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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, Summer: Surf with Light or Offshore Winds

The rose diagram shows only the swells directed at El Capitan that coincided with light winds or offshore conditions through a typical northern hemisphere summer. It is based on 8738 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 illustrate increasing swell sizes and red illustrates highest swells greater than >3m (>10ft). In each graph, the area of any colour is proportional to how often that size swell was forecast.

The diagram indicates that the most common swell direction, shown by the biggest spokes, was W, whereas the the dominant 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 46% of the time, equivalent to 42 days. Open sea swells exceeding >3m (>10ft) are unlikely to occur in a normal northern hemisphere summer but 15% of the time we expect swell in the range 2-3m (6.5-10ft) 15%, equivalent to (14 days). Taking into account the ratio of these swells that coincided with expected 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 46% of the time and that surf is spoilt by onshore wind 15% of the time. This is means that we expect 56 days with waves in a typical northern hemisphere summer, of which 42 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.