XXL Hawaii and Beyond: Big Wave Surfers Arrive for Largest Swell in 12 Months

Magicseaweed

by on

Updated 87d ago

Every big wave surfer capable of travel has either already descended on Hawaii, or are currently still trying to find a way to scramble over there. The largest North Pacific swell in the past 12 months is very shortly about to rumble surfing's hallowed ground – setting off Jaws, Waimea, the outer reefs, and well, just about every swell sucking corner of the big wave Mecca. And that's just the start, because once this XXL pulse is done flirting with Hawaii, it'll shoot through to the US West Coast, and then, it could be Maverick's time to shine.

And yes, you can bet there will be those charging Jaws today/tomorrow, when the swell comes good before hopping a flight down to Mavs and wherever else this beast drives swell into the west coast of the US – but we'll update you about that when it's all going down.

Double trouble. The swell already firing into Hawaii before moving onto the US west coast, and a second swell event that follows behind. We'll keep you posted on that one too. Remember to check our North Pacific chart, HERE.

Double trouble. The swell already firing into Hawaii before moving onto the US west coast, and a second swell event that follows behind. We'll keep you posted on that one too. Remember to check our North Pacific chart, HERE.

We'll also be bringing you live updates as this all plays out (keep an eye on the site for the rolling article – and we'll link HERE once it's up) but for now, let's take a look at what the numbers are saying.

"On Saturday November 28, a small, tight area of low pressure developed just northeast of Japan and began to track east-northeast. Over the following 36 hours this system deepened rapidly, with an area of storm-force westerly winds on its southern flank," says MSW forecaster Tony Butt about the origin of this storm. "As it passed south of the Aleutian Islands on Sunday and Monday, the area of strong winds, along with the system itself, expanded in size and continued to travel in an easterly direction.

"The strength of the winds and the movement of the windfield meant that a very large, long-period swell was generated, with open-ocean wave heights of over 40 feet in the Central North Pacific. By Tuesday the system had weakened considerably, and is expected to lose its identity by Wednesday.

Our at-a-glance chart for Jaws. Keep in mind, this is in Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time, 10 hours behind GMT.

Our at-a-glance chart for Jaws. Keep in mind, this is in Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time, 10 hours behind GMT.

"Meanwhile, a largish, quite short-lived but very long-period swell is expected to arrive in Hawaii on Wednesday and the Pacific Northwest on Thursday. Even though open-ocean wave heights will not be huge when the swell reaches the coast, the extremely long periods will produce some epic surf at swell magnets where the local bathymetry has a focusing effect.

The last time Jaws saw a lick of swell was in January. Not as colossal as December 2019, but still, heavy nonetheless.

"At Peahi, for example, the initial forerunners arrived on Tuesday with periods in excess of 25 secs. Wave heights have increased overnight and, during Wednesday, they are expected to exceed 30 feet, with periods of around 18 secs. The swell persists through Wednesday and steadily drops during Thursday, although still expect some epic, 15-to-20-foot surf. Winds will be moderate to fresh easterly trades throughout.

"At Maverick's, the models are predicting the first forerunners to arrive during Wednesday, with tiny wave heights initially but periods of up to 28 secs – which will be hardly detectable. However, wave heights gradually ramp up with the bulk of the swell arriving on Thursday. Expect wave heights locally to hit 20 feet on Thursday afternoon, with periods of around 18 secs, before steadily ramping down through Friday. Winds will be mostly light or very light and from a northerly quarter throughout."

Pipe paints a heavy picture too.

Pipe paints a heavy picture too.

If you want a bit of insight into what it takes to get to Hawaii for this right now, head over to our IG stories to see a snippet of Jamie Mitchell and Tom Lowe's venture. As always, for all your swell updates, keep it here on MSW.

Cover shot: Jojo Roper getting ready for this swell, before hopping a flight to Hawaii on Monday. Pic by Billy Watts.