We are more than a week into 2019, but not much feels different. For the most part, this new year is starting off looking like more of the same. The North Pacific tends to pump in January, and this month is no exception, as a swell train full of black blobs is forming up on the forecast and steaming east towards Hawaii and the West Coast. With so much swell on the radar, it’s not a matter of if you are going to score waves, but where.
So what spots are set to fire in the next couple of weeks, and where should you book a ticket to? Here’s a list of four waves that are an almost guaranteed score for January.
This one is a no-brainer, at least if you have a thing for dump-truck-sized barrels. The forecast has downgraded over the past few days and is no longer in the “death to all mortals” range, but Saturday and Sunday the 12th and 13th are still looking to host a couple of great sessions over on Maui. Our forecast is showing swell in the solid XL to XXL range, with relatively friendly easterly wind considering Jaws is usually a blustery beast. With questionable wind and weather over on the West Coast, you can expect most of the big wave bosses to be in attendance, so don’t be surprised if we see an A-roll highlight reel in a few days.
Of course, Peahi won’t be the only Hawaiian big wave spot to flex this month. While the swell’s long period will probably make Waimea a bit inconsistent for the Eddie to run (long-period swells are notoriously lully in general, and Waimea in particular tends to like a somewhat moderate period so the swell energy isn’t stolen by the adjacent outer reefs), with these numbers we can still expect a very legit couple of days at the Bay. Light ESE wind could mean classic conditions—a rarity during large swell events. And there’s a possible backup swell on the forecast for a few days later, which means we could be looking at a great run of surf for the original big wave spot.
Hawaii isn’t the only place that benefits from big North Pacific swells. While swells tend to degrade the farther the travel, with systems this large there will still be a lot of energy left when the waves make their way out of the Equator. Numerous north-facing islands and reefs will enjoy groomed, long-period swell over the next two weeks, as will waves in Central and South America that like northerly swells. Peru? Northern Fiji? Rapa Nui? The possibilities are virtually endless.
While most of the West Coast big wave spots will suffer at the hands of adverse wind and weather during this coming run of swells, the smaller, more tucked away points could be downright cooking. While Southern California is loaded with right-hand points, none is as consistently predictable as the Queen of the Coast. Rincon will range from fun and rippable to downright pumping over the next two weeks, and the wind forecast is looking good. If endless walls and fins-free lippers are your thing, it may be time to head toward Santa Barbara.