Weekend Surf Forecast 13 - 15 May, 2016

12 May 2016 0

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

COASTALWATCH | Weekend Surf Forecast 

Forecast issued Thursday, 12 May 2016

The Southern Ocean has been busy of late. A succession of deep lows tracking west to east, deep below Indonesia and the Australian mainland culminated in many days of large surf across the southern states throughout early May and this trend continues for several days to come. See Also: Bali - Indo Forecast

Western Australia sees another wintery looking weekend characterised by large SW storm swell and strong onshore winds - and even Indonesia is also set to feel the reverberations of this activity in the form of a large SSW groundswell arriving this weekend and early next week. Even the NSW coast benefits from a refracted round of directional S groundswell associated with an intense low positioned deep below Tassie. Although nowhere near as big or consistent, a westerly wind regime is set to remain in place across the entire Eastern Seaboard, keeping surface conditions ultra-clean for many days to come.

SEE ALSO: It's Close To Perfect In The Maldives Right Now 

Conditions are looking cool and clean just about everywhere this weekend - just not across the West Coast. Photo: CW user Nathan O'Donell.

Conditions are looking cool and clean just about everywhere this weekend - just not across the West Coast. Photo: CW user Nathan O'Donell.

Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
I’ve used the word ‘directional’ in the forecast a lot this week. It refers to the oblique angle of the southerly groundswell, running SSW, parallel to the NSW coast over the next few days. If you haven’t already noticed, the indirect alignment of the deepwater swell with the coast is having some undesirable effects, including smaller than projected surf heights and long, long waits between sets.

Never the less, a 40 to 50kt fetch that set up deep in the Southern Ocean on Wednesday and Thursday is better positioned outside of Tasmania’s swell shadow – and this holds better chances for some powerful sets materialising on Friday at long peak intervals of 13 to 15 seconds. That usually means straight-handers for most of the region’s beach-breaks, so with the westerly airflow still in place, it may be well worth your while targeting a reef-break holding this energy.

A significant drop in wave height and period follows by Saturday morning and this should see better beach-break options across the region – particularly across the more south facing stretches pulling in the bulk of leftover S swell. By Sunday, there should still be some smaller leftovers ranging either side of 2ft across southern exposures, but like this entire episode, the sets will be slow, so expect long conversations between waves.

Friday
Sporadic sets. Directional S groundswell. Inconsistent 3 - 5ft Sydney’s south facing breaks, grading to a larger 4 – 6ft across Newcastle and the Hunter. Down to a smaller 2 – 4ft Sydney and South Coast east facing breaks, easing during the afternoon. WIND: Early light WNW to WSW 5 to 15 knots tending light and variable during the afternoon.

Saturday
Get amongst it before it fades in the arvo. Easing S groundswell. Around 2 - 3ft+ south facing breaks, easing during the day. WIND: Early light WNW tending N during the afternoon.

Sunday
Small, fun S swell. Inconsistent 1 - 3ft south facing breaks, grading smaller elsewhere. Fading throughout the afternoon. WIND: Early light WNW tending light and variable later.

SEE ALSO: Bede Durbidge On, The Day Taj & I Towed Into Burleigh

Finding locations predisposed to the directional S groundswell will be your best bet this weekend. Photo: CW user CG.

Finding locations predisposed to the directional S groundswell will be your best bet this weekend. Photo: CW user CG.

Queensland and Far Northern NSW
During SSW episodes like the current one, it’s hard not to be anything but sceptical of any swell finding its way into southern Queensland coasts whatsoever. Indeed, the majority of freely available virtual buoys are not picking up any of this energy penetrating the region whatsoever. Although associated peak intervals are forecast to reach 16 seconds, a deepwater swell direction of 190 to 200 degrees will see the vast bulk of wave-energy sailing past Coolangatta and the Sunshine Coast on its way to Fiji.

So, while there’s potential for some small lines finding their way into breaks like Duranbah, it’s worth keeping your expectations in check. Short of booking a flight to Fiji, a drive south of the border is  probably your best bet if you want to get the most out of this oblique groundswell. Happy hunting.

Friday.
South of the border or bust. S groundswell. Sets to 2 - 4ft northern NSW southern exposures. Grading to 1 – 2ft max exposed QLD breaks, 1ft or virtually flat across open beaches and inside the points and bays. WIND: Early light WSW tending ESE 5 to 10 knots.

Saturday
Fly to Fiji for the waves of your life on Sunday. S groundswell. Sets to 2 - 3ft northern NSW southern exposures. Grading to 1 – 2ft max exposed QLD breaks, 1ft or virtually flat across open beaches and inside the points and bays. WIND: Early W tending light NNE 5 to 10 knots.

Sunday
Fly home after vowing to move to Fiji permanently. S swell. 2ft northern NSW exposed breaks, grading to 1ft across southern QLD exposed breaks and flat inside the points and bays. WIND: Early light WNW inshore tending light SE to NE during the afternoon.

SEE ALSO: I'm Paid To Surf Perfect Cloudbreak 

Short of flying to Fiji, a drive south of the border might be your best bet this weekend. Photo: CW user DReal Neil.

Short of flying to Fiji, a drive south of the border might be your best bet this weekend. Photo: CW user DReal Neil.

Victoria
The extended run of large WSW groundswell currently affecting Victorian coasts is set to gradually scale down over the next few days. Having said that, there’s little doubt surf heights will remain very challenging across the exposed beaches; probably still ranging from 6 to 8ft on Friday before levelling off in the 5 to 6ft range all weekend. So, if you’ve already deduced that the Surf Coast will persist as the logical surfable option over this period, then well done. Set waves should continue to fluctuate around the 3 to 4ft mark both on Saturday and Sunday as a well entrenched WNW wind-regime remains in place – the only exceptions being a slight NNW shift early on Saturday and light south-westerlies on Sunday arvo.

Friday
Smaller, but still fun. Mid period WSW swell. Around 6 - 8ft exposed beaches, easing during the afternoon. Wrapping into Surf Coast breaks at 3 - 5ft. WIND: WNW 10 to 20 knots.

Saturday
Acute W swell shows more size during the arvo. Mid period WSW swell. Around 5 – 6ft+ exposed beaches. Grading to 3 - 4ft+ across the Surf Coast. WIND: Early NNW tending NW 10 to 15 knots.

Sunday
Small and wind-affected across the Surf Coast. Large WSW swell slowly easing. Around 5 - 6ft+ exposed beaches early, easing during the arvo. Wrapping into Surf Coast breaks at 2 - 4ft. WIND: WNW 10 to 15 knots, tending W to SW during the afternoon.

SEE ALSO: Utah // Get Me Two

A brief NNW wind-shift on Saturday morning could present some interesting options across the region. Photo: Judy Scanlon.

A brief NNW wind-shift on Saturday morning could present some interesting options across the region. Photo: Judy Scanlon.

Western Australia
Another stormy, onshore run of surf looms for the West Coast this weekend. Friday is pretty much a write off under strong NW winds that will leave little in the way of rideable options unless you’re way down south somewhere. Saturday holds better potential as winds ease marginally and swing WSW – with any luck producing a few half decent waves inside sheltered breaks. However, if you’re a fan of targeting heavily sheltered, out-of-the way breaks during the height of storm-swells, then Sunday is your day. A heavy pulse of   reinforcing SW groundswell is set to ramp up to monstrous levels, potentially making for some interesting options throughout the afternoon.

Friday
Woeful. Building SW swell combines with rising wind swell. Southwest coast: 4-6ft, rising 8ft sets later. Perth/Mandurah: Semi clean 1-2ft+. NW winds 15-20kts tending 25kts. Possible light NNE winds Perth/Mandurah early.

Saturday
Big and messy. Reinforced SW swell under continued dicey winds. Southwest coast: 7-9ft, rising 10ft+ sets . Perth/Mandurah: Clean 2-3ft, rising with larger sets into the afternoon. W'ly winds 10-15kts tending NW. Light variable winds Perth/Mandurah.

Sunday
Find the most sheltered nook or cranny. Brief ease in old SW swell before an XL pulse in SW groundswell fills in later. Southwest coast: 8-10ft, rising 12-15ft late. Perth/Mandurah: Bumpy 2-3ft, rising. W'ly winds 20-30kts tending 20kts WSW.

SEE ALSO: The Man & The Sea

You might be hard pressed to find any of these across the West Coast this weekend. Photo: CW user DLR.

You might be hard pressed to find any of these across the West Coast this weekend. Photo: CW user DLR.

South Australia
There’s another full weekend of solid WSW swell in store across the region. A highly active Southern Ocean storm track continues to deliver strong lines of swell ranging from 3 to 5ft across South Coast on Friday. From there, the swell will gradually scale down in size, but it should only be gradual; still ranging from 3 to 4ft on Saturday before easing another notch by Sunday.

Friday.
Cracking across the South Coast all day SW swell 3 - 5ft across the exposed South Coast beaches, easing during the afternoon. Grading to 1 - 2ft across the Mid Coast. WIND: Early light N/NW 5 to 15 knots tending NW during the afternoon.

Saturday
Still good across the South Coast all day. Solid SSW swell. Around 3 – 4ft exposed South Coast beaches. Grading to 1ft across the Mid Coast WIND: NNW to 10 - 20 knots.

Sunday
Fun and clean early. Easing SW swell. Sets 2 - 4ft exposed South Coast beaches. Grading to 0.5 - 1ft along the Mid Coast. WIND: Early light WNW tending WSW 10 to 20 knots.

SEE ALSO: Wayne Lynch On Wisdom From A Life In The Sea

Clean conditions persist across SA as WSW swell slowly subsides this weekend. Photo: CW user Cliffo18.

Clean conditions persist across SA as WSW swell slowly subsides this weekend. Photo: CW user Cliffo18.

Tags: weekend , surf , forecast , ben , macartney (create Alert from these tags)

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