Anzac Day Long Weekend Surf Forecast 22 - 25 April, 2016

21 Apr 2016 3

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

COASTALWATCH FORECAST | Weekend Surf Forecast

Forecast issued Thursday, 21 April 2016

Surf-expectations tend to run high over the Anzac long weekend – and for good reason. No matter where you find yourself around this vast continent, there’s usually an abundance of surf on offer - and more often than not it’s cranking, somewhere. This year we have a more typical mix of the good, the bad and the ugly, but it looks like just about everywhere will see at least one good day of waves.

Southern Queensland and far northern NSW are looking about as good as anywhere. A small E swell is superseded by a steep rise in short range SE swell over the weekend; strong enough to produce consistently good conditions inside the points and bays on Sunday and Monday.

Further south, the NSW coast will feel the full brunt of a robust S to SSE airflow that will leave little to be desired on Saturday. However, conditions will gradually improve as the onshore flow eases throughout Sunday and this should culminate in good, clean conditions early on Monday.

Likewise, conditions across Victoria and South Australia are also hampered by onshore winds to begin with, but they’ll steadily improve under the influence of a high-pressure system advancing across Bass Strait. This should see conditions transforming into the good to excellent category across exposed Victorian beaches on Monday morning.

That leaves the West Coast. This time around, the usually ever-consistent Southwest Coast gets the “ugly” award. Only Friday and Saturday morning will show good form as lighter ENE winds greet a solid round of SW swell. From Saturday afternoon onwards conditions deteriorate, leaving little to be desired as justly onshore winds prevail into Sunday and Monday.

SEE ALSO: Best Line-Up Ever, New Zealand 

The wide-open stretches of Australian coastline beckon over the Anzac long weekend. Photo: CW user Nathan O'Donnell.

The wide-open stretches of Australian coastline beckon over the Anzac long weekend. Photo: CW user Nathan O'Donnell.

Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
Typically, Anzac Day long weekends are filled with swell and this one is no exception. The arrival of a vigorous southerly change over the top of a lackadaisical easterly swell on Friday is set to transform conditions into a complete chaos by Saturday morning; whipping up three to four feet of windswell within the space of 24 hours.

Unfortunately, this time around the northwest to southeast orientation of a broad ridge extending across the Tasman Sea drives a strong onshore SSE airflow across the coast on Saturday morning – and this will leave very little in the way of good surfable options across the region. However, from there conditions are set to gradually improve as an associated high builds across Bass Strait and into the Tasman over the weekend; causing winds to ease turn moderate SE by Sunday – hardly perfection – but it will probably be a whole lot better than Saturday. It won’t be until Monday morning that we should see a land-breeze back in force – making for clean 2 to 3ft conditions across southern exposures.

Friday
Get in early before the southerly kicks. Slight uptick in E swell. Sets up to 2 - 3ft exposed open breaks. Grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: Early SSW change 10 to 15 knots tending S 15 to 25 knots during the day.

Saturday
Good for a sleep in. Junky SSE windswell. Around 2 – 4ft south facing breaks early, peaking at a windblown 3 – 4ft+ during the day. Mixing with underlying ENE swell at 2 – 3ft elsewhere. WIND: SSE 20 to 30 knots, easing during the afternoon.

Sunday
Junky fun, improving during the day. Mix of small S groundswell and SE windswell. Around 2 - 3ft+ south facing breaks during the morning. S groundswell emerges as the dominant swell during the afternoon. WIND: Early SSE 10 to 15 knots, easing and tending ESE during the day.

Monday
Easing S groundswell mixing with residual ESE windswell. Sets to 2 - 3ft+ south facing breaks, grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: Early light W tending ENE 5 to 15 knots.

SEE ALSO: South Australian Swell This Week

You'll be hard-pressed to find anything of this quality until winds swing offshore on Monday morning. Photo: CW user GreyC.

You'll be hard-pressed to find anything of this quality until winds swing offshore on Monday morning. Photo: CW user GreyC.

Queensland and Far Northern NSW
The onset of a robust SSE change arrives just in time for the long weekend; precipitating a rapid increase in SSE/SE windswell in the wake of its arrival. This builds in over the top of a smaller-scale easterly swell that should contribute to fun 2 to 3ft conditions over the next two days, with Friday the pick for conditions as light westerlies prevail for most of the morning.

Although the southerly steadily strengthens across the region on Saturday, the associated swell won’t really show up until Sunday morning - initially carrying a lot of south in direction – so don’t expect any dramatic increase in size inside the points and bays. However, a rapid anticlockwise, reorientation of the wind-fetch will see mean-swell direction steadily shifting to the southeast during the day – and this should translate into much better wave quality both along the points and inside the bays by Monday morning as swell direction tends to the SE/ESE and wave-period ticks up a notch.

Friday
Make the most of these conditions while they last. E swell. Around 2 - 3ft+ exposed breaks. WIND: Light WNW/WSW inshore early, tending to seabreezes 5 to 15 knots.

Saturday
Go early for the best of it . E tradewind swell. Slow sets to 2 – 3ft exposed breaks, reinforced by rising SSE windswell during the afternoon. Grading to 1 – 2ft+ elsewhere. WIND: Early SSW tending S 15 to 25 knots during the day and up to 20 to 30 knots late afternoon/ evening.

Sunday
Head for a sheltered point or bay. SE windswell. Windblown 4 – 5ft+ northern NSW south facing breaks, building to 4 – 5ft+ during the afternoon. Around 3 - 4ft exposed QLD breaks, grading to a smaller 2 – 3ft majority of open beaches and points and bays. WIND: Early inshore SSW tending SSE 20 to 25 knots.

Monday
Go back to the same sheltered point or bay. ESE swell to 4 - 5ft northern NSW breaks, grading to 3 – 4ft exposed QLD coasts. Grading to 2 – 4ft inside the points and bays. WIND: Early inshore SSW tending SE 15 to 25 knots.

SEE ALSO: Early Week Gold Coast Drainers

The points should start to show more form as swell direction swings around to the ESE on Monday. Photo: CW user Rabbitt23.

The points should start to show more form as swell direction swings around to the ESE on Monday. Photo: CW user Rabbitt23.

Victoria
There’s no shortage of swell on-tap across Victoria over the long-weekend. Although conditions are looking a little on the lacklustre side to begin with, it’s worth pacing yourself in anticipation of improving conditions over the course of the weekend.

The good news is Friday is shaping up as the most unappealing day as strong SSW winds prevail state-wide. Although the onshore flow remains in force on Saturday, it will be considerably lighter – and it will also mark a peak in SW groundswell – offering up 3 to 4ft potential across the Surf Coast all day. From Sunday onwards the focus begins to swing back to the exposed beaches as a much lighter wind-regime coincides with a slow-decline in SW swell. This should see still lumpy, solid conditions across exposed beaches on Sunday, improving as the day progresses.

It’s well worth keeping some powder dry for Monday as lighter north-easterlies are forecast to greet a more subdued SW swell – making for a fully day of good conditions across exposed stretches.

Friday
Not pretty, but surfable. Rising SW groundswell. Around 3 - 4ft exposed beaches, picking up to 4 – 5ft during the afternoon. Wrapping into Surf Coast breaks at 1 – 2ft, bumping up later. WIND: SSW 10 to 20 knots.

Saturday
Lumpy fun across the Surf Coast. SW groundswell. Sets around 5 – 6ft+ exposed beaches early. Grading to 3 - 4ft+ across the Surf Coast. WIND: Early SSW 10 to 15 knots.

Sunday
Chunky and semi-clean across exposed breaks. Easing SW swell. Around 4 - 6ft exposed beaches early, easing towards 4 – 5ft. Wrapping into Surf Coast breaks at 2 – 4ft. WIND: Early light NE 5 to 10 knots, tending light and variable during the day.

Monday
Pumping across exposed breaks. Leftover SW swell. Sets around 3 – 4ft exposed beaches. Grading to 1 - 2ft across the Surf Coast and easing during the afternoon. WIND: N 5 to 15 knots, freshening during the day.

SEE ALSO: Kelly Slater Enjoyed Pumping Cloudbreak Yesterday

Conditions start out a little wind-effected, but the exposed beaches will be cracking come Monday morning. Photo: CW user Penny Kempe.

Conditions start out a little wind-effected, but the exposed beaches will be cracking come Monday morning. Photo: CW user Penny Kempe.

Western Australia
If you’re headed Down South over the long weekend, you might find the forecast a little confounding. Friday is easily shaping up as the best day for surfing across the region – and while that’s likely to be cold comfort for those in transit, the locals will no doubt be rubbing their hands together in anticipation of light ENE winds and a solid SW groundswell.

If you can’t surf Friday, then under no circumstances do you want to miss out on Saturday morning. Early NE winds greet a still robust 3 to 4ft swell, but this window will start to close as winds come around to the north during the and NNW later on. From there, conditions are pretty much a write off Down South throughout the remainder of the long weekend. A deepening cut-off low approaching the southwest of the state causes NW winds to kick in at strength on Sunday before moderating and turning WNW as a large storm-swell peaks in the 10 to 12ft range on Monday.

Friday
Absolutely cracking! Reinforced SW swell early under a clean offshore flow. Southwest coast: 4-6ft early, easing. Perth/Mandurah: 1-2ft, easing. ENE wind 15-20kts easing N'ly in the afternoon.

Saturday
Get in early before the northerly kicks in. Ease in SW swell under freshening NE - North winds. Southwest coast: 3-4ft. Perth/Mandurah: 1ft. NE winds 15-20kt swinging NNW through the day.

Sunday
Find something else to do. Rising SW swell under freshening onshore winds. Southwest coast: 3-5ft with a rising combo of seas and swell. Perth/Mandurah: 1ft+ rising. NW'ly winds 20-30kts, shifting W'ly in the afternoon.

Monday
Could there be somewhere working under these conditions? Solid SW swell under continued onshore winds. Southwest coast: 10-12ft+ early, easing later. Perth/Mandurah: 2-3ft under light variable winds. W'ly winds 10-15kts, tending 20kts WNW in the afternoon.

SEE ALSO: Bali-Indo Swell Forecast 

Friday will be showing the finest form across the Southwest over the long weekend. Photo: Shane Dawson.

Friday will be showing the finest form across the Southwest over the long weekend. Photo: Shane Dawson.

South Australia
There’s a nice bit of SW groundswell inbound across the South Coast, just in time for the long weekend. This episode should slowly pick up throughout Friday before peaking on Saturday; probably generating 3 to 4ft sets across the more exposed South Coast breaks all day. A light to moderate SSE to SE airflow won’t exactly make for perfection across the region over this time frame, but it won’t be too shabby either. By Sunday conditions will, however, be picture perfect. The onset of a lighter ENE breeze greets the tail end of the SW swell; still ranging from 2 to 4ft across the South Coast early before backing off later in the day.

Friday
Steep increase in SSW swell 2 - 3ft across the exposed South Coast beaches, bumping up during the afternoon. Grading to 0.5ft across the Mid Coast. WIND: SSE 10 to 15 knots throughout the day.

Saturday
Solid SSW swell. Sets to 3 - 4ft along exposed South Coast beaches. Grading to 0.5 – 1ft across the Mid Coast WIND: SE to 5 - 15 knots.

Sunday
Easing SSW swell around 2 - 4ft  exposed South Coast beaches. Grading to 0.5ft along the Mid Coast. WIND: Light ENE 5-15 knots.

Monday
Leftover SSW swell. Sets to 2 - 3ft  exposed South Coast beaches. Grading to 0.5ft along the Mid Coast. WIND: Light ENE 5-15 knots.

There's good SW swell on-tap across SA throughout the long weekend. Photo: Lifeaquatic_Bazzat.

There's good SW swell on-tap across SA throughout the long weekend. Photo: Lifeaquatic_Bazzat.

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