One quick photo from TS Leslie leftovers- the story behind the photo

Friend and surf-photographer Gina Petruzzelli recently shot this pic of me (a.k.a.- Professor Sak).  Not the most action-packed photo, but I get a good laugh out of it every time I look at it.  Here is the (amusing to me, and hopefully to you) back-story:

I got the call that the swell was still hanging around and worth going, so I tied up the loose ends at work and bombed over to the beach.  Of course, the waves were much smaller and weaker than anticipated, so my 6’4″ barrel-board was complete overkill, and to add insult to injury most waves worth surfing were weak lefts, which are not my strong-point.  To put the nail in the coffin, the water temps had dropped a bit, the wind-chill made things cooler than it’s been in months, and in my hurry I left my suit neatly folded in my office.

Since I was wearing jeans (my job affords me the luxury of often wearing board shorts, so I’m usually more prepared than a Boy Scout for warm-weather post-work sessions, but I was doing some dirty-work that day so I opted for the protection of longer pants), all I had was a pair of under-suit Hyperflex compression shorts and the T-shirt I was wearing.  Despite all this, I figured I sacrificed time and productivity at work in order to make the trip so might as well make a go of it.  My friends who I had met had prepared much better than I, armed with 3/2’s and fat small-wave boards, and I admit I both shivered and struggled with my less-than-ideal equipment, but sometimes one wave (I actually caught three I’d call worth surfing during my stint in the water) makes it all worth it, and one photo proves to be the icing on the cake, even if you are wearing sexy-shorts and the ballooning shirt makes you look gut-tastic.

professor sak: big guy, big board, big turn, small waves

Friday 09/14/12 Report and Prediction

Report: Small-scale surf this AM.  Probably knee- to thigh-high.  Light offshore SW winds early have given way to light SSE winds.

Prediction: No significant increase in swell through the day, but a likely increase in SSE winds as the day heats up.

Extended Forecast: TS Nadine is mulling about out there and expected to develop into a cat 1 hurricane early in the weekend, but predicted to move off to the E-ENE.  Still, we should see the gradual development of groundswell mid- or late-day Saturday through Sunday, with some leftovers likely hanging around into early work-week.    Winds might be troublesome, looking to be dominated by N winds Saturday into early Sunday, but might back down later Sunday.  As always, I recommend you monitor sources of local weather for up-to-date wind information.

Looking way ahead, it looks like conditions are setting up for a hard South wind/windswell mid-week.

Sunday 09/09/12 Report and Prediction

Report: Head-high ESE groundswell this morning, somewhat closing out due to the low tide, and slightly side-textured by light N-NNW wind.  Conditions should improve as the tide starts to fill back in (low is approximately 8AM).

Prediction:  I am going to leave the previous prediction (see below) standing with the caveat that the anticipated offshore winds look to be more N-NNW for most of the day.  Luckily they are predicted to be on the lighter side, but more South-facing beaches may hold a cleaner wave.  Winds may come around a bit more offshore towards the evening as things cool down.

Previous (09/07/12) Prediction: Leslie is still off to our South-east and throwing swell our way.  She looks like she is likely going to enter cooler waters, experience some shear, weaken quite a bit, and make a move off to the NNE late weekend/early work-week (keep in mind that there will be a lag between the storm weakening and the local swell weakening as the waves generated by the storm take some time to reach our shores). Hurricane Michael is also well-offshore of us (and well to the east of Leslie) and will most likely accompany her on a trip off to the NNE.  As for local winds affecting our sessions, we are looking at pretty strong sideshore S-SSE winds on Saturday (which may push up their own localized windswell/interference) and NW-WNW winds for Sunday.  As always, I recommend you monitor sources of local weather for up-to-date wind information.

Extended Forecast: While the above may sound like a down-grade for our prospects, consider that, based on the original projections, we were anticipating much longer period E swell for the weekend/early work-week, which typically do not bode well for our region, which is predominantly beachbreak and tends to close out when larger swells approach from the East and exceed 13-14 seconds or so.  We should still receive the East swell, but the weakening of the storm means that wave periods may drop a notch or two and get a little cross-swell from Saturday’s winds, which could peak and open things up a bit.  It looks like we should have some residual swell into the middle of next work-week as well.  Final note: another tropical low is coming off Africa and has potential for development in the Atlantic next week.

 

 

Friday 09/07/12 Report and Prediction

Report:  Smaller, but still punchy, ESE groundswell conditions early with offshore winds have given way to onshore-winds and sloppier conditions.

Prediction: Leslie is still off to our South-east and throwing swell our way.  She looks like she is likely going to enter cooler waters, experience some shear, weaken quite a bit, and make a move off to the NNE late weekend/early work-week (keep in mind that there will be a lag between the storm weakening and the local swell weakening as the waves generated by the storm take some time to reach our shores). Hurricane Michael is also well-offshore of us (and well to the east of Leslie) and will most likely accompany her on a trip off to the NNE.  As for local winds affecting our sessions, we are looking at pretty strong sideshore S-SSE winds on Saturday (which may push up their own localized windswell/interference) and NW-WNW winds for Sunday.  As always, I recommend you monitor sources of local weather for up-to-date wind information.

Extended Forecast: While the above may sound like a down-grade for our prospects, consider that, based on the original projections, we were anticipating much longer period E swell for the weekend/early work-week, which typically do not bode well for our region, which is predominantly beachbreak and tends to close out when larger swells approach from the East and exceed 13-14 seconds or so.  We should still receive the East swell, but the weakening of the storm means that wave periods may drop a notch or two and get a little cross-swell from Saturday’s winds, which could peak and open things up a bit.  It looks like we should have some residual swell into the middle of next work-week as well.  Final note: another tropical low is coming off Africa and has potential for development in the Atlantic next week.

Tuesday 09/04/12 Report and Prediction

Happy Tumbleweed Tuesday!

Report: Some ESE groundswell in the water today, but some sideshore winds from the S-SSE are mucking it up as well.

Prediction: Winds may assume a more favorable (but not optimal) SW-SSW angle for Wednesday, but are also predicted to ramp up quite a bit, which makes me think the East-facing and sheltered breaks will hold the most promise.

Extended Forecast: Look for the groundswell to build for the next few days through the weekend as Leslie strengthens and keeps tracking to the north, more and more into our swell window.  Keep in mind that larger long-period swells are hit-or-miss on  beachbreaks, so plan accordingly.  Winds are looking to be a pretty mixed bag of directions and intensities, so I will leave it up to you to monitor sources of local weather for up to date wind information.

Friday 08/31/12 Report and Prediction

Report:  A little smaller than anticipated/hoped today.  Looking in the knee- to thigh-high range.  At least the wind is offshore SW-WSW, and we could see an incoming push early afternoon as the tide turns and starts to fill, but also beware the possibility of a wind-shift to the S-SSE as the day heats up.

Prediction:  More of the same, swell-wise, for Saturday, but with NW-NNW winds early, giving way to onshore ESE-SE.  As always, I recommend you monitor sources of local weather for up-to-date wind information.

Extended Forecast: We have two tropical systems at play in the Atlantic: Hurricane Kirk is well-offshore and likely partially-responsible for this waxing-and-waning underlying ESE groundswell we have been seeing over the last few days, but he is looking to be a “fish” storm and will most likely remain far offshore and move off to the NNE.  Still, anticipate continued underlying groundswell through the Holiday weekend, peaking on Sunday.  Unfortunately, it looks like Sunday/Monday will also be plagued by sideshore/onshore winds from the S-SSE.  Tropical Storm Leslie is also well-offshore and far to the South, but predicted to develop into a Hurricane and hook NW-NNW, most likely entering our swell window by mid-week.  Winds are looking like a mixed bag and not all that encouraging through much of this event, but those details will be ironed out as the time draws closer.  Lots going on and lots of variables at play, so I’ll probably update again before the holiday is over.  As always, I recommend you monitor sources of local weather for up-to-date wind information.

Thursday 08/30/12 Report and Prediction

Report:  Still some small background-style mid-period swell in the water today, with offshore winds.  A bit swamped by a big AM tide at all but standout high-tide breaks, but it is starting to ebb, improving conditions elsewhere a bit.

Prediction:  Conditions will likely be best early afternoon after the tide turns and pushes things up a bit.  This is, of course, unless a warm-weather wind-shift to the S-SSE materializes (right now winds are predicted to be offshore all day, but with sunny conditions and highs near 80, it is possible we might be the recipient of afternoon side-shore conditions).  A bump-up in ESE background groundswell is anticipated for Friday, with winds looking to be dominated by an offshore wind-pattern.  As always, I recommend you monitor sources of local weather for up-to-date wind information.

Extended Forecast:  Similar swell for Saturday, but winds will likely come around sideshore-onshore.  SW-SSW winds on Sunday may greet a building groundswell.  Again, I recommend you monitor sources of local weather for up-to-date wind information.  Looking way ahead, increasing longer-period East groundswell is modeled for late-weekend into the early half of the work-week, but bad onshore/sideshore winds are predicted as well.  Check back for a mid/late-weekend update.

Tuesday 08/28/12 Report and Prediction

Report:  Isaac is in the Gulf and a non-player for our swell window.  SSW-SW winds are semi-grooming waist-chest-high  ESE swell  groundswell from (post-tropical storm) Joyce, but it does not have a ton of kick yet this AM.  Tide is high but draining (low is around 11:30).

Prediction: The period is predicted to come up a bit late AM, and the winds are predicted to even out to a more W-WSW angle, both of which should improve conditions, especially on the low-incoming tide mid-day/early afternoon.  Winds are predicted to remain offshore all day, but as always, beware a potential swing to the S-SSE as the day heats up.

Extended Forecast:  The swell should continue through tomorrow, but winds are predicted to go sideshore from the North for much of Wednesday.  After that, as the remnants of Joyce move off and dissipate, the swell will fade quite a bit, but it looks like we will likely have some form of surf through the end of the work-week and potentially into the weekend with an offshore-wind pattern dominating that period, maximizing the smaller conditions.  Monitor sources of local weather for up-to-date wind information and check back late work-week for an update.

Thursday 08/23/2012 Report and Prediction

Report:  Much of the same as yesterday; small-scale mid-period background swell with occasional pulses of longer period waves.  Light offshore winds early, with winds shifting and increasing from the SE as the day heats up.

Prediction: A similar pattern through the end of the work week; smaller mid-period background swell with longer period pulses from the Low-High interaction of TS Isaac and perhaps a little of TS Joyce in there as well.  Again, I expect wave heights to increase a bit over the next  few days as Isaac closes the distance on his Westward path and as Joyce develops and moves Northwestward as well.  Winds are predicted to be light-to-moderate and variable in direction over the next few days, providing periodic opportunities to take advantage of whatever swell finds its way to our shores.

Extended Forecast:  Continued building mid-period/long-period combo swell for the weekend, but with potentially troublesome onshore winds.  As always, I recommend you monitor sources of local weather info for up to date wind and swell conditions.

Tropical Outlook: Isaac’s track has shifted southward once again, looking like he will now be turning towards Puerto Rico and  FL and likely side-slip laterally into the far-Eastern Gulf of Mexico.  So Isaac will likely not be an significant/optimal swell-generator in the near future (but it is still TBD whether or not his remnants will eject off the Carolinas or just run up the eastern seaboard and influence things next week).  The better news is Tropical Storm Joyce, who appears to be setting up for a more favorable path through our swell window.  I will monitor the situation and update accordingly; until then, I’ve linked to wunderground.com’s projected path for Joyce as a teaser:

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Wednesday 08/22/12 Report and Prediction

Report: Small-scale mid-period background swell in the knee- to thigh-high range, with occasional longer-period pulses of longer period waves that are approaching waist high or so.  Light onshore NE winds early, with increasing winds from the SE as the day heats up.

Prediction:  A similar pattern through the end of the work week; smaller mid-period background swell with longer period pulses from the Low-High interaction of TS Isaac (which should continue to build and eventually achieve hurricane-status).  I expect wave heights to increase a bit over the next  few days as Isaac closes the distance on his Westward path, and winds are predicted to be light-to-moderate and variable in direction over the next few days, providing periodic opportunities to take advantage of whatever swell finds its way to our shores.

Extended Forecast: Isaac’s track is still hard to nail-down, but I am pretty convinced that he will not be diving into the Gulf of Mexico, instead hooking towards Puerto Rico and Florida.  After that, things become even more fuzzy as the models can’t decide if he is going to travel Northward over land and run up the coastal states or hook North East back out to sea.  I’ll be monitoring things closely and updating when appropriate.