COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST
Forecast issued Thursday, 3 August 2017
Depending on where you live, conditions will either be 1. Tiny and clean, or 2. Huge and blown out. There is a third, happy medium to be found between these extremes – but these are pretty much limited to Victoria’s Surf Coast and Western Australia’s Northwest. Option 1 applies to the entire East Coast, with both the NSW coast and southern Queensland verging on flat as this week’s solid run of SSE swell conks out just in time for the weekend.
Option 2 applies to both the West Coast and all southern states, with large to heavy SW and WSW swells and strong onshore winds pretty much ruling out surfing across exposed coasts. That means all the surfing options will be found along the semi-sheltered stretches like the Surf Coast (which looks like it will be firing under strong offshore winds all weekend), South Australia’s South Coast (solid, but mostly onshore) or last but not least, the Northwest reefs, which should be pretty much pumping for days to come.
Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
Going, going, gone. This week’s solid run of SSE swell dropped to more accessible 2 to 4ft levels by Thursday morning – and it’s set to continue on a steady downward trend into the end of the week, leaving very little leftover for the weekend. Expect smaller 2ft leftovers on Friday, followed by a minor pulse of ESE swell probably amounting to a slow 1 to 2ft on Saturday. If you’re hell-bent on surfing then make sure you get in before Sunday. Virtually flat conditions will set in on Sunday and persist throughout Monday, before the flat spell breaks with the arrival of a new S swell on Tuesday.
Leftover SE/ ESE swell. Sets around 2ft exposed breaks, fading during the day. WIND: Early NW to WNW 10 to 20 knots easing and tending W during the afternoon.
Mid period ESE swell. Slow sets to 1 – 2ft exposed breaks. Grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: NW 10 to 20 knots, tending WNW during the day.
Residual ESE swell. Sets to 1ft exposed beaches, otherwise virtually flat. WIND: Early NNW 10 to 20 knots tending NW to WNW during the day.
Queensland and Far Northern NSW
It won’t necessarily be entirely flat across the region this weekend, but it’s not looking too far off. As this week’s SSE swell continues to fade away we see an incremental shift in swell-direction to the SE; making for some smaller leftover lumps probably not exceeding 1 to 2ft across far northern NSW coasts. Whether or not this amounts to anything rideable north of the border is hard to say, but there’s little doubt you’ll probably require maximum floatation to make it worthwhile.
SSE swell slowly fades. Sets to 2 – 3ft exposed northern NSW breaks, grading to 1 – 2ft exposed QLD coasts and tiny inside the points and bays. WIND: Early NW 10 to 15 knots, tending WNW during the day.
Leftover SE swell. Sets to 1 – 2ft exposed northern NSW breaks, grading to 1ft+ exposed QLD coasts and near flat inside the points and bays. WIND: Early WSW to SSW 10 to 15 knots turning light and variable, then light ESE 5 to 10 knots later.
Residual ESE swell. Up to 1ft+ exposed breaks, grading to near flat inside the points and bays. WIND: WNW to NW 5 to 10 knots, tending N and freshening during the afternoon.
While there’s no shortage of large WSW swell inbound across Victoria this weekend, it’s probably not looking at big and stormy as some earlier model runs were suggesting. It now looks like South Australia will absorb the brunt of a heavy SW storm-swell, while in comparison only glancing Victorian coasts with large WSW swell. Never the less, it’s still looking like a substantial winter swell-event well suited to the Surf Coast, with mid to large WSW swell greeted by fresh to NW winds on Saturday, tending to near-gale force on Sunday. As you can see from the summary below, we’re looking at two overlapping WSW swells; the first arriving on Saturday, ahead of the second, larger pulse kicking in on Sunday. Both carry a strong westerly bias in direction – and this is likely to translate into inconsistent sets in the upper range across the Torquay reefs all weekend.
Reinforcing SW groundswell. Sets to 4 – 6ft exposed beaches. Grading to 3 – 4ft along the Surf Coast. WIND: WNW to NW 10 to 15 knots early, tending NNW and freshening during the afternoon.
Large and stormy combination of WSW swell and SW groundswell. Possibly undersized early at 4 – 6ft+ along the exposed beaches, rising to a stormy 5 – 8ft during the day. Grading to 3 – 4ft across the Surf Coast, peaking at 3 – 6ft during the afternoon. WIND: WNW 20 to 30 knots, tending NW to WNW and easing later.
Larger, directional WSW groundswell builds in. Possibly undersized early at 5 – 8ft across exposed beaches, picking up to 6 – 8ft+ during the day and up to 8 – 10ft later. Grading to 3 – 5ft across the Surf Coast, picking up to a slow 4 – 6ft+ during the day and up to 5 – 8ft later. WIND: NNW 20 to 35 knots, tending NW and easing during the afternoon.
The unrelenting run of large, stormy surf continues across the Southwest this weekend as another large WSW swell coincides with persistent onshore winds. It’s now the fourth weekend in a row featuring such conditions, making for one tough winter for weekend surfers looking to head south. Still, it’s a first world problem, right? With these conditions in mind you’re best off heading somewhere north, out of the direct path of the Southern Ocean storm-track. But if you do find yourself Down South, it’s probably worth aiming for a sheltered bay on Saturday, as moderate SW winds open up a reasonably good window before winds swing NW at strength on Sunday.
SW groundswell peaks early before slowly easing. South West: 10-12ft, easing. Perth/Mandurah: 3-4ft, easing. WIND: SW 10-15kts tending WSW and freshening. Light NE Perth/Mandurah early.
Old SW groundswell eases with a reinforced overlap later. South West: 7-9ft. Perth/Mandurah. 2-3ft. WIND: WSW 13-18kts tending WNW. Possible light variable Perth/Mandurah early.
SW groundswell eases, rising NW wind swell. South West: 4-6ft+. Perth/Mandurah: 1-3ft. WIND: NW 20-25kts, tending 30kts.
The South Coast should fare ok under the brunt of a heavy push in WSW and SW swell this weekend. These back-to-back pulses are associated with a deep mid latitude low forecast to track up below the Bight on Friday and Saturday, aiming SW gales our way while also extending a couple of vigorous cold-fronts across the state from the west. The upshot is a full weekend of large to heavy surf, joined by strong cross-offshore NW winds on Saturday, ahead of a shift to the west on Sunday. While the Mid Coast will also see plenty of W swell pushing up into the 2 to 3ft plus range on Sunday, strong onshore winds will add little appeal to conditions.
Reinforcing SW groundswell. Sets to 2 – 4ft exposed South Coast beaches, building during the afternoon. WSW windswell rising towards 1 – 2ft across the Mid Coast. WIND: Early NNW 10 to 20 knots, freshening to 20 to 30 knots during the morning, then shifting WSW during the afternoon.
Large WSW groundswell builds during the day. Sets ranging from 3 – 6ft exposed South Coast breaks with size depending on exposure. WSW swell ranging from 2 – 3ft across the Mid Coast. WIND: WNW 15 to 25 knots, tending NW 20 to 30 knots.
Potential for heavy SW swell. Ranging from 4 – 8ft exposed South Coast breaks with size depending on exposure. WSW swell up to 2 – 3ft+ across the Mid Coast. WIND: WNW to WSW 15 to 30 knots.
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