Rincon, Puerto Rico Surf Forecast – Jan 31, 2017

Plenty of weather to generate some surf!

Plenty of weather to generate some surf for Rincon, Puerto Rico!

That gigantic winter storm in the North Atlantic screams long period swell in the making to me for the long range. We’ve had a continuous run of NW winds off the United States for a few days straight too so the short term looks decent with more smaller scale NW swell. NW doesn’t need to look too big on paper to be decent here in Rincon. It’s more of a straight shot and hits our surf spots better than other angles. This is why the past few days have been so fun even though it’s not the biggest. The rest of the week should have some waist to chest high surf with the biggest day probably being tomorrow with some head high sets on occasion at the most exposed breaks. It’s a simple forecast, but it’s most likely to stick.

When is the next big swell?

Remember when I mentioned a huge storm system in the pacific a few weeks back and then the following week we had several days of double overhead waves? I see something similar happening again. The Pacific is lighting up once again and I’m hoping it can swing and swoop something major across the US and into the Atlantic. Last time was more a Jetstream shift, but this time I’m hoping for more of a swoop or a dip. Whatever this system does this week will shape what we see for next week. We already have plenty of weather to keep the short term forecast looking decent.

Why are all the automated forecast models having trouble lately?

I have no idea. When this happens i depend more on real-time data and satellite loops. Satellite loops will tell you everything. Watching a satellite loop is like watching the line-up. You start to notice when a set is coming and the patterns get more familiar. Buoy data helps confirm what you think will happen based on what you see. That’s how I knew we would have the long period swell last weekend even though none of the models picked up on it. Also – it seems that some of NOAA’s servers are being weird and haven’t processed an up-to-date forecast correctly based on our current data. I don’t know if it’s a GFS thing or a WaveWatch III thing or what.

Today

NOAA WaveWatch III Wave Model:

Wave Watch III from NOAA wave prediction model for surfing Puerto Rico.

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Mon

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Wave Watch III from NOAA wave prediction model for surfing Puerto Rico.

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Tue

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Wave Watch III from NOAA wave prediction model for surfing Puerto Rico.

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Wed

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Wave Watch III from NOAA wave prediction model for surfing Puerto Rico.

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Thu

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Wave Watch III from NOAA wave prediction model for surfing Puerto Rico.

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Fri

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Wave Watch III from NOAA wave prediction model for surfing Puerto Rico.

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Sat

NOAA WaveWatch III Wave Model:

Wave Watch III from NOAA wave prediction model for surfing Puerto Rico.

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Sun

NOAA WaveWatch III Wave Model:

Wave Watch III from NOAA wave prediction model for surfing Puerto Rico.

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National Hurricane Forecast Center
Atlantic Ocean Satellite Loop

Using Automated Forecast Tools:

Remember that no matter what a computer model tells you, what you see on the beach might be completely different. That's why i go take pictures of the beach every day. These tools help give an idea of what to expect, but weather prediction is not always exact especially the further out you try to forecast. Surf forecasting takes into account the general correlation between past weather data and resulting surf conditions. Another thing to keep in mind is the difference between actual swell height and the face height of the rideable wave it creates. For example. When the waves are forecast to have a 6ft swell at 13 seconds or higher with a NW angle we normally get waves that most people would call double over-head on sets. Swell angle is also important, especially for shorter period swell (9-11 seconds). For example 3ft at 11 seconds from the NW will make a bigger wave than 4ft at 9 seconds from the NE. Normally longer period swell (13+ seconds) will be more powerful and keep the surf size a little better even if the angle isn't a direct hit to Rincon. Generally any swell less than 9 seconds is super weak here in Rincon unless it has a lot of west in it. Also, most NE swell under 12 seconds is weak and mushy. 2ft at 8 seconds is generally small to flat. ENE swell will almost never make it into Rincon unless it was something like 10ft at 18 seconds from the ENE.