The Weekend Surf Forecast 21 - 23 July, 2017

20 Jul 2017 2

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST

Forecast issued Thursday, 22 June 2017

The Eastern Seaboard is undoubtedly the place to be this weekend. A large, powerful SSE groundswell filling in on Saturday will offer up some big, clean surfing options across the entire NSW coast – and even southern Queensland will start to pump as the deepwater energy starts to wrap in late on Saturday and throughout Sunday. Along with the swell, the other key ingredient defining this episode is two full days of light WNW to NW winds, making for a non-stop run of clean, powerful waves that should leave most of us pretty surfed out by Monday morning.

Further south, Victoria and South Australia see a fairly user-friendly weekend of surf. A fading, short range SSW swell on Friday gives way to smaller-scale, long-range SW groundswell throughout the weekend; making for good quality, but fairly slow 3 to 4ft sets across exposed beaches, wrapping at either side of 2ft across Victoria’s Surf Coast and Adelaide’s South Coast.

Last but not least, conditions across the West Coast vary dramatically depending on the latitude. Below 30S, (that means anywhere south of about Jurien Bay) conditions will be pretty woeful all weekend. A combination of large SW swell and strong onshore, westerly quarter winds will keep surfing options to the bare minimum across Perth and the Southwest Coast for several days to come. Above 25S you’re likely to fare much, much better as mid to large SW groundswell wraps in under moderate S to SE winds.  

SEE ALSO: The 5 Dream Boards To Take To The Maldives 

The Eastern Seaboard will be holding this weekend. Photo: Dan Bielich.

The Eastern Seaboard will be holding this weekend. Photo: Dan Bielich.

Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
Cancel all other commitments. If necessary, make up multiple, contradictory excuses and worry about the consequences on Monday. The words epic and pumping both spring to mind in summing up conditions for this weekend.

Thursday marked the first of several excellent surfing days across the entire NSW coast; featuring powerful S to SE groundswell groomed by light offshore winds. It’s only on Friday afternoon that we see strong SSW winds limiting options to southern corners as a reinforcing push in S swell jacks surf-heights up a notch across the region. Come Saturday morning it will be game on as a powerful round of SSE groundswell arrives under light west to north-westerly winds.

This pulse may come in a little undersized at first light, but expect a strong push throughout the morning as sets jack up into the 6 to 8ft range at breaks focussing the deepwater energy. If that sounds like it’s a bit out of your comfort zone, you might want to wait until Sunday morning for some still large, clean sets in the 4 to 6ft range, slowly easing throughout the day.

Friday
Larger S swell peaks early. Sets up to 5 - 6ft+ south facing breaks, grading to 3 – 6ft elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early SW 15 to 25 knots tending SSW during the afternoon.

Saturday
Reinforcing SSE groundswell picks up. Solid sets to 5 – 8ft south facing breaks, grading to 4 – 6ft+ elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early WNW 5 to 10 knots, tending NW during the day.

Sunday
Easing SE groundswell. Sets up to 4 - 5ft+ south facing breaks early, grading to 3 – 4ft+ elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light WNW tending variable during the afternoon.

The onset of a powerful SSE swell should see conditions like this on tap across the NSW coast all weekend. Photo: CW user Sea&landphotos.

The onset of a powerful SSE swell should see conditions like this on tap across the NSW coast all weekend. Photo: CW user Sea&landphotos.

Queensland and Far Northern NSW
The swell tap gets turned back on across the region this weekend as a powerful round of SSE groundswell moves in. The big question of course is, will it be too south for the points and bays? The short answer is not on Sunday. Until then, a strong southerly bias in swell direction is likely to keep a lid on surf-potential north of the border. Friday in particularly should see wide variances in surf heights throughout the region.

A large spike in directional (SSW - see explanation in comments) swell should see sets pushing up to a solid 6ft or more across Ballina’s exposed breaks, while the majority of northern NSW beaches see wave-heights ranging anywhere from 2 to 6ft depending on exposure. This will probably limit good surfing options to the handful of southern Queensland breaks predisposed to the southerly direction. This trend is likely to continue throughout Saturday morning as Friday’s leading pulse gradually scales down in size. It won’t be until Saturday afternoon that we start to see conditions improving as the leading edge of a powerful SSE groundswell start to build in. This holds potential for strong lines wrapping into the points late in the day, but stay tuned for Friday’s update for confirmation on this.

Sunday morning should see the bulk of the groundswell filling in; generating excellent conditions throughout the region under light westerly winds – but the focus is set to shift to the more exposed breaks as winds swing to the NW during the afternoon.

Friday
Second pulse of S swell builds in. Sets to 4 - 6ft+ exposed northern NSW breaks, grading to 2 - 4ft exposed QLD coasts and 1 to 3ft inside the points and bays. WIND: Early WSW to SSW 10 to 15 knots, tending S 10 to 20 during the day.

Saturday
Reinforcing SSE swell picks up during the afternoon. Sets to 3 – 5ft exposed northern NSW breaks early, rising to 5 – 8ft during the afternoon. Up to 2 – 3ft+ exposed QLD coasts, building to 3 – 5ft later. Grading smaller inside the points and bays. WIND: Early SW to SSW tending S to SE 5 to 15 knots later.

Sunday
Large SSE groundswell slowly eases. Sets ranging from 5 - 6ft+ exposed northern NSW breaks, grading to 3 – 5ft across southern Queensland’s exposed breaks and down to 2 – 3ft+ inside the points and bays. WIND: Early light W tending light NW during the day and possibly light NE later.

Could this happen again? Best be up early on Sunday to find out. Photo: CW user Keith Christie.

Could this happen again? Best be up early on Sunday to find out. Photo: CW user Keith Christie.

Victoria
You’re probably going to need plenty of rubber and plenty of patience in the water this weekend. Come Friday morning we can look forward to a favourable NW to N wind-shift opening up rapidly improving conditions throughout the region. However, Thursday’s large SSW swell will scale down again fairly quickly, leaving us reliant on longer-range swell sources for less consistent surf throughout the weekend. This underlying SW groundswell originates from deep in the south-central Indian Ocean and it’s relatively small size will favour the exposed beaches, pushing in at 2 to 4ft throughout the weekend; albeit inconsistent in the upper range.

Locally, a robust NW to N airflow will continue to offer up a range of good options favouring both the Surf Coast and the more exposed, south facing beaches – but it’s fair to say set waves will be smaller and slower across the former region all weekend.

Friday
Easing SW groundswell reinforced by smaller underlying WSW groundswell. Sets to 4 – 5ft+ exposed beaches. Wrapping in at 3 – 4ft across the Surf Coast. WIND: Early light NW to NNW 5 to 15 knots, tending N and freshening during the afternoon.

Saturday
Long range WSW groundswell. Inconsistent sets around 3 – 4ft exposed beaches. Grading to a slow 1 – 3ft across the Surf Coast. WIND: NW to N 10 to 25 knots.

Sunday
W windswell rises over underlying SW groundswell. Inconsistent Sets around 3 – 4ft exposed beaches early, picking up during the afternoon. Grading to 1 – 3ft across the Surf Coast. WIND: Early NW to NNW tending WNW 10 to 20 knots during the day.

Offshore it will be, but otherwise this photo is not representative of conditions across the Surf Coast this weekend. Photo: CW user Thewanderingsof.

Offshore it will be, but otherwise this photo is not representative of conditions across the Surf Coast this weekend. Photo: CW user Thewanderingsof.

Western Australia
Rough as guts. That pretty much sums up the forecast for the Southwest this weekend. Thursday saw the first in a series of vigorous winter fronts sweeping north-eastward out of the southern Indian Ocean to cross the southwest of the state. The next one will be on approach on Friday; generating strong pre-frontal WNW winds over the top of a still large and unruly SW groundswell; invariably leaving little to the surfing imagination all day. By Saturday morning there should be some better options on offer inside the sheltered breaks as easing SW winds greet a moderating SW swell. This is likely to be the best of a pretty bad bunch, with winds set to swing back to the WNW at strength on Sunday morning ahead of the next front crossing the coast during the day.

Friday
Overlapping SW groundswell, easing later under continued onshore winds. South West coast: 8-10ft. Perth/Mandurah: 2-3ft+. WIND: 20-30kts WNW tending NW’ly.

Saturday
Reinforced SW swell early under continued onshore winds. South West: 7-9ft, early, easing. Perth/Mandurah: Unsettled 1-3ft. WIND: SW 10-20kts shifting W’ly. Possible light variable winds Perth/Mandurah early.

Sunday
SW swell eases under onshore WNW winds. South West: 4-6ft. Perth/Mandurah: 1-2ft. WIND: WNW 18-23kts tending W’ly 15-20kts.

It will be slim pickings across the Southwest this weekend as strong onshore winds prevail for days. Photo: Dan Wyer.

It will be slim pickings across the Southwest this weekend as strong onshore winds prevail for days. Photo: Dan Wyer.

South Australia
The surf is looking pretty user friendly across South Australian coasts this weekend. Friday and Saturday particularly see northerly-quarter winds greeting a plodding, long-range SW groundswell; generating clean 2 to 3ft sets across the most exposed South Coast beaches on both days. Sunday sees fresh westerly winds taking the edge off the underlying swell, but it will keep pulsing throughout the day; probably picking up a foot or so across the more exposed breaks during the afternoon.

Friday
Fading S swell reinforced by small SW groundswell. Sets to 1– 3ft exposed South Coast beaches early, bumping up during the afternoon. Around 0.5 - 1ft across the Mid Coast. WIND: Early NNE 10 to 20 knots, tending NNW during the afternoon.

Saturday
Small SW groundswell. Sets 2 – 3ft exposed South Coast breaks, grading to 0.5 - 1ft across the Mid Coast. WIND: NNW 10 to 20 knots, easing later.

Sunday
SW groundswell slowly picks up. Sets 2 – 4ft exposed South Coast breaks, grading to 1ft or so across the Mid Coast. WIND: W 15 to 25 knots.

Exposed south facing breaks will be cooking before the westerly change arrives on Sunday. Photo: Dan Wyer.

Exposed south facing breaks will be cooking before the westerly change arrives on Sunday. Photo: Dan Wyer.


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