Weekend Surf Forecast 27 - 29 January, 2017
COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST
How good is it, being Australian? I guess it can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but however you look at it, being a surfer in this part of the world really is something to celebrate. Sure, there are crowds: particularly on public holidays. And it gets cold. Really cold and windy across the southern states – not to mention tiny to flat across the East Coast for days – even weeks at a stretch. But the truth is, we have some of the most extensive, diverse, and wave-rich coastline on the planet. And compared to the long fished-out coasts of Europe, it’s absolutely teeming with sea-life.
Speaking of wave-rich, both the southern states of Victoria and South Australia – as well as Western Australia all have an abundance of swell this weekend; variously benefiting from strong, mid-period (that means 10 to 14 seconds) SW swells ranging anywhere from 3 to 6ft depending on time and place. In contrast, the Eastern Seaboard is singing a very different tune.
Queensland fares the worst under the influence of persistent, low-level E swell that barely qualifies as 1 to 2ft all weekend. The NSW coast fares marginally better; benefiting from a mix of background SSE swell and localised NE windswell – just enough to keep wave-heights at rideable levels across exposed beaches. Happy Australia Day everyone!
Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
The last weekend of January sees plenty of small-wave surfing opportunities on offer across the NSW coast; mostly in the 1 to 2ft range. As Thursday’s nicely timed pulse of S groundswell drops back to lower levels on Friday we have a similarly diminutive component of short-range easterly windswell adding into the mix. This should be just enough to qualify as 1 to 2ft waves across the region, with early light winds seeing the best of conditions before onshore winds freshen into the afternoon.
A slight uptick in local NE windswell holds slightly better surf-potential for the weekend; presenting scope for peaky 1 to 2ft waves across the more exposed breaks on Saturday as it continues to mix in with background SSE groundswell at tiny levels elsewhere. NE windswell should be a tad stronger on Sunday, but the operative word is tad – again only amounting to 2ft max across the most exposed breaks under light, fluky winds.
Leftover SSE swell and slight E windswell. Around 1 – 2ft south facing breaks early, fading during the day. WIND: Early light and variable, briefly tending S 5 to 10 knots, then SE to NE up to 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon.
Mix of short-range NE windswell and background SSE swell. Around 1 - 2ft exposed breaks, grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: Early light ESE tending ENE 5 to 15 knots during the afternoon.
Junky, short period NE windswell. Sets around 2ft exposed open beaches, fading during the day WIND: Early light and variable tending ENE 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon.
Queensland and Far Northern NSW
We remain deep in the midst of an inactive phase in tropical activity across the region – and that means there’s very little in the way of easterly swell on the radar this weekend.
Expect a continuation of tiny-scale E swell over the next few days that, even being described as 1 to 2ft is probably overly generous. The only notable addition to this dire state of affairs is a small pulse of S groundswell that will add some welcome grunt to set waves south of the border; throwing up some long-lined 3ft sets as the bulk of it arrives on Friday before levelling off in the 1 to 2ft range over the weekend.
S groundswell. Sets to 2 – 3ft northern NSW exposed breaks. Mixing with slight E tradewind swell at 1 - 2ft max exposed QLD breaks, grading smaller inside the points and bays. WIND: Early light and variable tending NE 10 to 15 knots later.
Small-scale E tradewind swell and residual SSE swell. Sets to 1 – 2ft max exposed breaks, grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: Early light N tending NE 15 to 20 knots during the afternoon.
Small-scale E tradewind swell up to 1 – 2ft exposed breaks, bumping up marginally during the afternoon. Grading smaller inside the points and bays. WIND: Early light and variable tending SSE 5 to 15 knots and E later.
Well, one thing is for sure about the forecast for this weekend: you can’t complain about a lack of swell. A series of overlapping, mid-period SW swells continue to generate energetic surf state-wide over the next few days; still ranging anywhere from 4 to 6ft across the exposed beaches on Friday and Saturday ahead of a notable increase on Sunday. The scale of this energy will invariably offer up more accessible 2 to 4ft options across the Surf Coast – and it looks like early WNW winds on Saturday morning will produce the best of conditions this weekend. Otherwise, Sunday’s upswing in energy should see some chunkier, albeit lumpier 3 to 4ft sets rolling in across the Torquay reefs, with onshore SE winds taking the shine off an otherwise excellent pulse of groundswell.
Mid period SW swell. Semi-clean 4 – 6ft sets exposed coasts early, easing marginally during the afternoon. Sets to 2 - 3ft+ across the Surf Coast. WIND: Early light S to SSW, tending light and variable during the morning, then to light seabreezes later.
New SW swell. Speculatively 3 – 5ft early, building 4 – 6ft exposed coasts during the day. Grading to 2 – 4ft across the Surf Coast. WIND: Early light WNW tending SW during the day, then S 10 to 20 knots later.
Mid period SW groundswell. Ranging from 5 - 6ft+ across exposed beaches. Up to 3 - 4ft across the Surf Coast. WIND: SE 5 to 15 knots.
There hasn’t been much of a let-up in the swell across the West Coast so far this year – and this trend continues as another series of overlapping SW swells keep the action coming throughout the final weekend of January. Friday is shaping up as another solid 3 to 4ft day of waves – but you’ll be wanting to get in early before it’s ripped apart by freshening SSW during the afternoon. Saturday morning stands out as the pick of the bunch, with both swell and winds coming to the party.
A new pulse of SW swell should see set waves up a foot from Friday – and this coincides with early ESE winds supported by a favourably positioned high interacting with a West Coast trough. By Sunday we’re back to a more meridional, southerly quarter wind-regime and a dropping swell – so it’s well worth making the most of Saturday’s good conditions while they last.
Overlapping SW swell shows larger sets. Southwest coast: 3-4ft+. Perth/Mandurah: 1-2ft. WIND: SSE at 15-20kts freshening SSW 20-25kts.
New SW groundswell under morning ESE - SE winds. Southwest coast: 4-5ft. Perth/Mandurah: 1-2ft. WIND: ESE at 10-20kts easing before tending SSW 15-20kts.
Ease in SW swell under moderate S'ly winds. Southwest coast: 3-4ft, rising late. Perth/Mandurah: 1 - 1.5ft. WIND: S'ly at 10-15kts, tending SSW 25kts.
There’s plenty of SW swell and relatively light winds combining across the state 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 2 to 3ft mark. Saturday then sees a minor upswing in wave energy combining with light onshore winds to produce fair conditions – not great, but still worthy of a surf or two. Sunday then marks the onset of a stronger SW pulse; strong enough to throw up some 3 to 4ft sets across the South Coast under light offshore winds during the morning.
Clean, mid-period SW swell. Sets to 2 - 3ft exposed South Coast beaches, probably undersized early. Grading to 1ft or so across the Mid Coast. WIND: Early light ESE to ENE tending variable, then to seabreezes during the afternoon.
New SW groundswell. Sets to 2 - 3ft+ exposed South Coast beaches. Grading to 1ft+ across the Mid Coast. WIND: Early light and variable tending SSE 5 to 15 knots during the morning and S into the afternoon.
Mid period SW swell. Ranging from 2 - 4ft exposed South Coast breaks. Grading to 1ft+ across the Mid Coast. WIND: SE 10 to 15 knots, tending NE during the day, then to seabreezes later.
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Heading to that remote, perfect 5km right hand point this weekend? Me neither.
Even on an average day, the surf always has its moments.
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And will surf at the SurfAid Cup this Friday
Nick Carroll and Ben Macartney present...
Be immersed in the wave
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