Seasoned to perfection: perfect fall conditions for California

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  • SoCal: Fun combo swell, classic fall conditions start on Wednesday
  • NorCal: a little wild Wednesday, heading for the blocking of the wind
  • Better conditions, manageable size north of Point Conception on weekend

Everything a surfer loves About Fall in California lines up with the rest of the week ahead. Swell waves from the south arrive with enough west to keep them noticeable as they move towards northern California. Paying forward, the northwest swell is increasing – and more of that swell is poised to join the mix south of Point Concepcion. That’s right, it’s combo season for select breaks in the state; and the October Offshore is set to give everyone a taste of fall perfection this week.

Forecast: San Diego | Orange County | North LA | Ventura | San Luis Obispo | Santa-Cruz | Bay Area | Peaceful

There’s a lot going on in this satellite view of the Northeast Pacific – at the top, a large storm in the Gulf of Alaska that sends out an enhanced NW swell also has a front draped over the NW Pacific. You can see smoke from the fires near Santa Barbara, as well as Hurricane Pamela approaching a landing in Mexico in the lower corner.

Chief forecaster and member of the October Fan Club card, Schaler Perry calls us:

“Southern California is one step ahead of typical fall conditions with consistent size, shape and surf quality throughout the second half of the work week. The widespread offshore flow Wednesday morning provides plenty of clean conditions with southern Ventura in northern LA and southern Orange County in SD areas of northern county offering the strongest offshore. Crisp, light to moderate seas on Thursday and Friday mornings create cleaner waves before the afternoon coastal breezes arrive.

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“In the water, a respectable SW / SSW swell is keeping up pretty strong on Wednesday morning with enough NW energy to compose some peak beachbreaks. Many breaks are in the waist-shoulder-high range with the best SoCal combo and summer shows reaching heads up to a bit above. The size remains fairly stable until Thursday as the NW and SSW swells cool off before gradually easing over the weekend.

Watch Live: Oceanside | trestles | Malibu | Newport | Ventura

Since the first wave of fall conditions a few weeks ago – and before the oil spill off Huntington Beach. Although ocean access closures have been lifted for HB City / State Beaches and Newport Beach, a county health advisory remains in effect with authorities advising against participating in recreational activities due to the presence of oil and / or petroleum products is still possible even if it is not visible. Photo: Jérémie Klien

“The Northern California breaks are still pretty wild and woolly on Wednesday, unless you find a blockage from the northwest wind,” Perry said. “It’s a bit more manageable on the central coast, but it’s still not ideal until conditions improve significantly in the last half of the week for all areas. The focal points for the NW swell return to well above waves on Wednesday as the swell strengthens from a trough in the Gulf of Alaska. The spots sheltered from the dominant flow remain the cleanest option with areas also exposed to a beautiful round of SW / SSW swell standing out.

Watch Live: Morro Bay | Steam route | Pleasure point | Ocean beach | Peaceful

Outlook: How is the rest of October going?

“Conditions tend to be a lot more favorable overall on Thursday as the waist begins to soften,” Perry said. “It will always be on the rough side until the high tide starts – then it’s Game On as the tide goes down in the morning and the wind stays light. Friday is probably the the best of the best – nothing huge, but respectable aerial remains with a clean flow out to sea through the falling tide in the morning. A refresh from the SSW swell of the Southern Hemisphere helps the cause at more open exhibits like Santa Cruz and the Pockets of the Central Coast before the waves slowly subside over the weekend.

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