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Surf Break Rating

Rate Papatea Bay


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Papatea Bay Swell Statistics, January: Surf with Light or Offshore Winds

This image shows only the swells directed at Papatea Bay that coincided with light winds or offshore conditions through a typical January. It is based on 2868 predictions, one every 3 hours. The direction of the spokes show where quality surf generating swell comes from. Five colours show increasing wave sizes. The smallest swells, less than 0.5m (1.5 feet), high are coloured blue. Green and yellow illustrate 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 happens.

The diagram suggests that the dominant swell direction, shown by the biggest spokes, was NNE, 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 16% of the time, equivalent to 5 days. Open sea swells exceeding >3m (>10ft) are unlikely to arise in a normal January but 6% of the time you can expect swell in the range 1.3-2m (4-6.5ft) 6%, equivalent to (2 days). Taking into account the proportion of these swells that coincided with predicted offshore winds, and given the fact that Papatea Bay is exposed to open water swells, we estimate that clean surf can be found at Papatea Bay about 16% of the time and that surf is blown out by onshore wind 35% of the time. This is means that we expect 16 days with waves in a typical January, of which 5 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.

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.