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El Capitan Surf Stats

All swells

(any wind direction)
El capitan.surf.statistics.mayW.animatedW.label.animated

Good Surf

(light / offshore wind)

This image shows the range of swells directed at El Capitan over a normal May and is based upon 2838 NWW3 model predictions since 2007 (values every 3 hours). The wave model does not forecast wind or surf right at the coastline so we have chosen the optimum grid node based on what we know about El Capitan. In the case of El Capitan, the best grid node is 44 km away (27 miles). The rose diagram illustrates the distribution of swell sizes and directions, while the graph at the bottom shows the same thing without direction information. Five colours represent increasing wave sizes. Very small swells of less than 0.5m (1.5 feet) high are shown in blue. These were forecast only 13% of the time. Green and yellow show increasing swell sizes and red illustrates biggest swells greater than >3m (>10ft). In both graphs, the area of any colour is proportional to how frequently that size swell happens. The diagram suggests that the dominant swell direction, shown by the longest spokes, was WNW (which was the same as the prevailing wind direction). Because the wave model grid is away from the coast, sometimes a strong offshore wind blows largest waves away from El Capitan and out to sea. We group these with the no surf category of the bar chart. To keep it simple we don't show these in the rose diagram. Because wind determines whether or not waves are good for surfing at El Capitan, you can view an alternative image that shows only the swells that were expected to coincide with glassy or offshore wind conditions. During a typical May, swells large enough to cause clean enough to surf waves at El Capitan run for about 78% of the time.

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Also see El Capitan wind stats

Compare El Capitan with another surf break

Nearby location  blueNearest
Nearby location  blueNearest