Cyclone Vania

17 Jan 2011 0 Share

Meltdown Lowdown
East Coast January 14-17, 2011.
Words by Ben Horvath and John Charlton

Cyclone Vania delivers gaping drainpipes in South East Queensland Northern New South Wales, but disappoints in Sydney and surrounds.



National Park Noosa looking a treat in the late afternoon light on Saturday

National Park Noosa looking a treat in the late afternoon light on Saturday

After a week of sodden weather when Brisbane flooded and there was tragedy further west, mother nature gifted surfers some great waves. Cyclone Vania formed in the Coral Sea south of Fiji last week and tracked south well offshore the way we like it. The squeeze in isobars between Vania and a High pressure system in the Tasman Sea created a long range east swell.

Surf mag aficionados could be forgiven for thinking this is a classic old school Kirra line up taken by Marty Tullemans. It is not. Joli shot this on Sunday morning January 16, 2011.

Surf mag aficionados could be forgiven for thinking this is a classic old school Kirra line up taken by Marty Tullemans. It is not. Joli shot this on Sunday morning January 16, 2011.

On Friday morning January 14 the winds were offshore from the south-south-west early and the points started to pump as the swell cleaned up. There was a lot of water moving around and the sweep on the east facing points was very strong, so it was the north facing points that were handling the conditions the best. Noosa, the Coolangatta points and Byron were the pick.

On Saturday the swell was cleaner, straighter, bigger and stronger as Cyclone Vania moved further south, the sun was out and the winds were southerly at around 15 knots. Once again the north facing points were firing and really crowded as a result of the limited options and the weekend holiday crowds.

Mick flying into another backdoor bowl section on a mid size Kirra drainer on Sunday.

Mick flying into another backdoor bowl section on a mid size Kirra drainer on Sunday.

On Sunday morning it was bigger again and very clean, in the six-eight foot+ range with bigger sets on the exposed open beaches. Once again Noosa, from Snapper to Kirra, Main Beach Byron and the Pass handled the swell the best. There were plenty of overhead pits to be had if you could handle the crowds. The swell kept building during the day, peaking mid afternoon.

On Monday it was a bit smaller, but ultra clean in the four-to-six foot range. Cyclone Vania had slipped away to the south east to the north of New Zealand. It was full on the early high tide but there were still plenty of fun waves to be had before the wind swung onshore from the north east late in the morning.

Cyclone Zelia is now hustling her way down the coast, predicted to be off the South East Queensland coast on Monday evening. The monsoon trough is well and truly set in place. Looks like surf season is on.

– JC.

Perfect cylinder at Byron.

Perfect cylinder at Byron.

Expectations leading into the weekend were high after nearly three months of discontent. Crew rescheduled all activities and placed surfing top of their weekend priority list after reading Ben Macartney’s Friday forecast and then viewing evidence of the swell increase up north on Coastalwatch.

Bigger boards were dragged out of the garage and rewaxed in anticipation. Legropes were checked and most hardcores scheduled an early crash on Sunday night to ensure energy levels were maximized for a dawn paddle out on Monday when the swell was forecast to peak.

Southern NSW on Monday arvo January 17.

Southern NSW on Monday arvo January 17.

However, in all honesty Cyclone Vania’s remnants didn’t really deliver in Sydney or southern New South Wales. There were waves everywhere from the Mid North Coast right down to Narooma all weekend in the three-four foot range, but fluky, variable winds put paid to any hopes of genuine perfection. Still though, sunshine and three-four foot peaks under light side/onshore winds was a lot better than what we have been accustomed to all summer thus far.

When the swell really kicked in pulsing at a solid four-six foot pretty much everywhere north of Jervis Bay on Monday morning. The wind was puffing light northerly, limiting options and quality by putting a slight bump on water surface conditions again.

South of J- Bay a dawn southerly change killed any hopes of quality everywhere but a handful of sheltered corners, but even then, anywhere south of The Bay was only four foot anyway.

Solid Monday morning crowds in Newcastle, the Central Coast, Sydney and Wollongong enjoyed some chunky four-six foot plus juice, but not genuine airbrushed pits like our northern brothers and sisters.

On Monday afternoon as the southerly freshened at least crew knew where to hit. Places like The Bower, Cronulla Point, Sandon, Reddies etc. were quite clean and hollow.

– Ben Horvath

Check out what Tropical Cyclone Zelia has in store for us…

More Meltdown Lowdowns


How did Vania treat your local break? Whether it was all time, or a total hoax, we want to know...

Tags: Australia , QLD , NSW , Sydney , Noosa , Kirra , Byron , Horvath , Fanning , Photos (create Alert from these tags)

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