Bali, Indonesia Surf Forecast 17 - 31 May, 2017
Forecast issued by Ben Macartney, Tuesday, 16 May 2017.
VIDEO ABOVE, Desert Point last Thursday 11 May featuring Dom Walsh, Filmed by Jonathan Morales, Edit by Craig Halstead
It's shaping up as an excellent lead-in to winter across Indonesia through the back half of May. A minor upswing in SSW swell sees fun sized surf ranging either side of 3ft across exposed breaks on Wednesday ahead of a further drop in size into the end of the week. This culminates in a full day of small to tiny surf on Saturday ahead of a new building trend in SSW groundswell setting in on Sunday, peaking Monday and Tuesday in the 4 to 6ft plus range.
New SSW groundswell. Sets to 2 – 4ft exposed breaks. Grading smaller elsewhere depending on exposure. WIND: Early light and variable tending ESE 10 to 12 knots.
Easing SSW swell. Sets to 2 – 3ft+ exposed breaks. Grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light and variable tending ESE to SE around 10 knots.
Small scale SSW swell slowly fades. Around 1 - 3ft exposed breaks, inconsistent in the upper range and grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light and variable tending ESE to SE 5 to 10 knots.
Tiny SSW swell. Infrequent 2ft exposed breaks. Grading smaller elsewhere depending on exposure. WIND: Early light and variable tending ESE 5 to 10 knots.
New SSW groundswell slowly fills in. Inconsistent sets to 2 – 3ft exposed breaks early, bumping up into the afternoon. Grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: Light and variable tending ESE to 10 knots.
Stronger rise in SSW groundswell. Sets to 3 – 5ft exposed breaks, picking up during the afternoon. Grading smaller elsewhere depending on exposure. WIND: Early light and variable tending ESE 10 to 12 knots.
In the wake of a couple of solid days of surf over the weekend wave heights gradually scaled down to more subdued levels throughout The Archipelago on Monday and Tuesday; settling into the 2 to 3 ft across exposed reefs while wrapping in at lower-levels elsewhere.
In the short term we can look forward to a slight boost in mid-period SSW swell; probably just strong enough to push set waves back up into the 3ft range across exposed breaks on Wednesday and Thursday.
This minor pulse follows a subdued phase in storm-activity throughout the southern Indian Ocean mid to late last week; featuring a strong high occupying the south-western region and a moderate strength frontal low briefly flaring up as it traversed across the Kerguelen Islands last Tuesday and Wednesday. The tail end of this pulse is set to drop down into the small to tiny range later this week; probably bottoming out at a slow 2ft or so across the most exposed breaks on Saturday.
The good news is a far more substantial building trend in SSW groundswell is set to follow over the course of next week. Proceedings commence with a minor upswing in SSW groundswell on Sunday – at this stage starting out at a slow 2 to 3ft, with scope for larger 3 to 4ft sets materialising into the afternoon. This should lead in the bulk of a larger push in SSW groundswell peaking in the vicinity of 4 to 6ft or more during late Monday/ early Tuesday.
The origin is a large, complex polar low currently positioned over the far southern Indian Ocean, well south of Heard Island. Over the next few days a vigorous frontal low feeding into the parent system extends a compact, (30 to 35kt) SW fetch towards Indonesia. The fetch carries east/ north-eastward from Wednesday and Thursday before weakening as it approaches Western Australia on Friday. Although not overly strong or long, this source sets up relatively close to The Archipelago; thereby setting up a reasonably large, mid-period SSW swell arriving early to mid next week.
Going on current guidance, this will peak in the vicinity of 4 to 6ft plus across exposed breaks late Monday/ early Tuesday, before settling into the 3 to 5ft range by Wednesday morning. A further downward trend in SSW swell is set to follow during Thursday 25 and Friday 26, preceding the arrival of a new, longer period SW groundswell over the weekend of Saturday 27 May.
The evolution of a deep extratropical low underneath South Africa and Madagaascar on Thursday looms as a significant source of SW groundswell for Indonesia into the end of May. The storm is forecast to set up a vast area of WSW gales over the region on Thursday, preceding stronger core winds of 40 to 50 knots developing within the storm on Friday. From there, the system is forecast to rapidly weaken – abruptly cutting off further wave-growth as the low moves out below India. Hence, although sizeable, the distance of this source from Indonesia is again likely to curtain peak size to about 4 to 6ft plus as the resulting SW groundswell fills in over the weekend of Saturday 27 May. This will become clearer as the week progresses.
Beyond that, the storm focus is forecast to remain fixed over the southwest Indian Ocean. Yet another vigorous storm system is forecast to develop over roughly the same region, south of Madagascar this weekend. This holds speculative potential for a reinforcing pulse of SW groundswell into the opening days of June. Stay tuned for more on this in next week’s update.
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