Weekend Surf Forecast 1 - 3 September 2017
COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST
Forecast issued Thursday, 31 August 2017
Early spring may not hold the same kind of dynamic surf potential as say, late summer or early autumn, but there’s no doubt it’s a great time of year to be hunting around for waves. The Southern Ocean is still active enough to deliver all manner of swells of common southern origins. At the same time the increasing dominance of subtropical high pressure belt can see full days of relatively light winds; starting out offshore before being textured by afternoon seabreezes.
The NSW coast easily holds the most appealing conditions around the country this weekend. A slow easing SSE swell holds at solid levels on Friday before settling to a very clean 3 to 4ft by Saturday morning, making for very tasty conditions under early light WNW winds turning north-east into the afternoon. If you can’t do Saturday, there will still be something on offer at about half the size on Sunday morning – but you’ll want to be quick before freshening north-easterlies develop during the afternoon.
Southern Queensland also won’t fare too badly under the southerly swell-train; pulling in solid surf in the 2 to 4ft range at those select locations predisposed to the direction. Otherwise it may well be worth a drive south of the border – particularly as winds begin to swing north on Sunday.
Further south, Victoria experiences a rare window of subdued SW swell-levels; subdued enough to cap set waves at about 3ft along the exposed beaches all weekend. This, coupled with strong north to north-easterly winds won’t offer a great deal of potential for the Surf Coast. That probably leaves the far southwest coast as the only other region worthy of closer inspection.
Finally over west, the opening days of spring kick off with more of a fizz than a bang. A late resurgence in winter frontal activity generates large SW groundswell under strong, southerly quarter winds; leaving the sheltered bays as the only viable options Down South all weekend.
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Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
Welcome to winter’s last hurrah. Thursday’s large, unruly round of S swell capped off a pretty consistent run of surf throughout the 2017 winter – and it’s legacy will stay with us into the opening days of spring. Expect steadily improving conditions as the swell slowly declines and sorts itself out; initially still producing large sets in the 4 to 6ft range early on Friday, before levelling off at a very appealing 3 to 4ft under light offshore winds on Saturday morning. This will probably mark you best window to capitalise on some great conditions before winds swing NE during the afternoon – and this pretty much sets the trend for Sunday. The tail end of the swell should still be throwing up less frequent 2 to 3ft sets under early light NNW winds, but conditions will steadily deteriorate as winds swing NNE and steadily increase throughout the day.
Mid period SSE groundswell. Ranging from 4 - 6ft south facing beaches, easing during the afternoon. Grading 3 – 5ft elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: SW 15 to 20 knots, tending SSW during the morning, then lighter SSE later.
Easing SE swell under light morning winds. Sets around 3 - 4ft south facing beaches, slowly easing during the day. Grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: WNW 5 to 10 knots, tending N mid morning, then NE 10 to 15 knots into the afternoon.
Leftover SE swell slowly fades. Sets around 2 – 3ft south facing beaches early, grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. NE windswell picks up to a junky 1 - 3ft open beaches during the late arvo. WIND: Early NW/ NNW 5 to 15 knots, tending NE during the morning and freshening to 15 to 25 knots during the afternoon ahead of a late NW wind-shift.
Queensland and Far Northern NSW
A vigorous Tasman low delivers another chunky blast of S swell just in time for the first day of spring. This event is set to top out in the 6ft plus range across northern NSW coasts throughout Friday before gradually settling as direction swings SSE over the course of the weekend. The upshot is the usual, wide-variations in surf-heights dependent on each location’s exposure to the southerly direction. Saturday morning should continue to see solid surf ranging anywhere from 3 to 6ft across far northern NSW coasts. At the same time a slow-emerging SSE bias in swell direction should facilitate better penetration of the swell along the southern Queensland coast. The upshot should be a full weekend of consistent 2 to 4ft conditions across the region, with Saturday’s early light SW winds seeing the best conditions along the points. By Sunday we have a freshening northerly flow starting to set in throughout the morning, so seeking out an exposed northern corner may well be your best bet.
S swell peaks. 5 – 6ft+ sets exposed northern NSW breaks, grading to 3 - 4ft across exposed Queensland beaches, and down to 1 – 3ft inside the points and bays. WIND: Early SW to SSW 10 to 20 knots, tending SSE during the afternoon.
SSE groundswell shows most size early. 3 - 5ft exposed northern NSW breaks, occasional larger sets at magnets, easing later. Grading to 2 - 4ft exposed QLD coasts and smaller inside the points and bays. WIND: Early light WSW to SW to 5 to 10 knots, tending light E to NE during the afternoon.
SSE windswell eases throughout the day. 2 – 4ft sets exposed northern NSW breaks, grading to 1 - 3ft exposed Queensland beaches and smaller inside the points and bays. WIND: Early light NW, tending N and freshening to 15 to 20 knots during the afternoon.
The exposed beaches bloom with the arrival of spring. Thursday saw steadily improving conditions along these stretches and by Friday morning it’s game on as SW swell drops to a virtually ideal size of 2 to 3ft under north to northeast winds. These conditions pretty much set the trend for Saturday as a small, long-range SW groundswell fills in; keeping set waves hovering around a clean, albeit inconsistent 3ft along the exposed stretches all day. Sunday morning offers up a final window of opportunity to get amongst some clean, fun-sized surf. A combination of small-scale groundswells are greeted by a short-lived period of strong northerly winds, preceding a shift to the NW and W during the day; marking the onset of a vigorous winter-pattern setting in over the course of next week.
Easing SW groundswell. Sets to 2 – 3ft+ exposed beaches, tending inconsistent and fading later. Grading to inconsistent 1 - 2ft across the Surf Coast. WIND: Early NNW to NE 10 to 15 knots, tending NNE and freshening during the afternoon.
Small SW groundswell fills in. Slow sets to 2 - 3ft along exposed beaches, wrapping inconsistent 1 - 2ft across Surf Coast, bumping up during the afternoon. WIND: N 10 to 20 knots, freshening during the day.
Combination of background WSW and SW groundswells. Sets to 2 – 3ft+ exposed beaches, building towards 3 – 4ft later. Grading to 1ft+ across the Surf Coast, up to 1 – 3ft later. WIND: N 15 to 30 knots, tending NW during the morning, then WNW during the afternoon.
All I can say is let’s hope this weekend doesn’t set the trend for the rest of spring. The surfing menu is filled with strong onshore winds and large SW groundswell over the next few days; strong and large enough (respectively) to render the exposed beaches mostly unsurfable across the Southwest. On the upside, a strong SSW to S bias in wind direction will ensure there’s plenty of good options inside the sheltered bays as the swell peaks on Saturday and Sunday – and there should be some reasonably clean options across Perth’s beaches to boot.
New mid period SW swell fills in. South West: 3-5ft early, rising 7-9ft. Perth/Mandurah: 1-1.5ft, rising 3ft. WIND: WSW 15-20kts tending SSW 20-30kts. Possible light variable early Perth/Mandurah.
Overlap in SW groundswell under a S’ly airflow. South West: 8-10ft. Perth/Mandurah: 1-3ft. WIND: S’ly 20-25kts easing 20kts. Possible light winds early Perth/Mandurah early.
SW groundswell eases before an overlap in new SSW swell. South West: 6-8ft rising late. Perth/Mandurah. 1-2ft+. WIND: SSW 10-15kts. Light morning ESE winds Perth/Mandurah.
Small and clean are the operative words across South Australian coasts this weekend. The arrival of a small, long-range SW groundswell will for the most part keep set waves trundling in at a slow 1 to 2ft – probably up to 3ft at the most exposed South Coast breaks on Friday and Saturday. For anything bigger you’ll need to seek out the more exposed stretches of coast further afield – and given the wind forecast this may be a good call. Winds are forecast to remain out of the north both on Friday and Saturday, but come Sunday morning you’re more likely to be battening down the hatches. The arrival of a gusty, 20 to 35kt westerly change early on Sunday will leave little to be desired across most of the state all day.
Leftover SSW swell. Clean 1 – 2ft+ exposed South Coast beaches, reinforced by new SW groundswell during the afternoon. Up to 0.5 - 1ft across the Mid Coast. WIND: NNW to NNE 10 to 20 knots, easing and tending lighter NW later.
SW groundswell. Inconsistent sets ranging from 1 – 3ft exposed South Coast beaches early, bumping up during the afternoon. Up to 1ft across the Mid Coast. WIND: NNE 10 to 20 knots, tending NNW to NW during the late afternoon/ evening.
Rising SW groundswell. Mostly 1 - 2ft exposed South Coast beaches, nudging up to 2 – 3ft+ during the afternoon. Ranging from 1 - 2ft across the Mid Coast. WIND: Early WNW 20 to 35 knots, tending W during the afternoon.
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