6.4 The 30th Anniversary of Surfline Highlighted by Once in a Decade Swell Event

Wednesday, 13 January 2016: 2:15 PM
Room 342 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Mark C. Willis, Surfline/Wavetrak Inc., Nags Head, NC; and K. S. Wallis and R. Starr

Surfline is celebrating 30 years of delivering surf reports and forecasts in 2015. The company has grown from an organization that initially produced surf reports and forecasts solely in Southern California in 1985 to a global marine, surf, and fish forecasting and editorial solution. The special year for Surfline has been highlighted by a once-in-a-decade swell event that traversed the Pacific Ocean from 29 April to 7 May. The climax of this event occurred on 3 May at Puerto Escondido, Mexico where surf heights in excess of 15m were observed. The complex storm activity that produced this swell occurred over 25-29 April and followed nearly two months of anomalous storm and swell activity originating out of the South Pacific Ocean. A comparison of both the rare event at Puerto Escondido and the abundance of early season Southern Hemisphere swell activity to Surfline's historical wave database will be discussed. In addition, a brief review of the decision support provided to the surf community during this time, economic impacts, and the wave run-up and unique bathymetry at Puerto Escondido will be presented.
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