Everyone saw it coming last week. A tight LOLA blob of purple and red spinning off the coast of Japan. Big-wave contests from Hawaii to NorCal to Oregon went on amber alert. Big-wave chargers started pricing plane tickets and re-waxing guns. Regular-wave surfers began eyeing the closest pointbreak and putting hours on the homefront in hopes of some free weekend time.
Like most swell events, turns out some places were better than others. Here’s why:
“As the storm tracked to the northeast it grew in both size and intensity, with satellite measured wind speeds of 45-65 knots
over a large area and confirmed seas of 40-45’+,” said Surfline’s Kevin Wallis. “This kicked up a very long-period northwest groundswell that moved across the Pacific, and impacted California January 19th-22nd, with significant swell energy in the 20-25 second period band.”
This swell may not have been the biggest or the most consistent, but the shape and conditions were epic, especially at Ocean Beach in San Francisco. Long period swells mean that there are breaks between the sets that are long enough to actually paddle out at OB without getting completely denied, though there were some heavy beat downs dished out. Massive, perfect peaks awaited those with big enough cajones to paddle out. One of the best swells I have ever seen at Ocean Beach.