Swell Update: Conditions the "Icing on the Cake" of This Swell Event This Weekend

17 Jul 2020 1 Share

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

Avoca on July 16 2020. Photo: Benso, via the Coastalwatch User Photo Gallery

Avoca on July 16 2020. Photo: Benso, via the Coastalwatch User Photo Gallery

COASTALWATCH | BEN MACARTNEY

The slow-moving Tasman low responsible for this week’s long-enduring run of large SSE/SE swell was still active on Friday morning; positioned roughly 550 nautical miles east of Seal Rocks. The storm is finally starting to fill and it will continue to weaken as it continues to drift very slowly eastward this weekend.

Over the last couple of days the low maintained a broad fetch area over our swell window, encompassing a vast area of the central-eastern and southern Tasman Sea. As mentioned earlier in the week, the primary SSE/SE fetch that set up within relatively close range of the NSW coast was the source of the last few days' large/heavy round of SE swell.

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The Tasman low was still cranking out a 30kt easterly fetch off the North Island on Friday morning.

The Tasman low was still cranking out a 30kt easterly fetch off the North Island on Friday morning.


However, over the course of the weekend and early next week we stand to benefit from a longer-range ESE/SE fetch that set up across the low’s south-eastern sector over the last few days. An analysis of this source shows a loose division the fetch-area; featuring a primary, 30 to 35 knot ESE fetch extending off the North Island’s west coast and a notably weaker, SE fetch extending off the South Island.


These late-stage developments are really shaping up as the icing on the cake for this event; giving rise to a still large, but increasingly accessible run of SE and ESE groundswell, arriving across the entire eastern seaboard throughout Friday and slowly abating over the course of the weekend. Conditions aren’t looking quite as flash as earlier model runs were indicating across the NSW coast on Saturday morning, with moderate southerly winds still forecast to hamper surface quality. However, they’re set to die out during the day, opening up improving conditions into the afternoon. That leads in a full day of cooking conditions as light WNW winds greet the tail end of the swell as it settles to a great size for exposed areas.

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