How big is a 20-foot swell? Taller than the average two-story house, over three times the size of the average man. Big enough to sweep you away forever if you should be so silly as to go near the ocean today. As of 6:53 a.m., the local swell was running 20 feet at 21 seconds – so, not only big, but powerful big with deceptive lulls in between sets. Looks flat? Wait a minute before you walk out on that jetty. Don't be that guy. The next set is on its way.
A LARGE WESTERLY SWELL WILL PRODUCE VERY DANGEROUS SURF ON NORTHERN CALIFORNIA BEACHES TODAY AND TONIGHT. A LONG PERIOD WEST SWELL OF 20 TO 23 FEET WILL PRODUCE BREAKING WAVES OF 25 TO 30 FEET IN THE SURF ZONE. THE LARGEST WAVES WILL BE ON WEST TO NORTHWEST FACING BEACHES AND THE BIGGEST SETS COULD BUILD TO NEAR 35 FEET.
Of course, the opportunity to see such big waves shouldn't be missed. Just do it somewhere safe. From up above around the Trinidad area, for example. Or from the dunes – not the jetties – bookending the Humboldt Bay harbor entrance. To be really, extra, totally clear: stay back. Need to walk your dog? Consider staying on the bay side of things or taking a forest trail instead of hitting the beach. High tide's at 9:10 a.m. today, low's at 3:31 p.m. Plan accordingly.
SURVIVAL IN THE FRIGID AND TURBULENT WATER IS UNLIKELY.
You could also just play it safe, wait till Nov. 13 and check out some these waves instead: