Weekend Surf Forecast 1 - 3 February 2019
COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST
The long-enduring, national heat-wave of December 2018 and January 2019 has seen temperature records tumbling across the nation – and it isn’t done yet. With many locations experiencing their highest ever maximum temperature over the last two months, the coastal fringes have never looked more appealing.
Across the southern half of the NSW coast a vigorous southerly change will bring swift relief from the heat on Friday night – while also delivering a substantial push in SSE windswell in its wake; showing peak size in the 3 to 4ft range early on Saturday morning. This will be backed up by a similarly robust ESE windswell on Sunday, making for a very full, albeit windblown weekend of waves.
Further up the coast, southern Queensland and far northern NSW coasts benefit from a modest upswing in easterly tradewind swell; by and large fluctuating around the 2 to 3ft mark all weekend, with early light winds offering up the best conditions before moderate ESE breezes develop during the days.
Conditions across Victoria and South Australia are initially hampered by onshore winds on Friday, but by Saturday morning they’ll be improving under lighter offshore breezes, opening up some reasonably good small-wave options across exposed beaches – and again early on Sunday. Further afield, the West Coast pulls in its usual lion’s share of swell; benefiting from a solid increase in SW groundswell, peaking early on Sunday under moderate to fresh, cross-offshore south-easterly winds.
Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
Fresh onshore winds will take the shine off an otherwise substantial increase in swell over the next few days. This commences with a short-lived spike in SSE windswell to a chaotic 3 to 4ft across the most south facing stretches; albeit under strong onshore SSE winds gradually easing during the day. An emerging high pressure ridge then drives a second and longer-lived increase in ESE swell; showing most size on Saturday – again in the 3 to 4ft range under fresh onshore winds, before slowly easing as winds back off into Sunday and Monday.
Peak in S windswell. Sets to 3 to 4ft south facing beaches early, easing to 2 to 3ft+ as direction trends SSE in the afternoon. Grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: SSE, tending Southerly 15 to 25 knots, easing during the day, then shifting SE to ESE and freshening in the late afternoon/ evening.
Consistent, junky ESE windswell and underlying SSE swell ranging from 3 to 4ft exposed open breaks, easing a little in the afternoon. WIND: Easterly around 10 to 20 knots early, tending ENE 10 to 15 knots, then easing in the afternoon.
Easterly windswell up to 2 to 3ft+ at the most exposed open beaches, easing during the afternoon. WIND: Early light Northerly tending NNE 15 to 20 knots in the arvo.
Queensland and Far Northern NSW
A modest upswing in easterly tradewind swell holds slightly better prospects than what we’ve seen of late – and sure, that’s still not saying a whole lot – but there will be waves; mostly ranging from 2 to 3ft along the more exposed stretches of coast all weekend, with plenty more to come over the course of next week.
Fading E tradewind swell up to 1 to 3ft exposed open beaches, smaller later. Otherwise grading smaller inside the bays and along the points. WIND: Early light and variable land-breezes 5 to 10 knots, tending SE to ESE 10 to 15 knots in the arvo, freshening later.
Low level ESE tradewind swell around 1 to 3ft exposed open beaches, bumping up a tad during the day. Otherwise smaller along the points and inside the bays. WIND: Early light WSW to SW inshore 5 to 10 knots, tending ESE and freshening to 10 to 20 knots in the arvo.
ESE tradewind swell up to a consistent 2 to 3ft along exposed coasts, mixing with small S swell at similar levels across northern NSW coasts. Otherwise grading smaller inside the points and bays. WIND: Early light WSW to SSW inshore, tending ESE 10 to 15 knots.
While Friday is looking a little bit gloomy under persistent onshore winds, Saturday morning holds some reasonably good surfing potential across the state’s exposed beaches. A subsiding SW swell will be greeted by a light north-easterly flow – but having said that, you’ll still be contending with plenty of sea-state leftover from Friday’s south-easterlies. Sunday will be cleaner, to be sure, but the swell looks like it will be lacking across the exposed Mornington and Phillip Island coasts. This looks like a great morning to head to more remote south-western parts of the state, but it looks like an early WSW wind-shift will quickly put an end to the clean conditions.
Renewed SW swell bumps up. Solid sets up around 4 to 5ft+ along the exposed beaches, grading to 3 to 4ft along the Surf Coast reefs and smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: SSE 10 to 15 knots, tending SE and freshening to 15 to 20 knots in the afternoon.
Settled SW swell slowly declines. Around 3 to 4ft along the exposed beaches, easing towards 2 to 3ft+ into the afternoon. Sets around 2 to 3ft along the Surf Coast reefs, fading later. Otherwise grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early ESE turning light NE 5 to 10 knots, then variable ahead of SSE sea-breezes 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon.
Leftover SW swell lingers at a slow 2 to 3ft along the exposed beaches and fades into the afternoon. Wrapping at 1 to 2ft along the Surf Coast reefs, fading in the afternoon. WIND: Early Northerly 5 to 15 knots, freshening during the morning ahead of a SW change 15 to 25 knots in the arvo.
All signs point to Sunday morning as your best window of surfing opportunity across the Southwest. Friday starts out with very small and slow leftover SW swell, preceding the gradual arrival of a new SW groundswell on Saturday. The building trend unfortunately coincides with fresh southerly winds – and it won’t be until Sunday morning that a more favourable south-easterly bias opens up clean and powerful conditions in the 5 to 8ft range across exposed Southwest coasts.
Faded SSW swell bottoms out. Southwest: Slow, clean sets ranging from 1 to 3ft across exposed breaks early, infrequent in the upper range and dwindling later. Perth/Mandurah: Semi clean around 0.5ft or flat. WIND: Early lighter SE to SSE 5 to 10 knots inshore, tending South, SSW 15 to 25 knots during the afternoon.
New SSW groundswell picks up under strong cross-shore winds. South West: Potential for inconsistent, wind-affected 3 to 4ft sets across exposed breaks early, rising to a ragged 4 to 5ft+ range during the afternoon. Perth/Mandurah: Up to a slow 0.5 to 1ft along exposed beaches, bigger in the arvo. WIND: Southerly 15 to 25 knots, tending SSE and freshening into the afternoon.
Solid SW groundswell. South West: Sets ranging from a semi-clean 5 to 8ft across exposed breaks, easing during the afternoon and grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. Perth/Mandurah: Clean in the 1 to 2ft range along exposed beaches. WIND: Early SE 10 to 20 knots, tending SSE and freshening later.
Strong south-easterly winds won’t be doing the surf any favours on Friday; making a meal of a fading SW swell throughout the day. Come Saturday morning we’re back on as lighter E/NE winds open up some fun 2 to 3ft options across the more exposed beaches down south. By Sunday, however, the swell will have dropped and a short window of early light winds will soon give way to freshening South-westerlies, putting a swift end to your surfing prospects mid morning.
SSW swell gradually subsides under cross-onshore winds. South Coast: Junky 2 to 4ft at Waits and Parsons, grading to 2ft around Middleton. Mid Coast: 0.5 to 1ft. WIND: ESE 15 to 20 knots, tending SE to SSE in the afternoon.
Faded SSW swell under light offshore winds. South Coast: Sets around 2 to 3ft at Waits and Parsons. Grading to a clean 1 to 2ft around Middleton, smaller later. Mid Coast: Around 0.5ft. WIND: East to NE 5 to 15 knots, tending South to SE 10 to 15 knots in the afternoon.
Residual SSW swell. South Coast: Slower sets ranging from 2 to 3ft at Waits and Parsons, grading to an inconsistent 1 to 2ft around Middleton. Mid Coast: Virtually flat. WIND: Early light and variable turning SW 10 to 15 knots, freshening to 15 to 20 knots in the arvo.
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