Could Red Bull Cape Fear Run This Week?

28 Jun 2017 0

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

Photo by Brad Whittaker

Photo by Brad Whittaker

2017 RED BULL CAPE FEAR | FORECAST PARTNER

Forecast issuedCape Fear Surf Forecast issued 10.30am, Tuesday, 27 June, 2017

There has been some talk and speculation over whether the 2017 Red Bull Cape Fear event could run with a south swell forecast for Sydney later this week. Here's the latest on that forecast and mechanical breakdown of how swell works at Cape Solander in order for the event to go into orange alert.

There is a mid-latitude low developing over the Tasman Sea on Thursday that will generate a steep rise in S swell, peaking late Friday / early Saturday. This episode will be too south in direction to run Cape Fear. Although swell direction trends SSE on Sunday and Monday, the swell is expected to remain unsuitable for running the event. There are no other notable swell sources appearing on the long-range forecast window into the first week of July.

Forecast Overview

The onset of a large S swell event throughout Friday and the weekend will in all likelihood remain unsuitable for running Cape Fear. The swell source is a low pressure system forecast to develop over the southern Tasman Sea on Thursday and Friday. The low’s development commences with a weak surface trough drifting offshore on Wednesday, ahead of a stronger, active cold front that will merge with the trough as it sweeps across Tasmania and into the southern Tasman on Thursday. As the low deepens offshore on Friday morning it establishes a strong, 20 to 35kt SW/SSW fetch; the head elongating out of Bass Strait as the tail extends deep into the Southern Ocean, well below Tasmania.

Based on current guidance it looks like starting out at 2 to 3ft plus levels at first light, before rapidly picking up throughout the day. This should lead in a peak in 4 to 6ft plus range late Friday through early Saturday, but both the swell direction and strong SSW airflow will keep conditions below par at Cape Fear on both days.

Both GFS and EC runs indicate the low will maintain a broad area of low-end southerly quarter gales throughout the south-central and the south-eastern Tasman Sea as the low approached NZ’s west coast on Saturday. A subsequent pulse of mid-range SSE swell should show peak size on Sunday, before easing to more accessible 2 to 3ft plus levels by Monday morning. However, the deepwater swell direction will remain predominantly south (around 150 to 160 degrees on Monday) - and the size will also taper off rapidly early next week, so at this stage, it appears unlikely to qualify as a suitable swell.

From there we can expect smaller scale SE swell to gradually fade from Tuesday to Thursday, ahead of another modest round of S swell picking up late next week. Once again the straight southerly swell-regime presents minimal chances for running Cape Fear. Beyond that, a renewed decline in energy following a blocking high setting up over the Tasman Sea during Friday 7 and the weekend of Saturday 8 July.

See the event format HERE

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