Weekend Surf Forecast 17 - 19 August 2018
COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST
Issued Thursday, 16 August 2018
Surfers across the East Coast are now counting down the days to the end of the latest flat spell – and it’s clearly looking like it will break in spectacular fashion early next week. Until then, the NSW coast will continue to see small-scale S swell; typically favouring true south facing breaks at a slow 1 to 3ft, while only amounting to a fairly meagre 1 to 2ft along the vast majority of open beaches. That’s all set to change on Sunday arvo as a steep rise in directional SSW swell sets in across the region, before peaking at very large or potentially heavy levels on Monday.
For southern Queensland, the news isn’t great. While not entirely flat, the region will continue to see very low-levels of background easterly swell not exceeding the 1 to 2ft mark from Friday to Sunday, preceding a building trend in S swell setting in on Monday. Further south, the Surf Coast is shaping up as the place to be across Victoria this weekend. A sustained run of large, mid period SW swell coincides with west to north-westerly winds on Friday and early Saturday – and it’s well worth capitalising on this combination before they turn WSW to SW at strength into Saturday arvo and on Sunday respectively. South Oz only benefits from a shorter window of favourable conditions; featuring strong, cross-offshore NW airflow that will favour South Coast breaks on Friday, before winds swing SW and blow conditions out for the duration of the weekend.
That leaves the West Coast and guess what? For the first time in about a month and a half I can say there’s going to be some good waves across the Southwest. At long-last, the interminable pattern of strong onshore winds and oversized WSW storm-swell is set to give way to solid SW swell under light winds on Friday, before turning northeast to produce clean, well overhead conditions on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast.
We’re now witnessing a definitive shift in the synoptic pattern across the Eastern States that – in short – is going to open the door to a large/ heavy round of south swell early next week. In the meantime, we’ll continue to contend with low levels of south swell; persisting at slow 1 to 3ft levels across southern exposures on Friday and Saturday, before the leading edge of the new swell event begins to build in throughout Sunday afternoon. Although there are still fine perturbations on the storm’s development – both between the key models and within individual model runs – there’s still some uncertainty surrounding the timing and size of Sunday arvo’s increase. However it unfolds, it looks like it will be fairly late in the day; potentially going from still very minor 1 to 2ft levels after lunch towards something like 2 to 4ft late in the afternoon – this will become clearer in Friday’s detailed update.
Small, mid-period S swell ranging from 1 to 3ft south facing beaches, inconsistent in the upper range. Grading to more like 1 to 2ft elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: WSW 10 to 15 knots, tending light and variable during the afternoon and WSW again later.
Background S swell. Slow sets up to 2ft+ south facing beaches, grading to 1 to 2ft elsewhere and fading into the afternoon. WIND: NW 10 to 20 knots, tending WNW and freshening later.
Directional S swell rises steeply during the afternoon. Possibly tiny/ near flat early, rising to 1 to 2ft+ south facing breaks during the morning, building to 2 to 3ft+ during the afternoon and potentially 3 to 4ft+ or more later. Grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: W 15 to 25 knots, tending WSW and freshening to 20 to 25 knots during the afternoon.
Queensland and Far Northern NSW
There isn’t much in the way of surf to speak of across the region over the coming days. Even the low-level ESE swell that’s been keeping the keenest in the water this week is set to dwindle to tiny levels over the course of the weekend; leaving southern Queensland coasts effectively bereft of notable surf. That leave northern NSW coasts as your best option for some slightly larger waves out of the south; showing at inconsistent 2 to 3ft levels at the most exposed south-swell magnets on Saturday, with scope for some extremely directional, short-period S swell showing at lower levels on Sunday arvo. This will of course precede the arrival of a far more substantial S swell event over the course of next week, so stay tuned to Friday’s detailed update for the specifics.
Refracted S swell up to 1 to 2ft+ northern NSW southern exposures, picking up towards 1 to 3ft during the afternoon. Mixing with background E swell at about 1ft exposed southern QLD coasts, otherwise virtually flat. WIND: Early light W to SW, tending variable, then NE 5 to 15 knots later.
Mid-period S swell ranging from 1 to 3ft northern NSW southern exposures, grading smaller elsewhere. Around 1ft+ exposed QLD breaks, otherwise virtually flat elsewhere. WIND: Early light offshore land-breezes tending variable during the day, then N to NE 5 to 15 knots during the afternoon.
Directional, short-period S swell up to 1 to 2ft+ northern NSW south facing beaches, speculatively building towards 2 to 3ft+ during the afternoon. Virtually flat across southern QLD exposed coasts. WIND: Early W 10 to 15 knots, tending WSW/SW and freshening to 15 to 25 knots during the afternoon.
There’s no time to um and ah across Victoria this weekend, with strong onshore winds set to blow-out conditions across most regions throughout Sunday. Prior to that, the Surf Coast will be the place to be as a sustained run of large, mid period SW swell coincides with west to north-westerly winds throughout Friday, before turning west and gradually ramping up in strength throughout Saturday. So clearly it’s well worth capitalising on these good conditions before winds shift SW at strength on Sunday morning.
Easing WSW groundswell. Ranging from a messy 4 to 6ft exposed beaches, easing to foot or so later. Inconsistent sets wrapping at a mostly clean 2 to 3ft+ along the Surf Coast, easing later. WIND: NW 15 to 25 knots.
Rising WSW swell blown out by strong onshore winds. Around 3 to 5ft exposed beaches, building towards a messy 4 to 6ft+ across later. Wrapping in the 2 to 3ft range along the Surf Coast, picking up later. WIND: Early WNW 20 to 30 knots tending W during the afternoon.
Solid mid-period SW swell under strong onshore breezes. Junky 5 to 8ft along the exposed beaches, easing later. Wrapping at 4 to 5ft+ along the Surf Coast reefs and grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: SW 25 to 35 knots tending SSW and easing during the day.
I’ve put in a couple of exclamation marks in the summary below – and those who know me would tell you that I’m really not an exclamation mark kind-of-guy. That’s testament to the fact that it’s been sooooo long since the winds have been offshore – even cross-offshore across the Southwest (going on archived wind observations, the last full offshore day was back on July 10th).
From Friday morning onwards we can look forward to rapidly improving conditions as early light southerly winds turn lighter SSE – and then variable during the afternoon – making for improving wave-quality throughout the day. By early Saturday morning winds should be light out of the northeast; opening up some great conditions across exposed areas before they swing north during the day. That looks like setting the trend for Sunday with early land-breezes again preceding a shift to the north as the day progresses.
Mid-period WSW swell and underlying SW groundswell rebuild under light winds. Southwest coast: Windblown 4 to 6ft exposed breaks, rising towards 6 to 8ft+ during the afternoon. Perth/Mandurah: Up to 2 to 3ft+. bigger later. WIND: Potential for early SSW 10 to 20 knots, easing and tending light SSE during the morning, then light and variable during the afternoon.
SSW groundswell eases under early east to northeast winds! South West: Around 5 to 8ft early, settling to 4 to 6ft later. Perth, Mandurah: Messy, 2 to 3ft, fading later. WIND: Early light NE to NNE tending N 10 to 15 knots, then back to the NE later.
Potential for easing SW groundswell under early light ENE/NE winds! South West: Clean 3 to 4ft+ exposed areas, easing towards 2 to 3ft+ later. Perth/Mandurah: Clean 1 to 2ft early, fading later. WIND: ENE to NE 10 to 15 knots.
It’s well worth catching as many clean waves you can over the next 24 hours. The arrival of a strong onshore SW to SSW airflow on Saturday morning will spell the end of good surfable options this weekend – and it looks like it won’t be until Monday that conditions abruptly swing back in our favour.
SW swell eases under fresh northwest winds. South Coast: Semi-clean 3 to 4ft at Waits and Parsons, grading to a better quality 2 to 3ft at Middleton. Mid Coast: Onshore, wind-affected 1 to 3ft. WIND: NW 15 to 25 knots, increasing to 20 to 30 knots during the day, then tending W in the late afternoon.
SW swell rebuilds under strong onshore winds. South Coast: Ranging from 3 to 5ft Waits and Parsons, grading 2 to 3ft at Middleton, building a foot or two during the day peaking at 5 to 6ft+ and 3 to 5ft respectively later. Mid Coast: Choppy 1 to 2ft, picking up later. WIND: W to WSW 20 to 30 knots early, tending SW later.
SSW groundswell slowly eases under fresh onshore winds. South Coast: Ranging from a windblown 4 to 6ft+ Waits and Parsons, grading to a choppy 3 to 4ft+ around Middleton. Mid Coast: WSW swell around 1 to 2ft. WIND: SW to SSW 15 to 25 knots, easing into the afternoon.
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