The Weekend Surf Forecast 31 March - 2 April, 2017

30 Mar 2017 0

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST

Forecast issued Thursday, 16 March 2017

There’s a lot going on this weekend. Everywhere you look, the Australian coastline feels the brunt of large, clean swells, strong winds and major weather events – or at least some combination of the above. Western Australia’s Southwest Coast is probably the pick of the bunch; receiving overlapping pulses of mid to large SSW groundswell under favourable, easterly quarter winds all weekend.

Across every other region, you’ll have to time your run carefully if you want to pick the best windows. Across Victoria, the Surf Coast remains the focus of surf-activity all weekend as another large round of SW groundswell kicks in, producing solid, clean conditions on Friday and Saturday mornings. Over east, the NSW coast sees a sizeable push in SSE windswell offering up some reasonably good options inside sheltered southern corners on Friday morning, but Saturday morning is looking like the pick as lighter SW winds greet a more accessible 3 to 4ft SSE swell.

Up north, the arrival of a gale force SSW change on Friday morning will quickly erode leftover NE swell – and this will leave the region left with directional S swell and strong southerly winds all weekend.

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Amongst the rain the wind, there will be some fine surfing moments on offer around the country this weekend. PHOTO by www.surfingmargaretriver.com

Amongst the rain the wind, there will be some fine surfing moments on offer around the country this weekend. PHOTO by www.surfingmargaretriver.com

Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
Big, blustery S swell doesn’t necessarily hold a great deal of appeal, but it’s definitely a whole lot better than nothing. An overnight jump in short-period SSE swell should be ranging anywhere from 4 to 6ft across southern exposures on Friday morning, with early strong SSW winds gusting to 35 knots lending the focus to sheltered southern corners.

Saturday morning will also be producing the goods. SSE swell backs off a couple of notches to a more accessible 3 to 4ft, with early light SW winds making for a great window that will eventually close as winds swing S to SE during the afternoon. In contrast, Sunday isn’t looking too flash.

A new high building in over the Great Australian Bight extends a firming ridge to the NSW coast – and this will see fresh on shore SSE winds greeting a renewed push in S swell into the 3 to 5ft range.

Friday
SSE windswell. Stormy 4 – 6ft south facing breaks early, easing later. Grading to 2 – 5ft elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early SSW 20 to 35 knots early, easing and tending S during the day, then SSE later.

Saturday
Easing SSE windswell. Sets to 3 – 4ft exposed breaks, easing during the day. WIND: Early lighter SW to SSW, tending S during the day and SE 5 to 15 knots during the morning, then SE and freshening later.

Sunday
Renewed rise in S wind swell. Junky onshore 3 – 5ft exposed breaks, grading to 2 – 4ft elsewhere with size depending on exposure. Easing during the afternoon. WIND: Early SSE 15 to 20 knots.

Saturday morning looks like the pick this weekend as lighter offshore winds greet a still chunky SSE swell. Photo: CW plus user Ayedo.

Saturday morning looks like the pick this weekend as lighter offshore winds greet a still chunky SSE swell. Photo: CW plus user Ayedo.

Queensland and Far Northern NSW
If you’re head is still above water on Friday morning, you might consider checking the surf from the safety of a bunker. As the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Debbie move offshore and re-intensify during the early hours of Friday morning, winds will shift SW before dawn, making for rapidly improving conditions at first light. However, the SW wind-shift is set to turn SSW and kick to 30 to 45 knots during the morning – and that’s strong enough to swiftly knock down an already diminishing ENE windswell. So if you are planning to brave the elements early on Friday, it’s definitely a case of the earlier the better. Unfortunately the outlook for this weekend is no longer looking particularly flash. Although still strong SSW to SSE winds will continue to favour the points, the swell is likely to be lacking.

It now looks like the developing southerly fetch supported by ex-TC Debbie’s redevelopment will be acutely south in direction; thereby generating straight S windswell that will mostly bypass southern Queensland coasts all weekend. Still, there should be some refracted SE swell spreading into the coast off this wave-train, so head for the breaks maximising S swell both on Saturday and Sunday.

Friday
Stormy mix of SSE/ENE windswell. Unruly 4 – 6ft+ northern NSW exposed breaks, rising to 5 – 8ft later. NE swell up to 2 – 4ft+ exposed QLD breaks early, rapidly fading as S windswell builds to 2 – 3ft+ exposed breaks during the afternoon. WIND: Early SW shifting SSW 30 to 45 knots, then S and easing later.

Saturday
Stormy S windswell
. Unruly 5 – 6ft+ northern NSW exposed breaks, easing later. ranging from 2 – 4ft exposed QLD coasts and grading smaller inside the points and bays. WIND: SSW 20 to 30 knots, tending S to SSE during the day.

Sunday
Potential for large, stormy SSE/SE swell. Consistent 4 – 6ft northern NSW south facing breaks, grading to 2 – 4ft exposed southern QLD breaks and smaller inside the points and bays. WIND: SSW 15 to 25 knots inshore early, tending SSE and speculatively freshening to 20 to 30 knots during the day.

A strong spike in S swell follows the redevelopment of ex TC Debbie off the southern QLD coast this weekend. Photo: CW user Dkimber.

A strong spike in S swell follows the redevelopment of ex TC Debbie off the southern QLD coast this weekend. Photo: CW user Dkimber.

Victoria
Thursday’s heavy round of SW groundswell marks the first of two large episodes impacting the state this week. The second is on track to kick in state-wide throughout Saturday, triggering another strong building trend in surf heights culminating in heavy 8 to 10ft plus surf across the exposed beaches and large 6 to 8ft plus sets across the Surf Coast.

Peak size aside, it will be worth targeting both Friday and Saturday morning along the Surf Coast to capitalise on early favourable WNW/W winds. The arrival of a SW change on Saturday afternoon leads in moderate onshore southerly winds as the swell eases throughout Sunday.

Friday
Easing SW groundswell. Around 6 – 10ft exposed beaches. Sets to 5 – 6ft+ across the Surf Coast, easing later. WIND: Light SSW to SSE 5 to 15 knots.

Saturday
Reinforcing SW groundswell builds in. Sets around 6 - 8ft+ exposed coasts early, picking up to 8 – 10ft+ during the afternoon. Grading to 4 - 6ft+ across the Surf Coast, kicking to 6 – 8ft+ later. WIND: Light WNW inshore tending SW 10 to 20 knots during the day.

Sunday
Easing SW groundswell. Clean 8 – 10ft exposed beaches, easing throughout the afternoon. Sets around 6 – 8ft across the Surf Coast, easing later. WIND: Early light S tending light SSE to SE 5 to 15 knots.

[Video below by LS Surf Photography Wednesday 29 March - Expect plenty of this across the Torquay reefs on Saturday morning]

Western Australia
The West Coast is on the pump and it’s going to stay that way for days to come.  Friday sees the current round of large SSW groundswell settling to more accessible levels by Friday morning; still running at a clean 3 to 5ft across the region’s premier breaks under early light offshore ESE winds, preceding a renewed push in size throughout the afternoon.

Come Saturday, the onset of another substantial SSW pulse will see surf-heights on the rise again all day; initially staring out at more accessible levels before picking up into the 5 to 8ft realm at the premier breaks during the afternoon. This pulse scales down again throughout Sunday as winds begin to swing NE, lending the focus to the most exposed, south facing stretches all day.

Friday.
S/SSW groundswell decreases. Southwest coast: 4-5ft, plus sets at S focal points 6ft and picking up into the afternoon. Perth/Mandurah: 1ft+. WIND: ESE wind 5-10kts, tending SSE to S 10kts in afternoon.

Saturday
Inconsistent SSW swell under breezy morning offshore winds. Southwest coast: inconsistent 4-6ft sets at S exposures rebuilding to 5 – 8ft later. Tending 3-4ft elsewhere. Perth/Mandurah: 1ft. WIND: ENE 10-15kts early, tending light variable then light south to 10kts.

Sunday
SSW swell fading, offshore morning winds. Southwest coast: 3-5ft early tending 2-3ft+. Perth/Mandurah: 0-1ft. WIND: WIND: ENE 10-15kts early, tending light variable then light seabreeze.

[Video below by Deltoid Productions, North Point, WA Free Surf Super Session Wednesday 29 March]

South Australia
It’s shaping up as one big, stormy weekend of waves across South Australian coasts. Initially, Thursday’s huge round of SSW groundswell will come back down to Earth a by a couple of notches by Friday morning; opening up some more accessible 3 to 6ft options across the South Coast as winds briefly turn light offshore.

On Saturday we again begin to see conditions becoming out of control across the South Coast as another large pulse of SSW groundswell builds in during the day. This is projected to show peak size during the afternoon and maintain still heavy conditions early on Sunday. This may leave the Mid Coast as your best bet as SW to SE winds make for reasonably good 2 to 3ft conditions across this sheltered stretch all weekend.

Friday
SW groundswell. Sets ranging from 3 - 6ft exposed South Coast beaches, easing later. Grading to 2 - 3ft across the Mid Coast. WIND: Early light NW to NE 5 to 10 knots, tending light and variable, then SW 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon.

Saturday
Reinforcing SSW groundswell builds in. Sets to 4 - 6ft exposed South Coast beaches. Grading to 2 – 3ft+ across the Mid Coast. WIND: Early SW tending SSW 5 to 15 knots, then S during the arvo.

Sunday
Long period SSW groundswell slowly abates. Sets ranging from 3 - 6ft exposed South Coast breaks, easing later. Grading to 2 - 3ft across the Mid Coast. WIND: Early light SE 5 to 15 knots, freshening later.

The Mid Coast may well be your best bet as another large SSW groundswell hammers South Australian coasts this weekend. Photo: CW user Derryn.

The Mid Coast may well be your best bet as another large SSW groundswell hammers South Australian coasts this weekend. Photo: CW user Derryn.

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

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