Four Places the Forecast Spells ‘Go’ for Early 2018 Why settle for one Best Bet when you can choose from several?December 31, 2017
There aren’t many New Years that start with a quiet North Pacific or North Atlantic. The thunder will continue to roll in those basins for the first month of 2018, but there will be some challenges involved if you want to score really good waves.
We’ve scoured the charts and honed in on two zones in the North Atlantic and one zone in the North Pacific we think will be able to withstand those challenges to produce really good waves in January. We’ve also identified one area outside of these areas we think you should consider if you have the means to travel.
1. Ericeira, Portugal
A series of healthy WNW swells will impact the area over the next two weeks, which will gracefully bend around the many complexities of the region’s coastline to produce a variety of sizes to appease even the pickiest of surfers.
Be careful with: Winds. Fronts will lead to a wide range of wind directions and speeds over the coming weeks, so you may have to use those complexities in the coastline to your advantage at times to find offshore winds.
2. Santa Cruz, USA
New Years Day may not look all that great, but the North Pacific is primed to see a few lower latitude fetches over the first couple weeks in January. This will lead to more westerly angled swells that will reach Santa Cruz’s (mostly) south facing coastline just fine.
Be careful with: S winds ahead of fronts. Santa Cruz is blessed by typically being a great place for local winds, but there will be periods of prefrontal onshores to contend with.
3. Morocco, Africa
Similar to Portugal, the North Atlantic will deliver a handful of solid NW swells to northern Africa as we move into 2018. Unlike Portugal, the fronts that impact the area will generally have less negative impacts on local winds. When fronts do bring surges of N wind, they shouldn’t last long and there are more south facing places to run to and hide.
Be careful with: Swell direction at the more south facing spots. The more northerly swells can be considerably smaller at the sheltered spots. Also keep an eye on tides, many of the points can hate high tide.
4. Bocas del Toro, Panama
I must confess, the last few weeks in December have been better than what early 2018 calls for. However, January is still looking really fun, and will no doubt see the occasional solid swell. Typical shorter period ENE trade swell will produce fun waves over the first few days of the year, then look for NNW/N swell to mix in later next week and next weekend, which will produce some options on spots to target. In addition, January is the climatological best month of the year to see appreciable swell for the Caribbean side of Central America. The next two best months are July and February, which highlights something great about this place: there are really two seasons to score (winter and summer).
Be careful with: A brief period of smaller (but still fun) ENE trade swell over the first few days of January.