La Bomba Swell is Coming: A Look into the Crystal Ball for this Southern Hemi Season

Matt Rode

by on

Updated 18d ago

This La Bomba series of swells has arrived, setting off locales such as Puerto Escondido (though hang on for Friday...) before shooting up to the west coast of the US on the weekend. And while Mexico isn't strictly in the southern hemi, this swell originated from there, sending days of pumping surf to everyone's favourite beachie at Mexpipe.

It’s been a long time coming, but the seasons are finally changing. After a lackluster end to the northern hemisphere winter, we are sure seeing signs of life down south. The US West Coast enjoyed a stellar run of south swell for Easter, Teahupoo has sets stacked to the horizon, and even Indonesia has enjoyed some early season tubes over the past few weeks. We might be in the heart of spring, but it’s definitely starting to feel like summer (or winter, if you live down south).

Forecast: Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido, last year.

And as we shift focus from the northern to southern hemisphere, here are a few spots to keep an eye on over the coming few months.

Things look good for South/Central America

Empty points of Chile.

Empty points of Chile.

© 2021 - BENJAMIN59

I was chatting with Greg Long the other day, and he mentioned that he feels like we are in store for a good South Pacific season. While that’s not exactly a science-backed forecast, Greg’s hunches often turn out to be pretty accurate—and if the current pattern is any indication, he might just be on to something.

There’s been a lot of activity down by Antarctica over the past month, and it’s only a matter of time before the current run of fun-sized swells kicks it up a notch into the XL range. When that happens, everywhere from Chile and Peru to Costa Rica and Mexico will light up—not to mention half of California.

Spot guide: Chile

Tahiti is still closed, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel

There's waves on the north coast of Tahiti too, you know.

There's waves on the north coast of Tahiti too, you know.

© 2021 - Romu Pliquet.

Tahiti was one of the first countries to reopen to tourism after COVID-19 hit, and did a great job of limiting the spread of infection through multiple test requirements and quarantines for those who tested positive. Unfortunately, French Polynesia was shut down again in February when the new variants started circulating in Europe. But there’s hope for those in search of tropical reef pass perfection. Rumor has it that the country will reopen at the end of April—and Teahupoo is already enjoying a consistent run of early season swells.

Spot guide: Tahiti

Don’t forget Hawaii

Could we see another late season super session?

Around a week after Chopes fires, Hawaii gets waves—which means that Oahu’s South Shore is going to be getting consistent, fun-sized swell over the next two weeks. While it’s difficult to forecast south swells for Hawaii more than a few weeks out, the Aloha State has finally streamlined it’s COVID-19 testing and quarantine regulations, which means Waikiki/Ala Moana might be one of the easier south swell surf trips you’ll take this summer.

Related: Late Season Super Session

South Africa is open—and they’ve already scored an XL swell

Matt Bromley on said bomb session.

Matt Bromley on said bomb session.

© 2021 - Grant Schultz.

COVID-19 was pretty hard on the South Africans, as their travel was tightly restricted during the height of the pandemic. Fortunately, South Africa enjoyed an all-time season last year, so the local crew wasn’t too bummed about being stuck at home and surfing without any tourists. This year will be a bit different, as South Africa recently reopened their borders to visitors (with testing and quarantine restrictions, of course). Whether we’ll see a repeat of last year’s miracle run remains to be seen, but if the early season swell for Sunset Reef was any indication, there’s definitely hope on the horizon.

Related: South Africa's Early Season Session

Indonesia remains locked down, but could open June 1

© 2021 - Klein.

Footage of empty, epic barrels have been pouring out of Indonesia over the past few weeks after an early season swell lit up the archipelago in mid-March, much to the delight of the lucky few who are currently in country. Historically, La Nina has been pretty kind to Indonesia, so if the pattern holds, this could be a pretty epic season. Whether any of us can actually get there for a swell is another conversation entirely.

Spot guide: Bali

Australia fires for the locals

© 2021 - Tom Pearsall.

It’s pretty much impossible to strike a swell Down Under at the moment, and most Aussies also find themselves unable to travel internationally, as returning residents are subjected to expensive, mandatory quarantines and a lack of guaranteed flights into the country. That being said, the east coast has had a pretty epic run of swells over the past six weeks, and the WA season is just starting to kick into gear. If the luck continues, being stuck at home in Australia might not be too bad of a thing.

Forecast: South Oz