uk es it fr pt nl
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, September: 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 September and is based upon 2400 predictions, one every 3 hours. The direction of the spokes show where quality surf generating swell comes from. Five colours illustrate increasing wave sizes. Blue shows the smallest swells, less that 0.5m (1.5 feet) high. Green and yellow represent increasing swell sizes and red represents the largest swells, greater than >3m (>10ft). In each graph, the area of any colour is proportional to how often that size swell happens.

The diagram indicates that the prevailing swell direction, shown by the biggest spokes, was W, whereas the the most common wind blows from the WNW. 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 53% of the time, equivalent to 16 days. Open sea swells exceeding >3m (>10ft) are unlikely to arise in a normal September but 15% of the time we expect swell in the range 2-3m (6.5-10ft) 15%, equivalent to (4 days). Taking into account the fraction of these swells that coincided with expected offshore winds, and given the fact that El Capitan is slightly protected from open water swells, we calculate that clean surf can be found at El Capitan about 53% of the time and that surf is blown out by onshore wind 17% of the time. This is means that we expect 21 days with waves in a typical September, of which 16 days should be clean enough to surf.

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.