Weekend Surf Forecast 28 - 30 August 2015

27 Aug 2015 0

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

Forecast issued Thursday, 27 August 2015

The last weekend of winter isn’t shaping up too badly for many regions. The NSW coast in particular continues to feel the reverberations of a complex East Coast Low (ECL) that’s been hovering offshore for several days. The system gets a second wind on Friday, setting up a new pulse of S swell for Friday and Saturday, with plenty more in store for Sunday and early to mid next week.

Further up the coast, however, Southern Queensland and northern NSW only receive limited exposure to the swell-source – so both regions can only expect much smaller surf in the 1 to 3ft range prevailing all weekend.

Down south, Victoria sees no shortage of SW swell in the water, but an onshore flow linked to the ECL initially leaves little to be desired on Friday and early Saturday. Conditions are set to gradually improve across the region as the arrival of a new groundswell coincides with a light easterly wind-shift on Sunday. Likewise South Australia starts out a little choppy under onshore southerly winds on Friday, but by Sunday it will be back on under lighter north-easterlies.

Finally,  Western Australia draws the short-straw this weekend as relentless onshore winds render conditions unsurfable across the Southwest Coast – not to mention very unappealing across Perth’s metro beaches. That being said, more northern locations along the West Coast should produce some of the best conditions of any region on Sunday and Monday.

The days of cool sea-temperatures and deserted winter line-ups are numbered. Photo: Coastalwatch Plus member DaveBJ.

The days of cool sea-temperatures and deserted winter line-ups are numbered. Photo: Coastalwatch Plus member DaveBJ.

Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
Thursday produced the pick of conditions associated with a complex East Coast Low that set up off the NSW coast this week. The good news is there’s still plenty of swell on-tap as the lifecycle of the ECL continues to play out over the southern Tasman Sea over the next few days.

Friday sees a new low pressure centre intensifying off the Far South Coast, producing a steep rising trend in angular S swell accompanied by strengthening southerly winds throughout Friday afternoon. This should leave plenty of S swell in the water by Saturday morning; probably ranging from 3 to 4ft across south facing breaks, but even at this late stage diverging computer model guidance suggests it could come in a foot either side of this range. However it pans out it should drop-off into Saturday arvo and level off at lower levels early on Sunday.

The ECL is now projected to redevelop offshore over the weekend, setting up a renewed building trend in SSE swell that may well begin to show during Saturday afternoon ahead of a larger increase showing in the 3 to 6ft range from Monday to Wednesday.

This week's easterly swell marked the first break in the southerly swell-regime that's dominated most of the 2015 winter along the NSW coast. The tail end of it will still be running at low-levels on Saturday morning. Photo: CW member Kian.

This week's easterly swell marked the first break in the southerly swell-regime that's dominated most of the 2015 winter along the NSW coast. The tail end of it will still be running at low-levels on Saturday morning. Photo: CW member Kian.

Friday
Residual ESE and S swells around 2 – 3ft exposed beaches. New S windswell picking up towards 3 – 4ft+ south facing beaches during the afternoon. WIND: Early WNW to WSW 5 to 15 knots, tending SW mid morning and then S 10 to 20 knots later.

Saturday
S swell 2 – 4ft south facing beaches early, easing to 2 – 3ft during the afternoon. Grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: Early light W 5 to 15 knots tending S, then SE during the afternoon.

Sunday
Residual S swell. Around 2ft+ south facing beaches, grading smaller elsewhere. New mid period SSE swell picks up towards 2 – 4ft during the afternoon. WIND: Early light WSW 5 to 15 knots tending S and strengthening during the late afternoon.

Queensland and Far Northern NSW
It’s not unreasonable to be feeling a little left out if you reside across southern Queensland and far northern NSW coasts. While the slow evolution of an ECL over the southern Tasman Sea has produced a couple of excellent days of surf across the Sydney and Newcastle regions this week, locations further north – particularly north of Seal Rocks – are situated a little too far north of the swell-source to really benefit from the ESE swell.

This pattern persists over the next few days as the long-enduring ECL continues to favour the southern half of the NSW coast, while only producing a diluted component of SE swell for locations further north. Still, Friday shouldn’t be too shabby across northern NSW as combination of S groundswell and SE swell produce surf ranging either side of 3ft across the more exposed stretches.

It’s worth making the most of this window if you can as both SE and S swells are set to fade to lower 1 to 2ft levels by Saturday, preceding another slight uptick in wave energy by Sunday.

Northern NSW exposed stretches will benefit the most from a refracted SSE swell moving up the coast over the next few days. Photo: CW member Seanart.

Northern NSW exposed stretches will benefit the most from a refracted SSE swell moving up the coast over the next few days. Photo: CW member Seanart.

Friday
Mix of SE swell and underlying S groundswell. Up to 2 – 4ft northern NSW south facing breaks, grading to 1 - 2ft exposed QLD breaks, grading smaller inside the points and bays. WIND: Early WNW to WSW 5 to 15 knots, tending light and variable.

Saturday
Mix of leftover S swell and slight ENE windswell. Around 2ft exposed northern NSW breaks early, picking up towards 2 – 3ft during the afternoon. Grading to 1 – 2ft across southern QLD coasts and smaller inside the points and bays. WIND: Early light SW tending ESE during the morning, then NE 5 to 15 knots during the afternoon.

Sunday
SSE swell up to 2ft+ exposed northern NSW breaks. Mixing with small-scale E swell around 1 – 2ft across southern QLD coasts and smaller inside the points and bays. WIND: Early WSW/ SSW 5 to 15 knots tending SSE later.

Victoria
It’ fair to say Victorian coasts have seen far more appealing weekends for surfing than this one. A moderate to strong onshore southerly flow squeezed between an East Coast Low ove the southern Tasman Sea and a high over the Bight leaves little to the imagination on Friday; producing lumpy onshore surf across coasts that will deteriorate as the onshore flow strengthens during the day.

If you’re desperate to surf on Saturday then you might be best off waiting until the onshore flow begins to ease in strength and swing SE into the afternoon. Otherwise, you’re best off waiting until Sunday. Although an onshore ESE airstream is projected to persist, it’s looking like it will be lighter – particularly across the Surf Coast – but still moderate to strong from Phillip Island east.  This coincides with a slow building trend in SW groundswell that should translate into improving wave quality across the Torquay reefs into Sunday afternoon.

It won't be until winds ease and swing light easterly on Sunday that conditions begin to look ok across the region this weekend. Photo: CW member Penny Kempe.

It won't be until winds ease and swing light easterly on Sunday that conditions begin to look ok across the region this weekend. Photo: CW member Penny Kempe.

Friday
SSW groundswell. Around 5 - 6ft exposed beaches early, easing into the afternoon. Sets around 2 – 4ft across the Surf Coast, easing later. WIND: SSW 10 to 15 knots early, increasing to 15 to 25 knots during the day.

Saturday
SW groundswell gradually eases. Around 3 - 5ft exposed beaches early, dropping to 3 – 4ft. Inconsistent 2 – 3ft across the Surf Coast, fading during the day. WIND: SSE to SSW 10 to 20 knots early, steadily easing throughout the day and tending light into the afternoon.

Sunday
Old SW swell reinforced by long range SSW groundswell during the day. Inconsistent sets around 3 – 4ft+ exposed coasts picking up to 4 – 6ft later. Grading to 2 – 3ft across Surf Coast, bumping up later. WIND: SE to SW 5 to 15 knots.

Western Australia
Unless you’re way up north, forget about it. That’s the forecast in one sentence. A late-winter resurgence in frontal activity sees relentless onshore winds and a steep rising SW groundswell dishing out a hammering to Southwest coasts. Even the sheltered bays are likely to be producing mush on Friday and Saturday as a strong WNW directional bias in the onshore flow leaves nowhere to hide from ragged onshore conditions.

If you think that sounds unappealing then just wait for Sunday. A vigorous cold front approaching the region on Saturday should see NW winds hitting 20 to 30 knots during the day. This looks like preceding a shift to the WSW at gale-force strengths on Sunday afternoon, so you may be inclined to batten down the hatches accordingly.

Disclaimer: This image is not representative of conditions across the Southwest of the state this weekend. Photo: CW member Daniel Cornett.

Disclaimer: This image is not representative of conditions across the Southwest of the state this weekend. Photo: CW member Daniel Cornett.

Friday
Slight increase of SW swell. Southwest coast: 4-6ft. Perth/Mandurah: 1-2ft. SW wind 5-10kt early, tending light and variable in afternoon.

Saturday
Increasing SW swell with NW windwaves. Southwest coast: rising 6-8ft. Perth/Mandurah: 2-3ft. NW wind 5kt early, rising 10-15kt in afternoon.

Sunday
W and SW swells increase with onshores. Southwest coast: 8-10ft, rising additional sets with windchop. Perth/Mandurah: 3-4ft. W wind 15-25kt.

South Australia
Gradually improving conditions set in across the region over the next few days as a light to moderate onshore flow gradually dies out and gives way to favourable north-easterlies on Sunday.

A slow decline in SSW swell into Friday and Saturday coincides with onshore SSE to ESE winds respectively – making for unappealing, but surfable conditions none-the-less.

Sunday is undoubtedly shaping up as the pick as a fresh round of SW groundswell coincides with the offshore winds, producing a full day of clean conditions across the South Coast.


You'll have to wait until Sunday if you're after this kind of wave quality. Photo: CW member Jlowrie.

You'll have to wait until Sunday if you're after this kind of wave quality. Photo: CW member Jlowrie.

Friday
Mid period SSW swell 2- 4ft across the exposed South Coast beaches. Grading to 0.5 – 1ft across the Mid Coast. WIND: SSE 5 to 15 knots.

Saturday
SSW swell 2 - 3ft exposed beaches, grading to 0.5 - 1ft along the Mid Coast WIND: ESE 10 to 20 knots tending lighter during the afternoon.

Sunday
New SSW groundswell 2 - 4ft across the exposed beaches. Grading to 0-1ft along the Mid Coast. WIND: NE 5-10 knots tending ENE later.

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