Swell on the Way | Southern California Weekly Forecast


5/6/22 – 5/12/22:  Lots of swell on the way this week! The main story for most of the region will be the medium to locally good-sized run of Southern Hemisphere swell topping out this weekend. But we also have some very late season WNW groundswell mixing in during the same timeframe, and wintertime spots could get pretty fun. Best size for both of these swells will be Friday the 6th and Saturday the 7th. The south swell will slowly ease Sunday the 8th and into the workweek. The WNW groundswell will ease as well, while more but shorter period energy shows for the workweek. This will result in more peaks to be had throughout the forecast, with size a few notches smaller than what we’re expected to see over the weekend. 

I don’t have the best news for our local conditions, but there should still be some windows to work with. Unfortunately again, most mornings do look to start out with some onshore southerly wind. There looks like there will be pockets of lighter winds as our local catalina eddy spins up, so near Ventura and LA looks lighter than OC most mornings. Late in the weekend a trough of low pressure is expected to approach the region, bringing much cooler temps and increased onshore flow. This setup looks likely for the rest of the forecast, so the workweek isn’t looking favorable conditions wise either. Almost every morning looks to be the cleanest window of the day, so keep that in mind if you’re trying to plan a surf. 


Best Bets 

  • Friday the 6th as a combo of both Southern Hemi and WNW groundswell build to a peak.
  • Still lots of swell over the weekend, but morning conditions are trending less favorably.
  • A few peaks to track down through the workweek, but conditions don’t look great then.
  • Target the mornings if you’re planning on getting in the water, unless you can find a wind protected area.


Day to Day Breakdown 

Friday the 6th: 3-5+ feet 

Probably the best day to target throughout the forecast. The main swells in the water are going to be an overlapping pair of Southern Hemisphere swells, with the new one showing bigger sets late. The other swell will be a selective but fun WNW groundswell for winter spots. There could definitely be a few good corners with this mix of swells. The morning is looking fairly light with just a touch of south wind, followed by a light onshore wind in the afternoon. This day is looking like the lightest afternoon all week, so another session later in the day isn’t a bad call. 

Saturday the 7th: 4-6 feet 

Pretty similar size to Friday, but size may be a bit larger as that Southern Hemisphere tops out. That swell will be showing the dominant energy for the majority of the breaks, but that WNW swell will still be hanging in there too. Which could be a fun morning may turn out a bit choppy. A south wind is expected in the morning across OC and San Diego, but it could be manageable. I would still recommend giving it a look this morning with all the swell in the water. 

Sunday the 8th: 3-5+ feet 

Size is expected to drop off a touch as both south swell and WNW swell slowly ease. Still plenty of swell out there though. We will also see a new pulse in localized NW windswell which will add some consistency out there as well as helping out with the shape. The winds are looking similar to Saturday though, with more south wind expected for the morning. The afternoon doesn’t look any better, as the winds should shift west and pick up further. 

Monday the 9th: 3-4+ feet 

Still some fun sized surf out there as that south swell eases and hangs in there, and more short-period NW swell shows. There could be a few peaks to track down, but again the winds don’t look great. One positive would be that they’re looking slightly better than the weekend. The morning may have a little window that could be worth a look. 

Tuesday the 10th: 2-3+ feet 

The easing trend continues. The south swell is expected to be pretty much down to leftovers and some small NW windswell should be mixing in. This could be a fun day, but morning conditions are a bit of a wildcard. Weather models are quite diverged with the local winds, but right now the morning is looking the lightest, with a stronger west wind expected for the afternoon.

Wednesday the 11th: 2-3+ feet 

A continued small mix of leftover swells is expected. Just a little bit of south swell should be in the water by then. There should still be a little bit of NW windswell too, how much still depends on the trajectory of the trough to the west. Models are still diverged, possible morning window, but at this time conditions look mostly unfavorable. 

Thursday the 12th: 2-3+ feet 

Not much of a change compared to the last few days in the forecast, maybe even a notch smaller. Just a minor mix of south swell and NW windswell expected. Conditions still don’t look favorable but that could change. 


Long Range Forecast 

Mostly the same story as of late. The North Pacific is looking slow in the longer range as expected, so focus is shifted towards the South Pacific now. May is one of the most active times of year for Southern Hemisphere swells, and this week is showing us just that. More swell is looking likely out the back too, just nothing as big as what we are going to see this weekend. Still some fun pulses to look forward to in the coming weeks for the South Pacific though.


– Jax Richards

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