Minor Surf Alert

The last frontier of gulf coast surfing- shoal surfing. Sterling Spencer in the Cyclops of Pensacola Pass Shoal. Photo: Surfer Mag.

Any waves out there?

Thursday 3/21 7am Updater: So the forecast below was written on Monday when we first saw the NW winds for today and Friday. At that point we forecast 10-15knts but as the week moved on the low deepened and the gradient improved and now we are looking at 15-20knts and 4-5ft seas. A 1 maybe 2ft wave is possible today right before dark… Friday am will have some fun waves somewhere. Low tide first thing with this giant moon and then incoming tide and that will be the best time to surf on the incoming push. Late Friday gets smaller but still NW. Saturday am will feature a glassy 1ft line. Have a good day. Shoal Surfing: We’ve been talking shoal surfing in the comments. With so much dredging over the last 30 years the outside shoals have built up. Is the surf bigger out there? Many GC surfer’s have boats so we are waiting for documentation.

Monday WFL 7am Updater: Low pressure will move off SE Florida and the Bahamas and track into the open Atlantic towards Bermuda. Florida will be dominated by NE winds for the next few days. On Friday, a new High pressure is forecast to move in from the plains bringing 10-15knt NW winds. The week looks calm but with a good sea breeze maybe Friday afternoon will have a small long-board wave. After that, the long term shows a semi active pattern across the SE US. I’m not going to speculate beyond Friday as the models have been inconsistent lately. IMO, everything has been notch down for the GOMEX and the ATL as there is not as much real time energy as the GFS wants to put into it beyond 120hrs if that makes any sense. Translate it this way: the GFS is off the wagon and wobbling and may have to go back into rehab if the el ninyo hangover continues. Have a good week. Back tomorrow with an update on gradients and outlooks.

PR Perfection.

38 thoughts on “Minor Surf Alert

  1. admin Post author

    I didnt really see alot of south Ericto but definitely a west coming off that gradient in the middle gulf. Check Monday around 3 or 4pm. Keep an eye on 42099, 3ft at 8 west… not big but some thigh high swell at best spots would be sweet…

  2. fuggin

    Checked the spot here in Sarasota and not quite working yet. It’s 1-2ft and breaking on the beach. Wind just started cranking from NW. I’m going to do my taxes and check it later 🤙

  3. admin Post author

    IMO south pine was not really good on small NW swells and hard offshore winds, low tide. Lenny surfed those and it was always like knee high, Venice was always twice as big

  4. JDH

    It always seems to do that with a north wind moving northeast. Pulls any swell parallel to irb and never swings around to south pine.
    I remember before the Internet watching Meteorologist Dick Fletch on channel ten I think, on a day kinda like this. Said the seas were 3-4, so I got my mom to take me to TI and it was elephants on the horizon headed to Cuba.
    I made the same mistake as a kid living in sarasota. Walked from my house on lime Ave all the way out the causeway passed St Armands to lido, to see flatness looking like a fool, skunked.

    Maaaaaaaan, these young bucks don’t know how good they got it.

  5. admin Post author

    those are some memories JDH I always watched Dick Fletcher also, good meteo that guy. I lived in Seminole and surfed Indian Shores but if it was a cold front day and too small we’d try to go up to IRB or Bellair to catch some waves… weird front huh? should have been better surf I thought but maybe somebody scored, tell us about it

  6. JB

    RIP to the old Sandbags days… Old Upham would get fun on these fronts too (late 90’s – early 2000’s) but I think it would need a little more west in it. A slow semi mushy wave but on the right day with the right equipment you could catch one from the corner all the way to the snack shack! Admin, I had an old board of your that ways magic there. 6’ blue bat quad (before they were cool) with your name on the stringer. I was a 120lb grom then and that thing would catch everything. Wish I still had it.

  7. admin Post author

    no your right Upham would have waves today if it was back in the day. on incoming tide upham would suck the NNW right in even if it was ony 1-2ft it was long and fun. Wonder how upham is today

    Bat is still making boards from Haliewa, not sure of the price but he ships international. I have to order from him soon… That board was 6’0 X 21.25 2.25 hand shaped epoxy quad and yeah it would catch anything. I had so many amazing sessions at Sharkys on that board, magic carpet, so light and floaty… He copied that board from a Chris Birch Split Lip same size but the bat was way better than the split lip, I think we called it a ‘modified pickle’ with the pointed nose(not round)… batsurfboards@gmail.com tell em Micah sent ya…

  8. Rob

    Old Upham … RIP … when I got a “real job” and there were waves, I’d still be able to surf in the morning before having to be at work. I’d dawn patrol at 6 am, shower in the parking lot, and 15 minutes later be at my desk in professional attire. Then, like everything these days, it got ruined.

    I’d like to think that it’ll have a resurgence one day just like the c*v* when they dredged that place and back filled …. it took years, but finally started breaking again …

    With Upham though, they have to dredge that shoal … otherwise the N swell will never make it in like it used to. Rumor has it, that that is exactly what they are going to do … so perhaps that place will come to life again?? In the meantime, it’s NOT a good wave …

  9. KB

    1st Micah, ur site kicks @$$!!! Next ur weather predicting skills are 2nd to none. This is the go to site for early morning risers. If u don’t know this site, then u just don’t know. I agree w Rob, Upham RIP. The summer dredging washed all the sand into the channel. That shoal has produced great SUP waves for us all winter on SW, W, and WNW swells. Super long lines w limited to no people out. Hate to see it go but if it means a resurgence to Upham waves, then I’m all for it. Keep up the Great Work and hopefully would like to make it down to PR someday cause it looks like a lot of fun. Take care.

  10. admin Post author

    Thanks guys! I would love to see some SUP shoal pics. I bet it does get long….

  11. OriginalJud

    I see Ben Gravy is headed to PR would be cool if you spotted him and showed up in the vlog

  12. cb

    We had an epic day last winter on a boat based surf excursion. Left St Pete early on the go fast boat with enough boards for every type of condition and headed south for AMI. 15 minutes later we’re there (emphasis on FAST), but the winds were all wrong south of the bay. A quick blip of the throttle and we’re outside Bunces watching solid lines just peel along the shoal. Got in for an hour or so and caught the longest right I’ve ever surfed in the gulf. The waves were good, but the current was ripping through there so we kept scouting north. Shell Key… not working. PAG… not working. By this point the wind had lightened, and it was turning into a gorgeous day. On the horizon we could see big white rollers on the shoals off Upham.

    “Probably sucks, but it’s worth a look.”

    Man, the session we had on that shoal was other-worldly. Steep, fast and enough juice to give ya a wack or 3 off the lip. As we loaded back onto the boat, with giant smiles on our faces and that feeling that only comes when you feel like you just got away with something that should be illegal but isn’t, a pod of dolphins rolled up on us and gave us a full-on Sea World exploited animal show complete with flips and rolls and tail walking and Flipper noises.

    I guess back in the day there used to be a dolphin park there?

    That was one of my top days in the Gulf, the best being some random south swell that no one noticed on New Year’s Day ‘01 or ‘02.

  13. admin Post author

    What a cool surf story… I’ve seen those shoals with glassy swells outside Ft Desoto, I believe you… Back in the day there was a park near Upham called the Aquatarium and yeah they had dolphins, this was mid 70’s… google it… not sure of the exact location?

    awesome story CB, I know guys have been doing boat trips down south also to certain spots and surfing fun waves w/o the parking hassles

  14. FBC

    Very cool story CB – MW which wave would I surf? Tough choice but the first pic of that A-frame wave with both lefts and right is what would make me drop everything and run for the board!

  15. JDH

    I love a good boat surf story on a Sunday morning.
    Would be a dream to be able to boat it, in between spots and check the Outside Shoals in different locations.
    That day we had with the long fetch earlier in December, I walked down to pass and there was a real nice longer wave than at SS, IMO.
    The sand has really collected out in front. Hopefully it stays and continues to build and we will have a legit break.
    But yeah, Rob, Upham will always be shaded by it. The way the rocks are is terrible.
    If they used all the granite rocks to extend the jetty sticking out on the Upham side, just 50 yards, it would create a perfect line coming inside of it.
    The extension would buffer the north to south flow of sand as well.

  16. Rob

    Great story CB … I look at those shoals from the 7th floor of TradeWinds often when we have waves, and you can tell it gets good. You just need the equipment to surf it safely (like a boat) … glad to gear a story where someone actually did that.

    Micah ,,, I remember during that public meeting that me and you sat in on before they installed the GEO tubes where they showed the model of how the pass would fill in and the shoals would form. I remember distinctly thinking “welll on a bright note, it could produce another surf spot” .. fast fwd years later, their model was correct but the spot isn’t really accessible. Story of the Gulf I guess!

    Side note … I think that winter 2019 came in like a lion and out like a lamb because it was El Nino’s last breath of life. I think we see a pattern change for the next few years now. Thoughts on that? CLIMO shift?

  17. hd

    i was thinking the same thing rob ^^. the victory at sea/reverse hurricane day was pretty cool to experience but probably not gonna happen again honestly unless we decide to stop being lazy entitled f**ks and acknowledge our impacts.

  18. m-dub

    What about a glassy knee to thigh shoal wave Sunday morning? There are Shoals in STP pass-a-grille Fort Desoto long boat, sarasota-lido and more

  19. fuggin

    New pass shoals work but its a paddle if you dont have a boat. I take my paddleboard out there sometimes but its sharky!

  20. admin Post author

    Rob I wanted to reply to your comment, thanks… overall it seems the US WX has shifted North over the last 10 plus years. Even tornado records show storms are at higher latitudes than they used to be as the planet has warmed. But with the WX there is always the yin and yang and anomalies. All in all looks like longer flat spells could be the equation, slower moving hurricanes… Even the ATL storms for this month are losing gas and going notch down, there just is not the energy in the atmosphere that was there in December and January (el ninyo) except that bomb cyclone that was the anomaly and what a crazy anomaly… so more extreme WX, more flat and more violent, yin and yang

  21. admin Post author

    get a partner and start planning a shoal trip, a 3rd guy to take pics, lets do this GC we want a documented trip out to the shoals on a small glassy day to see if the waves are bigger and better and longer out there! 🙂

  22. admin Post author

    what kind of boat do you have? which shoal? what board? stoked man, anchor up good…

  23. JDH

    Fuggin, I consider the shoals outside the point that when the sand is right, wraps all the way around into new pass, my home break. I grew up paddling out there by myself. When it’s flat I go snorkeling out there. There’s a big drop off that magnifies the energy. You’re right though. Very sharky. I’ve had a few close encounters there.
    How many times do you see it lining up something serious and everyone sticks to the jetty while it’s so much better out there?
    If I was in the 941, I’d head out there with you.
    I caught the what I consider the best Fla waves of my life there during Wilma in 05.
    With it being far offshore, even stiff offshore winds can create havoc with the wave. Current can get real swift.
    Props for going out there. Very few do.

  24. JDH

    Micah, have you gotten any NW swells in Rincon this year? Seems like everytime I look it’s NNE.
    Any true NW frontal passages?

  25. admin Post author

    yesterday a weak front washed out over us and we got .20 of rain but not really a temperature drop and that’s the closest a front has gotten to us since March 2018. The high has just guarded us all winter.

    its been beautiful WX, low humidity for the Caribbean but super dry and the surf sucks most of the time, my worst winter surf wise here in 8 years. No real NW swells since December… NNE is a great direction here bc it bends and wraps with good form… but not even those, just shoulder high N swells 2 days a week and dribble the rest of the time, I should not complain but Hawaii of the ATL is what we expect and it has not been that this year… thanks for asking. Caribbean WX is under studied and weird

  26. Rob

    Yeah … I wanna see this shoal trip materialize. Takes balls. I know that it’s super sharky … super sketchy … would be ideal to have a ski accompany the boat and do tow ins.

  27. Ericito

    I’d Be down for a shoal trip! I’ve been trying to finagle a coya Costa strike this year too but no one can manage it, it would have to be last minute to score a swell! Got a couple hours Friday am to head down south hopefully there’s something! Bummed on the time change, lost an hour of for dawn patrol :/ and I work all nights. Wah wah

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