Weekend Surf Forecast 13 - 15 October 2017
COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST
Forecast issued Thursday, 12 October, 2017
As the southern hemisphere summer draws nearer, onshore winds are becoming the norm around the country. A hotter sun translates into earlier and faster heating of the land – in turn resulting in the earlier arrival of seabreezes. Conversely, a smaller differential between overnight land/ sea temps means early land-breezes are often giving way to calm or light and variable conditions during the early hours; often featuring leftover lump from the previous days onshores.
This trend is evident in forecast conditions around the country this weekend. Across the NSW coast are looking pretty sub-par, but at least it won’t be flat. A minor rising trend in SSE windswell is on the cards for Saturday and this may lead in some reasonable quality 2ft waves across the region once the associated onshore winds ease by Sunday. Further north, southern Queensland and northern NSW coasts will fare better. The onset of a building ESE windswell on Sunday certainly won’t be anything to write home about, but it will mark the first day in a long run of tradewind swell enduring over the course of next week.
Down south, Victoria and South Australia feel the brunt of a substantial WSW/ SW swell-event, showing peak size on Friday and Saturday. This should see some great conditions across Victoria’s Surf Coast on both days, with mixed options opening up as the swell drops a notch or two by Sunday. Like the rest of the continent, seabreezes are a factor, but they shouldn’t be strong enough to dampen too much enthusiasm. Finally, conditions across the West Coast are also hampered by onshore winds. Never the less, there will be good windows of clean or semi-clean conditions throughout the morning hours, with Friday morning shaping up as the pick.
Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
You could be forgiven for giving it a miss this weekend. A lacklustre combination of SSE windswell and underlying S swell present minimal potential for any quality surf. Saturday in particular looms as a low-point as pre-dawn easterlies precede a strong southerly change. The localised extend of this fetch should preclude any notable rise in SSE windswell; probably limiting any increase to a windblown 2 to 3ft at best on Saturday afternoon. That leaves Sunday morning as your best option for some wobbly 2ft sets as small S swell mixes in with localised SE/ESE wind-chop under early light winds. On the upside, there is some interesting new ENE swell potential looming over the course of next week.
S swell up to a junky 2ft+ south facing beaches, mixing with residual NE swell at 1 – 2ft elsewhere and fading during the afternoon. WIND: Early light SW to NW 0 to 5 knots tending light and variable, then NE and freshening from 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon.
Minor S swell superseded by localised SSE windswell. Up to 1 - 2ft south facing breaks early, rising to a junky 1 - 3ft during the afternoon. Grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early ESE ahead of a S change 20 to 25 knots, tending SSE and easing later.
Combination of small S groundswell and residual SE windswell. Around 1 - 2ft+ south facing and exposed open beaches, bumping up marginally during the afternoon. WIND: Early light and variable tending ESE 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon/ evening.
Queensland and Far Northern NSW
The onset of the first round of ESE tradewind swell sets in just in time this weekend. An emerging high pressure ridge interacts with a surface trough hovering near the coastal fringe to establish a moderate SE airflow immediately offshore on Saturday – and this should be enough to whip up some fun-sized ESE windswell in the 2 to 3ft range by Sunday morning, with scope for a further increase as the day progresses. For now, this hinges on how the aforementioned trough develops over the next couple of days, so stay tuned for updates on this on Friday. However it pans out, it’s now clear the region will benefit from a sustained run of ESE tradewind swell enduring right through to next weekend, so you could think of the next few days as just a warm up for what’s to come.
Slight NE windswell superseded by a minor rise in S swell. Around 1ft exposed coasts early, new S swell picks up to 1 – 2ft+ exposed northern NSW breaks during the afternoon, grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: Early light WSW to WNW ahead of a weak SSE change 10 to 15 knots during the morning, turning SE/ESE and possibly freshening later.
Potential for rising SE/ESE windswell. Sets to 1 - 2ft+ northern NSW south facing breaks, grading to 1 - 2ft across southern Queensland exposed beaches and tiny to near-flat elsewhere. WIND: Probably SSW to SSE 10 to 15 knots early, tending SE/ ESE and freshening to 15 to 20 knots during the afternoon.
Short period SE/ESE windswell on the rise. Sets around 2 - 3ft+ exposed open beaches, picking up steadily throughout the day. Grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: SE to ESE 15 to 25 knots.
The Surf Coast is clearly the place to be – at least while a new WSW swell peaks over the next couple of days. The onset of a large, albeit relatively short period swell occurs overnight, leading in a rise in set waves to an unruly 6ft plus along the exposed beaches by Friday morning – and this should translate into clean, manageable 3 to 4ft lines along the Torquay reefs all day.
An overnight shift in swell-direction to the SW should then see similarly appealing conditions across the Surf Coast on Saturday morning. Although a SW change moves through during early on Saturday morning, it’s only forecast to be relatively weak – and this should preserve reasonably good wave quality across the Surf Coast – at least until winds start to veer SE later in the day. By Sunday expect wave heights down a couple of feet across the region, but there will still be plenty of good options under early light winds – and it’s worth making the most of it before they turn onshore and freshen during the afternoon.
Large WSW swell. Sets to 5 - 6ft+ along exposed beaches early, building to 5 - 8ft during the afternoon. Wrapping in at a clean 3 to 4ft along the Surf Coast. WIND: WNW 10 to 15 knots turning SW to SSW during the afternoon, then S later.
Easing SW groundswell. Solid 5 - 7ft exposed beaches early, easing to 4 – 6ft during the afternoon. Wrapping in at 3 – 4ft+ along the Surf Coast and slowly easing. WIND: Early light W inshore turning SW to SSW during the morning, then to seabreezes 5 to 15 knots later.
Easing SW groundswell. Sets around 4 to 5ft+ exposed beaches, dropping to 3 – 4ft+ later. Grading to 2 to 3ft+ along the Surf Coast and easing into the afternoon. WIND: Early light W to SW to 5 to 10 knots, tending S 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon.
It’s shaping up as a pretty fun looking spring weekend of waves across the West Coast. While it’s not exactly all-day-offshores greeting heaving 6 to 8ft SW groundswell, there will be plenty of fun options; initially holding at a clean 4 to 5ft early on Friday before settling into the 3ft range on Saturday morning. Early light offshore winds will see the best of the leftover swell before light onshores spring up during the day.
The arrival of a reinforcing pulse of SW groundswell on Saturday evening leads in another day of solid 4ft waves across the Southwest on Sunday. The downside will be light onshore winds adding some texture to surface conditions – but it’s still worth making the most of before winds freshen out of the northwest during the afternoon.
SW swell fades down, morning offshore winds. South West: groomed inconsistent 4-5ft sets decreasing 3ft. Perth/Mandurah: 1-2ft sets fading. WIND: ESE 10-15kts early, decreasing SE to SSW 10kt in afternoon.
Residual SW swell with variable winds. South West coast: inconsistent 2 - 4ft. Perth/Mandurah: 0.5ft. WIND: NE to SE 10-15kt early, briefly tending NW 10kt, then calm to light NW to SW in afternoon.
Reinforcing SW groundswell builds in. South West: Sets around 3 – 4ft+. Perth/Mandurah: up to 1ft. WIND: Early light W tending NW to NNW 5-15kts.
The prospect of small to mid-sized SW swell and light onshore winds probably won’t get the blood of most South Australian surfers pumping this weekend. Still, there are plenty of waves inbound both on Friday and throughout the weekend – and for the most part the onshores will be blowing at tolerable, 5 to 10 knot speeds most mornings; which is low enough to preserve wave quality before they freshen during the afternoon.
SW groundswell sets mix in with WSW swell. Sets ranging 2 to 4ft along exposed South Coast breaks. Settling 1 - 3ft surf across the Mid Coast. WIND: Early W tending SSW 10 to 15 knots, easing during the afternoon 5 to 10 knots.
SW swell continues to show sets with settling clean wind conditions. Ranging 2 – 4ft along exposed South Coast breaks. Wrapping in at 1 - 2ft across the Mid Coast. WIND: Calm early, tending mild SE, then SSE 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon.
Small settled SW swell under SE wind shift. Ranging around 2ft exposed South Coast beaches. Wrapping minimal to 1ft along the Mid Coast. WIND: Light to variable SE to 10 knots early, tending 15 knots in afternoon.
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