Weekend Surf Forecast 15 - 17 December 2017

14 Dec 2017 0 Share

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST

Forecast issued Thursday, 14 December 2017

Waking up to perfect surf on Christmas morning is about as good a present as most of us could ask for. Of course, statistically speaking, December 25th generally isn’t renowned for producing perfect waves anywhere around Australia. That doesn’t mean you won’t score, but it’s probably worth preparing for the eventuality that the best place to be at first light on Christmas morning is next to the Christmas tree. With that in mind, make sure you check out the Coastalwatch Christmas Guide, which is chock full of cool stuff that will definitely soften the blow for any surfer waking up to tiny onshore waves.

Of course, Christmas isn’t here just yet. This weekend sees reasonably good summer surfing conditions across all states. Both southern Queensland and the NSW coast benefit from a steady run of small-scale E and NE swells in the 2 to 3ft range for days to come. Further south, Victoria sees a more robust round of mid-period SW swell that will be substantial enough to light up the Surf Coast as well as locations further east. Likewise South Australia has solid SW swell on tap all weekend, with early light winds making for great conditions across the South Coast. It’s only across the West Coast that we see an aberration to the summer norm. While Friday and Saturday see pretty typical 2 to 4ft conditions across the Southwest, Sunday sees gale force onshore winds and rising storm-swell lending the focus to the lounge room and other indoor venues offering shelter from the storm.

Between a rock and a round place. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Peter.tids.

Between a rock and a round place. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Peter.tids.

Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
While a couple of weak southerly changes will take the edge off the heat along the southern half of the NSW coast over the next few days, they won’t be substantial enough to add any new S swell of note into the mix. Instead, we’ll remain entirely reliant on local NE windswell and some longer range E swell for small surf along exposed beaches. Expect consistent waves in the 2 to 3ft range on Friday and Saturday, preceding a notable decline in energy setting in throughout Sunday. The aforementioned southerly changes arrive early Friday and early Sunday respectively – so both mornings will see sheltered southern corners offering up the best conditions.

Friday
Mix of long-range E swell and fading NE windswell. Sets around 2 to 3ft exposed open beaches early, grading to 2ft or so elsewhere. WIND: Early SSW 15 to 20 knots, rapidly easing and tending light SE to NE 5 to 10 knots during the afternoon.

Saturday
Combination of local NE windswell and background E swell. Around 2ft+ exposed open beaches, grading to 1 – 2ft elsewhere. WIND: Early light N to NW tending NE 10 to 15 knots.

Sunday
NE windwell ranging either side of 2ft along exposed open beaches, grading to 1 – 2ft elsewhere and fading during the afternoon. WIND: S 15 to 20 knots early, tending lighter SSE to SE during the afternoon.

A consistent run of small-scale E and NE swells will lend the focus to the most exposed open NSW beaches all weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Corey.

A consistent run of small-scale E and NE swells will lend the focus to the most exposed open NSW beaches all weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Corey.

Queensland and Far Northern NSW
It’s fair to say the day-to-day changes in conditions will be subtle over the next few days. Thursday saw the leading edge of a small, long-range E swell starting to fill in – and this wave-train will persist as the dominant source of surf throughout Friday and the weekend; maintaining slow 2ft to occasional 3ft waves along exposed breaks, but for the most part grading to smaller 1 to 2ft levels elsewhere. The Groundhog Day pattern is further solidified by a persistent, light to moderate ENE to NE wind-regime that will reserve the best conditions to the morning hours.

Friday
Long range E swell. Slow sets ranging from 2 – 3ft exposed breaks, grading to 1 – 2ft inside the points and bays. WIND: Early light and variable early tending NE to ENE 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon.

Saturday
Long range E swell mixing with shorter period tradewind swell. Slow sets ranging from 2 – 3ft along exposed beaches, grading to 1 – 2ft inside the points and bays. WIND: NNE to ENE around 5 to 15 knots.

Sunday
Mix of leftover E swell and short range ENE windswell around 2ft exposed breaks, grading to 1 – 2ft inside the points and bays. WIND: Early light and variable tending ENE 5 to 15 knots.

A few days of small, long-range E swell should be just enough to float your boat this weekend. Photo: Penny Kempe.

A few days of small, long-range E swell should be just enough to float your boat this weekend. Photo: Penny Kempe.

Victoria
Thursday’s near-flat conditions along the Surf Coast belie a welcome return to form over the next few days. The onset of a sustained run of mid to large SW swell will do wonders (in the context of summer) for the region; producing 3 to 4ft plus sets at the major breaks for days to come. Both Friday and Saturday mornings will be showing the best quality as early light and variable to offshore winds prevail ahead of moderate sea-breezes developing into the afternoons. Unfortunately a developing south-easterly airflow means conditions won’t be flash on Sunday – but the swell will still be there none the less. Further east, the exposed beaches may also have their moments as consistent SW swell ranges anywhere from 3 to 6ft for days to come; potentially opening up some good options on the mid-morning high tides on Friday and Saturday.

Friday
New mid-period SW swell fills in. Possibly undersized early in the 3 – 5ft range along exposed beaches, building to 4 – 6ft during the day. Wrapping at 2 – 3ft+ along the Surf Coast, rising to 3 – 4ft+. WIND: Calm to light and variable during the morning tending to S to SE sea-breezes during the afternoon.

Saturday
Easing SW swell reinforced by new SW groundswell. Ranging from 4 - 5ft along exposed beaches, bumping up into the 4 – 6ft+ range during the afternoon. Around 3 – 4ft+ along the Surf Coast. WIND: Early W 5 to 15 knots tending SSW to SSE 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon.

Sunday
Easing SW swell. Sets to 3 to 5ft+ along exposed beaches. Grading to 3 to 4ft along the Surf Coast, smaller later. WIND: ESE to SE 10 to 15 knots, freshening later.

An extended run of mid-period SW swell promises several days of solid surf across all Victorian coasts. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Dom Colch.

An extended run of mid-period SW swell promises several days of solid surf across all Victorian coasts. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Dom Colch.

Western Australia
If you think the forecast for Friday and Saturday sounds a bit mediocre, just wait until Sunday. A couple of days of smaller-scale SW swell and dicey winds points to fairly low-quality surf on Friday and Saturday. The exception is Saturday morning with early land-breezes offering up a short-window of clean conditions before winds swing to the WSW mid/ late morning. It’s well worth making the most of this short window while it lasts. By Sunday morning WSW winds will be howling onshore at 20 to 35kt WSW and they’re set to further strengthen to 30 to 40 knots as SW storm-swell jacks up during the afternoon; effectively writing off surf-potential across the entire region.

Friday
Mid sized SW groundswell slowly eases. South West: Semi clean, 3 to 4ft. Perth/Mandurah: Semi clean, 1 to 1.5ft, rising wind swell later. WIND: SSE at 10 knots tending SSW at 20 to 25 knots.

Saturday
Minor overlap in mid period SSW swell. South West: Semi clean, 2 to 3ft. Possible larger sets at magnets. Perth/Mandurah. Semi clean, 1ft. WIND: SE at 10 to 15 knots tending WSW 15 to 20 knots.

Sunday
Freshening onshore winds and a rise in stormy swell. South West coast: Messy, 2 to 4ft, rising stormy 8-10ft. Perth/Mandurah: Messy, 0.5 to 1ft, rising 2 to 4ft late. WIND: WSW at 20 to 30 knots tending W 30 to 40 knots.

Saturday morning offers up your best opportunity for some clean surf before the onshores begin to strengthen. Don't forget to batten down the hatches on Sunday. Photo: Dan Wyer.

Saturday morning offers up your best opportunity for some clean surf before the onshores begin to strengthen. Don't forget to batten down the hatches on Sunday. Photo: Dan Wyer.

South Australia
Like Victoria, SA also benefits from a welcome upswing in SW swell this weekend. Proceedings get under way with a strong building trend in energy throughout Friday; with scope for strong 3 to 4ft plus sets showing up across the more exposed South Coast beaches during the afternoon. Expect surf heights to continue fluctuating around the 2 to 4ft mark along the South Coast all weekend, with early light winds seeing the best conditions before sea-breezes kick in throughout the afternoons.

Friday
Building WSW tending SW groundswell shows under light morning winds. South Coast: Clean, 2 to 3ft, rising 4ft sets. Mid Coast: Clean 0.5 to 1ft, rising 2ft sets as the tide fills in the arvo. WIND: Variable at 5 to 10 knots, tending 10 to 15 knots SW.

Saturday
Size scales back prior to an overlapping pulse. South Coast: Mostly clean, 2 to 3ft, rising 4ft sets. Mid Coast: Clean, 1 to 1.5ft. WIND: Calm, SW at 5 to 10knots tending SE at 10 to 15 knots.

Sunday
Swell begins to ease under potential offshore NE morning winds. South Coast: Clean, 2 to 3ft+, easing. Mid Coast: Clean, 0.5 to 1ft, easing. WIND: NE at 10 to 15 knots tending SE in the afternoon.

There's a string of good surfing days in store across South Australia. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Pflagg.

There's a string of good surfing days in store across South Australia. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Pflagg.


Tags: Weekend , Surf , Forecast , Ben , Macartney (create Alert from these tags)

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