The Weekend Surf Forecast 3 - 5 February, 2017
COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST
Many moons ago as a grommet, I once told a mate who really liked big waves that the world’s storm-systems were undergoing a slow, inexorable calming. That in 10 or 20 years time big swells as we knew them would become a rarity – and one day, non-existent. Of course it’s utter nonsense, but I actually had him going for a minute or two.
Across the East Coast it’s kind of starting to feel like big swells are a thing of the past. Southern Queensland coasts see a marginal rise in small-scale ENE windswell this weekend; nudging up to peaks of 2ft plus across the most exposed swell-magnets. Likewise, the NSW coast has the added benefit of some similarly small-scale SSE windswell in the mix on Friday – but this is set to fade away, leaving small NE windswell as the dominant wave-train all weekend. Following an above average January across the West Coast, conditions also revert to the summer norm for the first week of February. Small-scale SSW swell ranges either side of 2ft across the Southwest – and this will invariably leave Perth metro beaches near-flat. Like last weekend, only Victorian and South Australian coasts are holding swell-of note; in this case a steady run of mid-period SW swell – strong enough to keep set waves ranging from 3 to 5ft across Victoria’s exposed beaches and up to 2 to 3ft across the Surf Coast all weekend.
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Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
The run of small-scale surf continues unchecked across the region this weekend. The arrival of another vacuous southerly change on Thursday morning leads in a minor rise in SSE windswell that should still be ranging either side of 2ft early on Friday.
It’s worth making the most of this energy before it fades into the afternoon, leaving us with tiny levels of ENE swell dominant at 1 to 2ft on Saturday. At this point Sunday is shaping up as the pick. A marginal uptick in NE windswell coincides with favourable, early NW winds, making for good clean conditions at those breaks favouring the NE direction. Sunday also sees the arrival of a tiny SSE groundswell, probably only showing at inconsistent 2ft levels across south facing breaks, but something is always better than nothing.
Primary SSE windswell mixing with tiny ENE swell. Up to 2ft+ south facing breaks early, grading to 1 - 2ft elsewhere. Easing during the day. WIND: Early light NE 5 to 10 knots, increasing to 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon.
Mix of short-range NE windswell and background S swell. Up to 1 – 2ft max exposed breaks, bumping up marginally during the afternoon. Grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: Early light ENE, tending NE 10 to 15 knots.
Short period NE windswell underpinned by tiny, long-range SSE groundswell. Sets around 2ft+ exposed east facing beaches, picking up to occasional 1 – 2ft+ southern exposures during the afternoon. WIND: Early light NNW to NW tending NE 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon.
Queensland and Far Northern NSW
The surf has been so bad for so long across southern Queensland that I’m starting to feel a weird sense of guilt. While there’s a little bit of respite from the current state of affairs on the cards this weekend, calling it a significant improvement sounds like a stretch of the imagination.
The northerly wind regime is forecast to remain in place over the coming days as a minor increase in ENE windswell sets in across the region; showing most size over the weekend and early next week. This short-period energy probably only peaks at a stronger 2ft plus across the more exposed beaches, with northern corners faring the best under the predominant N to NE winds.
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ENE tradewind swell. Around 2ft exposed breaks, bumping up marginally during the afternoon. Grading smaller inside the points and bays. WIND: Early light NW/NNW tending NNE 10 to 15 knots later.
Small-scale ENE tradewind swell. Around 2ft exposed breaks, bumping up during the afternoon. Grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: Early light NNW inshore tending NE to 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon.
Small-scale E tradewind swell. Ranging from 1 - 3ft exposed breaks. Grading smaller inside the points and bays. WIND: Early light NNW tending NNE 5 to 15 knots.
So far this year, Victoria and the East Coast may well have been different countries. While the latter has languished under weeks of small-scale windswells, the former has been on the pump, relatively speaking.
The trend continues this weekend as solid, mid period SW swell slowly declines from Friday to Saturday; generally maintaining surf in the 3 to 5ft range across exposed breaks, while wrapping at 2 to 3ft across the Surf Coast. Saturday’s favourable NNE winds make it the pick for the exposed beaches, with early Friday and early Sunday favouring the Surf Coast.
New Mid period SW swell. Semi-clean 4 – 5ft sets exposed coasts early, easing marginally during the afternoon. Clean 2 - 3ft+ across the Surf Coast. WIND: Early light WNW tending to SSE seabreezes 10 to 15 knots later.
Mid period SW swell. Solid and clean 4 – 5ft exposed coasts. Grading to 2 – 3ft across the Surf Coast. WIND: Early light NNE tending light and variable, then to seabreezes 10 to 15 knots later.
Mid period SW groundswell. Ranging from 3 - 4ft across exposed beaches. Sets to 1 - 3ft across the Surf Coast. WIND: Early light W inshore tending light and variable mid-morning, then SSW 10 to 15 knots throughout the afternoon.
I’m guessing it only rarely gets much smaller than 2ft across the Southwest, but look on the bright side: that’s still a whole lot bigger than some other, more populous stretches of Australian coast get at this time of year. Unfortunately a straighter south to south-westerly wind-regime setting in on Friday and Saturday adds little in the way of appeal to the diminutive swell, but by Sunday a strong SE wind-shift should see clean, waist and occasionally shoulder-high surf on offer across the most exposed Southwest breaks all day.
Minimal SW swell under S'ly winds. Southwest coast: 1-2ft+. Perth/Mandurah: flat to 0.5ft WIND: Light S'ly 5-10kts early, tending SW 10-20kts.
Small mid period SW swell under S’ly winds. Southwest coast: 1-3ft. Perth/Mandurah: 0.5ft. WIND: S to SE 10-15kts early, tending SW 10-15kt.
Ease in SW swell under stiffening SSE winds. Southwest coast: 1-2ft+. Perth/Mandurah: flat to 0.5ft. WIND: SE 10-15kts early, strengthening 15-20kt and tending S in metro areas.
A steady run of SW swell keeps surf-heights fluctuating between 2 and 4ft across the South Coast for the next few days, with mostly light onshore or variable winds – even tending offshore at times – making for pretty fun conditions in the context of mid-summer. The Mid Coast can expect more of the same as refracted energy penetrates the region at about 1ft all weekend.
New Mid period SW swell. Semi-clean 2 – 4ft sets South Coast breaks, grading to 1ft across the Mid Coast. WIND: Early light and variable tending to SSE seabreezes 5 to 12 knots later.
Easing, mid period SW swell. Solid and clean 2 – 4ft South Coast breaks. Grading to 1ft across the Mid Coast. WIND: Early light NE tending light and variable, then to seabreezes 10 to 15 knots later.
Mid period SW groundswell. Ranging from 2 - 3ft across South Coast breaks. Sets to 0.5 - 1ft across the Mid Coast. WIND: Early inshore WNW tending SSW 5 to 15 knots, then light SSE later.
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