Weekend Surf Forecast 16 - 18 February 2018
COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST
There’s no shortage of surf inbound around the coastal fringes this weekend – and this time around it’s the Eastern States receiving the lion’s share of wave energy. As mentioned in a recent blog, Tropical Cyclone Gita holds exceptional surf potential for the entire Eastern Seaboard; not so much with respect to size, but definitely longevity. Southern Queensland looks like benefiting the most as the bulk of inbound E groundswell coincides with a favourable south to southeast wind-shift; making for mostly clean, challenging conditions along the points all weekend.
Further south, an ENE groundswell will spread down the NSW coast at somewhat lower levels; gradually building over the weekend and probably showing most size later Sunday and throughout Monday. A brief period of early light WNW winds on Sunday morning look like producing the best conditions for this event, but both Saturday and Monday will also have their moments.
Further south, Victoria is under the influence of an active phase in wave-activity that should keep the focus on the Surf Coast over the next couple of days. Friday morning looks like the pick, with inshore westerlies greeting solid sets in the 4 to 5ft along the reefs before gradually tapering off over the weekend.
South Australia also sees a slow decline in SW swell opening up reasonably good conditions under a light wind-regime; lending the focus to the South Coast and other exposed areas all weekend. Last but not least, the West Coast sees easing SSW swell bottoming out on Saturday ahead of welcome push into the 3 to 4ft range across the Southwest on Sunday, producing good conditions before winds swing to the south during the day.
Watch The Video Forecast on Tropical Cyclone Gita
Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
There’s always a lot of froth when a tropical cyclone is named over the Southwest Pacific Ocean – and I’m talking about the human kind. Superlatives surrounding 110 knot winds and 40 to 50ft sea-states (yep, from yours truly) is enough to get even the most complacent hearts pumping. But when the day finally arrives, cyclone swells can be a bit of a letdown. As detailed in the most recent blog, Tropical Cyclone Gita is still a relatively remote swell source; exhibiting incredibly strong winds near its eye, but not much in the way of length and breadth of fetch outside what is, by oceanic scales, a very small area of core winds. So contrary to what you might expect, this event is for the most part projected to come in at 3 to 5ft across the region over the weekend, with scope for larger 4 to 6ft plus surf at standout breaks – particularly throughout Sunday afternoon. At this stage we’re probably looking at more size into Monday and Tuesday, so stay tuned to the detailed forecast for updates.
Slow building trend in long-range ENE groundswell generated by Tropical Cyclone Gita. Probably slow and inconsistent at 2ft+ around dawn, building towards 2 to 4ft across exposed open breaks during the afternoon. Expect long waits between sets. WIND: Early S 10 to 15 knots, freshening and tending SSE 15 to 20 knots during the afternoon.
Mid-period ENE groundswell reinforced by new long period energy from the ENE and S during the afternoon. Inconsistent sets ranging from 3 to 4ft+ along exposed open breaks early, inconsistent in the upper range. Potential for a stronger push towards 3 to 5ft during the afternoon/ evening. Grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light SE 5 to 15 knots tending ESE during the day and ENE into the afternoon/ evening.
ENE groundswell mixing with underlying S groundswell. Mostly ranging from 3 to 5ft exposed open beaches with scope for occasional larger sets rising to 4 to 6ft+ at standout breaks. Expect long waits between sets. WIND: Early WNW to variable 0 to 5 knots, tending ESE to ENE 5 to 15 knots during the afternoon.
Queensland and Far Northern NSW
Well, here it comes; the first proper cyclone swell of the 2017/18 tropical swell-season; beginning to show at very low levels during Thursday afternoon ahead of the bulk of swell building in from Friday onwards. As mentioned in the intro to Sydney and the South Coast section above, this impending event might give you the impression it’s going to get seriously massive across the region – and sure, while there’s no shortage of size on the way, it might be worth keeping your expectations in check – at least until the bulk of swell hits on Sunday and Monday.
Never the less, in the lead-up we’re looking at excellent conditions across the points and bays as a slow building trend in mid-long period easterly groundswell fills in throughout Saturday; coinciding with favourable light to moderate ESE to SE winds. Sunday and Monday are shaping up as the pick for this event as large E groundswell coincides with more favourable southerly quarter winds. Stay tuned for Friday’s detailed update for confirmation on conditions.
Long period E groundswell generated by Tropical Cyclone Gita builds in. Ranging from 2 to 4ft exposed coasts early, building towards 3 to 5ft during the afternoon. Wrapping at lower levels inside the points and bays with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light N to NE tending NE 5 to 15 knots during the afternoon.
Large E groundswell generated by Tropical Cyclone Gita. Sets ranging from 4 to 6ft along exposed beaches, wrapping at anywhere from 3 to 5ft inside the points and bays with size depending on exposure WIND: Early light and variable to light ESE inshore, tending ESE to SE 5 to 15 knots during the afternoon.
Large E groundswell peaks. Solid 5 to 8ft exposed coasts with potential for bigger sets on outer bars and standout breaks. Wrapping at anywhere from 3 to 6ft along the points and inside the bays. WIND: Early lighter SSW tending SSE 10 to 15 knots plus.
You could do worse than get up for the dawn patrol this weekend. Both Saturday and Sunday morning should be offering up good conditions state-wide as calm conditions greet solid levels of SW swell. That probably means too big for the most exposed Victorian Beaches on Saturday, leaving the Surf Coast and other semi-sheltered breaks as the go-to venues. By Sunday we should see better conditions opening up along the exposed areas as the swell settles into the 4ft range – but you’ll have to be quick to beat an onshore south to southeast flow developing during the day.
SW swell slowly eases. Solid, wind-affected 5 to 6ft+ along exposed beaches early, settling to 4 to 5ft or so during the arvo. Wrapping in at a clean 3 to 4ft along the Surf Coast, deteriorating later. WIND: Early WSW tending SW to SSW 10 to 15 knots.
SW swell up to a junky 4 to 6ft along exposed beaches, wrapping at 3 to 4ft along the Surf Coast with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light and variable NW to NE below 5 knots, tending SSW to SSE 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon.
Leftover SW swell up to a clean 3 to 5ft along exposed beaches wrapping at 2 to 3ft along the Surf Coast. WIND: Early light and variable tending SSE 5 to 15 knots during the day and S into the afternoon.
It doesn’t look like there’s too much going on across the West Coast – at least until Sunday. Friday sees some pretty standard fare as a lull in swell-events sees smaller leftover SSW swell greeted by early offshores. The swell will then begin to pick up on Saturday arvo, leading in a more substantial day of 3 to 4ft waves on Sunday, with early ESE/ SE winds seeing the best of it before the sea-breeze kicks in during the day.
SSW eases further under SE to ESE morning winds. South West: Mostly clean, 2 to 3ft. Perth/Mandurah: Mostly clean 0.5 to 1ft at best. WIND: SE at 15 to 20 knots, easing ESE before shifting Southerly and freshening 25 knots.
Small early before a reinforced SSW groundswell fills in later. South West coast: Mostly clean, 1 to 3ft, rising 4ft+ sets late. Perth/Mandurah: Mostly clean although tiny to flat. WIND: SE at 15 to 20 knots easing before shifting SSW in the afternoon.
Easing in SSW swell under offshore morning winds. South West: Clean, 3 to 4ft, easing. Perth/Mandurah: Clean, 0.5 to 1ft, easing. WIND: SE to ESE at 10 to 15 knots, shifting Southerly and freshening 20 to 25 knots.
A pattern of early light cross-offshore tending moderate onshore breezes will keep conditions fairly appealing across the state this weekend. A consistent run of SW swell maintains most size on Friday; keeping set waves up around the 3 to 4ft mark before scaling down a foot or so by Saturday. Early calm to light inshore E to NE winds should make for pretty appealing conditions early Saturday, but it will be worth getting in early before the freshen out of the south to southeast during the day.
Sunday isn’t looking quite as appealing, with early light onshores greeting lower-levels of SW swell not exceeding 2 to 3ft along the South Coast all day. The mid coast will only fare better with respect to surface quality, but wave heights will be verging on flat all weekend.
Minor overlap in SSW groundswell under light onshore SSW winds. South Coast: Unsettled, 3 to 4ft, largest at magnets. Mid Coast: Clean, 0.5ft to 1ft. WIND: South to SSW at 5 to 10 knots, freshening 15 knots.
SSW groundswell eases back as winds show light in the morning. South Coast: Near glassy, 2 to 3ft+, largest at magnets. Mid Coast: Clean although barely 1ft. WIND: Calm ESE to SE tending Southerly 10 to 15 knots.
Minor push in SW swell coupled with light south east winds. South Coast: Semi clean, 2 to 3ft, largest at magnets. Mid Coast: Clean although barely 1ft. WIND: SE at 5 to 10 knots tending 10 to 15 knots.
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