National Meltdown Lowdown: Winter 2008
Both temperatures and rainfall were close to normal over most of the Australian continent in winter, with a mild June being offset by a cool August. Relatively few areas departed strongly from the long-term average in either direction, although there was a tendency towards dry conditions in the southern half of the continent.
The Eastern states fared best on the surf front. QLD, NSW and TAS all scored solid 7 out of 10 ratings, as did WA. Vic scored a 5 whilst SA was the biggest loser scoring only 3 out of 10
At one point Shipsterns broke 4 or 5 times in a consistent two week period in August. Solander or “Ours” broke every few days last in June and early July 07, but was rarely surfed in June July 08. However in August and even early September there were several standout days which gives you a good indication of how late winter was probably the pick in the Eastern states. Similarly Lennox was quite consistent in august 08 but only sporadic in June/July which of course is another indicator. – Ben Horvath
Winter rating: 7 / 10
In the wave department, winter began with a bang with a solid swell at the beginning of June. It started off windy and wet as a low pressure system parked off Fraser Island, so only the north facing points at Byron, Coolangatta and Noosa were handling the conditions. The wind and swell moderated over the course of the next week providing good, clean waves to kick start the season.
We enjoyed our first bout of south swell mid June. The swell built on Saturday June 14, peaked on Sunday and dropped off gradually over the next 3 days. It was a classic case of winter waves at their best, with clear skies, offshore winds and clean water in the 20-21 degree range.
The rest of June was small and fun with plenty of 2-3ft days along the open beach breaks that pick up the south swell.
The start of July delivered more of the small, clean waves with offshore morning winds along the open beaches, clear water and blue skies.
After a mid winter slumber the ocean sprang to life late in the month. On Wednesday July 23, a south swell powered by a low in the southern Tasman Sea produced the goods, and once again the protected bays at Byron, Coolangatta, Mooloolaba and Noosa were the pick.
The next day another low pressure system developed, positioned well off to the NE in the Coral Sea, so there were mixed swell directions on the Thursday. On Friday July 25 the first low had moved right away and the low off to the north started moving SSE. High quality waves pumped right up and down the coast for days as the low made its merry way down the coast and off to the SE.
The remainder of July and the first half of August were small, but fun with just a touch of south swell getting in to the more open beaches, combining with clear days and cool nights. On Thursday August 14, a SSE swell started pushing up the coast, the Lennox to Ballina stretch was in top form and there were waves on all points to the north, even if they were a bit smaller. Even Noosa was picking up some of the south swell in around the corner.
The swell was even cleaner on Friday August 15 and it stuck around until Wednesday August 20, easing back a touch each day. On Saturday August 24 another SSE swell pushed its way up along the NSW coast and it was on again. Lennox to Ballina was again bigger, but once again there were excellent waves from Noosa all the way down the coast. The waves lasted until just before lunchtime on Monday when a NE sea breeze kicked in.
While winter 08 wasn’t classic like 07, there were plenty of small, fun, clean days with intermittent bursts of bigger waves every couple of weeks and the sand formations on the points were in top shape even if the beachies were a bit straight. I rate winter 08 a 7 out of 10.
Winter rating: 7 / 10
Following on from a very dry autumn, NSW experienced close to average rainfall during winter. The statewide average rainfall was 95.8 mm, which is slightly lower than the historical winter average1 of 115.1 mm.
However, it should be noted that despite much of northern and coastal NSW recording close to average winter rainfall, dry conditions continued in the southern border regions of the state, with below average rainfall recorded during winter.
NSW experienced a mixed bag of temperatures during winter, with unseasonably warm temperatures in June, average temperatures in July and very cool temperatures in August. However, because of this variation, overall winter temperatures were close to average over much of the state.
The statewide average maximum temperature for winter 2008 was 16.6°C, which is 0.5°C above the historical average of 16.1°C. This is the 10th consecutive winter with above average statewide maximum temperatures.
NSW experienced unseasonable cold temperatures during August, under the influence of the persistent high pressure system in the Southern Ocean (southwest of Western Australia). It was the second coldest August on record (records since 1950) for overnight minimum temperatures, with a statewide average minimum of 3.2°C, 1.5°C below the historical average1 of 4.7°C. This was the coldest August since 1994 - which remains the coldest August on record (2.9°C).
Water temperatures were down too. The water got down to 16 degrees, even 15 at times in Sydney and surrounds. Down the south coast there were times during August when the water was 13, even 12 degrees.
June and the first two weeks of July were the pick on the East Coast during winter 07. Last winter was arguably the best ever, rating a 9 out of 10 – it would have been a 10 if August had been more consistent. This year, August and the first two weeks of September have been the pick of the year so far, more consistent than January and June. Of course September is officially spring so those first two standout weeks of Sept will be reviewed in our spring seasonal meltdown. But, because it remained cold, we will give those two weeks honourable mention as part of winter 08.
In summary I would say winter 08 was above average. I would give it a solid 7 out of 10. We could of done with one or two more East or NE swells. 95% of swells were out of the south and because water and land temps were down on recent winters, i would classify winter 08 as a traditional old-school winter. We haven’t experienced one like it (with similar characteristics) in well over a decade.
Queens Birthday June long weekend
QLD expectations were reasonably high as we approached the Queens Birthday long weekend (traditionally a consistent window for waves in Sydney). As we watched a low/rain depression slowly run down the coast, we were obviously disappointed that it was sitting too close to the coast to deliver any real quality long period NE action.
An ugly three to four foot ENE swell turned up across Sydney and the South Coast on Wednesday morning June 4 and gradually increased throughout the day. It was thoroughly smashed by twenty to thirty knot ESE winds, being driven by the low and a firm ridge lying across the Tasman.
Open Ocean swell reached a peak of four to six metres on the Sydney Buoy on relatively short periods of seven to nine seconds – a strong rise following the path of a surface low tracking southward off the NSW coast on Wednesday, from just off Coffs Harbour on Wed morning to a position east of Seal Rocks on Wed afternoon.
The steep increase in swell followed the southward movement of a gale area located just south of the low, driving a short range 30 – 40 knot easterly fetch towards Sydney and Wollongong throughout the day.
The characteristics of the fetch weren’t conducive to producing quality waves. A relatively short fetch combined with its close proximity to the coast generated a broad spectrum wave field – resulting in a chaotic sea state comprised of short period swells ranging from NE to ESE in direction, mixed in with short period wind-chop sustained by strong onshore winds.
Bumpy conditions continued into Thursday June 5 as the low stalled off the Hunter coast, but throughout the day there was a steady improvement as winds shifted south. Up the coast places like Lennox and a bunch of other far and even mid north coast pointbreaks started to improve. Surface conditions across Sydney and the South Coast remained untenable as a strong SE flow persisted throughout the day, though it did moderate into the afternoon as the low began to weaken.
In Sydney on Thursday Warriewood, Collaroy and The Bower offered up some surfable options, and there were even a few fun little novelty waves breaking in the Bays and Harbours.?On Friday, lighter SW to SE winds in Sydney and Wollongong meant there were some decent options on the northern side of pointbreaks, but it was still far from perfect as the swell was hardly lined up.
On Saturday June 7 morning, winds were offshore SW briefly and there were some pretty decent new banks about after the recent rains and swell activity stirred up the sand flow.
Sunday was onshore but Monday June 9 delivered some clean 3 to 4 footers under a cloudy sky.
June 14-19, 2008
The biggest swell of the year on the East Coast so far.
A solid round of south swell peaked on Sunday June 15 in the six to eight foot plus range across much of the NSW coast before gradually easing in size on Monday morning, ranging between four and six feet depending on location. The swell was the by-product of a deep low that developed off the NSW coast on Friday night, driving a thirty to fifty knot southerly fetch across the Western Tasman – which in turn fuelled the rapid rise in south swell on Saturday.
Saturday June 14 dawned cold, grey and windy in Sydney. Winds were SW at dawn and the swell was a raw 3-5ft and on the rise. By lunchtime winds were near gale force from the SSW, so only the extreme southern corners were rideable. In the space of about six hours the Sydney Buoy recorded a steep in increase in wave heights from lows of one to two metres to a peak of five to nine metres at periods of ten to twelve seconds on Saturday.
The story was similar across the entire NSW coast, with corresponding wave data recorded on the Byron Bay Buoy. For the most part, the life-cycle of the low followed computer modeled projections, moving slowly northward across the central Tasman Sea on Saturday as it continued to deepen, reaching a central pressure of 996 hPa in the early hours of Sunday and then weakening from there, filling in to 1002 hPa by Monday.
Sunday was arguably the biggest day of the year in Sydney and surrounds thus far. Problem was the wind was howling out of the south. Some solid waves in the 6-8ft plus range were ridden, but it was far from epic. The Illawarra titles were on at Sandon. Again some solid waves were ridden, but it was too south to be pitting.
Further south, most of the swell was bypassing RS, but there were one or two other options in the Shell Harbour vicinity. Cronulla Point was solid but a little pushy and wind effected. North of the bridge: Deadmans was okay for a few hours; Dee Why Point had its moments; certain reefs at Collaroy were rideable; Warriewood, Newport Reef and south Palmy were also surfable options.
The further north you went up the coast the better the winds were. Lennox was okay, and The Wreck had a few small clean runners too.
An easing trend in SSE swell occurred on Monday 16 June, initially it was quite heavy in the morning, but by late in the afternoon it was 4ft max on Sydney’s south facing beaches. Wave heights leveled off around three to four feet across the NSW coast on Tuesday morning, but conditions were by no means flash; a new ridge of high pressure built in the wake of the departing low, sustaining onshore winds from the SSE in the morning and tending ESE as the ridge lengthened across the Tasman in the afternoon.
Wednesday June 18 and Thursday June 19 were a lot cleaner. A strong ESE fetch wrapping across the underside of the low on Sunday and Monday delivered an excellent round of mid range 2-4ft E swell, under lighter NW to N winds as the high pressure ridge weakened and moved further offshore. There were some clean 2-4ft beachies on Wednesday under light NW winds and then fun, clean 2-3footers were enjoyed on Thursday morning.
Last week was a classic example of textbook winter surfing conditions on the East Coast: three separate pulses of long period south groundswell within a seven day window. On Friday June 20 the swell was actually out of the ESE, but on Saturday morning a fresh south groundswell in the 3-4ft range kicked in. That round peaked on Sunday afternoon in the 4-5ft plus range but it was wind effected late in the day. A new stronger south pulse kicked in on June 24, peaking in the 4-6ft range at south exposed locations and then a third pulse again from the south kicked in on June 26.
Unfortunately due to the solid 8ft plus storm swell the previous weekend (Sunday June 15) the bank quality up and down the coast was generally poor. Of course there were exceptions, but a lot of Sydney’s beachbreaks were terribly straight. Of course a long period south groundswell and straight storm damaged banks aren’t ideal companions, so point and reefbreaks were the better options. Still, a week of sunshine, offshore Westerly winds and three separate pulses of mid range south groundswell qualify for a mention in the best-week-of-the-year-so-far tag. There have been better and bigger swells but as far as weeks go, this past week has to be right up there so far this year in NSW at least.
Insane South Coast Slabs: Tuesday June 24.
Hammerheads turned on down the south Coast of NSW. The biggest waves were ridden in the morning, but it was cleaner in the arvo as the swell period lengthened and the wind backed right off.
A mid sized ENE groundswell impacted much of the NSW coastline from Byron in the north to Ulludulla in the Sth. The mid north coast was very good on Thursday.
Groms on school holidays generally enjoyed a great run of winter weather. Winds in NSW were mostly offshore during the entire fortnight. Schools were filled with pilgrims and the city streets were awash with flags and positive, friendly vibes. Out in the water, older crew were getting restless though. There were surfable waves on most days at south facing magnets in the 1-3ft range for groms and keener older crew, but challenging winter conditions they were not. The typical carpark-post-surf-banter centered around how unlike last years benchmark season winter 2008 was turning out. There have been moments, but obviously nowhere near the consistency of size we enjoyed in 07. As a consequence of the extended run of smallish swell and the predominantly offshore winds, banks on most beaches were becoming quite straight.
Thankfully all that changed right on cue. The day most groms went back to school (Tuesday July 22) a solid 6-8ft south swell marched up the NSW coast. It wasn’t epic by any means, although for a few hours on Tuesday morning there were plenty of solid clean waves about. A lot of water and sand was moving about, so no doubt the banks will be in far better shape post swell too.
July 30 - August 1
Many experienced observers called Friday August 1 the best day of winter.
Whilst the previous weeks south swell was undoubtedly bigger, this weeks ESE swell delivered some cleaner, suckier waves. Friday August 1 was without question the standout day, but there were also plenty of fun, clean beachies on Thursday July 31, and some mid range reef and beachbreaks around on Wednesday July 30 too.
Unfortunately stiff offshore WNW winds did limit the number of surfable options at times. Offshore reefs, bombies and most pointbreaks were blown out by mid morning, however many beachbreaks turned on what seemed like an endless supply of drainpipes most of the day. At first light winds were light to moderate NW, but most places were a little full early. By mid morning winds stiffened out of the WNW, the tide dropped and it was tunnel time on the beachbreaks. It was a matter of paddling hard, usually at an angle, then committing to a strong bottom turn and pulling in. The swell peaked at 10.00am at a solid 4-6ft on the sets.
A classic late winter swell, typical of winter 08’s dominant south swell train. There were some cold, crisp, clean beachbreak days preceding the initial south pulse on Thursday July 14. Tuesday and Wednesday August 12 and 13 were 3ft offshore and fun. On Thursday August 14 the swell strengthened into the 3-4ft range particularly in the afternoon.
On Friday July 15 morning it was firing. Clean long south groundswell lines marched up the East Coast. Down Ulladulla way it was 6-7ft. In Sydney it was a strong 4-5ft plus, whilst up near Ballina was roping in clean 4-6ft plus lines. Friday was the best day even though Sunday was bigger.
Saturday/Sunday/Monday August 17-19
Around mid morning on Saturday winds shifted more SW/SE so surfable options were reduced to the southern corners. Sunday morning was clean early, although there was some surface bump after Saturday afternoon’s south winds. Monday morning was smaller, averaging 4ft on the sets, but it was quite clean.
The water temp was the coolest it has been for years (as low as 15.5 degrees in Syd and 14 down the coast) but hey, who cares when it’s pumping, right?
The Aug 14-19 South swell stirred some previously straight-ish banks up quite nicely, so the small, clean 2-3ft follow up beachies we enjoyed between swells were super fun.
Friday/Saturday - A storm develops: Friday August 22 was the coldest day all year in Sydney, and Saturday August 23 was right up there as one of the windiest. There was nowhere to surf on Saturday, except a couple of extremely sheltered southern corners.
Sunday morning dawned sunny and offshore SW though, meaning there were plenty of options. There was still a little leftover bump lurking after Saturday’s blow, but there were some inviting 5ft chunks for the early at least.
Monday was the standout day though. Both the size and quality of the waves on offer caught everyone off guard. Late on Sunday the swell looked like it was backing off substantially, so everyone was anticipating some smaller, cleaner beachbreak action on Monday August 25 morning. Instead, crew all over Sydney were scratching around in their garages dusting cobwebs off a bigger board. By mid-morning on Monday there were some thick, hollow 6-7ft plus waves around. The wind was offshore NW so water surface conditions were neat; the tide was low early, pushing in around mid morning just as the swell peaked. Plenty of solid drainpipes were ridden right up and down the East Coast on Monday morning August 25 before the spring-like NE sea breeze kicked around lunchtime.
– Ben Horvath
Winter rating: 5 / 10
We only had a fair run of surf on all the coasts in Victoria this winter. Early June to mid July was really good, and then the last six weeks have sustained a southerly pattern which is bad for everywhere. It was not until the last week or so that the situation improved. So my rating for winter is average, around 5 out of 10.
Since the start of winter the ocean water temperature has plunged from 15 to 12.8 degrees Celsius. It’s definitely 4/3 and booties temperature. If you are keen for two surfs it is a good idea to have two wetsuits so one is always dry.
After a series of relatively warm winters, the BOM has reported that, “winter 2008 saw temperatures close to the long-term normal. Overnight temperatures were mostly slightly above normal (within half a degree of the long-term averages) whilst daytime temperatures were mostly slightly below the long-term normal (within half a degree of the long-term averages).
Rainfall was slightly below the long-term normal in most districts. The close to normal temperatures that have occurred in winter 2008 are not inconsistent with the long-term warming trend which has been observed in recent decades. Even with this warming trend, relatively cool periods are still occurring, but less frequently than hitherto.”
Here are the highlights:
Sunday June 1 – A five meter ‘White Pointer’ was sighted chasing schools of salmon at Winki. The line-up was cleared and it was later identified as a Basking Shark (generally harmless). Clubbies and fisherman herded it out to sea. Also on this day a few tow teams scored perfect 6ft stand up barrels down the coast.
June 9 and 10 – Woolamai and the East Coast were firing, in the 2-3ft range, on the weekend of the June 9 and 10. Powlett also had some great waves on the Saturday if you were lucky to be there. Woolamai had great banks for the start of June. I counted around fifteen all pumping one morning.
June 27 and 28 – The swell jacked and straightened overnight, delivering 6-8ft+ waves on the Surfcoast, reefs on the Friday. The following morning the swell was even more aligned. It was the day of the year at Winki and Bells. Kai Otten and Luke Steadman high tailed down here and scored some fun waves. EP also lucked out, especially on Saturday evening.
Tuesday July 2 – Fishoes was pumping at 1-3ft with small barrels past the boat ramp. Casey Egan, Tommy Law, Rush and a few mates took it on under the cover of darkness after the State-of-Origin, with a few pots under their belts. Blacknose was also fun with waves in the 3-5ft range for two days straight.
Wednesday July 3 and Thursday July 4 – With solid 5-8ft waves at Bells and Winki on the Wednesday, Steph Gillmore surfed a few great waves with her booties on. At 10:30am, August 4, Jason ‘Borris’ Bowl headed in and gets washed up on the cliff down the valley, he totaling his brand new surfboard. At 10:45am Mark Philippoussis paddled around the Button at Winki-Pop, decided it way too big and heads in. He also snapped and lost his new board and ended up washed into a cave for a few hours. He was the only one to make headline stories in TV and newspapers. It sucks being famous.
Saturday July 5 – At Woolamai, so all time banks, holding up to five foot of surf lasted till the middle of the month and made the most of a long run of offshore NE winds. Saturday July 5 fired.
Tuesday July 8 - 13th Beach was cooking during the morning, with peaky hollow waves at 3-4ft.
August With great snow for the whole of August, a southerly weather pattern and freezing cold water, most sane people headed up to the mountains. However, there were a few notable days in the water.
Wednesday August 6 – Surfcoast scored a really clean 3-4ft swell with offshore NW wind.
Wednesday August 13 – A major swell produced 6-8ft sets and a few bigger horries on the Surfcoast. Without much tide during the day Fishos was the pick of the bunch. Blacknose broke again.
August 20, 21, 22 - Sick waves in the 3-4ft range hit the Surfcoast again. The highlights were Bird Rock and Winki on the arvo of Thursday August 21. The swell really pulsed from lunch time on this day and evening session was all time. Jeff Rowley scored one of the ‘longest barrels ever recorded’ at Winki.
Friday August 23 - Flynns was pumping 5-6ft and offshore.
Friday August 29 - The points were the choice on the Island places like Surfer Point and Flynns were cranking.
Saturday August 30 - Thirteenth Beach was kegging off its nut with solid 4-5ft waves. Swivel has a sick session. Lincon and the Hawkins brothers paddled in frustrated to hell.
Tasmania's run of swell on both the South and East Coast continued well into spring.
Winter rating: 7 / 10
The South enjoyed a consistent run of large swells at the tail end of winter and prior to that the East had a solid run. A run of huge swells attracted many professional surfers. However, it was the local lads who stepped up and showed everyone what they're made of. James - Hollmer - Cross in particular put in the hard yards at the state's better known breaks.
The water temperature dropped to around 10-11 degrees keeping the crowds to a minimum during winter 08. The 10th to 13th, 18th and 22nd to 25th of August was especially cold. Mount Wellington dropped to -7.5 °C early on the 13th, the coldest temperature recorded there since September 1994. The general wind direction during June was Westerly, however in July the Westerlies backed off eventhough there were a number of large frontal systems. In August the winds were generally strong westerly, combined with a few more southerly systems. August in Tasmania is the coldest month.
The Deep South provided some solid waves at Lion Rock. The rip running off to the side of the rock made for some thick take – offs on the outside peak for Rory Sanders, Phil Bro and Jy Jo. Waves up to 6 foot peeled down the neat bank. James Polly, Stu Gibbo, Nick Harris, Alex Zada and Dave Whyatt also rocked up.
Shipstern Bluff provided a fun little session for the local lads. Waves around 6-8 foot bowled on the reef under glassy conditions. Marti Para, Ian Chalmers, Mike Brennan and Jy Jo all scored sick stand up pits. Alex Zada snapped his leg on a solid one. Marti ended up shooting footage of himself from inside the pit for a rare view for everyone.
The "Mecca" Bowl at Dodges Ferry had some head high plus sets wedging up on an A-frame peak out in front of the car park. The line up was pretty empty with only 4 guys out.
The start of one of the best swell runs in years. Small points were ridden late on the low tide. Matt Kennedy and a host of long boarders took to the head high sets. Even though conditions were cold, everyone was happy to be out there.
A solid swell pushed up into Storm Bay, Goats beach was a solid 6 foot plus and The Wedge was pumping. The swell pulsed throughout the day and by mid-arvo 6 foot peaks were thumping on the shallow banks. Lovely glassy/offshore NNW winds groomed the perfect peaks all day. Phil Kelley, Matt Kenno and James - Hollmer - Cross tucked into the bomb sets. Many waves went unridden because it was so sucky.
Early morning points attracted a few punters.The wind swung NW early, so The Wedge turned on. James - Hollmer - Cross teamed up with Tim Mitchell and we jumped on Danny O'Donnells boat "The Flying Blue Eagle" into some of the biggest swell lines I have ever seen in the area. Mysto offshore bombies were breaking and waves that weren't supposed to be waves were pumping. James nailed some huge waves, but was unlucky not to get into the biggest sets which came roaring in on near dark. Some sets reached 18-20 foot. It was truly an amazing spectacle.
Still the swell pumped. Rebounds was a solid 4-6 foot, but Wedge was a little wobbly due to the suspect W wind. Rumours of pumping waves down south were enough to convince Matt Kenno to jump on board Dave Whyatt's boat and explore the south coast. Pea Shooters was ridden around 4 foot. Big Wes and Dave took to the right out the back, while Matt found some wedging, stand up kegging lefts further down the beach. First Lookout Point threw out some 10 foot bombs keeping the crew on their toes. Chris Cleary was taking some solid drops and some poor soul got swept the entire length of the point.
The swell continued to pound in, another swell hits Shipstern Bluff. Josh Kerr, Paul Morgan and Bear Cummins teamed up with the Tassie Boys. Dusto Hollick was loving life behind the ski, the usual paddle only tiger got around 15 waves before anyone knew what was going on. Tyler and James - Hollmer - Cross put on an awesome display of barrel riding. Morgs had a big dig on his backhand and Josh Kerr surfed with speed and seemed to bunny hop across the ledges. Benny Richo continued his improved barrel riding out there and was on fire. Even Joel Stevens manned up with Sean Wallbank, both landing some solid waves.
Up the East coast a nice little Southerly swell rolled in over a secluded shallow reef near Bicheno. Tyler Cross, Danny Griffiths, Big Jase and Andy Hoult joined local lad Benny Richo and pulled into the hollow right handers. Perfect, offshore winds groomed the swell - some hollow pits went down. Further up the coast at Douglas, the core local crew were out ripping into the fast rights. Wave size was about 4 foot. The old boys surfed with speed and agility which was good to see.
The East Coast pumped during a clean ENE swell. Eagle Hawk and Marion were pumping, while further up the coast at Bicheno, James -Hollmer - Cross managed to get Matt Dayton out of the woodwork and into some solid pits at Aggots. The hollow right hander provided some challenging take offs for both surfers.
The Points near Hobart had some fun head high waves for the fortunate few onto the sneaky swell. Clean swells rolled down the point and light WSW winds guaranteed wave faces were smooth.
July 22 - August 1
The East Coast had the best run of waves so far this year. Many days were 3-4 foot. The 22nd, 25th and 28th of July and Aug 1 were in the 6 foot range. Jy Jo and Ethan Wilson attacked some sizeable peaks at Aggots. Scamander had a few really solid days with light winds.
August 16 and 17
A solid South swell rifled up the East Coast. Protected corners inside Freycinet Peninsula were going off. All the locals appeared out of the woodwork to surf Cullaroo with some visiting Hobart based crew. Jy Jo, Ethan Wilson, Matt Kennedy and Marti Para all scored some fun 3-4ft walls down the inside.
Marti Paradisis paddled out at Shipstern by himself and jagged some awesome barrels. Solid 8 foot waves that were a tad wonky early, cleaned up by midday with the NW winds. This was the start of an incredible run of good wind and swell conditions at the famous reef.
Offshore NW winds cleaned up the wonky 6-10 foot swell. Mike Brennan and Paradisis towed into some solid ones early. In typical fashion Mike did something weird, stalling on the ledge copping a thick lip on the head that snapped his board. Alex Zada was also out there doing his thing in the tricky conditions.
Visiting mainland pro Dean Brady made his first appearance at Shippies. The big kid from Queensland finally got his hands on the rope and towed into a solid one, and you couldn't wipe the smile off his face for the next couple days. James and Tyler - Hollmer -Cross nailed some glassy bombs during the day and Marti Para paddled into some sick backdoor pits. Mike Brennan scored his fair share of waves and also some solid beatings, claiming he almost drowned on a few.
Shippies yet again had waves. South Arm also started to show some form on the right tides. Paso, Zada Z and Pat Faschnat all hit the Clifton banks, while further south Rory Sanders and Luke Farrelly got lucky finding some nice banks at Goats Beach. .
Strong offshore NE winds blew the swell away from South Arm and Shipstern's but stirred up some 2-4 foot short period windswell on the East Coast. At Bicheno a few sneaky reefs fired off some sweet barrels. A little further down the coast at Friendly Beaches a lucky solo surfer scored some fun peaks to himself.
- Andy Chisholm
Winter rating: 3 / 10
Winter 2008 got off to an unusually warm start, with a
maximum near 22°C in Adelaide and warm conditions across the state on June 1. Temperatures were slightly above average for June ( by about 1°C ), with a mean maximum temperature of 17.0°C ( average for June is 16.1°C ). The month was also very dry, with just 28.8mm of rain compared to the average of 80.5mm.
July was fairly typical, but the change in weather was noticeable after the previous milder month. Rainfall was only slightly below average at 66.8mm ( average 74.6mm ), and the maximum mean temperature was 14.8°C, marginally lower than the average of 15.3°C for the month. A cold snap on the 27 and 28th saw overnight minimum temperatures in may regions drop below freezing.
If August felt cold, that's because it was nearly two degrees cooler than the historical average for the month ( 14.8°C compared to a monthly average of 16.7°C ). Rainfall for the month was slightly above average at 79.8mm compared to the mean of 66.9mm for August. In spite of the cooler air temperatures, sea surface temperature felt slightly warmer than the previous two years.
Winter season rating 3 out of 10
Best Days - June
June 1st – 3rd – Offshore 2 – 3' waves on the South Coast, great weather to ease into winter
June 4th & 6th – Small clean 2' waves on the Mid Coast with light ESE winds, clean & offshore at Yorkes
Jun 7th – 3 - 4' semi clean on the South Coast with light winds
Jun 16th & 17th – first classic winter days with clean 3' waves and good banks from Middleton to Goolwa
Jun 22nd – Wind unexpectedly backs off at Victor, very good & head high at The Dump & Chiton
Jun 24th – clean, offshore 3 – 4' well formed swell Middleton – Cliffs
Jun 27th – best day in June by far: South, Clean 6'+ Bullies, overhead at The Dump, Mid Coast 2 - 3' and glassy. Tow-ins at several western locations.
Best Days - July
July 3rd – Clean with light WNW winds, 4 – 5' at Victor, glassy 2' waves on the Mid Coast
July 21st – Slightly bumpy 2 – 3' waves on the Mid Coast with winds shifting SE, clean and glassy 2' on the 22nd .
July 27th – Clean 2' waves on the Mid Coast
July 31st – Clean 4' waves on the South Coast with light winds
Best Days - August
August 8th, 20th - Clean 4' waves on the South Coast with light offshore NNW winds
August 20th - 25th – Great run of clean, offshore surf down South 3 – 4' with great weather
Aug 28th – Clean 2' waves on the Mid Coast
Aug 30th – new swell, 5' & offshore on the South Coast
Last 2 weeks great at Victor with most days offshore & clean, and surf in the chest high range
When all's said and done...
The general consensus among SA surfers is that Winter 2008 was pretty forgettable. In keeping with the last two winters, and out of step with the last 20 years, clean swell mostly eluded the Mid Coast and large swell missed the South Coast due to a strong westerly vector. Once again Yorkes and the West Coast did better out of the combination of conditions, but Fleurieu bound Adelaide surfers made many wasted trips. Some great banks between Middleton and Goolwa relieved some of the frustration, with many good days at the the start and end of Winter. Waitpinga even turned it on for a few days in winter with smaller swell, when the banks co-operated. There was really only one day when breaks near Victor fired, the 27th of June, the same combination of big SSW and WSW swells lighting up reefs on the Mid Coast. Of some consolation was a very slight increase in sea surface temperatures, making dawn duckdives in the depths of August slightly less agonising. It's generally held that the water didn't feel as cold this year. From here though, the only way is up – with fun spring swells and the welcome transition from 4mm steamer to 2mm springsuit. You'll hear all about it when we see you again in three months.
Winter rating: 7 / 10
Winter in the South West of WA can be a very trying and frustrating time for a surfer, with seemingly endless cold fronts bringing unfavourable conditions, usually a week at a time. Having said that, it can also be a good time to surf when the conditions do eventually come right, as the crowds are at a minimum, so you can score some great sessions.
It was a relatively mild winter in terms of frontal activity with below average rainfall and above average temperatures. We enjoyed a mixture of solid swell, coupled with clean, offshore conditions, mixed in with some very average back to back periods of onshore NW winds and rain.
A large contingent of local crew packed up and left for their annual up pilgrimage north or Indo/ Ments Sojourn. It seemed every 3rd or 4th local person you talked to was either packing up to go, or returning, from nice weather.
The weather we received mid August was nothing short of sensational; there was a bunch of beautiful, clean all - day offshores with small swells breaking nicely on well formed banks.
In summation it was a mild winter with occasional bursts of cold, onshore hell. Overall season rating 7/10
June rating 5/10
Early June delivered a couple of notable clean swells before we saw a period of NNE/NW wind days set in. There were some large swells mid June, that delivered waves in the bays and points, but those big days were very wind affected due to the extremely gusty W/SW winds.
July rating 7/10
July provided some brief relief from the NW/NNE flow too. There were several days of light to moderate SE/SSE winds with mid size swell getting into most locations.
There were also some memorable early July sessions that were pretty solid at Main Break Margaret’s as well as some good bay and point action on various days in July.
August rating 8/10
August really exceeded expectations as there was an unseasonal run of beautiful weather coupled with classic offshore conditions. The month started on a high with a clean swell that hung around for 3 days.
There was also another week of clean, small swell when some of the more exposed locations turned on. There were nice banks on the beachies literally from cape to cape.
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Can we please have a repeat of last summer?
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