May Days on the West Coast


Yeah, last week’s Mayday swell in Teahupoo finally hit the west coast late last week. (Right after it hit the south shore of Oahu.) Sure, it wasn’t quite as scary or as perfect or as beautiful as what happened in Tahiti, but a few places – notably Puerto Escondido in Mexico and Playa Colorados in Nicaragua – have seen tuberiding come down. Other areas – notably California – didn’t see a ton of barrels or anything, but there were a few windows of great surf along the coast, if one knew where to look.

Undercover in mainland Mexico. Photo: Isaac Zoller

Surfline’s Schaler Perry watched it all unfold, both from the relative comfort of a computer screen and in various OC lineups, and got some insight into this race. “Spring is by far the least popular of the combined seasons across California, as conditions tend to be harsh,” Perry said. “The general pattern at this time of year is marked by pesky high pressure offshore, driving gusty northwesterly winds along the northern and central California coast and bringing swirling southerly winds to the interior bay of southern California. Neither scenario offers generalized, high-quality conditions. But with enough swell, especially from a combination of the North and South Pacific, it’s possible to reap a fun session or three if you’re adaptive and know where to look for wind blockage.

Caroline Marks does her own wind blocking at Lowers. Photo: Jeremiah Klein

Luckily for California, that’s exactly what we got late last week and into the weekend. “A series of overlapping SSW swells packing over four feet of deep water swell is exactly what the doctor ordered,” Perry said. “The North Pacific product for the start of the race was out of character – a long period northwesterly swell from minimal hurricane force over the extreme northwest Pacific. This type of storm and resulting swells are more typical during the peak of the winter season, but as the long stretch subsided, a more familiar and fairly healthy NW swell mix developed over the weekend. end as the SSW swell continued.

Feli Antonena, Puerto Escondido. Video: Jaciel Santiago

Check Puerto Live Cam

Condition-wise? “The latter part of the work week offered the lightest winds of the deal and provided the most favorable conditions across the board,” Perry said. “Robust high pressure developed offshore over the weekend, while low pressure fell in the Great Basin. As the gradient between offshore high pressure and inland low pressure tightened, a a ripping NW wind pattern for northern and central California while an unfortunately impressive eddy was occurring for southern California.And there are only a few places to hide when the spring winds are in full swing .

A place to hide when the winds pick up: the coves of Santa Cruz. Photo: Daniel Gorostieta

What’s in store? Here is the Santa Cruz forecast.

The other way to hide from the wind in Santa Cruz? Dawn Patrol. “Jackson Taylor (pictured) and I walked out in the dark this morning with James Daniels and Adam Bartlett,” Dave “Nelly” Nelson said. “And we scored some nice little barrels.” Photo: Nelly

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Caio Costa is from Maresias, Brazil, and found himself in Playa Colorados, Nicaragua en route to competing at the ISA World Junior Championships later this month in El Salvador. “Caio stayed here for a month and got over 100 barrels,” Mathew Blevins said. Vid: photographerica

Last week, we posted a camera rewind of Malibu on Instagram, asking for your help in identifying the unidentified destroyer. You responded quickly! It turned out to be Taro Watanabe, above. “I just try to sit down, really, and then go fast,” he said of the waves in Malibu on a shortboard. “So I just hope no one else will [laughs]. I love long rights and it’s playful and fun. Video: Jack Enright

Check the Malibu Cam live, just for fun

Brett Simpson has been gliding, sculpting and airing over this exact piece of water at HB Pier for decades now. And no, never seems to get old. Photo: Joe Foster

Yes, there is also a nice camera at HB Pier Southside.

Timmy Reyes has just spent eight weeks in Nicaragua on his Timmy Missions project. It was his last day before going home. “Every week it was pumped up, but most of the time it was hard to ride because of so much current and closures,” he said. “That swell looked interesting on the charts because it was a big early season swell and there was also some swell. The swell came in later in the afternoon and thought that it would peak overnight, but we woke up to a big lumpy high tide, although there were still a few. were getting better and better. I found a few that I was really happy about. Always fun to play in the beachies. Video: Madelin Andersen

Darryl “Flea” Virotsko has been propelled into this exact section of Santa Cruz for decades. Shocking! He doesn’t age either. Photo: Nelly

Pete Mel and Flea: half a century of Santa Cruz charger experience right there. And always smiling. Photo: Nelly

For many, many SoCal surfers, Lowers means summer. Photo: Jeremiah Klein

Archy sighting at Lowers! Photo: Jeremiah Klein

Joe Alani likes the combo swell in Orange County. Photo: Joe Foster

Wave signature: SSW wave
STORM LOCATION/MOVEMENT: Pair of storms moving east to northeast in the southwest Pacific from April 24-30.
MAXIMUM STORM INTENSITY: First storm – 940 mb flanked by a height of 1024 mb on the 25th, second storm – 952 mb flanked by a height of 1036 mb on the 28th and 29th
STRONGEST STORM WIND/SEA: Both systems had wind speeds reaching 40 to 60 knots, which produced seas up to 40 to 45 feet
WAVE PEAK: 4-4.5 feet SSW swell (215-195) at 16-18 seconds as swell peaked May 5-7 at Point Loma South buoy

Swell signature: northwest swell
STORM LOCATION/MOVEMENT: Northeast track across the Pacific Rim from Japan to the Aleutians; April 29-May 2
MAXIMUM STORM INTENSITY: 964 MB low flanked by a high 1020 MB on April 30
STRONGEST STORM WIND/SEA: Well-targeted fetch of 40 to 60 knots and more with seas over 40 to 45 feet
WAVE TRAVEL TIME: 5.5-6.5 days to Northern California
WAVE PEAK: 9 feet + NW swell (290-300) at 16-18 seconds on the Half Moon Bay buoy Thursday May 5


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