Early Forecast: Lexus Pipe Pro
Lexus Pipe Pro
January 29th - February 10th, 2024
The North Pacific has really come to life since the start of the New Year, with multiple large to extra-large swells impacting not just the Hawaiian Island chain but also the Californian coast and large swathes of the South Pacific basin too.
The weekend just gone saw yet another extra-large swell on the Hawaiian North Shore though southerly winds largely favoured the breaks west of Haleiwa.
The good news is that, with just over a week until the 2024 Championship Tour season begins, there's more swell activity on the way, however the bad news is the wind will continue to be an issue thanks to the close proximity of the swell-generating storms.
It'll be the WSL's first contest with a flash new sponsor, Carissa Moore's last contest before entering quasi-retirement, while on the men's side we welcome hard-charging rookies Jacob Willcox and Cole Houshmand - two stocky goofyfoots who can displace buckets of water.
First reserve Ramzi Boukhiam could also be a chance, especially if Pipeline continues to claim scalps as it's done all season.
So, looking at the early forecast and the current setup through the North Pacific sees a large, low pressure gyre sitting north-west of the islands, with embedded storms rotating anti-clockwise within, generating continuous pulses of moderate to large W/NW swell.
As mentioned above, the close proximity of the storms is bringing less favourable bouts of kona winds - south to south-west - instead of the usual easterly trades. Southerly winds can be great for Pipeline but start to add ridges and bumps when gaining strength and/or shifting more south-west, blowing up the face of Backdoor and crumbling Pipe proper.
The large gyre is expected to shift slowly east through the lead-up to the start of the waiting period (Monday the 29th) while maintaining its strength. This looks to generate a significant mid-period NW swell for opening days (10ft+), with a possible larger swell to follow later in the event window.
Once again, the only issue are the local winds with no reliable trade setup on the cards, though local morning offshore winds should create clean conditions, becoming more lumpy and raw through the afternoons.
So in short, we're looking at a very active period of surf, but absent of the classic ENE trades, meaning if they wish to get underway the organisers will have to pick the windows of cleaner conditions between onshore blows. Could be a lot of 'on hold' calls during the first half of the waiting period.