Tasmania: Shippies October 19, 2009.
Massive carnage and mayhem. Video and analysis.
At first light on Monday morning October 19 the swell on the south coast of Tasmania was relatively small and the sky was overcast. Standing at Cremorne in a little bit of a daze looking at the tiny conditions we were not too excited. However by mid morning sitting at Polly’s house we started to hear some rumblings from the beach. We decided to jump on board our boat and speed down to Shippies some 35ks away from our port.
Upon first inspection the swell in the bay looked junky and inconsistent. The wind was also a bit all over the shop. However, as we rounded the Bluff at Shipstern everything fell into place. The wind dropped right off, the swell cleaned up and the sun started to shine.
Dirty black beasts soon morphed into sheer wild things of beauty beaming blue and green at us all. The Tassie boys were all over it. Jim Hollmer, Brook Phillips and Benny Richo, everyone went hard.
Mainland surfers Ryan Hippo, Karl Atkins and Richie Vass were stoked they made the journey down. The swell will go down as one of, if not the biggest ever, with some waves reaching in excess of 20 feet. Nomadic Pom, James Hick scored one of the craziest waves ever seen out there. He was smiling like a Cheshire cat for the rest of the day.
The swell was directly from the SW at 24 foot, and the 15 second swell period made for some of the thickest waves ever ridden out there. Between 2 and 4 pm the swell died off because of the low tide, but after the tide turned to come back in, we all enjoyed the traditional arvo pulse.
Overall Monday October 19 was a day that will be remembered forever, and will go down in the history books as possibly the biggest Shippies swell of all time.
– Andrew Chisholm.
Large wave area crossing the Southern Ocean to the south of the continent- By Coastalwatch meteorologist Jeff Callaghan.
A large wave area has been moving across the Southern ocean well to the south of Australia. In Figure 1 the winds near the ocean surface leading to the initial development of these waves are shown. The winds peaked in intensity at 1200UTC 12 October when an area of gales more than 1700km in length was located west and southwest of Kerguelen Island. This wind field was more or less maintained over the next 12 hours after which it began to weaken.
The swells generated by these winds were approaching the southwest WA coast at 1200UTC 16 October 2009 (Figure 2). The Cape Naturaliste wave rider buoy showed a swell of 3 metres with a mean period of 14 seconds arriving at the buoy at 9am (WA time) 17 October (Saturday) or 0100UTC 17 October. A low developed well to the south of Perth at 0000UTC 17 October 2009 (Figure 3) and this low deepened and moved towards the east southeast reaching peak intensity at 8am (Eastern Summer Time) 18 October 2009 with an extensive area of gale to storm force winds in it north western sector. At this time the low was located 1700km south southwest of Hobart (Figure 4).
The affect of this low on the wave field can be seen in Figure 6 where wave heights increased in the southern zone of this field. At 0600UTC 18 October (5pm Sunday evening Eastern Summer Time) the low was 1700km due south of Hobart (Figure 5) still with an extensive area of gale to storm force winds but now extending right around the western flank. The low maintained its intensity and moved to the south of Macquarie Island by 1800UTC 18 October (lower frame Figure 5).
By 1200UTC 18 October (11pm Eastern Summer Time 18th) 12 feet swells had reached Tasmania and 9 feet swells had reached Bass Strait (Figure 6). By late this morning (Monday 19th) a swell had reached the Point Nepean buoy near Melbourne with significant waves heights to 2 metres and peak periods around 16 seconds. Around the same time swells with significant wave heights of 3.5 metres and peak energy periods to 15 seconds had arrived at the Cape Sorell buoy on the west coast of Tasmania.
Wave models are forecasting some of this wave energy to reach the NSW and Southern Queensland coasts on Tuesday 20 October (see Figure 7) arriving at Sydney at 11am (Eastern Summer Time) and the Gold Coast late in the night.
In this report we have used data from the Bureau of Meteorology and data from the National Centres for Environmental Prediction/ National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCEP/NCAR) Reanalysis Project, which is available at :-http://nomad3.ncep.noaa.gov/ncep_data/index.html.
Quikscat satellite wind observations were also obtained from the US Government site:-
Swell height data over ocean areas was obtained data from the US Navy public web site :-
Wave data was obtained from the Western Australian Government Department of Planning and Infrastructure's web site at:-
Wave data was obtained from the New South Wales Manly Hydraulics laboratory web site at:-
and the Port of Melbourne wave rider buoy at
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