Technically an Indian Summer occurs when a period of unseasonably warm weather occurs during autumn, after the first frost but before the first snow. Of course, we don’t have frost of snow in Hawaii (except on Mauna Kea), so we can’t have a real Indian Summer. But if there were ever a Hawaiian version, this year might be it. After having our first northwest swell of the season in mid-September—a solid eight-foot pulse that had the big wave crew pulling out there mini-guns and heading to Sunset Beach—the North Shore fell back asleep. Meanwhile, the South Shore has been pumping out late-season swells well into mid-October, including last week’s sizeable run of waves and this week’s smaller ground swell.
Photo by: Kuhio Vellalos
But if we have been in the midst of a Hawaiian Indian Summer, that’s about to change. The atmospheric conditions in the North Pacific are switching the second half of the month, and the pattern we are coming into is much more reflective of what we normally see in the early winter. A solid north/northwest swell fills in on Wednesday, with the North Shore moving into the six- to eight-foot range, and a second more north/northeasterly swell hits two days later. This second swell will technically be a bit bigger, but due to the steep angle will not show as large on the North Shore (which is largely northwest facing). This will be followed by a consistent run of head-high+ swell, and then another potentially bigger swell to close out the month on Halloween.
Meanwhile, the Gulf of Alaska looks like it’s really going to turn on the swell machine over the next two weeks, with the West Coast expecting a number of back-to-back-to-back storms/swells to close out October. What this all means is that winter is finally coming! But if you are a dedicated Townie, don’t despair—there’s actually a few more small pulses of southern hemi swell on the forecast as well. Maybe we’ll have the first Indian Winter and get swell on both sides of the island all year long!