Weekend Surf Forecast 4 - 6 December 2015
Forecast issued Thursday, 3 December 2015
There’s a lot going on in the surf department this weekend. As you’ve probably already read in the recent Swell Alert, the Eastern Seaboard is on the cusp of an extended run of long-range E swell linked to the first tropical cyclone of the 2015/16 season: Tropical Cyclone Tuni.This effectively marks a season-opener for southern Queensland and it also delivers an excellent run of mid-sized surf to the entire NSW coast all weekend.
Further south, the combination of lighter N to NE winds and an easing SW swell point to good surf across Victoria’s exposed beaches – and South Australia also benefits from similar conditions all weekend. Only the West Coast sees relatively unfavourable conditions as strong SSW winds hamper surface quality for several days.
On a more personal note, the birth of my second child is now imminent, so in the next few weeks I’ll be absent, doing what dads do.In my place, Swell Forecaster Matt McKay will be preparing the forecasts for the remainder of 2015. He’ll be responsible for the Eastern States and South Oz - as well as the Weekend Forecasts right through to early next year. To provide a bit more background, Matt has been working with us now for about six months and has already put together some great work – such as the recent Forecaster Blog for the Pipe Masters. Matt is currently studying atmospheric science and he’s also a mature age bodyboarder (ie he’s now transitioning to riding a surfboard), a keen photographer – and a great asset to the Coastalwatch team.
LISTEN TO THE WEEKEND SURF FORECAST PODCAST WITH REGGAE ELLIS
Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
It’s shaping up as a pretty good weekend to go surfing across the NSW coast. As Thursday’s strong round of S swell begins to taper off throughout Friday it gives way to an underlying easterly groundswell originating from deep the south-central Pacific Ocean; compliments of a low-strength, Tropical Cyclone Tuni and a monumental high pressure system cradling the cyclone from the south.
As is typical of such swell events, select locations will focus the energy to produce solid surf ranging from 3 to 5ft, while the majority only pull in comparatively modest set waves ranging from 2 to 4ft. Although a light onshore airflow continues to hamper surface quality on Friday, Saturday morning will see excellent conditions as early light WNW winds groom the easterly lines to a proverbial rulers edge. It’s worth making the most of this window. Winds are set to freshen out of the NE on Saturday afternoon and a southerly change arriving early on Sunday morning will invariably limit clean surfable options to sheltered southern corners.
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Primary ENE swell and secondary SSE swell. Inconsistent 2 – 4ft sets exposed open beaches, bumping up during the day. WIND: Early light ESE 5 to 10 knots tending E to NE into the afternoon.
Mid period ENE groundswell. Inconsistent sets to 3 – 4ft+ eastern exposures, grading to 2 – 3ft+ elsewhere. WIND: Early light WNW tending NE 10 - 20 knots during the afternoon.
Mid period ENE groundswell. Around 3 - 4ft+ exposed open beaches, easing marginally during the afternoon. WIND: Early light and variable tending SSW 5 to 15 knots during the morning, then S to SE 10 to 20 knots during the afternoon.
Queensland and Far Northern NSW
Thursday marked the first substantial day in an extended run of easterly swell that’s expected to come to a head over the next few days. This episode comes compliments of Tropical Cyclone Tuni and an adjoining high pressure system that’s been cranking out moderate to strong tradewinds across the south-central Pacific for a full week.Although the remoteness of the swell-source will see big lulls at times, we can look forward to a steady supply of 3 to 5ft E swell pulsing across the region throughout Friday and the weekend and in the short term there’s also an additional SSE swell supplementing this energy.
With a strong SSE airflow now in place the points and bays will be the focal point for clean surf through the height of this episode. Although the TC Tuni episode will have a long-tail producing incrementally smaller surf across the region over the course of next week, winds are set to swing back to the NE on Tuesday and Wednesday, so make hay while these conditions last.
Mid period E groundswell. Inconsistent sets around 3 – 4ft+ exposed QLD beaches, picking up during the afternoon. Mixing with easing SSE swell at similar levels across northern NSW coasts. WIND: SSE 15-25 knots tending SE later.
Mid period E groundswell mixing with SE windswell. Ranging from 3 - 5ft+ exposed breaks, grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: Early inshore SSW tending SSE 10 to 20 knots.
Mid period ESE groundswell. 3 - 5ft exposed open beaches and easing marginally during the afternoon. WIND: Early light SW inshore tending SE 10 to 20 knots during the day.
In the wake of a couple of good days of surfing across the Surf Coast the focus begins to shift back to the exposed beaches leading into the weekend. A steady downward trend in SW swell coincides with lighter wind-regime making for clean, but still solid 4 to 5ft surf across exposed stretches on Friday.
Saturday morning is shaping up as the pick over the next few days as lighter northerly winds greet a more accessible 3 to 4ft SW swell and it’s worth capitalising on these clean conditions before winds swing onshore during the day. Sunday sees a minor reinforcing pulse of SW swell maintaining good conditions across the exposed beaches early, but they’re set to deteriorate as SE winds freshen during the day.
Easing SW swell. 4 - 5ft across exposed locations, easing during the day. Initially 2 - 3ft on the Surf Coast, easing a little during the afternoon. WIND: Early light ENE 5 to 10 knots tending E to SE 5 to 15 knots into the afternoon.
SW swell. 3 - 4ft exposed coasts. Grading to 1 - 3ft along the Surf Coast. WIND: Light and variable/ N tending SSE to SE 5 to 10 knots.
Reinforcing SW groundswell. 2 - 3ft+ exposed beaches grading to 1 – 2ft across the Surf Coast. WIND: ENE to ESE 10 to 20 knots.
It’s fair to say the West Coast has seen better weekends for surfing in recent times. Although there’s no shortage of mid-sized SW swell on tap, strong onshore winds will tarnish conditions for several days to come. The persistent presence of a surface trough over the western interior supports several days of strong south to south-westerly winds – strong enough to write off potential for any quality surf across exposed Southwest coasts from Friday right through to Monday. This will invariably limit surfable options to the sheltered bays and points over this time frame – so although it’s not looking flash there should be something on offer all weekend.
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New SW swell peaks early then fades. Southwest coast: 4-6ft sets on open exposures, tending smaller in afternoon. Perth/Mandurah: 1-2ft sets easing. Early S wind 5kt metro areas and tending SSW 10-20 knots towards southwest regions. Rising SW in afternoon 10-15kt+.
Decreasing SW swell mixed with new local windwaves. Southwest coast: 3-4ft, occasionally plus sets on top exposures. Perth/Mandurah: 1ft+. S wind 15-20kt tending SW in afternoon 10-20kt.
New SSW windswell mix peaks early. Southwest coast: 3-4ft+ crossed up waves. Perth/Mandurah: 1-2ft short peaks. Variable winds. SSW 15 to 25 knots.
Light offshore winds and small-scale SW swell make for a fairly appealing combination this weekend. Friday sees a short-lived window of favourable ENE winds swing from E to SE at during the afternoon as set waves linger around the 2ft mark. Saturday then sees a minor upswing in wave energy combining with very light offshore winds ahead of light to moderate seabreezes puffing up during the afternoon. This energy continues to run at similar levels throughout Sunday as the pattern of early light offshore winds persists.
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Low scale SSW swell. 1-2ft across the exposed beaches. 0-1ft across the Mid Coast early. WIND: E to NE 5-10 knots tending SE 10-15 knots.
New SW groundswell. 2-3ft along exposed beaches. 0-1ft along the Mid Coast. WIND: Light and variable tending SSE 10-15 knots.
Small SW swell. 1-2ft+ along exposed beaches. Grading to flat along the Mid Coast. WIND: Early ENE 5-10 knots tending ESE 15 - 20 knots.
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