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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, Spring: Surf with Light or Offshore Winds

This image shows only the swells directed at El Capitan that coincided with light winds or offshore conditions through a typical northern hemisphere spring. It is based on 8052 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 show increasing swell sizes and biggest swells greater than >3m (>10ft) are shown in red. In either graph, the area of any colour is proportional to how often that size swell occurs.

The diagram indicates that the most common swell direction, shown by the biggest spokes, was WNW, whereas the the prevailing wind blows from the NW. 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 67% of the time, equivalent to 61 days. Expect open water swells to exceed >3m (>10ft) 4% of the time (4 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 think that that clean surf can be found at El Capitan about 67% of the time and that surf is blown out by onshore wind 19% of the time. This is means that we expect 78 days with waves in a typical northern hemisphere spring, of which 61 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.