We’ve got a series of cold fronts slated for the next couple weeks. The first front, which is the one you can see in the featured image above, will just barely inch into the northern gulf, but quickly pull away without cranking up the onshore winds in the northern gulf. The temperatures hold at their current point behind this first front.
A couple days go by, and the temperatures rise a couple degrees.
Then we start seeing another front morphing from a series of lows over the northwest. This system starts to take shape right smack dab in the middle of the country, but at this point forecasters are seeing two of their go to models with conflicting evidence for the forecast track. Despite these uncertainties, the GOMEX region (grey and white gulf animation to the left) has consistently been showing the front making waves in the gulf. Ever since the front showed up in the weekly forecast map it’s suggested nothing less than a wave making cold front. The front should get here on Sunday afternoon, bringing cooler west-northwest winds, cooling the ground and water while kicking up a little surf. Monday morning we should still have about the same size wave, approximately waist high with offshore winds. The winds at the beach turn offshore right as the sun comes up, allowing the surf to hold through the morning. It could be a cool morning with temperatures in the mid to upper 50s.
After that second front rolls through the temps will have dropped significantly, but a warming trend always follows a big cool down. We’re so close to the sun here, it could be 50 in the morning and 75 in the afternoon. The warming trend may not last long, because what looks like an even stronger front will keep the west-northwest winds flowing. Three fronts in two weeks is pretty damn consistent. We’ll have to keep our eyes on this third one to know what type of surf we’ll be getting from it, but it’s almost guaranteed to be the best and coldest of the three. I’ll write another good forecast for the third one as it gets closer.
We’ve now fallen into the winter cold front pattern, and it looks like a good one. The best thing about this pattern has been the winds going offshore right as the sun comes up. That doesn’t always happen. Many seasons cold fronts have entirely onshore winds. Other seasons the winds turn offshore around midnight and blow strongly offshore all night leaving barely longboardable surf in the mornings. The pattern we’re in now looks like the best one we could possibly be in from what I’ve seen over the years.
As we begin the season you might want to take a look at your gear. If your sitting on only a 3 mil wetsuit, I’d recommend stepping up your game and going for the 4 mil. They’ll keep you warm and flexible. The 3 mil’s won’t. If your really cold while surfing it’s like paralysis. For some reason it becomes hard to move. Shivering and the cold takes over your thoughts. You should also take a look at the surf wax on your surfboard. If you’ve been surfing all summer like I have, you might still have summer surf wax on your favorite surfboard. It’s definately time to make the switch to cold water wax. I did it before the last cold front. As you may know, surf wax is rated for certain temperatures, and after the water reaches the 68-72 degree mark you’ll definitely want to make the switch, or you’ll just slip right off your surfboard when you try to stand on that rock hard surf wax. When I get surf wax I usually get enough to last me through a season or two so I don’t have to make frequent stops at the surf shops. Unfortunately, they are all completely out of the way from any route to any surf beach for me, so I like to stock up my warm and cold water wax.
It should be a great surfing season. Getting stoked on surfing this winter shouldn’t be difficult. More impressive wetsuit technologies than ever before will keep you warm. More surfers are surfing than have been surfing since around 2005 (although some people aren’t exactly stoked on that). And most important, this season looks like it could be another great season of waves.