The Quiksilver & Roxy Pro Surf Forecast

8 Mar 2017 3

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

COASTALWATCH | EVENT FORECAST

Quiksilver & Roxy Pro, Snapper Rocks QLD

EVENT WAITING PERIOD 14 - 25 MARCH 2017

It has to make you wonder if a juju man cast a spell over the first WSL contest of the year. Like Sleeping Beauty, Snapper is set to fall into a deep slumber just as the first heat hits the water; possibly remaining in long-lasting repose until near the end of the waiting period.

Superstition aside, the rigours of long-range atmospheric numerical models are clearly pointing to a tectonic shift in conditions by the first day of the waiting period: Tuesday, 14 March.

In case you haven’t noticed, snapper is absolutely cooking, right now - and it’s set to keep on pumping for days to come. In fact, it’s probably going to get even better as the deepwater directional band (ie swell direction) moves incrementally from SSE to SE/ESE over the next few days. (SEE ALSO THE CURRENT EAST COAST SWELL FORECAST)

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’d be well aware of the swell-source currently in effect over the central-eastern Tasman Sea: a complex, 996 hPa Tasman low that’s been supporting a strong, 20 to 35kt SE/ESE fetch throughout the western and southern Tasman Sea all week.

This will see excellent conditions on offer all weekend – and even Monday should still be offering up some fun-sized leftovers. But while this offers up as good a warm-up period as a pro-surfer could hope for, the bride is set to bolt from the proverbial alter come Tuesday 14 as residual SE swell fades; optimistically amounting to 1 to 2ft max. If this isn’t bad enough, the prospect of a moderate northerly wind-shift looks like writing off conditions altogether. Going on some recent model runs, several lay-days are likely as a trough over the eastern interior interacts with a weak ridge to maintain tiny swell, rain and northerly winds into Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16.

On the other hand, EC model guidance shows a firming of the ridge as a new high builds over the southern Tasman Sea over this time frame – and with any luck this will see a rise in short-period ENE windswell starting to show up on Thursday 16 and Friday 17 March.

If you give any credence to extended GFS modelling, we’ll have to wait until the back-half of the waiting period for a new E tradewind swell; originating from a strong high forecast to set up over New Zealand around Sunday 19 and Monday 20 March. Even then, the resulting swell may not arrive until the final days of the waiting period. While it’s looking pretty dire, there’s still plenty of scope for major changes to the long-term outlook between now and then.

*WILL YOU BE ON THE GOLD COAST NEXT WEDNESDAY? 
Join Ben Macartney & Nick Carroll at Rainbow Bay Surf Club for the first Gold Coast Surf Forecasting Workshop. Learn how to forecast your next surf trip and understand how your local breaks. 

RESERVE YOUR SPOT


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