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Isla Vista ratings
Quality on a good day: 3.0
Consistency of Surf: 2.5
Difficulty Level: 3.0
Wind and Kite Surfing: 3.0
Crowds: 2.0

Overall: 2.9

See all 18 ratings

Based on 2 votes. Vote


Surf Report Feed

Isla Vista Swell Statistics, March: All Swell – Any Wind

This chart shows the combination of swells directed at Isla Vista through an average March, based on 2964 NWW3 model predictions since 2007 (values every 3 hours). The wave model does not forecast surf and wind right at the coastline so we have chosen the best grid node based on what we know about Isla Vista, and at Isla Vista the best grid node is 47 km away (29 miles).

The rose diagram shows the distribution of swell sizes and swell direction, while the graph at the bottom shows the same thing but lacks direction information. Five colours represent increasing wave sizes. Very small swells of less than 0.5m (1.5 feet) high are shown in blue. These were forecast only 10% of the time. Green and yellow illustrate increasing swell sizes and red illustrates the biggest swells, greater than >3m (>10ft). In both graphs, the area of any colour is proportional to how frequently that size swell occurs.

The diagram suggests that the prevailing swell direction, shown by the largest spokes, was W, whereas the the prevailing wind blows from the WNW. Because the wave model grid is offshore, sometimes a strong offshore wind blows largest waves away from Isla Vista and away from the coast. We group these with the no surf category of the bar chart. To simplify things we don't show these in the rose diagram. Because wind determines whether or not waves are clean enough to surf at Isla Vista, you can load a different image that shows only the swells that were forecast to coincide with glassy or offshore wind conditions. In a typical March, swells large enough to cause surfable waves at Isla Vista run for about 60% of the time.

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.

FEATURE UPDATE: we now show red swell icons for 'open sea' swells that are travelling in an unfavourable direction for the surf break. In places, these swells may still wrap around coastlines and produce smaller waves at some breaks. They are also significant for windsurfers and other water users that tend to venture further off-shore.