Gallery: Cyclone Lusi Delivers
Words by Ben Horvath
Cyclone Lusi tracked rapidly southward towards the north island of New Zealand late last week delivering thick, overhead, long – period lines right up and down the East Coast from Saturday afternoon March 15 onwards.
Noosa, Gold Coast and far northern NSW surfers enjoyed the first overhead sets early on Saturday afternoon. Keen Sydney surfers lapped up some ultra clean 3ft sets post storm on Saturday evening.
The anticipation for swell was out of control. Everyone was fully psyched due to the total lack of cyclone swells or indeed any swell of consequence so far this season. All the forecasting sites, social media and Dick Whittaker and his cohorts on The Weather Channel primed the entire surfing community all week that Sunday was going to be “The Day.”
In truth, Sunday morning was hit and miss. The swell filled in rapidly, but the wind was a little NNW at first light, and the tide was rushing in, making most point and refbreaks extremely full and masking the swell size to a certain extent.
Heaps of crew got skunked on Sunday morning. There were so many people milling about in beachside car parks checking, that it was quite scary. Too many crew were over amped, driving around checking every single nook and cranny before driving home frustrated.
Experienced weather watchers and wave hustlers timed their sessions for Sunday PM and Monday AM. Mid afternoon on Sunday a WSW wind change co incided with the peak pulse in ENE energy, ensuring some mind-blowing late afternoon and evening sessions were enjoyed in Sydney and surrounds.
A mental session went down out at Cape Solander. The ENE swell direction and low tide combo meant it was ultra hectic. Kirk Flintoff and Jezza Hrbac even charged some ridiculously draining lefts, whilst Koby Abberton, Mark Mathews, Makua Rothman, Dan Ross, Perth Standlick and a bunch of other full metal chargers nailed some intense below sea level pits at Ours.
Too many beach breaks were closing out as a result of the super straight, long period E/NE lines. Tamarama, Manly, Nth Narrabeen, Nth Av, Whale and Barrenjoey were the standout Sydney exceptions.
The Manly stretch late on Sunday evening was all time. Kaz from Aloha Manly said, “It was a solid 6-8ft for the late. There were thick, double overhead A frame pits everywhere you looked.”
South of Sydney Clarrie Bouma said, “Sunday was without doubt the best day of the year so far. Everyone was surfed out late on Sunday, so you could actually get a wave out The Point.”
Monday was picture perfect. A moderate offshore WSW wind fanned the thick, clean long period E lines until at least 1.00pm when the NE sea breeze shut the shop. Most beach breaks were again an option on Monday as the swell size and period eased a notch, spreading the crowds and opening up all sorts of options.
As i write this late morning on Tuesday, the wind is again threatening from the north, after another morning of 3-4ft offshore bliss. Ah the joy of autumn. Bring it on i say.
Ex-Tropical Cyclone Lusi gave a solid punch of E groundswell on Sunday with offshore wave recordings peaking at three to four metres across the Eastern Seaboard buoys at peak periods of 14 to15 seconds. TC Lusi initially tracked southeast of Vanuatu during Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 before curving south as a category two cyclone on Wednesday 12 March. As the system continued to move south into a baroclinic environment it underwent extra-tropical transition last Thursday and Friday. During this time frame the southern edge of the system set up a solid easterly wind fetch from the west Pacific near the northern island of New Zealand as it interacted with high pressure to its south.
As a result from Luis’ extra-tropical transition, an ENE groundswell peaked across Queensland on Saturday night and across Sydney and locations south late on Sunday, with long period energy pushing up six to eight foot plus waves across standout breaks. Although the swell has gradually begun to decrease from its peak, there were still solid four to six foot waves on offer throughout Monday that faded out another foot or so by Tuesday.
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