Weekend Surf Forecast 5 - 7 May, 2017
COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST
We remain in the midst of a great time of year to be chasing surf. By far and away, the West Coast is the place to be this weekend. The confluence of a large SW groundswell and light easterly winds tending variable on Saturday has all the hallmarks of an epic 6 to 8ft day of surf across the Southwest. If this doesn’t slake your thirst then there will still be plenty of clean 4 to 6ft leftovers on offer early on Sunday.
In contrast, the NSW coast sees a relatively placid weekend of waves; characterised by very low levels of S swell on Saturday, fading to virtually flat by Sunday morning. This of course marks the calm, preceding the onset of a large swell-event early to mid next week.
For southern Queensland and northern NSW coasts, the weekend outlook is substantially better. An upswing in late-season ESE tradewind swell occurs just in time; picking up to a consistent 3ft across the region before levelling off in the 2 to 3ft range throughout the weekend.
Further south, Victoria and South Australia see rapidly changing conditions under the influence of an approaching frontal system and associated large WSW groundswell. Prior to its arrival, conditions are looking clean and user-friendly on Friday; lending the focus to the most exposed open breaks. But come Saturday, this window will quickly slam shut with the arrival of a strong W to SW change. This heralds the arrival of a steep rise in WSW groundswell by Sunday morning, making for early clean conditions across the Surf Coast before winds swing onshore during the morning.
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Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
It’s not that there won’t be any waves at all this weekend, but compared to the forecast for next week, it’s looking pretty small. Even flat for a while. The arrival of a small, mid period S swell on Friday offers up the best of a subdued bunch over the next few days.
This modest pulse is set to scale down into the small to tiny range on Saturday morning, with a further dwindling of wave energy underway throughout the day. This should culminate in a pancake-esque sea-surface on Sunday morning; groomed flat by an early south-westerly breeze. While there’s still a reasonable chance for an uptick in directional S swell during Sunday afternoon, this is starting to look small and inconsistent at best – and it probably won’t be until Monday that the Tasman returns to life in a big way.
New mid-period S groundswell. Ranging from 1 – 3ft south facing breaks, probably undersized early. Grading to 1 – 2ft across open breaks with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light W land breezes tending light and variable, then NE 5 to 15 knots later.
Leftover SSE swell. Sets around 2ft south facing breaks early, fading to 1 – 2ft into the afternoon. Grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light WNW tending NNE 5 to 15 knots later.
Virtually flat early. Directional S swell picks up to a slow 1 – 2ft south facing breaks during the afternoon. WIND: Early light W tending to light seabreezes ahead of a late S change 10 to 20 knots during the evening.
Queensland and Far Northern NSW
Compared to the southern half of the NSW coast, the region fares pretty well in the surf department this weekend. The onset of a late-season burst in ESE tradewind swell offers up some respectable 3ft chunks across the region throughout Friday and the weekend – and although not exactly of the highest quality, it’s a whole lot better than nothing.
The onset of a 15 to 25kt ESE fetch within close proximity of the region on Thursday whips up a steep rise in windswell by Friday; driving surf to peaks of 2 to 4ft across the most exposed open breaks, before gradually settling over the course of the weekend. This episode should continue to range from 2 to 3ft across the region over the weekend, with plenty more to come over the course of next week.
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ESE tradewind swell. Sets to 2 – 4ft exposed open breaks, wrapping in at 2 – 3ft inside the points and bays. Easing during the afternoon. WIND: Early SSW 10 to 15 knots, tending SSE to SE 15 to 20 knots.
ESE tradewindswell and underlying S swell. Consistent 2 – 3ft exposed breaks, wrapping in at about 2ft inside the points and bays. WIND: Early SW/SSW 5 to 15 knots, tending SE during the afternoon.
ESE tradewindswell and traces of SSE swell. Ranging from 1 – 3ft exposed breaks, wrapping in at 2ft or so inside the points and bays. WIND: Early WSW/SW 5 to 15 knots, tending SE 5 to 10 knots during the afternoon.
A major transformation in conditions occurs over the next few days and it’s well worth planning for accordingly. Friday marks a full day of clean, placid conditions; well suited to a full day of surfing across Victoria’s exposed beaches. Expect consistent surf in the 3ft range under light offshore wind, with a slow decline in energy underway into the afternoon.
Saturday then marks the onset of a new building trend in WSW swell; initially underpinned by similarly small, mid-period SW swell. This might keep a small window of opportunity open across the exposed beaches before a gusty westerly change arrives during the day – and from that point onwards it’s all about the Surf Coast. A steep overnight rise in SW groundswell will see solid, clean 4 to 6ft sets on offer early on Sunday.
Unfortunately conditions are set to rapidly deteriorate under strong SW winds during the morning, making for still powerful, cross-onshore conditions for the remainder of the day.
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Mid period SW swell. 2 – 3ft+ exposed beaches. Ranging from 1 – 2ft across the Surf Coast. WIND: N 5 to 15 knots, tending N to NW during the afternoon/ evening.
New WSW groundswell picks up. Around 2 – 3ft+ exposed beaches, building to 3 – 4ft+ during the late afternoon. Grading to 1 – 2ft across the Surf Coast, bumping up to a slow 2 – 3ft later. WIND: NW/ NNW 10 to 15 knots, freshening and shifting W around midday, then WSW 20 to 30 knots during the afternoon.
Peaking SW groundswell. Solid 6 – 8ft exposed beaches, grading to 4 – 6ft+ across the Surf Coast. WIND: Early W across the Surf Coast, otherwise SW 15 to 25 knots, slowly easing and tending SSW during the day.
All the elements required for epic surf are about to come together across the West Coast. The arrival of a large, long-period SW groundswell on Saturday morning coincides with idyllic, light offshore winds; producing the kind of 6 to 8ft plus conditions that people pay good money to be a part of. Saturday is shaping up as a classic day; characterised by early easterly land-breezes giving way to light and variable conditions during the day. This is backed up by yet another excellent 4 to 6ft day on Sunday; this time characterised by early light NE winds, turning light onshore into the afternoon.
Rise in large WSW groundswell through the day. Peaking into nightfall. South West coast: inconsistent 6ft sets early, rising 8-10ft in afternoon. Perth/Mandurah: 1-2ft, rising 3ft sets. WIND: Variable to WSW to S to 10kts.
Good WSW groundswell gradually easing under ESE winds. South West: 6-8ft+ sets early, fading 4-6ft. Perth/Mandurah: 1-3ft fading. WIND: ESE 5-10kts tending light to variable in afternoon.
Decreased WSW groundswell under light wind. South West: inconsistent 4-6ft sets, easing 3-4ft. Perth/Mandurah: 1ft with lulls. WIND: Light NE, tending light WNW during the afternoon.
Like Victoria, South Oz sees a rapid transformation in conditions setting in over the next few days. Friday sees the cleanest conditions and smallest surf as residual SW swell continues to range either side of 2ft across the South Coast under light northerlies. From there, things become increasingly woolly as a cold front sweeps across the state by Saturday morning, leading in strong W to SW winds in its wake. The good news is the onshore airflow will rapidly peter out as another high setup up below the Bight on Sunday; making for large, semi-clean surf in the vicinity of 4 to 6ft across exposed South Coast beaches all day.
Residual SSW swell under light/moderate WSW - SW winds. South Coast: 1 - 3ft exposed beaches. Mid Coast: Virtually flat. WIND: Early light N tending NW 5 to 15 knots later.
Building long period SW groundswell under light morning winds. South Coast: 2-3ft+, plus exposed beaches early, rising to 3 - 4ft+ later. Mid Coast. Up to 1ft early, bumping up to 1 - 2ft during the afternoon. WIND: Early NNW tending NW 10 to 20 knots, shifting SW to SSW 15 to 20 knots, then SSE during the afternoon.
Potential for large SW groundswell. South Coast: 4 - 6ft exposed beaches. Mid Coast: Up to 1-2ft+. WIND: Light and variable tending NE to SE 5 to 10 knots during the day.
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