FORECAST UPDATE: Swell For The Quiksilver Pro After All

10 Mar 2017 3

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

Mikey Wright is primed for his Quiksilver Pro wildcard, Photo by Leah Light Photography

Mikey Wright is primed for his Quiksilver Pro wildcard, Photo by Leah Light Photography

COASTALWATCH | FORECASTER BLOG

There’s now some definitive light on the horizon for the Quiksilver Pro forecast. In the wake of the dire outlook put forward by the majority of long-range projections earlier this week, the pattern has definitively shifted in favour of a new swell-event setting in during the first week of the waiting period.

What’s now looks clear is rising trend in short-period ESE wind swell setting in mid next week. The swell develops as a surface trough deepening up over the southern Queensland coast interacts with a firming subtropical ridge to the east; together setting up a close range, 15 to 25kt easterly fetch extending out below New Caledonia.

TRACK THIS NEW SWELL ON THE WAVE TRACKER

This fetch is now widely projected to come into effect during the first day of the waiting period; Tuesday 14 March. This could see already fun-sized windswell in the water in the 2ft range early on Wednesday, with a slow build into the 2 to 3ft plus range following as the day progresses. Prima facie, this would see a peak in the 3 to 4ft range on Thursday 16, preceding a slow decline setting in again into Friday 17 and the weekend of Saturday 18 following a weakening of the trough/ ridge from Thursday onwards.

SEE ALSO: The Weekend Surf Forecast 10 - 12 March

Of course, at this early stage, the forecast isn’t exactly set in stone. Indeed, several recent model runs pick up a tropical low developing somewhere just off the Queensland coast early to mid next week - potentially heavily compound swell-potential from Wednesday to Friday. The BOM’s ACCESS model is putting forward the most aggressive solution; indicating a low-pressure cell forming along the trough as it moves over the Coral Sea on Tuesday/ Wednesday. The low would then track southwest and deepen, setting up a much stronger, 30 to 35kt fetch inside southern Queensland’s short-range swell window as it approaches Frazer Island on Thursday. This would see a much larger, storm-swell event; speculatively peaking in the vicinity of 4 to 6ft plus on Thursday and Friday.

SEE ALSO: John John Going Nuts With Wilko, Coco Ho & A Guy In Speedos

If the low were to achieve tropical cyclone strength, these swell-height estimates could blow out even further – as could the entire Quiksilver Pro infrastructure as the system brings near-gale force winds across Coolangatta. Of considerable interest are corresponding ECMWF model runs putting forward a similar scenario for the region late next week; forming a small low pressure cell within close range of Frazer Island around Thursday/ Friday.

In contrast, the GFS model heavily plays down the influence of the trough/ low – instead indicating a slow moving high over the southern Tasman Sea will be the primary driver of a modest ESE tradewind swell; probably not pushing beyond 3 to 4ft at Snapper late next week. The various models will, sooner or later, resolve the diverging scenarios, so stay tuned for updates on how this will play out over the next few days.


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