In a few days, chances are very good that Puerto Escondido is going to turn into the beast that everyone waits for. A 30-foot swell is charging across the Pacific right now, ramping up as it nears Mexico. “The swell is moving under Rapa Nui,” said Peter Mel, the BWT Commissioner, “and is expected to land in the region around June 24th.” Organizers have called a tentative yellow alert for the Puerto Escondido Challenge.
“Overlapping, large, long period SSW swells will impact Puerto Escondido on Friday, June 24th and Saturday, June 25th, thanks to a pair of back-to-back storms that recently plowed through the central South Pacific,” Surfline predicted. “We recorded satellite verified wind of 35-55 knots and seas of 40-45 feet in these storms and continue to track the swells as they propagate north. At this point we expect to see a building trend of surf throughout the day on Friday; slower, but strong, surf in the morning with face size in the 15-25’+ range, with larger sets to 30′ at times. Look for the surf to build for the afternoon with the very largest sets up to 35-40′ on the face. By Saturday the surf will likely gradually trend down, but we can still expect face size in the 20-30′ range, with a few lingering 35′ sets early.”
“So why does it build numbers for Puerto Escondido that, at a latest 10ft@19 seconds, beat last year’s forecast 8.5ft@19 seconds? It looks like it’s that leading edge of the swell, marked on the chart above, and actually from the first of the two low pressure systems. As waves propagate away from the storm the longer period energy travels faster. It’s this that means the long periods arrive first and the period decreases throughout the swell event. From our data it appears here that leading edge, from the first swell and slightly smaller and lower period, makes it to the beach at Puerto Escondido at about the same time as the bulk of the long period from the second pulse starts to fill in. While this does lead, legitimately, to a forecast of 10ft, at a peak period of 19, seconds the reality is that a large component of the overall size is from swell nearer 16 seconds in period.”
If everything continues as expected, event organizers will call a green light 72 hours before the event sounds the starting horn, and competitors–if they’re not already there–will scramble to make their way to Mexico and put their lives on the line for not enough money and a whole lot of passion.
There are 24 people competing in the Puerto Escondido Challenge, led by BWT Champion Greg Long, six event wildcards, three BWT wildcards, an injury wildcard, and the top 4 of Surfline’s Overall Performance of the Year Performance Award winners. Should the event be called on, it’ll be streamed live at Worldsurfleague.com