Weekend Surf Forecast 22 - 25 September 2017
COASTALWATCH | Weekend Surf Forecast
Forecast issued Thursday, 21 September 2017
It’s not unusual to see extreme shifts in conditions in spring; going from cold and wintery one day to hot and muggy the next – and that pretty much sums up what’s happening around the continent this weekend. It looks like winter’s long kiss goodbye has finally come to an end across the Eastern Seaboard. Over the next few days the region experiences its first prelude to summer as an emerging Tasman high establishes warm, sunny weather, freshening northerly winds – not to mention a minor building trend in NE windswell. While this isn’t expected to amount to much on Friday and Saturday, it looks like culminating in fun, peaky surf across the entire NSW coast on Sunday.
Further south, both Victoria and South Australia also feel the influence of the northerly flow, albeit in conjunction with a more substantial WSW groundswell resulting in great conditions on Friday and Saturday, preceding the arrival of stronger westerly winds on Sunday. It’s only across the West Coast that conditions continue to resemble winter as a succession of frontal systems slam the Southwest of the state, generating large storm-swell and onshore winds for days to come.
Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
If nothing else it’s shaping up as a great weekend to bust out the beach umbrella, the foamie and the sunblock, and just kick back on the beach. Having said that, there will also be some fun surf on offer at the right time and place. By Friday morning expect smaller leftover SSE swell, still lingering around the 1 to 2ft mark – and it will be worth hitting it early before it dwindles under freshening northerlies. The emerging northerly flow whips up a very minor increase in NE windswell by Saturday; probably making for better swimming/ sunbaking conditions, rather than surfing. However, you might want to set some time aside on Sunday. A further strengthening of the northerly flow on Saturday night now holds good potential for a refracted pulse of NE swell spreading down the southern half of the NSW coast, making for excellent 2 to 3ft conditions at open breaks pulling in the swell.
Mix of leftover SSE swell and slight NE windswell. Sets around 2ft south facing beaches, grading smaller elsewhere and fading during the afternoon. WIND: Early light WNW to NW tending NNE/ NE 10 to 20 knots during the afternoon.
Short range NE windswell. Junky 1 - 2ft max exposed open breaks, bumping up during the afternoon. WIND: Early light NNW, tending N and freshening to 15 to 25 knots later.
NE windswell. Sets around 2 - 3ft exposed open breaks, grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: WNW 15 to 20 knots.
Queensland and Far Northern NSW
Here come the northerlies. On the downside, prospect of surfing along southern Queensland’s points is pretty much rendered untenable by a robust northerly flow that’s set to blow at 15 to 25 knots days to come. On the upside, it will be strong enough to support a fun-sized run of short-period NE windswell; producing consistent, peaky 1 to 3ft surf inside sheltered northern corners offering some shelter from the wind. If you were forced to pick one day to surf, Sunday is definitely shaping up as the pick as NE windswell builds to a peak – potentially offering up larger 3ft plus sets across the more exposed breaks during the day.
Leftover SSE swell. Slow sets ranging from 1 – 3ft far northern NSW south facing beaches, mixing with NE windswell at 1 – 2ft southern QLD coasts and picking up later. WIND: Early NNW 5 to 15 knots tending NNE 15 to 25 knots during the afternoon.
Short range NE windswell up to a peaky 1 – 2ft exposed breaks, building to a junky 1 – 3ft during the afternoon. Grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early NNW 10 to 20 knots, tending N and freshening to 20 to 25 knots during the afternoon.
Short range NE windswell. Junky sets to 2 – 3ft exposed east facing breaks, grading to 1 – 2ft elsewhere. WIND: Early NNW tending N 15 to 25 knots during the afternoon.
There’s a great window of opportunity to get amongst some clean, solid conditions across the state this weekend, but you’ll have to be quick. The arrival of a reinforcing WSW groundswell on Friday should open up some great conditions state-wide under early light NW to NE winds. The focus, however, quickly shifts to the exposed beaches as winds swing NE during the afternoon – and this sets the trend for Saturday morning as stronger northerly winds greet an easing WSW swell.
The window starts to close with the arrival of a vigorous cold front from the west mid to late Saturday morning. Its arrival leads in freshening WNW winds that will invariably limit good conditions to the Surf Coast. However, a further decline in WSW swell by Sunday morning is likely to culminate in clean, tiny leftovers along the Surf Coast, with small and windblown conditions prevailing further east all day.
New WSW groundswell fills in. Sets to 3 – 5ft along exposed beaches, wrapping in at an inconsistent 2 – 3ft+ along the Surf Coast. WIND: Early light NW to NE 5 to 10 knots, tending to NE seabreezes during the afternoon.
Easing WSW groundswell. Sets to 3 – 4ft exposed beaches, grading to 2 – 3ft along the Surf Coast, inconsistent in the upper range. WIND: N 15 to 20 knots, turning WNW and freshening to 20 to 30 knots during the day.
Directional W swell builds in marginally over residual SW swell. Ranging from 1 – 3ft along the exposed beaches depending on exposure. Grading to an inconsistent 1ft+ or so across the Surf Coast, bumping up later. WIND: NW 15 to 30 knots, tending WNW later.
If you look at forecast conditions in the context of Thursday and Friday’s stormy onshore conditions, then I guess you could say the surf isn’t looking too bad across the West Coast this weekend. Instead of 30 to 40 knot north-westerlies ripping into a ragged 6 to 8ft storm-swell, we can look forward to 20 to 25 knot south-westerlies on Saturday morning, turning lighter west as the swell gradually drops back during the afternoon.
By Sunday morning winds are forecast to be back in the northwest at 10 to 15 knots, making for less-than-ideal surface quality across most of the coastline, encompassing regions as far and wide as Gnaraloo, Perth, Mandurah and the Southwest. That does, however, leave the South Coast as the only viable option for clean surf, with straight northerly winds produce offshore conditions as a combination of WSW and S swells generate solid surf all day.
Large mixed WSW groundswell and NW windswell under strong onshore winds. South West coast: sloppy 10-15ft. Perth/Mandurah: windblown 4-5ft. WIND: Stormy WNW 30-40kts with heavy squalls.
Large W'ly swell mix decreasing under continued onshore winds. South West: 10-12ft early, easing 8ft in afternoon. Perth/Mandurah: 3-4ft+ early, easing in afternoon. WIND: SW 15-20kts tending W 10-15kts in afternoon.
WSW swell mix continues to fade under onshore flow. South West: 6-8ft, plus sets at exposed beachies. Perth/Mandurah: 2-4ft. WIND: W 15-20kts, tending lighter 10-15kt in Perth/Mandurah in afternoon.
Like Victoria, the window on clean conditions is set to rapidly close with the arrival of a complex frontal system across the region this weekend. That means it’s well worth making the most of Friday’s offshore northerly winds and good-sized WSW swell across the South Coast. Although there should be a short period of good conditions on Saturday morning as winds briefly fall away to light and variable, they’re set to swing west and freshen, rendering surface quality a little less desirable throughout the day. The swell picks up a notch by Sunday as strong westerly winds remain in force, making for consistent, cross-shore surf ranging anywhere from 2 to 4ft or more across the South Coast all day.
New mid-period SW groundswell. Ranging from 2 – 4ft exposed South Coast beaches, easing during the afternoon. WSW swell around 2ft across the Mid Coast. WIND: Early light NNE tending NNW to NNE 10 to 20 knots later.
Fading SW swell. Sets up to 2 – 3ft exposed South Coast breaks. WSW swell ranging from 1 – 2ft across the Mid Coast. WIND: Early light and variable turning NW to WNW and freshening to 20 to 30 knots during the day.
New WSW swell slowly builds under strong W winds throughout the day. Cross-shore 3 – 4ft+ exposed South Coast breaks. WSW swell around 1ft+ across the Mid Coast. WIND: WNW 20 to 30 knots, tending W and easing later.
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