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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, All Year: 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 year. It is based on 28044 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 highest swells greater than >3m (>10ft) are shown in red. In either graph, the area of any colour is proportional to how frequently that size swell occurs.

The diagram suggests that the dominant swell direction, shown by the biggest spokes, was WNW, whereas the the dominant 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 60% of the time, equivalent to 219 days. Expect open water swells to exceed >3m (>10ft) 3% of the time (11 days). Taking into account the ratio of these swells that coincided with forecast 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 60% of the time and that surf is messed up by onshore wind 19% of the time. This is means that we expect 288 days with waves in a typical year, of which 219 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.