29 May, 2013 29 May, 2013

Goodwave a NO GO for Thursday

There will be none of this on Thursday at New Pier. Rudy Palmboom at the 2008 Quiksilver Goodwave.

There will be none of this on Thursday at New Pier. Rudy Palmboom at the 2008 Quiksilver Goodwave.

The Quiksilver Goodwave won’t be running tomorrow. After an initial “Heads Up” call earlier this week for the possible running of this speciality event, the predicted swell is just too unpredictable to make a final call. It was always going to be on the small side of the spectrum for the Goodwave, but with the sandbank being so perfect at the moment, Quiksilver had to at least think about potentially running the event.

With official forecaster for the event, Spike from Wavescape‘s latest report looking likely to peak at only around 4ft at New Pier, it has been decided to notify competitors to not make the urgent hop over to Durban from whichever part of the country they are currently in.

Here’s Spike’s prediction:

“Make no mistake, this looks to be a really beautifully lined-up swell that should light up the open coastline in perfect winds, with perfect sand setups at many breaks. This swell has travelled 1900 miles, so pulses with very long gaps between sets, but a lot of energy when they break.”

But south swell for the New Pier is known to arrive smaller than predicted. The New Pier is tucked so far around the corner from the Bluff and harbor wall, that the slightest difference in swell angle and undersea bathymetry can mean a big difference in what materialises at the pier. The charts show a straight South swell at 180 degrees moving through the ocean at 11 feet with peak periods of 16 seconds. The anatomy of this particular swell, generated three days ago from a 940mb storm just off the Antarctic ice shelf, suggests it will wrap just enough on to the New Pier early Thursday at a lined up three feet (with exceptionally long gaps between sets), slowly increasing to 3-4’, with a small chance of slightly bigger ones.

There are three concerns with this swell:

1. Even if the swell forecast is 100% accurate, we’re in the low end of the Quiksilver Goodwave scale already. The slightest downgrade is problematic.

2. The peak winds in the originating storm blew south of a large area of galeforce Westerly, which means the swell had to pass through a large area of wind before it could propagate away from the storm. There may have been some decay.

3. Anecdotal evidence puts the scientific data under pressure. Past experience says that the swell model over-calls long period south swell (although this may be more to do with the geographical setup of the Durban harbor and undersea terrain), and under-calls cyclonic and even High Pressure-induced east swell.

These are elements of doubt you can’t ignore. However, if New Pier is head to overhead high in the most sublime waves in ages, we’ll know to recalibrate on the side of surf science next time.”

Stay tuned here or on www.goodwave.co.za to see when the next call will be made for this invite-only speciality event at the New Pier.

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