Massive XXL Swells Ready In North Pacific

posted by / News / January 12, 2009

“So easy, a caveman could call it.” That’s what Jeff Clark said today about the impending swell we’re sure you already know about. It’s been front and center on the charts for nearly a week now, spawning off Japan, intensifying quickly, then marching east at full speed. Most times, these types of storms are figments of the models’ imaginations and rarely come to pass. But this time, after we’ve endured more than a month of alarmingly sub-standard surf, we’ve watched as the forecast has held steady and even improved from the early charts.

It’s payback time.

But sometimes, these type of forecasts cause more anxiety than stoke for the world’s best heavywater surfers. Despite all the excitement and information and highly accurate forecasting tools, you still never know exactly how it’s going to play out. “Yeah, I’ve been glued to the computer the past few days,” says 08 Mav’s champ Greg Long. “It looks massive for Hawaii, but then you have the wind issues. Maverick’s looks big and clean for Friday/Sat., but do you fly over to Hawaii first just in case? Either way, we know a lot’s gonna go down in the next week or so.”

Long is far from alone. The days leading up to these swells can be so all-consuming — with phone calls, coordinating and preparation — that these guys can be exhausted before they even pull their suits on. But they’re used to it, so there’s no doubt that they will be in the right spot when it all goes down.

That said, there are potentially three big-wave events that could run in the next week, and many of the guys are in all of them. The events and running possibilities are as follows:

1. Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau. It’s almost certain that we’ll see 20-feet-plus Waimea at some point this week. Initially it looked like kona winds would shut it down, but there could be a window on Wednesday before it really howls. Whether The Bay is full bore by then is questionable. George Downing certainly isn’t making any claims, but don’t be surprised if he’s there at dark on Wednesday morning, timing the sets.

2. Jaws Tow-in event. Pressure’s on to get this one off the ground, and there’s talk of a possible Thursday green light. But if the Eddie goes on Wednesday and Mav’s on Friday, I imagine there could be a few no-shows. And any competitor who does all three should get some kind of purple heart.

3. Maverick’s Surf Contest. While it probably won’t be as big as November’s swell, you can’t ignore the conditions. Contest director Jeff Clark said they are ready to go and likes the chances for this week, but won’t commit until Wednesday. There’s also the debate on whether Friday (quick-rising swell peaking late) or Saturday (big in morning, decreasing throughout the day) will be the day to run.

However it plays out, we’re going to have a whole lot of activity starting Wednesday. And it looks like it doesn’t end, with two more systems behind this one.

We feasted. We starved. Now it’s time to gorge again. Just make sure your eyes aren’t bigger than your stomach.

Click on the swell model below for an updated graphic

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