Weekend Surf Forecast 19 - 21 January 2018
Forecast issued Thursday, 18 January 2018
At last, there’s waves. Big, overhead and windy until it cleaned up this morning, but who’s complaining. I feel like i just got the old no-surfing monkey off my back. The first major swell event for the Eastern Seaboard of 2018 is now on it’s way down – so if you haven’t had a surf yet, make sure you do over the next couple of days, because it’s looking tiny again next week. Across the NSW coast an easing SE swell should hang in around the 3 to 4ft mark under early light NW winds – marking your best window of opportunity to surf before the swell fades to lower levels this weekend. Southern Queensland and northern NSW coasts also continue to benefit from the tail end of the swell before it starts to conk out into Sunday afternoon.
Further south, Victoria also sees an easing trend in swell underway. Friday is also looking like the pick over the next few days as clean 2 to 3ft waves hold up along the exposed beaches, before light to moderate onshore winds take the shine off it over the weekend. South Australia doesn’t fare so well this weekend. Low levels of SW swell deteriorate under the brunt of ridge-driven, 15 to 20 knot onshore SSE winds on Saturday, before easing a little by Sunday. In contrast, the West Coast sees a rising trend in SW swell coinciding with offshore winds on Saturday; producing good conditions for most of the day. Although the swell is bigger on Sunday stronger SSE winds won’t be quite so appealing.
Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
Going, going, gone. That sums up what’s happening across the region from Friday to Sunday as this week’s thumping SSE groundswell steadily tapers off. The big swell has wrought havoc with sand-formations across the state’s exposed beaches – and another big 10.30am high tide means whatever is working early on Friday morning will quickly fill up mid-morning. Never the less it’s well worth making the most of Friday’s leftovers if you can. The swell drops another notch overnight to a slower 2ft with the odd bigger one early on Saturday – and again it will be well worth making the most of what’s on offer before the swell further dwindles and the tide returns during the day. By Sunday it’s just about all over as residual SE swell bottoms out at 1 to 2ft, so make hay while the sun shines.
SE swell. Slower sets ranging from 3 to 4ft across exposed breaks early, easing to 2 to 3ft during the afternoon. WIND: Early light NNW tending NE 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon.
Leftover SE swell gradually fades. Around 2ft+ exposed breaks early, easing later. WIND: Early light NW to NNW 5 to 10 knots, tending NE 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon.
Small ESE swell bottoms out. Up to a slow 1 to 2ft exposed breaks early, fading later. WIND: Early light NW to N tending NE 10 to 15 knots during the day and up to 15 to 20 knots later.
Queensland and Far Northern NSW
This week’s impressive SSE swell event hangs in just long enough to keep us entertained over the weekend. A slow easing trend in energy begins to lend the focus the more exposed breaks from Friday onwards as SE swell settles into the 3 to 4ft range, while still wrapping at a fun size along the points. However, by Saturday it will be down another foot or so, probably leaving the exposed areas as your best bet for a head-high wave, before the swell fades another notch by Sunday. The fading swell also coincides with a lighter SW to SE winds prevailing throughout Friday and Saturday, before giving way to lighter sea-breezes by Sunday arvo - and northerlies to follow early to mid next week.
Easing SSE swell. Sets up to 3 to 5ft northern NSW south facing beaches early, easing to 3 to 4ft during the afternoon. Wrapping at 2 to 4ft across southern Queensland with size depending on exposure WIND: Light SW to SSW 5 to 15 knots, tending SSE to SE during the afternoon.
Leftover SSE swell around 2 to 4ft northern NSW south facing beaches, easing during the afternoon. Wrapping at 1 to 3ft across southern Queensland with size depending on exposure WIND: Early lighter SW to SSW inshore, tending SSE to SE 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon.
Fading SE swell ranging from 1 to 3ft northern NSW south facing beaches, easing. Wrapping at about 2ft across exposed southern Queensland breaks, grading smaller inside the points and bays with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early lighter SW to SSW tending SE 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon and ESE to NE (northern NSW) later.
Exposed Victorian beaches continue to beckon this weekend as a fading SW swell starts to leave the Surf Coast relatively calm. Friday morning looks like the pick as SW swell continues to hold at a good 2 to 3ft under offshore winds along the Mornington Peninsula and Phillip Island’s exposed beaches. From there conditions will gradually deteriorate. An emerging high pressure ridge leads in moderate onshore winds on Friday arvo and they’ll persist across the state on Saturday; making for choppy, but still surfable 2 to 3ft conditions along exposed beaches all day. Locally, conditions are looking better on Sunday morning but the swell will probably be lacking. The good news is the lull in wave activity is likely to be short lived, with a new round of SW groundswell projected to build in, making for a steady rise in set waves throughout the day. This looks likely to produce a strong kick in size during the late arvo/ evening, but stay tuned to Friday’s forecast update for details.
Residual SW swell. Sets to 2 to 3ft along exposed beaches, grading to an infrequent 1 to 2ft along the Surf Coast. WIND: NW to N 10 to 15 knots, tending light and variable, then to sea-breezes around 10 to 15 knots later.
Small-scale SW swell. Small-scale SW swell. Slower, wind-affected sets around 2 - 3ft along the exposed beaches, grading to flat to 1ft across the Surf Coast. WIND: S 5 to 15 knots.
Steady building trend in mid period SW swell during the afternoon. Sets to 1 to 3ft along exposed beaches early, bumping up to 2 to 4ft during the day and on to 3 to 5ft into the afternoon/ evening. Near flat along the Surf Coast, bumping up to 1 to 2ft during the day and possibly 2 to 3ft+ later. WIND: Early light and variable around 5 knots, tending to SSE seabreezes 5 to 15 knots during the afternoon.
I always view the West Coast forecast through an East Coast lens, which means it probably looks better to me than it does to you: You being the person who lives along the Southwest Coast and surfs it on a regular basis. This weekend is pretty typical. A rising SW swell sees wave heights building throughout Saturday under early cross-offshore ESE to SE winds, making for a great morning of surfing before winds turn more south later in the day. Sunday then offers up a larger SW swell under stronger SSE winds; which is hardly ideal, but it still looks pretty good from this pair of eyes.
Minor overlap in SW swell under offshore SE to ESE morning winds. South West: Mostly clean, 2 to 4ft. Largest at magnets. Perth/Mandurah: Clean, 0.5 to occasional 1ft at magnets. WIND: ESE at 15 to 20 knots, shifting Southerly at 20 knots later.
Mid period SW swell eases slightly under a continued SE to ESE wind pattern. South West: Mostly clean, 2 to 4ft, rising 3 to 5ft later. Perth, Mandurah: Clean, 1 to 1.5ft at best, rising wind swell. WIND: ESE at 10 to 15 knots. tending southerly at 20 to 25 knots in the afternoon.
Rise in SW groundswell as winds freshen into the SSE. South West: Cross offshore wind affected, 4 to 6ft. Perth/Mandurah: Cross offshore wind affected, 1 to 2ft. WIND: SSE at 15 to 20 knots, freshening 20 to 25 knots.
If you just took off to the beach to go surfing this weekend, you might find it’s a bit like going to an ACDC concert, only to find the spot has been filled by Britney Spears: Not what you had in mind. Low levels of SW swell will hold little appeal under strong onshore SSE winds this weekend – and the absence of any swell along the Mid Coast pretty much leaves you with sub-par surfing options all weekend. If you’re desperate, Sunday’s somewhat lighter 10 to 15 knot onshore breeze will open up some better conditions across the more exposed South Coast beaches.
Clean left over SW swell on the south coast prior to winds shifting into the SSE. South Coast: Clean, 1 to 3ft early. Mid Coast: Unsettled, flat to 0.5ft, easing. WIND: NNE to NNW at 10 to 15 knots before a SSW change mid morning.
Swell bottoms out as winds freshen into the SSE. South Coast: Messy combo sea’s and small SW swell, 1 to 3ft. Largest at magnets. Mid Coast: Clean, flat to 0.5ft. WIND: SSE at 20 to 25 knots, easing later.
Minor overlap in mid period SW swell as winds ease from the SE. South Coast: Bumpy, 1 to 3ft, largest at magnets. Mid Coast: Clean, flat to 0.5ft. WIND: SSE 10 knots, freshening 20 knots Southerly.
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