Your Easter Long Weekend Surf Forecast 14 - 17 April

13 Apr 2017 1

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST

Forecast issued Thursday, 13 April 2017

How good is Easter? That rhetorical question references many facets of the festive season: one being that it’s an extra-long weekend, another being the miraculous proliferation of Easter eggs and lastly, all the good surf. To provide a more concrete answer on just how good Easter is this year, it’s fair to say that just about every stretch of surfable Australian coastline will have good surf on most days this Easter.

The East Coast has not one, but two distinct swell-trains conspiring to produce mostly clean, small to mid-sized surf across all regions, spanning regions as far and wide as southern Queensland in the north to Eden in the south. Similarly, Victoria benefits from a multitude of swell sources that are set to deliver a series of overlapping pulses of SW groundswell – the largest of which now looks like kicking in just as everyone goes back to work on Wednesday. Finally, the West Coast also experiences the usual, relentless run of mid to large SW groundswell, which leaves local winds as the key determinant of good conditions. That means great conditions on Friday, tending not so great on Saturday before improving again into Sunday and Monday. Happy Easter folks.

SEE ALSO: Queensland Swell Switched On Yesterday

All the ingredients you need for a happy Easter. Photo: CW user DopeMachine.

All the ingredients you need for a happy Easter. Photo: CW user DopeMachine.

Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
While it’s not exactly shaping up as one for the record books, it’s fair to say the NSW coast will be pumping this Easter. The region is set to light up under a combination of small to mid-range swells under mostly favourable offshore to light onshore winds.

The primary swell-train impacting the coast over the Easter break is a mid-period SE swell arising from a slow moving Tasman low that parked itself off NZ’s South Island this week. The low has already delivered large, albeit windblown S and SSE swells to the coast, but now that’s it’s positioned further offshore we can look forward to cleaner, more accessible conditions – initially holding around the 3 to 4ft range on Friday before settling to a clean 2 to 4ft on Saturday. Although the swell is forecast to drop to lower levels into Sunday and Monday, don’t be put off by the smaller size. The arrival of a long-range E groundswell presents further potential for good conditions state-wide – and if you happen to be camping out further north then you’re likely to see larger surf resulting from this wave-train on both days.

Friday
Mid period SE groundswell. Sets around 3 – 4ft+ exposed open breaks early, easing marginally during the afternoon. WIND: Early light WSW tending S 5 to 15 knots, then lighter SE later.

Saturday
Reinforcing SSE swell mixing with underlying SE swell. Ranging from 2 - 4ft south facing breaks, grading to 2 – 3ft elsewhere. WIND: Early light SW tending SSW, then SE to E 5 to 10 knots during the afternoon.

Sunday
Combination of easing SSE swell and underlying, long-range E groundswell. Sets to 2 – 3ft exposed breaks, smaller elsewhere and inconsistent in the upper range. WIND: Early light WNW tending NNE 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon.

Monday
Combination of small SSE swell and underlying, long-range E swell. Ranging from 1 – 3ft exposed breaks, grading smaller elsewhere and inconsistent in the upper range. WIND: W 5 to 10 knots tending light onshore during the afternoon.

A combination of solid SE swell reinforced by smaller, long-range E swell should produce plenty of good options across the entire NSW coast this Easter.  Photo: CW user GreyC.

A combination of solid SE swell reinforced by smaller, long-range E swell should produce plenty of good options across the entire NSW coast this Easter. Photo: CW user GreyC.

Queensland and Far Northern NSW
Like the southern half of the NSW coast, southern Queensland and northern NSW coasts can look forward to not just one, but two overlapping swells this Easter. Initially SSE swell emerges as the primary source of surf across the region into Friday and Saturday – and that means you’ll need to be south of the border if you want to get amongst some sizeable waves on both days. Saturday, however, marks the arrival of along-range E groundswell that holds excellent surf-potential for the region right through to Easter Monday. While not overly sizeable, this episode holds good potential for solid surf ranging from 3 to 4ft across the more exposed open breaks into Saturday afternoon and throughout Sunday, punctuated by long lulls between sets. With favourable land breezes giving way to light onshores, it’s definitely shaping up as a great Easter to be in the water.

Friday
Mid-period SSE swell fills in. Consistent 3 – 4ft exposed northern NSW breaks, wrapping in at 2 – 3ft southern QLD exposed breaks and smaller inside the points and bays. WIND: Early WSW/SSW 5 to 15 knots, tending SSE to SE during the afternoon.

Saturday
SSE swell. Sets up to 2 – 4ft exposed northern NSW breaks, mixing with new, rising E groundswell at 2 – 3ft across exposed southern QLD breaks and grading smaller inside the points and bays. WIND: Early WSW/SSW 5 to 15 knots inshore, tending SE to E 5 to 15 knots during the afternoon.

Sunday
Long range E groundswell mixing with easing SSE swell. Inconsistent 2 – 4ft exposed breaks, grading smaller inside the points and bays. WIND: Early light WSW to SSW 5 to 10 knots inshore, tending light SE to NE during the arvo.

Monday
Long range E groundswell mixing with leftover SSE swell. Inconsistent 2 – 3ft+ exposed breaks, grading smaller inside the points and bays WIND: Early light WNW tending light and variable, then to light seabreezes during the afternoon.

The arrival of a long-range E groundswell on Saturday maintains excellent conditions across southern Queensland throughout the Easter long weekend. Photo: CW user Dexianfets.

The arrival of a long-range E groundswell on Saturday maintains excellent conditions across southern Queensland throughout the Easter long weekend. Photo: CW user Dexianfets.

Victoria
You could almost call it a classic Victorian Easter when it comes to surf this year, except that local winds are somewhat atypical. The arrival of several, overlapping pulses of strong SW groundswell should see the Surf Coast pumping throughout the Easter break, while keeping the exposed beaches big and challenging. Proceedings commence with a first strong, mid-period SW pulse building in on Friday, followed by a couple of similarly large, overlapping  SW pulses carrying through the remainder of the long weekend.

The only less-than-stereotypical aspect of the forecast is local winds. Instead of the typical westerly flow that often accompanies sustained periods of SW groundswell, we’re initially looking at a moderate SSW change on Friday – and in the first instance this won’t add much appeal to conditions. However, as a new high moves across Bass Strait on Saturday winds will fall to light and variable, making for good, albeit slightly wobbly conditions across all coasts. Sunday morning should offer up a beautiful morning of light NW to WNW winds, falling away to light and variable – and with a stronger push in SW groundswell underway it looks well worth a paddle.

At this point there’s a possibility we’ll see a brief period of light NE winds early on Monday, but they’re again forecast to fall away to light and variable during the day, making for another cracking day of waves state-wide.

Friday
Reinforcing SW groundswell builds in. Around 3 – 5ft exposed beaches early, picking up to 4 – 6ft+ later. Sets to 3 – 4ft across the Surf Coast, bumping up later. WIND: Early light W to SW tending S 5 to 15 knots, easing during the afternoon.

Saturday
Reinforcing SW groundswell. Sets ranging from 5 - 6ft+ exposed coasts. Grading to 3 – 5ft across the premier Surf Coast reefs. WIND: Light and variable tending S to SE 5 to 15 knots during the afternoon.

Sunday
Stronger SW groundswell builds in. Solid 4 – 6ft exposed beaches, building to 5 – 6ft+ during the day. Sets around 3 – 4ft+ across the Surf Coast early, picking up to 4 – 5ft+ during the day. WIND: Early light NW to NW tending light and variable, then light SW to SE during the afternoon.

Monday
Easing SW groundswell 4 to 6ft sets along the exposed beaches. Wrapping at 3 - 4ft+ across the Surf Coast, easing later. WIND: Mostly light and variable. Possibly light WNW early.

The Surf Coast receives consecutive days of good surf throughout the Easter break this year. Photo: Judy Scanlon.

The Surf Coast receives consecutive days of good surf throughout the Easter break this year. Photo: Judy Scanlon.

Western Australia
If there’s one thing you won’t be complaining about this Easter, it’s a lack of swell. Unless of course, you live in Perth, where there’s always a lack of swell. The arrival of two solid, overlapping pulses of SSW groundswell will keep surf-heights running at substantial levels throughout the Easter break; mostly fluctuating between 3 and 6ft across the Southwest, with brief windows of larger pulses. With the exception of Saturday, there should be good windows of early light offshore winds preceding shifts to the south, so whether it’s an exposed reef or sheltered bay, you should be able to get a wave in every day this Easter.

Friday
Easing SW groundswell coupled with moderate SE winds, freshening SSE. Southwest coast: 4-6ft, easing. Perth/Mandurah: 1-2ft, easing. WIND: SE 10-15kts tending SSE 20-30kts.

Saturday
New mid sized SSW groundswell fills in under continued fresh SE - SSE winds. Southwest coast: Unsettled 4-6ft, rising larger inco sets at south exposed breaks. Perth/Mandurah: 1ft+. WIND: SSE wind early 20-25kts freshening 30kts.

Sunday
Minor overlap in long period SW groundswell. Southwest coast: 4-6ft, easing later. Perth/Mandurah: 1-1.5ft. WIND: SE 10-20kts tending S’ly.

The West Coast sees consecutive days of solid waves making for a very full Easter long weekend of surfing.

The West Coast sees consecutive days of solid waves making for a very full Easter long weekend of surfing.

South Australia
Easter probably doesn’t get a whole lot better across South Australia. The combination of powerful SW groundswell and light offshore to light and variable winds would have many a frother already on the road, bound for a remote stretch of coastline that I know very little about. Even if you’re not venturing too far from home, the South Coast will also be producing the goods each and every-day of Easter Break; with the more exposed breaks pulling in surf ranging anywhere from 3 to 5ft under mostly favourable winds all weekend.

Friday
New SW groundswell builds in. Possibly undersized early at 2 - 3ft+ exposed South Coast beaches, picking up to 3 – 4ft+ during the arvo. Grading to 0.5 - 1ft across the Mid Coast. WIND: E to NE 5 to 10 knots, tending light and variable during the afternoon.

Saturday
Slow easing SW groundswell. Mostly 3 - 4ft+ exposed South Coast beaches, easing later. Grading to 1ft+ across the Mid Coast. WIND: Early light E to NE tending SE during the afternoon.

Sunday
New, long period SSW groundswell fills in. Sets ranging from 2 - 4ft exposed South Coast breaks, picking up to 3 – 6ft during the afternoon. Grading to 1 - 2ft+ across the Mid Coast. WIND: Early light and variable tending S to SSE 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon.

Monday
Easing SSW groundswell. Solid sets to 3 – 4ft+ exposed south coast beaches, grading to 1ft+ across the Mid Coast. WIND: Early light NE tending SE 5 to 15 knots during the afternoon.

Solid SW groundswell and days of light winds will see plenty of this kind of action across SA over the Easter break. Photo: CW user Derryn.

Solid SW groundswell and days of light winds will see plenty of this kind of action across SA over the Easter break. Photo: CW user Derryn.


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