Staring straight at the Underworld, El Sal is a sure bet for Southern Hemi swell
Chris BorgJul 1st, 2017.
The worst weather makes the best waves. Screaming winds can whip the sea’s surface into such a frenzy that the boundary between ocean and atmosphere is blurred beyond distinction. As water and air slam together, the kinetic force of those elements combines, and out of that caldron of chaos comes swell.
Storms capable of creating such “victory at sea” conditions most often form when massive air masses of vastly divergent temperature and moisture content collide over the ocean. Winter is the prime season for those lows, and in the Southern Hemisphere, it is now that time of year.
With easy red-eyes from LAX and no shortage of right points, El Salvador has been a popular surgical strike since the ’70s. Photo: Billy Watts
So without a doubt, the most reliable source of swell in July is the Under World. Since the South Pacific is the largest geographic feature below the equator, that enormous ocean is where most of the swell is likely to come from.
Lots of spots can pull in Southern Hemi swell, including many islands and most of the west coast of the Americas. All that’s required to cash in on that surf is southerly exposure. The better the southerly view, the better the odds of seeing Southern Hemi swell.
Since most of its shoreline stares due south, no country on Earth has better southern exposure than El Salvador. So calling for Southern Hemi swell to hit that ideally oriented coast is just about as easy as forecasting waves in a wave pool. That’s why El Salvador is the best bet for July.
1. Past Performance/Future Results
The Southern Hemisphere has been cyclonically active lately with a series of South Pacific storms sending up sizable swell. The current conga line of lows tracking towards South America is cranking out strong and long-period S/SSW swell which is scheduled to fill in fast on lucky Friday, 7/7, then max out during that following weekend and into the second week of July. A more moderate scale SSW swell is due to show later in that second week and long range progs maintain Southern Hemi potential going into the second half of the month.
2. All Surfers Welcome
El Salvador is renown for right pointbreaks so the place caters to regular footers, but with lots of rivers and reefs, plus plenty of contours and contrasts in the country’s nearly 200 miles of coast, there is a good selection of break diversity and something to suit all style of surfer.
3. Travel Lite
Water temperatures average in the toasty mid 80s so no need to pack any neoprene. Air temps dip into the mid 60s at night then heat up to the mid 80s during the humid days, which means you can leave the warm clothes at home too.
It may not be 20-foot death bombs like Puerto Escondido, but El Sal’s right points can get hollow enough for the rest of us. Photo: Billy Watts
4. Tropical Weather To Watch
It is rainy season now so you can depend on periods of precip, but while you are sitting out the thunderstorms it’s either creveza or siesta time. Calm to light offshore wind is your friend through mid-morning, then persistent onshores rough up the afternoons. Evening glass offs are an occasional treat. Since this is hurricane season, it’s reassuring to know that tropical storms/hurricanes rarely reach El Sal’s shores.
5. Sharks and Currency
Shark attacks are extremely rare in EL Salvador, with none reported this century, so you don’t have to worry about them. That’s muy bueno. No need to worry about exchanging your money or calculating how much things cost either, since the official currency of the country is the good old US dollar. That’s muy conveniente.