Weekend Surf Forecast 17 - 19 February, 2017

16 Feb 2017 0

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST

Forecast issued Thursday, 16 February 2017

How’s that right-hander Mick Fanning scored with no one around huh? There’s been a lot of banter around the office as to exactly where it might be, but no one seems to know much beyond somewhere in Africa. So, until we do find out and head en-masse for the Dark Continent, it’s back to the local for a few, far less exotic waves this weekend.

Starting with the NSW coast, we have some minor NE windswell keeping set waves up in the chest to head-high level across open breaks on Friday and early Saturday, before things turn sour on Sunday with strong southerly winds and a small mix of NE and SSE windswells mostly in the 1 to 2ft range. Likewise, southern Queensland surfers might be better off devoting the spare time to plying Google Earth for that right-hander. The region continues to see diminutive ESE swell not exceeding 1 to 2ft on Saturday under dreaded northerly winds – and by Sunday it’s looking even smaller. In contrast, the rest of the continent fares pretty well indeed.

Victorian and South Australian coasts feel the brunt of a heavy SW groundswell; large enough to lend the focus to semi-sheltered stretches like the Surf Coast all weekend. These venues will be best early, with lighter westerly winds preceding a shift to the SW during the mornings. Last but not least, Western Australia also produces a window of excellent conditions this weekend. The arrival of a large, directional pulse of SSW groundswell shows peak size on Friday before slowly easing throughout the weekend; initially maintaining solid 3 to 5ft waves across the Southwest early on Saturday under light offshore winds before scaling down from there.

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Every wave is unique. Photo: CW user Harry Young.

Every wave is unique. Photo: CW user Harry Young.

Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
A minor rise in local NE windswell is about as good as it’s going to get this weekend. The close range of the swell source will ensure peak wave-period doesn’t extend beyond 6 to 8 seconds – and this implies peaky, disorganised surf showing most size at exposed east facing breaks like Manly and Maroubra.

The windswell should show most size late Friday before tapering off throughout Saturday; initially still ranging from 2 to 3ft at the most exposed breaks in the early morning before fading as the day progresses. At this point Sunday looks like a write off. A low forming along a surface trough off the coast is set to invigorate strong southerly winds across the region – but precisely how strong remains a little unclear for now. Either way, the localised characteristics of this system preclude any notable corresponding rise in S windswell; the upshot being small, windblown conditions prevailing all day.

SEE ALSO: Is This The Longest Barrel On The Central Coast This Century? 

Friday
NE windswell. Sets around 2 - 3ft exposed breaks, picking up during the afternoon. grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: Early N to NNE 5 to 15 knots, freshening to 15 to 25 knots.

Saturday
NE windswell. Sets to 2 – 3ft exposed open breaks early, fading during the day. Mixing with background S swell at lower levels elsewhere. WIND: Early light W to NW 5 to 10 knots at dawn, shifting S 15 to 20 knots early morning, then SSE and easing during the afternoon.

Sunday
Mix of residual NE swell and SSE windswell under strong onshore winds. Junky 1 – 2ft+ exposed open beaches. WIND: Model divergence. S 10 to 20 knots, possibly strengthening to 20 to 30 knots. Tending SSE during the afternoon.

A rise in short-range NE windswell lends the focus the most exposed east facing stretches this weekend. Photo: CW user Hodaddy.

A rise in short-range NE windswell lends the focus the most exposed east facing stretches this weekend. Photo: CW user Hodaddy.

Queensland and Far Northern NSW
It’s a case of going, going, gone as small ESE swell slowly fades away this weekend. The good news is we should continue to see small-scale surf hovering around 1 to 2ft across exposed breaks and there’s potential for a very slight, reinforcing 2ft pulse on Saturday. However, by Sunday you might be hard pressed finding of a proper 2ft set– even across the most exposed breaks – so it’s worth making the most of what’s on offer on Saturday. The diminutive ESE swell coincides with a well entrenched northerly wind regime that will keep the focus fixed on northern corners all weekend.

SEE ALSO: What Happened When Snapper Turned On Last Week?

Friday
ESE tradewind swell. About 2ft exposed breaks, grading smaller inside the points and bays. WIND: Early light and variable inshore tending NE and increasing to 10 to 15 knots later.

Saturday
Slight ESE tradewind swell. Sets to 1 - 2ft exposed breaks, grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: Early light NW to NNW inshore tending N to 15 to 20 knots during the afternoon.

Sunday
Residual E tradewind swell. Mostly 1ft+ exposed breaks. Grading smaller inside the points and bays. WIND: Early light WNW to NNW tending N 10 to 20 knots.

Several days of small-scale ESE swell and N winds offers up minimal surfing options across the region this weekend. Photo: CW user ilikebrownie.

Several days of small-scale ESE swell and N winds offers up minimal surfing options across the region this weekend. Photo: CW user ilikebrownie.

Victoria
The surf is going to get seriously big this weekend; invariably leaving the Surf Coast as the only viable surfing option. A broad-scale extratropical low situated well south of Western Australia is the source of a large to heavy SW groundswell inbound on Saturday morning.Although latest model guidance has pared back peak wave height and period marginally from earlier runs, it’s still shaping up as a big pulse; building in during Saturday morning and holding peak size throughout Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. This winter-esque episode will render the exposed beaches an unrideable 8 to 10ft mess under strong WSW winds. That leaves the Surf Coast as the place to be. Expect the groundswell to wrap at anywhere from 4 to 8ft depending on location, with early light W winds preceding a shift to the southwest both on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

SEE ALSO: A Dream Job At Rip Curl Could Be Yours

Friday
Easing SW swell. Solid 4 – 6ft exposed beaches early, dropping to 3 – 5ft+ during the day. Around 3 – 4ft across the Surf Coast, easing later. WIND: Light Early WNW inshore tending WSW during the day.

Saturday
New long period SW swell on the rise. Conservatively 6 – 8ft+ exposed coasts early, rising to 8 – 10ft during the day. Grading to 4 – 6ft across the Surf Coast early, picking up to 5 – 8ft later. WIND: Early W inshore across Torquay, otherwise WSW 20 to 25 knots tending SW later.

Sunday
Easing SW groundswell. Solid 8 - 10ft sets across exposed beaches during the morning, easing towards 6 – 8ft+ during the day. Solid 5 - 8ft across the Surf Coast, easing to 4 – 6ft. WIND: Early W inshore tending SW 10 to 20 knots during the day.

This could well be a fair depiction of what to expect across the Surf Coast on Saturday morning. Photo by Ocean Images Australia

This could well be a fair depiction of what to expect across the Surf Coast on Saturday morning. Photo by Ocean Images Australia

Western Australia
A fly-by-night, directional pulse of SSW groundswell coincides with light easterly winds to offer up some fine conditions across the Southwest this weekend. This pulse shows most size on Friday, withpeak energy slated to climb into the 6ft range during the afternoon. Given the acute, 200 degree directional band, there will inevitably be big variances in surf heights depending on each location’s exposure, so seeking out those venues that pull in the maximum south swell could well be worth your while. The tail end of Friday’s peak should continue to offer up more accessible 4ft options early on Saturday before it rapidly tapers off during the day. This should lead in a return to more sedate conditions not exceeding 2 to 3ft across exposed breaks on Sunday.

SEE ALSO: The Super Coach Gets Wilko, Owen & The Boys To Work

Friday
SSW groundswell rises with ESE wind. Southwest coast: building inconsistent 3-5ft, rising 6ft+ on S exposures in arvo. Perth/Mandurah: inconsistent 1ft, tending flat in between sets. WIND: ESE at 10-15kt early, easing and tending light S in arvo.

Saturday
Fast decreasing SSW swell under offshore winds. Southwest coast: inconsistent 3-4ft sets dropping 1-2ft in arvo. Tending 3-5ft on S exposures. Perth/Mandurah: inconsistent 1ft, tending flat. WIND: E 10-15kts early, tending light and variable in arvo.

Sunday
Faded SSW swell under light offshore winds. Southwest coast: 1-2ft, tending occasionally 3ft on S exposures. Perth/Mandurah: flat. WIND: Calm ENE 5kts early, tending light and variable.

There will be plenty of good, clean surfable options across the Southwest this weekend. Photo: CW user Lewisphoto.

There will be plenty of good, clean surfable options across the Southwest this weekend. Photo: CW user Lewisphoto.

South Australia
Waves, waves everywhere but hardly a wave to surf. Like Victoria, South Oz will wears the brunt of a heavy SW groundswell this weekend. This episode shows most size on Saturday and it should be large enough to penetrate South Coast breaks like Middleton at a chunky 4 to 6ft, with even larger 5 to 8ft surf likely to be impacting the more exposed beaches further east. The downside will be strong SW to S winds kicking in throughout the best part of the weekend; invariably leaving scant surfable options across the South Coast. As a result, the only sensible option is likely to be the Mid Coast; which should see some minor refracted energy wrapping in at about 1 to 2ft all weekend.

Friday
New SW swell. Sets around 1 - 2ft exposed South Coast beaches, possibly undersized early. Grading to near flat across the Mid Coast. WIND: Early light W tending WSW during the morning and SW 15 to 20 knots during the arvo.

Saturday
Heavy SW groundswell arrives under strong onshore winds. Sets to 4 - 8ft exposed South Coast beaches with size depending on exposure. Grading to 1 – 2ft across the Mid Coast. WIND: SW 15 to 25 knots, tending SSW and easing during the afternoon.

Sunday
Larger SW groundswell with strong onshore winds. Sets ranging from 4 - 8ft exposed South Coast breaks, easing later. Grading to a cross-shore 1 - 2ft across the Mid Coast. WIND: S 10 to 15 knots.

A heavy SW groundswell and strong SW winds will keep a lid on potential for good surf across the state this weekend. Photo: CW user Maxswellphoto.

A heavy SW groundswell and strong SW winds will keep a lid on potential for good surf across the state this weekend. Photo: CW user Maxswellphoto.

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