Weekend Surf Forecast 20 - 22 April 2018
COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST
Issued Thursday, 19 April 2018
The prospect of being chomped by a shark is always in the back of our minds and the thought often bubbles to the surface at some-point during a surf. While the details of this week’s consecutive attacks in the Margaret River region bring into sharp relief what’s at stake when we set foot into the ocean, it also highlights something else. When it’s pumping, people will take the risk – even if it is clear and present – just to score good waves.
Across the East Coast, the tail end of a long-enduring S swell event sees mostly small-scale surf all weekend. The NSW coast continues to fare a foot or three bigger than Southern Queensland over the coming days as S swell initially declines Friday/ Saturday, preceding a new, mid-period pulse hitting on Sunday. This holds good potential for a full day of 2 to 4ft waves across the NSW coast as southern Queensland surfers make do with smaller E windswell in the 2ft range.
Further south, Victoria and South Australia experience several days of small-scale SW and WSW swells opening up a string of good autumn days along exposed areas. Indeed, it looks like a case of the more exposed the better, so if you have the time to explore it’s probably well worth a drive. Over west, the recent shark attacks are likely to be more than enough to deter even the most hardened Southwest charger. If not, the forecast big, stormy onshore conditions prevailing all weekend undoubtedly will.
Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
Following several days of powerful S groundswell we can expect a steady decline in energy over the next 48 hours; culminating in small to tiny surf across the region on Sunday. Initially that leaves Friday as your best bet for some slow 2 to 3ft sets along the more south facing stretches and it will be worth getting in early to beat a moderate southerly change moving in throughout the morning. There should still be small, rideable 1 to 2ft waves on offer on Saturday; probably showing more form through the lower tides. Sunday morning then marks the arrival of a new round of mid-period S groundswell that’s set to push set waves back up into the 3ft range across southern exposures under early light winds. An emerging high pressure ridge is likely to see light onshore ESE winds puffing up quite early, but at this stage they look light enough to leave conditions perfectly rideable all day.
Leftover S groundswell. Slow sets around 2 to 3ft south facing breaks early, fading to 1 to 3ft during the afternoon. Grading smaller along open beaches with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light WNW to SW tending S 10 to 20 knots during the morning, then lighter SSE during the afternoon.
Residual SSE groundswell. Sets around 1 to 2ft south facing breaks, mixing with slight NE windswell at tiny levels elsewhere. WIND: Early light SSW 5 to 15 knots, tending light SE to ESE during the afternoon.
Reinforcing S groundswell. Sets to 2 to 4ft south facing breaks early, inconsistent in the upper range. Grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light and variable tending light ESE during the day.
Queensland and Far Northern NSW
Far northern NSW coasts continue to fare a couple of feet better in the surf-height department than southern Queensland over the coming days. A steady decline in S swell is set to culminate in more accessible 2 to 4ft waves south of the border on Friday, before settling to a slower 2 to 3ft by Saturday. For locations further north, the only saving grace is a small component of E tradewind swell that should persist around the 2ft plus mark along exposed beaches for several days to come; all in all making for a pretty typical weekend of autumn surfing.
S groundswell slowly eases. Ranging from 2 to 4ft northern NSW south facing breaks. Mixing with E tradewind swell at about 1 to 3ft southern QLD exposed beaches and at a smaller 1 to 2ft along the points and inside the bays. WIND: Early light W to SW up to 5 knots, tending light SE to ESE 5 to 10 knots.
Leftover S groundswell. Slow sets ranging from 2 to 3ft northern NSW south facing breaks. Mixing with E windswell at about 2ft across southern QLD exposed beaches, grading smaller along the points and inside the bays. WIND: Early light SW to SSW inshore, turning SSE 10 to 15 knots during the day.
Slight E tradewind swell mixing with residual S swell. Sets ranging either side of 2ft exposed northern NSW breaks, speculatively bumping up during the afternoon. Grading to 1 to 2ft or across southern QLD exposed beaches and smaller inside the points and bays. WIND: Early light SW to SSW tending S, then SSE to SE 5 to 15 knots during the afternoon.
It’s not that often you see a run of clean, small-surf autumn days like the one developing across Victorian coasts. The onset of a calming high pressure system over Bass Strait, coupled with a lull in storm activity over the Southern Ocean, leaves Victoria’s exposed beaches as the places to be throughout Friday and the weekend. A pattern of early light land-breezes tending variable to light sea-breezes coincides with a string of low-swell days; probably only offering up 2 to 3ft sets along the Mornington Peninsula all weekend, grading to roughly twice that size across the far Southwest. That of course is likely to leave the Surf Coast mostly bereft of rideable waves – at least until a new swell fills in early to mid next week.
Smaller-scale SW swell. Sets around 2 to 3ft along exposed beaches, wrapping at 1 to 2ft along the Surf Coast reefs and smaller elsewhere. WIND: Early light N to NE land-breezes 5 to 10 knots tending light and variable, then E 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon.
Small-scale WSW groundswell fills in. Slow 2 to 3ft sets along the exposed beaches, grading to 1ft+ or so along the Surf Coast. WIND: Early light N to NE tending light and variable, then to light sea-breezes during the afternoon.
Small-scale WSW swell reinforced by long range, high period SW groundswell. Inconsistent sets to 2 to 3ft along exposed beaches early, with scope for occasional 3 to 4ft sets showing during the arvo. Wrapping at 1ft+ or so along the Surf Coast, bumping up marginally during the afternoon. WIND: Early light offshore land-breezes tending variable during the afternoon.
Uncrowded. That’s the only upside in the forecast for this weekend. Unfortunately, there is a lot of downside. The arrival of a new, large WSW groundswell coincides with strong onshore winds. The approach of a vigorous frontal low extends a strong, verging on gale force pre-frontal west north-westerly winds to the region throughout Friday and the weekend – and that pretty well writes off surfing options across the region. Then of course, there’s the shark factor, which clearly isn’t great across the Southwest. It won’t be until mid next week that the stormy, onshore conditions disappear, potentially making for great conditions on Wednesday.
Extra long period WSW groundswell shows rising sets later. South West: Messy, 1 to 3ft, rising inconsistent 4ft+ sets in the afternoon. Perth/Mandurah: Clean, 0.5 to 1ft, rising and messy later. WIND: West 10 to 15 knots tending NW, in the afternoon and freshening 20 knots. Light NE morning winds across Metro waters tending NW.
Strong WSW groundswell shows under onshore winds. South West: Messy and inconsistent, 4 to 6ft+, rising 8ft. Perth/Mandurah: Messy and inconsistent, 1 to 2ft, rising 3ft. WIND: NW 15 to 20 knots freshening 25 knots.
WSW swell combines with a stormy wind swell under continued fresh onshore winds. South West coast: Messy, 8 to 10ft+. Perth/Mandurah: Stormy, 2 to 3ft. WIND: West at 20 to 30 knots, easing in the afternoon.
Friday sees another day of small, clean conditions as light offshore breezes greet a fading SW swell. Saturday morning sees a SSW change quickly eroding the quality of a still small SW swell and it won’t be until Sunday that we see some stronger, long-period energy arriving out of the southwest. For now this points to good or even great conditions under early light NE winds, but you’ll want to be hitting early to beat a light onshore flow developing during the day.
Slight rise in WSW swell as north winds continue. South Coast: Clean, 1 to 2ft, largest at magnets. Mid Coast: Unsettled, 1 to 1.5ft rising 2ft sets. WIND: Northerly 10 to 20 knots tending NW later.
Mid period WSW swell under light winds. South Coast: Unsettled, 1 to 2ft+, largest at magnets. Mid Coast: Mostly clean, 1 to 2ft. WIND: SSW at 5 to 10 knots freshening 10 to 15 knots. Possible light inshore land breezes at dawn. More so on the Mid Coast.
Long period SW groundswell shows inconsistent rising sets. South Coast: Unsettled, 1 to 2ft rising inconsistent 3ft sets. Largest at magnets. Mid Coast: Clean, 1ft, rising 1.5ft. WIND: East at 10 to 15 knots, tending southerly in the afternoon.
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