Weekend Surf Forecast 4 - 6 May, 2018

3 May 2018 1

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST

Issued Thursday, 3 March 2018

Autumn has finally been living up to expectations across the eastern states this week; delivering days of clean, solid surf to the majority of locations between Burleigh heads and Bells Beach. Of course, just as night turns to day, this week’s extended run of energetic SE swell the Eastern Seaboard now giving way to much calmer conditions. The good news is that doesn’t mean it’s going to be entirely flat. Up north, the arrival of a small, long-range ESE groundswell could make for some pretty fun small-wave conditions all weekend. Although this probably won’t materially effect locations from Sydney south, there will be trace-levels of directional S swell in the water; probably showing most size in the 2ft range on Sunday.

Meanwhile further south, Victoria sees a large, westerly swell inbound over the coming days; initially west enough to confound surf-potential across much of the state on Friday. The good news is the swell will keep coming from a better WSW direction; opening up some fun, albeit inconsistent options across the Surf Coast all weekend. Just across the border, South Australia benefits from better exposure to the swell-source; making for a couple of good 3 to 4ft plus days across the South Coast. Across the West Coast there’s some classic autumn conditions lining up for Saturday; by no means as classic as last weekend – but still amounting to a full day of clean 2 to 4ft conditions across the Southwest Coast.

Amazing autumn conditions are hard to pass up. Photo: Dan Bielich.

Amazing autumn conditions are hard to pass up. Photo: Dan Bielich.

Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
Don’t sweat the small stuff. And it’s all small stuff in the water this weekend. As this week’s extended run of SE swell finally comes to an end, we’re left with a mix of slight E and S swells; for the most part not pushing beyond 1 to 2ft across the region. The only potential exception applies to Sunday, with scope for odd larger sets in the 2 to 3ft range across south facing beaches. However it pans out it’s clear we’re in for a string of slow-surfing days, featuring good waits for sets and mostly favourable offshore winds.

Friday
Background ESE swell mixing with slight NE windswell. Slow sets up to 1 to 2ft exposed open beaches, tiny elsewhere. WIND: Early light NW to NNW 10 to 15 knots, freshening and turning WSW 15 to 25 knots during the afternoon.

Saturday
Directional S swell. Around 1 to 2ft south facing beaches, mixing with slight E swell at 1ft or so elsewhere. WIND: Early light W tending light SE to NE 5 to 10 knots during the afternoon.

Sunday
Directional S swell. Inconsistent 2ft+ south facing beaches, mixing with slight E swell at 1ft+ or so elsewhere. WIND: WSW 10 to 15 knots, tending S during the day, then SSE later.

A small, directional pulse of S swell is about as good as it's going to get across Sydney and locations south this weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Luke Gordon.

A small, directional pulse of S swell is about as good as it's going to get across Sydney and locations south this weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Luke Gordon.

Queensland and Far Northern NSW
Patience will be a virtue in the water this weekend. The arrival of a small, long-range ESE groundswell is likely to pulse in fits and starts over the coming days; offering up fun sets in the 2ft range when they come. In this case the real surf-inhibitor is New Zealand’s barricading effect on the remote swell-source that set up over the South Pacific during the final days of April. Small inconsistent surf aside, conditions are again looking fan-bloody-tastic under predominant light autumn land-breezes on Friday. Conditions will shift with the onset of a southerly change on Saturday, lending the focus to sheltered breaks as SSW to SSE winds persist on Sunday.

Friday
Small, long-range ESE groundswell mixes with slight SE windswell. Slow sets ranging from 1 to 3ft along exposed breaks. Wrapping at about 1 to 2ft into the points and bays. WIND: Early WNW to NW, tending N 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon.

Saturday
Long range ESE groundswell continues. Slow sets ranging from 1 to 3ft exposed breaks, grading to 1 to 2ft inside the points and bays with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early lighter SW to SSW inshore, tending SSE 15 to 20 knots during the afternoon.

Sunday
Fading, long range ESE swell mixing with minor SSE windswell. Around 2ft+ exposed beaches, grading smaller along the points and inside the bays with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light inshore SW to SSW tending SSE to SE 10 to 20 knots.

The arrival of a long-range ESE swell probably won't be big enough to wrap with much size along the points, but the exposed beaches should be a bit of fun. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Mr Vacation.

The arrival of a long-range ESE swell probably won't be big enough to wrap with much size along the points, but the exposed beaches should be a bit of fun. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Mr Vacation.

Victoria
A large, short-period westerly swell isn’t exactly on the list of preferred swell-events of Victorian surfers – but that’s exactly what’s on offer this weekend. A cut-off low over the Bight is fast approaching from the west. The system brings a strengthening westerly fetch within close range of Bass Strait overnight; in turn driving a steep building trend in W swell. In the first instance it looks like Friday morning will be pretty underwhelming. The bulk of straight W swell will probably be bypassing all but the most exposed beaches, west facing beaches – at least until the bulk of swell begins to build in during the afternoon. The good news is there should be enough to size to ensure there’s plenty of good, albeit inconsistent sets on offer across the Surf Coast this weekend, with favourable offshore WNW winds prevailing for days to come.

Friday
Large, directional W swell builds in. Sets to 3 to 4ft along the exposed beaches early, building towards 4 to 5ft+ during the afternoon and bigger later. Inconsistent 1 to 3ft across the Surf Coast reefs, picking up to 2 to 4ft later. WIND: WNW 15 to 25 knots, easing during the afternoon.

Saturday
WSW groundswell eases throughout the day. Sets up to 5 to 6ft+ along exposed beaches, wrapping at about 3 to 4ft+ along the Surf Coast reefs and grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: Early WNW 10 to 20 knots, easing during the afternoon.

Sunday
Mid period WSW swell. Solid sets to 4 to 5ft+ along the exposed beaches, picking up a bit during the arvo. Wrapping at 3 to 4ft across the Surf Coast, bigger later. WIND: Early WNW 15 to 20 knots tending lighter W, then light and variable during the afternoon.

The exposed beaches haven't been looking too shabby this week, but the onset of a rising W swell sees the focus shifting back to the Surf Coast this weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Johnte.

The exposed beaches haven't been looking too shabby this week, but the onset of a rising W swell sees the focus shifting back to the Surf Coast this weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Johnte.

Western Australia
All signs point to Saturday as THE day to spend in the water. That doesn’t mean there won’t be some good options around on Friday morning as calm conditions greet a solid SSW groundswell in the 4 to 6ft range, but onshore winds will soon put an end to proceedings. However, by Saturday morning it’s game on as light ENE winds greet a smaller scale SSW swell; still ranging anywhere from 2 to 4ft along exposed areas all day. Unfortunately a renewed push in SW groundswell throughout Sunday morning is marred by freshening pre-frontal NNW/NW winds, shifting strong W and possibly SW into the late afternoon.

Friday
Reinforced SSW groundswell eases under light winds. South West: Semi clean, 4 to 6ft, easing later. Perth, Mandurah: Clean, 1 to 2ft, easing later.  WIND: Variable at 5 to 10 knots tending WNW at 10 to 15 knots. Grading light ENE tending NW across metro waters in the morning.

Saturday
SSW swell bottoms out prior to a rise in long period SW groundswell. South West: Clean, 2 to 4ft, rising later in the afternoon. Perth/Mandurah: Clean, 1ft, rising 2ft sets late. WIND: ENE at 10 to 15 knots tending NE then easing later.

Sunday
Large SW groundswell, rising wind swell mix under freshening frontal winds. South West: Stormy, 4 to 6ft+, rising 8ft+ sets later. Perth/Mandurah: Windblown, 1 to 3ft, rising 3 sets later. WIND: NNW 20 to 25 knots, freshening 30 to 35 knots before shifting WNW in the afternoon.

You don't see days like last Saturday too often. Photo: Dan Wyer.

You don't see days like last Saturday too often. Photo: Dan Wyer.

South Australia
While Friday is looking far too windy for comfort, conditions aren’t looking bad across the state this weekend. The approach of a deep cut-off-low across the Bight leads in steep rise in WSW swell along with a strong onshore WSW airflow throughout Friday. This should precede a couple of good days of waves as winds ease and tend lighter WNW across the South Coast on Saturday – and this will set the trend for Sunday as a still good sized SW swell coincide with lighter north-westerlies.

Friday
Overlapping pulse in large WSW groundswell shows as winds tend WSW. South Coast: Semi clean in areas, 4 to 6ft largest at magnets. Mid Coast: Messy, 3 to 4ft, easing later. WIND: WSW 25 to 30 knots, easing 15 to 20kts later.

Saturday
WSW backs off prior to a reinforced SW groundswell later. South Coast: Clean in areas, 3 to 4ft, largest at magnets. Mid Coast: Messy, 1 to 2ft. WIND: WNW, NW 15 to 20 knots freshening 25 knots in the afternoon.

Sunday
New mid sized SW groundswell. South Coast: Clean early, 3 to 5ft, largest at magnets. Mid Coast: Messy, 1 to 2ft. WIND: NW at 15 to 20 knots, freshening and shifting SW in the afternoon.


A consistent pattern of W to NW winds and solid SW swell makes for fun-times across the South Coast this weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Ruffdiamond.

A consistent pattern of W to NW winds and solid SW swell makes for fun-times across the South Coast this weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Ruffdiamond.


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