Catalina, Different Predictions About Swells?

Mr. Jones

Newbie
May 9, 2020
99
175
32
Orange County
Name
Ronnie Jones
Boat
Seaswirl 2901
Thinking about heading to Catalina tomorrow morning until Sunday from Newport. When I look at NOAA, I see mixed swell 2-3ft @ 6 seconds w/ a 3ft south swell at 17. Then I look at Bouy weather and it says 5ft south swell @ 18 seconds. Finally, Fishweather says S swell 3ft at 17 seconds.

Which one do you guys trust the most?
 

MYNomad

Heading South
Dec 12, 2007
4,049
4,489
Pacific Northwest / West Coast Mexico
Name
Rick
Boat
Yes
Was thinking of heading out there too, had mixed feelings on the weather.
I guess it depends on your boat, but 17 second periods is going to make most anything very flat. 2-3' at 6 seconds is the only shorter period wave/swell mentioned in the forecasts quoted above. If you have a seaworthy boat, 3' will be choppy, at worst.
 

jimmcfly323

Newbie
  • Jun 5, 2020
    7
    1
    29
    los angeles
    Name
    Jose
    Boat
    mine
    I guess it depends on your boat, but 17 second periods is going to make most anything very flat. 2-3' at 6 seconds is the only shorter period wave/swell mentioned in the forecasts quoted above. If you have a seaworthy boat, 3' will be choppy, at worst.
    Don't mind the chop too much , but the kiddos do lol I'm rolling on a 22" walk around sea worthy on good days lol
     

    SaltH20Angler

    I'm not superstitious... cuz it's bad luck.
  • Aug 6, 2016
    1,315
    1,733
    SoCal - Corona
    Name
    Christopher
    Boat
    I know a couple guys...
    What I do is look at the various sources and try to determine an average and use the worst case as what to expect. Like MyNomad mentioned, the long period of 17 seconds is gonna be no big deal (with your size sled), but be cautious when the swell is half of the seconds. 2 - 3 feet at 6 seconds maybe a little bumpy for the kids especially if the actual conditions are steady at 3 ft and 6 seconds. I then take the wind into consideration as 3 ft at 6 seconds with 12 knot winds can make for a crappy day on a small sled.

    Weather forecast like this, I would plan to go and have a back-up plan to stay local if it's just too snotty for your situation. In my experience I find that the actual conditions are usually a bit better than what's forecasted. That said, I also find that the forecasts are better than the actual conditions every once in a while.

    There have been so many times where I fished a 17 ft boat when the forecast said 4- 5 ft at 10 seconds (for example) and when we got out there it was much better.

    I think using multiple sources is a good idea.
     

    Big_Tuna_

    Member
    Aug 3, 2017
    463
    353
    San Diego
    Name
    Bigtuna
    Boat
    Parker 2310
    Adding to what others have said, and I could be totally wrong here, but the ground swells are usually easier to predict/forecast then the wind swells. Typically the large period ground swell is from an large storm many miles out and the waves travel far. Those forecasts are usually spot on as the waves are measured long before they reach us.

    The short period swells are produced from high winds which are much more local even with 60-90 miles, but yet we may not experience the wind itself. The waves travel much less distance. So to predict these swells they must predict the wind then the swell. A more error prone model I am going to guess
     
    Jan 3, 2017
    485
    309
    COSTA MESA
    Name
    Hank
    Boat
    Small raft
    NOAA and Windy is all you need - just know that ground swell are what you mostly care about - and you should assume windy chop in the afternoon if winds are above 11-12 - I've heard other boaters say anything less than 10 second ground swell is a "No-Go" and I would agree - if the ground is 4 ft at less than 10 sec.... I came home from Cat last weekend and it was 6 ft ground swell at 11 sec - it wasn't to crazy, as we left in the morning from Isthmus to Sunset - surfed the swell most of the time - that is another thing to consider, are you going up swell or going along the swell.