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El Capitan ratings
Quality on a good day: 4.0
Consistency of Surf: 1.8
Difficulty Level: 4.2
Wind and Kite Surfing: 1.0
Crowds: 2.5

Overall: 2.4

See all 18 ratings

Based on 4 votes. Vote


Surf Report Feed

El Capitan Swell Statistics, January: Surf with Light or Offshore Winds

This image shows only the swells directed at El Capitan that coincided with light winds or offshore conditions over a normal January. It is based on 2868 predictions, one every 3 hours. The direction of the spokes show where quality surf generating swell comes from. Five colours represent increasing wave sizes. Very small swells of less than 0.5m (1.5 feet) high are shown in blue. Green and yellow represent increasing swell sizes and red illustrates the highest swells, greater than >3m (>10ft). In both graphs, the area of any colour is proportional to how often that size swell occurs.

The diagram indicates that the prevailing swell direction, shown by the biggest spokes, was WNW, whereas the the dominant wind blows from the NNW. The chart at the bottom shows the same thing but without direction information. For example, swells larger than 1.5 feet (0.5m) coincided with good wind conditions 70% of the time, equivalent to 22 days. Expect open water swells to exceed >3m (>10ft) 7% of the time (2 days). Taking into account the fraction of these swells that coincided with forecast offshore winds, and given the fact that El Capitan is slightly protected from open water swells, we estimate that clean surf can be found at El Capitan about 70% of the time and that surf is spoilt by onshore wind 21% of the time. This is means that we expect 28 days with waves in a typical January, of which 22 days should be surfable.

IMPORTANT: Beta version feature! Swell heights are open water values from NWW3. There is no attempt to model near-shore effects. Coastal wave heights will generally be less, especially if the break does not have unobstructed exposure to the open ocean.