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Socal Winter Surf Outlook

On the coattails of a historic Santa Ana wind and wildfire event, the winter outlook for Southern California leaves precipitation to be desired. We are off to one of the driest starts to the water year on record, and the return of the West Coast ridge, along with typical climatology during weak to moderate La Nina events aren’t indicative of significant SoCal precipitation. This will generally be favorable for conditions through much of the winter, though the thought of less precipitation and the potential for more offshore wind events won’t rest easy on most.

In addition to the return of robust ridging along the West Coast limiting precipitation, the pattern often lends to less consistent WNW/NW swells as stronger lows are within our swell window further away. Coupled with a similar pattern during La Nina winters that keeps lows strongest from Hawaii west, and periodically dropping down from the Pacific Northwest, size through the winter will often cap out in the fun (as opposed to solid) range. The silver lining through December will be the continuation of modest SSW/S swells keeping anything fun from the North Pacific peaky. Through January and into February swell from the South Pacific is at a yearly minimum. While this general rule should stand, we anticipate above-average output from the basin, largely on the shoulders of December.

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