The Weekend Surf Forecast 9 - 11 December, 2016
COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST
Forecast issued Thursday, 8 December 2016
Around this time of year it’s not uncommon to see longer than normal periods of tiny or near flat surf interspersing the more significant swell events. Well, this weekend, it’s mostly about the latter, with most states receiving solid waves at some point in the forecast window.
The arrival of a solid round of S swell across the NSW coast sees a long-awaited push into the overhead range across southern exposures on Saturday, with plenty leftover on Sunday. While southern Queensland only pulls in a smidgin of this energy, it will also benefit from a slight round of ESE windswell, keeping wave heights up around 2ft all weekend. Further south, Victoria feels the brunt of a large round of SW swell and strong onshore winds on Friday preceding a steady improvement in wave quality throughout the weekend, culminating in good conditions state-wide on Sunday. Over west, there are great waves to be had over the next few days as a powerful round of SW swell slowly subsides, with early light easterly winds producing clean conditions before midday all weekend.
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Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
I’m usually circumspect when it comes to employing the exclamation mark, but given the latest run of small/ tiny surf, here’s two in quick succession: Waves! At last! A chunky round of mid-period S swell arrives just in time for the weekend; picking up in size late Friday before peaking during the early hours of Saturday morning.
The only downside is a predominant onshore airflow that will take the shine off conditions for most of the weekend. Having said that, the onshore winds will only be light. A bit of morning sickness on Saturday morning should precede improving wave quality as winds drop to light and variable before freshening out of the NE during the afternoon. This should make for good to excellent conditions across true south facing breaks into the afternon – and the same goes for Sunday. A firming high pressure ridge is likely to see light to moderate NNE winds already in force early, greeting still solid sets ranging from 3 to 4ft across the more exposed south facing breaks. Expect a continued decline in energy as winds freshen and swing NE into the afternoon.
Steep rising S swell. Undersized early at 1 - 2ft south facing breaks, rising to 2 – 3ft during the day and up to 3 – 4ft later. WIND: Early SSW change 20 to 30 knots, easing and tending SW during the morning, then shifting SSE to SE 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon.
Mid-period S swell. Sets to 4 – 5ft south facing breaks early, grading to 2 – 4ft elsewhere with size depending on exposure. Gradually easing during the afternoon. WIND: Early SSE 5 to 15 knots, tending lighter ESE, then E to NE 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon.
Easing S swell. Sets to 3 – 4ft south facing breaks early, dropping to 2 – 3ft during the afternoon. Grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light NNE around 10 to 15 knots, tending NE 10 to 20 knots during the afternoon.
Queensland and Far Northern NSW
It’s not exactly the resurgence in easterly tradewind swell we might have hoped for, but it’s better than nothing. The arrival of a robust round of mid-period S swell sees solid surf on offer south of the border this weekend – and there’s even a smidgin of ESE windswell in the mix for southern Queensland coasts; just enough to nudge set waves up above 2ft across the more exposed breaks.
The former, S swell-train builds in during Saturday; picking up during the afternoon ahead of a peak in size early on Sunday. Unfortunately moderate to strong onshore SE winds will leave little to be desired across exposed stretches on Saturday, so you may want to seek out some shelter for some smaller, cleaner options. Sunday sees lighter ENE winds in force across northern NSW offering up reasonable options through the peak of the swell, while north of the border sees a smaller swell-mix under still moderate ESE winds.
Tiny and clean, deteriorating later. Around 1ft+ exposed coasts, superseded by minor rise in SE windswell during the afternoon. WIND: NW to WNW 10 to 20 knots early, tending light N ahead of a SE change 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon.
A definite improvement on Friday. SSE swell. Around 2 – 3ft+ early, picking up to a solid 3 – 4ft across northern NSW south facing breaks during the day/ early arvo. SE/ESE windswell junky 1 - 2ft+ exposed QLD breaks like Duranbah, grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: SE 15 to 20 knots tending ESE and ENE later.
Better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick. Mid period S swell around 3 - 4ft northern NSW south facing coasts. Mixing with ESE windswell at 1 – 3ft exposed QLD breaks, grading to 1 – 2ft elsewhere and smaller inside the points and bays. WIND: ESE to ENE 10 to 15 knots.
The passage of a strong cold front across Bass Strait on Thursday leads in some pretty woeful surfing conditions across the state on Friday. A large, stormy spike in short-range SW swell and strong winds from the same direction leaves little to be desired across exposed stretches.
The good news is conditions will gradually come good over the course of the weekend. Saturday sees early lighter westerlies producing good conditions across the Surf Coast, but otherwise moderate south-westerlies will continue to limit quality elsewhere. Although onshore winds persist on Sunday, they are looking light – as in 5 knots light. That means just about everywhere will be pretty good, with a still powerful SW swell ranging from 3 to 5ft the exposed beaches, grading to a more user-friendly size across the Surf Coast.
A proverbial dog’s breakfast. Mix of primary, mid-period SW swell and underlying long-period WSW groundswell. Windblown 5 - 6ft+ exposed coasts. Grading to a choppy 3 - 4ft+ across the Surf Coast. WIND: SW 20 to 30 knots, easing to 15 to 25 knots later.
Surf Coast or bust. Solid and semi-clean across the Surf Coast early. Easing mid-period WSW swell reinforced by new SW groundswell. Solid 4 – 6ft exposed coasts, dropping to 3 – 5ft. Grading to 2 - 4ft across the Surf Coast. WIND: Early light W across the Surf Coast. Otherwise light WSW tending SSW to SSE 5 to 15 knots.
Slightly textured, but reasonably clean all day. Reinforcing Mid period SW swell. Set to 3 – 5ft exposed breaks. Grading to 2 – 3ft across the Surf Coast. WIND: Early light W across the Surf Coast, otherwise SW 0 to 5 knots tending S to SE during the afternoon.
There’s some pretty tasty looking conditions on offer over the next few days. In the wake of Thursday’s thumping peak in SW groundswell we can look forward to still solid f surf on Friday morning, with early offshores probably making for the best day of the forecast window. By Saturday it’s back to smaller SW swell favouring the most exposed Southwest reefs – and as per usual the early risers will fair best while a lighter E/SE airflow remains in place. Sunday marks the beginning of a new building trend in SW groundswell showing later in the day, but the early hours should again see small-scale stuff favouring the exposed breaks.
Easing SW swell under morning offshore winds. Ease in SW groundswell, offshore winds early. Southwest coast: 3-4ft+. Perth/Mandurah: 1ft+. E winds 10kts early, tending light S then rising SSW 15-20kts.
SW swell bottoms out under dicey winds. Overlapping inco SW swell, morning SE winds. Southwest coast: 2-3ft, inco larger sets building. Perth/Mandurah: rising, 1ft. ESE winds 10kts shifting to seabreeze W to SW 10-15kts.
Same, but different. Continued small swell under light south winds early. SW swell slightly building under light winds early. Southwest coast: 2-3ft+. Perth/Mandurah: 1ft sets. Light to variable SE wind 5-10kt early, tending SW 10-15kts.
A below average day of waves on Friday precedes some reasonably good conditions across South Australian coasts this weekend. The arrival of a new SW groundswell sees surf-heights up around 3 to 4ft across the South Coast breaks on Saturday, with light E to SE winds making for good conditions across the more exposed, west facing coasts. The swell eases a notch by Sunday morning as light E to SE winds persist, making for another good day state-wide.
Improving during the afternoon. SW swell. 2 - 3ft South Coast beaches, picking up during the afternoon. Grading to 1ft or so across the Mid Coast. WIND: Early SSW 15 to 20 knots tending S 10 to 15 knots during the day.
SW groundswell. Solid sets ranging from 3 - 4ft South Coast breaks, easing later. Grading to 1 - 2ft across the Mid Coast. WIND: Early light ESE tending SSE 10 to 15 knots later.
SW swell. Sets to 2 - 3ft exposed South Coast beaches. Wrapping around 1ft+ across the Mid Coast. WIND: Early light E, tending SE to SSE during the afternoon.
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