Rincon: Photo: Woodworth
Rincon: Photo: Woodworth

Where’s Your Best Bet for California This Weekend?

Much of the Golden State's coast can gear up for a promising Saturday

The Southern Hemi that reawakened the Pacific recently is on its last legs, but more swell is on the way for California this weekend. We reached out to Swellwatch forecaster Nathan Cool for his take on where to look:

We definitely have a nice mix of things. The Southern Hemisphere swell has been backing off, but as it does, we're getting a nice northwest groundswell that's filling in. The problem is that the groundswell that's coming in, while it's still powerful, is also angled really steep for Southern California. It's angled greater than 300 degrees, which is more or less the boundary for surf in SoCal. When you go greater than 300 degrees, we start losing more and more energy. It starts skirting past us and staying west of the Channel Islands and Catalina.

But we will get a good amount of swell that will fill in, and the peak of that is looking to be Saturday. The other issue we have is that there are some winds in the outer waters from this passing low-pressure system to the north. We're probably going to have some leftover windswell in the water, but that should be very steeply angled, as well, so conditions should improve Saturday. But it will need to be breaks that can work a good 300+ degree angle. And it's not that the beaches would face that direction, but there are certain beaches that are just well-exposed, some of it due to bathymetry. Take Rincon, for example. Rincon is sheltered from Santa Barbara, but the way that the energy refracts in around Point Conception and gets channeled directly at Rincon, makes for some good-sized, quality waves hitting the area. That's going to be a zoo this weekend. Plenty of rideable waves to be had, but it's going to be a busy spot, because it'll break fairly well.

There's going to be a lot of windswell along L.A.'s west-facing breaks, like El Porto. Once we start getting further south toward Orange County, they're not as well exposed to this. The nice thing is that once we get down past Orange County and start getting into San Diego, we see less windswell possibility, because most of the windswell has been to the north. They're still looking at getting a fair amount of groundswell down there, but probably not as much as Rincon or the west-facing breaks of LA.