Pacific Goes to 11

North Pacific Swell Projected to Reach Spinal Tap Proportions

On a Thursday night, Sion Milosky's eyes dart back and forth across his computer's monitor. From his house overlooking Rocky Point on the North Shore, Sion is analyzing a swell pattern that leaves his heart aflutter and his knees weak. Off the coast of Japan, the fruits of a massive storm are ripening, leaving big-wave surfers from Hawaii to California waiting with bated breath. Although the magnitude of this much-heralded swell is currently based on computer models, it's still more than enough to get Sion's blood pumping.

"To be honest, I kind of get anxiety just thinking about how big this swell looks. Seeing the charts and stuff, it's hard not to get excited. I had to go for a run last night so I could relax later and get to bed," said Sion. "I can't stop looking at this swell. It looks like it's gonna just get huge. Right now, all I can do is just make game plans for when it's supposed to hit. Make sure we have the Jet Skis all gassed up and make sure we all have a plan when this swell hits."

The storm that has Sion and rest of the big-wave scene so abuzz is currently situated off the coast of Japan with the swell scheduled to hit Hawaii as soon as Thursday of next week.

According to Guy Hagi, a meteorologist for Hawaii News Now, this swell has all of the earmarks needed to create the biggest conditions of the winter. "From what I've gathered by looking at the computer models, which is really all we have to go off of right now, is that this storm is gonna come off of Japan and then just sort of sit and intensify in one place. Which is pretty much what you'd need to get big, perfect surf. If it all comes together, we're gonna be looking at some very big conditions next week."

The same degree of anticipation building in Hawaii over this purported monster swell has permeated across the Pacific and into California's big-wave scene as well.

"We're all getting ready for this swell," said past Eddie winner Greg Long. "Judging from the models, it looks like we could definitely have some Eddie-sized surf. I'm actually flying out to Hawaii this weekend in case they run it later on in the week. I hope it gets big enough to run the event, but if not, I'm gonna ride whatever I can get out there."

With the Mavericks and Todos contests also on high alert, there's the potential that we could see a slue of major big-wave contests get underway in the near future.

"Yeah, there's a real possibility that if this swell is as strong as it's forecasted to be—and I just want to say that right now it's all just a forecast so I don't want to get too ahead of myself—that we could run all three big-wave events," added Greg Long. "We've got it worked out so that if that happened, we'd be ready. But for now, I'm just gonna fly out to Hawaii and surf whatever is on tap and we'll take it from there."