Weekend Surf Forecast 9 - 11 March 2017
COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST
Forecast issued Thursday, 9 March 2017
The surfing dichotomy that defines the East Coast from all other regions is usually a comparative lack of swell. Day in, day out, the Margaret River region has solid waves, year-round. Similarly, Victorian and South Australian exposed beaches can remain out of bounds for weeks at a stretch: pounded by relentless Southern Ocean lines marching in out of the 40’s and 50’s. In contrast, your typical day along the East Coast is usually characterised by small surf ranging from 1 to 3ft.
Throughout Friday and the weekend, that dichotomy is turned on its head. Both western and southern Australian coasts fall quiet under the influence of a blocking Indian Ocean high; rendering even the most exposed coasts devoid of surf exceeding the 2ft range.
In contrast, both NSW and southern Queensland coasts continue to feel the brunt of a powerful, mid-period SE/ESE swell; emanating from a quasi-stationary sub-tropical low sitting deep in the central-eastern Tasman Sea. Don't miss the SWELL DIARY from this week.
*Don't forget if you're on the Gold Coast next Wednesday you can book your spot to learn how to forecast your next surf trip and the best conditions for your local with Nick Carroll and I. Then enjoy a Stone & Wood beer with us.
Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
Autumn onshores. It’s not exactly what we bargained for when the 1st of March came around, but that’s what’s been on the menus this week; day after day of large, windblown SE swell offering little to be desired across the region.
Thankfully, that’s all set to change come Friday morning as the swell kicks to a heavier 5 to 8ft and winds begin to shift in our favour; initially opening up some options inside southern corners and north facing breaks as they swing SSW early Friday. Otherwise, can hang out until Saturday – by which point it should be proper pumping.
Early light WSW winds greet a declining, but still solid ESE swell in the 3 to 6ft range. Although it’s set to swing S to ESE during the day, winds will remain light at 5 to 10 knots, so conditions should be pretty good all day. Sunday sees another excellent autumn morning as leftover ESE swell eases to more accessible 3ft or so, with early NW winds seeing idyllic conditions before they turn NE and freshen into the afternoon.
SEE ALSO: Stormy Sydney Surf Check
Reinforcing mid period ESE groundswell peaks. Sets ranging from 6 – 8ft exposed breaks, easing a foot or so during the afternoon. Grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early SSW 10 to 20 knots, tending S during the day and SSE during the afternoon.
Easing ESE swell. Sets ranging from 4 – 6ft early, easing to 3 – 5ft during the day and smaller again into the afternoon. WIND: Early light WSW to SW tending S during the day, then light ESE during the afternoon.
ESE swell. Ranging from 2 – 4ft exposed breaks early, easing later. WIND: NW 10 to 15 knots, turning N to NE and freshening during the afternoon.
Queensland and Far Northern NSW
What’s undoubtedly the height of the tropical-swell season so far will keep everyone on their toes over the next few days – and given what’s in store next week, you might want to spend every spare minute in the water this weekend.
The deep Tasman low remains in full effect inside our swell window and it will continue to crank out mid to large SE swell across the region on Friday and Saturday before it scales down to more accessible levels by Sunday. The favourable southerly wind-regime continues to lend the focus the points and bays throughout Friday, Saturday and early Sunday but once winds swing to the north on Sunday arvo the party on the points will be pretty much over.
Strong, mid period SE groundswell. Around 4 – 6ft+ exposed northern NSW breaks. Grading to 3 – 5ft+ exposed QLD breaks and smaller inside the points and bays. WIND: Early light SW tending SSW during the day, then S to SSE 15 to 25 knots later.
SE/ ESE swell. Sets around 4 – 5ft+ across northern NSW exposed breaks. Grading to 3 – 4ft+ exposed Queensland breaks and smaller elsewhere. WIND: Early light WSW to SW tending light SE to ESE during the afternoon.
Easing ESE swell. Around 3 - 4ft across northern NSW exposed breaks. Grading to 2 – 3ft+ exposed Queensland breaks and smaller elsewhere. WIND: Early light offshore land-breezes tending light N, then NNE during the afternoon.
The focus remains fixed on Victoria’s exposed beaches over the next few days as the current run of small-scale SW swell persists state-wide. Friday marks the arrival of another small bump in mid-period energy that should be just strong enough to keep set waves up around 3ft across exposed stretches.
The downside is a moderate SW wind-shift that will leave little to the imagination all day. The good news is winds are set to swing back offshore by Saturday morning, making for clean conditions as the tail-end of Friday’s pulse continues to hover around 2 to occasional 3ft. By Sunday it will be smaller again; probably amounting to an infrequent 2ft – even across the most exposed breaks, but light and variable winds will make for appealing wave quality none the less.
New SW swell. Around 2 – 3ft exposed beaches early, fading later. Slow sets ranging from 1 – 2ft max across the Surf Coast. WIND: SW 10 to 15 knots, tending S/SSE during the arvo.
Small-scale SW swell. Slow 1 – 3ft exposed coasts. Grading to 1ft across the Surf Coast. WIND: Early light and variable tending SSE 5 to 15 knots later.
Small SW swell. 1 - 2ft sets across exposed beaches, virtually flat across the Surf Coast. WIND: S 10 to 15 knots, tending SSW and freshening during the afternoon.
It isn’t too often you see wave-energy down to such subdued levels for more than a few days across the Southwest – but that’s exactly what’s happening this weekend. The enduring presence of a strong, blocking high over the south-eastern Indian Ocean has thoroughly quashed swell potential this week. So by Friday expect tiny surf – probably not pushing too far beyond 1 to 2ft. The weekend isn’t looking much better, with scope for some infrequent larger 2 to 3ft sets arriving out of the far reaches of the southern Indian Ocean. Unfortunately it won’t be until Monday that conditions start to transform under the influence of a steep rise in long SW groundswell.
SW swell bottoms out under continued fresh SE winds. Southwest coast: 1-2ft. Perth/Mandurah: 0.5ft. WIND: SE at 20-25kts tending S'ly.
Wave heights holds small under calming winds. Southwest coast: 1-2ft, potential inco 3ft sets into the day. Perth/Mandurah: 0.5-1ft. . WIND: ESE at 15-20kts easing then tending 10-15kts S'ly.
Distant SW groundswell under morning E'ly winds. Southwest coast: 2-3ft, possible inco plus sets later. Perth/Mandurah: 1ft. WIND: SSE at 10-15kts tending SSW 20-25kts.
It’s shaping up as yet another sub-par weekend for surfing across South Australia. The presence of a strong, blocking high over the south-eastern Indian Ocean effectively choked off our swell-supply this week. The knock on effect is several days of small surf; mostly hovering around 1 to 2ft on Friday and Saturday before substantially fading by Monday morning. While the arrival of a strong SSW change on Sunday should whip up a steep rise in windswell during the afternoon, the strong onshore airflow will leave little to be desired across the South Coast. As for the Mid Coast, winds are looking favourable, to be sure. The key missing ingredient will of course, be swell.
Small SW swell. Sets around 1 - 2ft+ exposed South Coast beaches. Grading to flat to 1ft across the Mid Coast. WIND: SE 5 to 15 knots, tending S during the afternoon.
Faded SSW swell. Up to 1 – 2ft exposed South Coast beaches. Grading to flat across the Mid Coast. WIND: Early light SE 5 to 15 knots, tending light and variable during the day, then to light seabreezes during the afternoon.
Tiny SSW swell superseded by steep rising S windswell. Around 1ft+ exposed South Coast breaks, picking up to a windblown 2 – 3ft during the afternoon. Grading to flat across the Mid Coast. WIND: SW 10 to 20 knots, tending SSW and freshening to 20 to 30 knots later.
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