East Coast January 18 – 24, 2011.

25 Jan 2011 0

Perfect empty sneaks through unridden at Queenscliff post southerly change on Monday afternoon January 17, 2011.

Perfect empty sneaks through unridden at Queenscliff post southerly change on Monday afternoon January 17, 2011.

Meltdown Lowdown
East Coast January 18 – 24, 2011.
Words by Ben Horvath

The Chronicles of Cyclone Vania - The Final Act. Vania Tracked SSE Towards NZ Regenerated And Delivered A Parting Burst Of Mid Size Long - Period SE Groundswell.

The Joey was one of the only smooth, hollow options in Sydney on Monday morning Jan 17 as the wind was puffing more Nth than offshore NW.

The Joey was one of the only smooth, hollow options in Sydney on Monday morning Jan 17 as the wind was puffing more Nth than offshore NW.

In our last Meltdown Lowdown swell wrap 'Cyclone Vania' our main focus was on the cylinders the Cyclone delivered to SE Qld and northern NSW. We left Vania around lunchtime on Monday January 17 as the tropical low tracked south and a vigorous southerly change pushed through Sydney. Obviously the fresh wind change limited surfing options to protected south corners in southern NSW that afternoon – not necessarily a bad thing as winds were quite fluky and variable earlier that morning limiting tube time.
 
Certain north facing south corners delivered some overhead power on Monday arvo. A solid crew including Ace Buchan, Drew Courtney, Glen Hall and co enjoyed some chunky 6ft plus Avoca Point on the Central Coast. In Sydney Nth Steyne, Queenscliff  and Fairy Bower were the pick, whilst down the coast the Shellharbour and Ulladulla regions provided a couple of  protected options.

Long reef looking clean and fun on Saturday morning January 22.

Long reef looking clean and fun on Saturday morning January 22.

Tuesday morning was quite decent south of Sydney. In Sydney and further north it had dropped to 3 maybe 4ft, whilst on the Sth coast it was a semi glassy 5-6ft early. I bumped into former WQS competitor Mick Marjenovic and his mate surfing a secluded southern NSW reefbreak early on Tuesday morning Jan 18, but by mid morning a SE seabreeze and a swell shift from ENE right around to the SE killed it.
 
What happened later in the week is of interest.
 
The remnants of ex tropical Cyclone Vania merged with ex TC Zelia forming one complex low as the system tracked towards NZ.

Southerly winds blew offshore at this Southern NSW set up on Monday afternoon.

Southerly winds blew offshore at this Southern NSW set up on Monday afternoon.

Coastalwatch chief swell forecaster Ben Macartney said,” Extra tropical transition of the low occurred as it collided with a weakening frontal low traversing beneath the South Island. The low’s central pressure bombed to 975 hPa southeast of the South Island on Wednesday morning.

The frontal low established a strong ESE fetch across its southern flank on Tuesday, establishing an active sea state across the region. The system’s rapid intensification during Wednesday morning saw wind speeds increasing to gale to strong gale force across a broad area spanning the base of the South Island.”

The new SSE groundswell started showing on the south coast and in Sydney on Friday morning. I can attest to surfing solid 4-6ft SSE groundswell lines south of Jervis Bay on Friday afternoon. Sth magnets were only 3-4ft max in the morning but wave heights built steadily throughout the afternoon to a strong 4-6ft late in the afternoon.

It was the first overhead long period south groundswell to grace our shores so far this summer. Interestingly it hit during the same period virtually to the day as last summer’s standout swell - 'East Coast Explodes. January 19-21, 2010'. Sadly the rapid afternoon swell increase took its toll though. Twenty swimmers were swept out to sea at south swell magnet Stanwell Park. One man drowned and another is in critical condition as solid 5-6ft sets smashed the sandbars at Stanny on the arvo low tide, creating some crazy rips. Local crew said, “Heaps of swimmers were caught off guard by the ferocious low tide rips. We haven’t had any south swell this summer and the minute we did the rips and gutters were chronic. One minute people were swimming in knee deep water, the next they were getting smashed by 6ft sets and getting sucked out to sea.”
 
The first real summer south from Friday Jan 21 through to Sunday Jan 23 coincided with some hot, sunny weather, NW to NE winds and the warmest water all season. Exposed swell magnets from Sydney south were 5-6ft on Friday arvo and a clean 4-5ft plus on Saturday morning. The groundswell made it all the way up to the Gold Coast on the weekend. JC said, “D’bah was 4ft, and Snapper and Burleigh were fun as. Crew were even surfing Big Groyne Kirra again on Sunday morning Jan 23.”




I have definitely had a few fun waves over the last week, however haven't scored waves like the images attached. Who did score?



Tags: Australia , NSW , Sydney , Queenscliff , Palm , Joeys , Long , Reef (create Alert from these tags)

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