the North Pacific, El Niño years are synonymous with pumping North Shore winters. There's a good track record of El Niño seasons with big wave highlight moments. Think 1969 and Greg Noll's Makaha send off, all that happened during the '86 Billabong Pro, 98's Biggest Wednesday, or even the 2016 Peahi Challenge which opened with Greg Long pulling into that barrel - each one an El Niño year.
But single swells are one thing, a whole pumping season is another. Yet as weather knowledge progresses, it's becoming clearer that putting in a couple of months during an El Niño year should have you at Ground Zero for a number of XXL events; arguably more than an average season.
With El Niño already established, anticipation is building about how the coming season will unfold. "I've heard it said again and again," said Bill Sharp during a recent chat with Swellnet, "the perception is there that this will be a good season."
Next week, Craig will publish a more in-depth article about El Niño and the North Pacific (hint: not all El Niño are created equal) yet right now the signs point to well-placed assumptions.
Though only halfway through October - the Hawaiian winter still six weeks yonder - guns will be getting an early dust off as the first real swell is inbound.
The foundation for the coming swell is Super Typhoon Bolaven which is currently positioned south-southeast of Japan. Bolaven is a Category 5 system and is forecast to re-curve to the north-east on approach to Japan before being absorbed into the North Pacific Jet-stream. This will give it a boost on its arc north of Hawaii, expanding in scope and intensity.
Core wind speeds are due to reach storm-force, although a little too late in Hawaii's swell window to generate an XXL swell. It'll make landfall next Tuesday night, angled just marginally north of north-west (320°), peaking Wednesday morning before tapering over the next two days.
Size? 12 - 15 feet early Wednesday, so think lower end Waimea, upper end Sunset and Pipeline, before it settles through Wednesday and Thursday. Perhaps best of all it makes landfall during a particularly slack period of north-east trades - great direction, light wind speeds. With land temps forecast around 30° it'll be sultry and smooth.
Though it bodes well for an active North Pacific surf season, one swell does not a great season make. Though it sure raises the excitement levels.
Stay tuned for Craig's article next week.