Swell Direction for Morrillo Surf
Updated: Oct 14
Imagine you have been planning a trip to Paris to unwind at a café, sip on an obscure glass of red wine from a historic vineyard while savoring a rich charcuterie board and trying your best to speak the french you've been diligently practicing on Duolingo. Yes, that's quite dreamy. After indulging at the chic little café, your Parisian fantasy naturally includes a stroll through the park to climb the Eiffel Tower so you can justify all that cheese and chocolate.
You've been saving and getting ready, all your outfits have been planned, and you've just arrived in Paris only to find that all the cafés have been closed and the Eiffel Tower is undergoing maintenance. For a week. Your whole plan denied for your entire trip. Sure, there's other things to do and see but....smack yer Grandma, that's disappointing.
Now you know what it's like to be a surfer who has heard about a great place to surf but went during a time of year when there are no waves. Not cool at all. However, if you were told that Morrillo is a great place to surf, it's all good because it surfs all year!
But once again we ask ourselves how can that be and why, when I go to the same beach to surf one day, the waves are smooth and small (photo below, super fun) and the next day, huge and scary (photo above, super not fun)? How does this happen? As always, we got you. Don't worry, I'm not going to go all meteorologic on you but here's a bit more beta for you to plan your surf trip here or share how much you know about surfing with your friends.
Time to get out the maps again! As a surfer, you need to know a few things like: location, swell size and direction, period, wind, tides, storms, etc. Last week we covered our geographic location and beach type and shape. Now, let's talk swell direction. Wait, I'll back up. What's a swell? "It's a series of mechanical or surface gravity waves generated by distant weather systems that propagate thousands of miles across oceans and seas." Essentially, it's what creates the waves we surf.
Because our beach runs from NW to SE, we are fortunate that the swells arriving at our shores come from the SW and pretty spot on every single day, all year only varying by about 10 deg. The surfing pot o'gold keeps getting deeper because not only are we geographically situated to welcome in those arriving swells perfectly inline, but there's nothing in their way out at sea. I'm talking thousands and thousands of nautical miles. Why is that important? Hey, thanks for asking because I'm excited to share with you.
Here's what surfers watch as they geek out trying to forecast the surf. It's called a swell map. Our swells reliably originate near Australia having been formed by storms out at sea (the red parts). Storms produce wind, wind produces swells, and swells create waves for surfers to ride.
As you see above, there's nothing in the way of these arriving swells to Morrillo like an outer reef or an island or continent, paving the way for a consistent arrival of waves all year. That said, the swell sizes are constantly changing like well, the weather, so, while there are waves to surf here all year, they aren't always going to be your favorite size every day.
Like in the photos you see above of the exact same place; one day they are double overhead and then a few days later, they can be just shoulder high. The reason for that are the storms producing those winds. So, if you keep an eye on what's happening in Australia, and watch your forecasts and swell predictions by our trusty folks at Surfline, you can get to know what's happening at Morrillo weeks or even months in advance and make your reservations with us!
So, now you know a wee bit more about why surfing Morrillo is awesome - beginner or expert, all the time because of our geographic location, type of beach, and swell direction. Next week we'll talk more specifically about waves and what to typically expect here.
Your Friends in Morrillo,
Cari and Ryan Mackey
Owners and Hosts
Morrillo Beach Eco Resort
PS: Don't smack your Grandma. But DO resist using single use plastics - Sea Turtles really appreciate that.