Recounting El Niño Summer on Kauai & Some Historic North Shore Summer Waves

The summer of 2015 has seen warmer ocean temperatures tilt from the western to the eastern Pacific, an event known as El Niño. This change triggers shifts in global atmospheric circulation, creating atypical weather around the world. In North America, the anticipated weather effects are forecast to arise in late autumn through the winter.

In strong El Niño years, which 2015 has thus far been described as, the west coast of the U.S. tends to get more rain than usual (so we hope there is some drought relief in sight).


Another effect of a typical El Niño year is a more active hurricane season in the Pacific basin, which has indeed been the case this summer. The upside of this…some of the most memorable summer waves in living memory on the north and east shores of the island. In early September, Tropical Storm Ignacio, positioned north of the state, moved in a northwesterly direction before eventually turning due North. Along its course, it fed massive surf into Kauai’s east and north shores.

At the same time, the dynamic between Ignacio and two other tropical systems, Jimena and Kilo, east and south of the islands respectively, killed the trade winds over the islands. At the expense of some hot muggy weather, we were served up large waves with no wind for clean, all-time surf conditions. The east side put on a show that many claim was the best in living memory, while the north shore was winter-esque.

What Will Winter Have in Store?

With summer officially over, we’re anxious and ready for another stellar surf season. Hopefully September’s early treat was a sign of the surf that’s yet to come from this upcoming El Niño winter.

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