Bali, Indonesia Surf Forecast 5 - 15 April, 2017
Forecast Issued Tuesday, 4th April
Welcome back to the weekly Indo forecast. You might say it’s a bit early in the year, with the start of the dry-season still week’s away. But these days, Indonesia – and Bali in particularly - is a year-round surfing destination.
The reality is, Indonesia’s unprecedented exposure to the southern Indian Ocean storm-track means it’s possible to score big, perfect surf at anytime of the year – it’s just that in winter your probability of scoring is much higher. We’ll be publishing the Indo Forecast every Tuesday right through to the end of October, so if you’re planning a trip to the archipelago this season, stay tuned.
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Small-scale SSW groundswell dominates the short term outlook, with potential for a couple of mid-range SSW pulses arriving into the middle of April.
Easing SSW swell. Sets ranging from 2 - 3ft exposed breaks early, fading to 1 – 2ft during the afternoon. Grading smaller elsewhere depending on exposure. WIND: Early WNW tending SSE 5 to 10 knots.
Slight SSW groundswell. Sets around 1 – 2ft exposed breaks, virtually flat elsewhere. WIND: Early light WNW tending SSE 5 to 10 knots.
Residual SSW swell. Around 1ft+ exposed breaks, virtually flat elsewhere. WIND: Calm to light WNW tending SW to SE 5 to 10 knots.
Tiny SSW groundswell begins to bump up. Tiny to 1ft early, picking up to a slow 1 – 2ft+ during the afternoon. Virtually flat elsewhere. WIND: Light and variable tending ESE around 10 knots.
SSW groundswell. Sets to 2 – 3ft+ exposed breaks. Grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light and variable tending S 5 to 10 knots.
Easing SSW groundswell. Slow sets to 2 – 3ft exposed breaks, inconsistent in the upper range. Grading smaller elsewhere depending on exposure. WIND: Early light and variable tending S 5 to 10 knots.
Early April is shaping up as fairly typical of the in-between (ie neither wet nor dry) Indonesian season. While Tuesday saw a still substantial SSW groundswell ranging from 2 to 4ft across Bali’s exposed breaks, this energy is set to wane over the next few days, leaving even the most exposed reefs relatively placid for most of the week. Expect smaller leftovers in the 2 to 3ft range on Wednesday morning, preceding a further decline into the 2ft range during the afternoon.
The absence of any notable inbound swell is the knock on effect of subdued storm-activity prevailing throughout the southern Indian Ocean late last month. Although a succession of moderate polar fronts moved across our long range swell window during the first days of April, associated winds were insufficient to whip up any substantial SSW groundswell. The upshot is several days of tiny surf across the archipelago; probably lingering around 1 to 2ft on Thursday before fading to even tinier levels on Friday morning.
It probably won’t be until Saturday morning that we see a slight improvement in conditions as a small pulse of mid-period SSW swell nudges up into the 2 to 3ft range. The leading edge of this energy may start to show at low levels late on Friday, but given peak size isn’t anticipated to top the 3ft mark over the weekend, it looks unlikely to have much of an impact. The source is a complex polar low that developed over the far south-western Indian Ocean over the weekend. The system intensified as it traversed east on Sunday and Monday, setting up a fairly modest, 30 to 40 kt westerly fetch situated west of Heard Island. By Tuesday the storm system and associated fetch had migrated further east and it’s set to rapidly weaken from here on out. The upshot is a continuation of clean 2 to 3ft SSW swell on Sunday, preceding an easing trend setting in on Monday.
The good news is a new SSW pulse is on track to boost wave heights back up on Tuesday. While this is only shaping up as a 2 to 3ft pulse across the most exposed breaks, it looks like it will lead in a series of incrementally larger pulses over the course of next week. This activity follows a succession of polar fronts developing south of the Kerguelen Islands before tracking northeast, towards Western Australia. The first of these systems moves directly below Indonesia over the next 48 hours; setting up the leading SSW pulse inbound on Tuesday.
This is backed up by a more complex frontal progression following the same storm track, directly south of Indonesia late this week. This points to a similar, or perhaps slightly stronger reinforcing SSW pulse arriving out of the 200 degree band on Wednesday; again just large enough to keep surf ranging from 2 to 3ft plus across exposed breaks.
From there, longer term model guidance points to a deeper polar low developing up directly south of South Africa on Monday 10th before tracking out across the south-western Indian Ocean on Tuesday 11th. For now this holds speculative potential for a larger, longer-period SSW groundswell starting to touch down on Wednesday 12th, leading in peak size across the archipelago on Thursday 13th April. This is linked to the development of a vigorous low below South Africa and the Mozambique Channel on Wednesday and Thursday. The storm is projected to support a gale force fetch as it swiftly traverses the southern Indian Ocean throughout Friday and over the course of the weekend.
Given the distance of this source from Indonesia, associated swell potential isn’t off the charts. Never the less, this is currently shaping up as a peak in the vicinity of a 4 to 6ft on Friday 14th, with scope for still solid groundswell in the water over the weekend of Saturday 15th. Given this remain storm dependent, some revision to both projected surf-heights and arrival times are likely in next week’s update.
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