Weekend Surf Forecast 11 - 13 May 2018
COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST
Issued Thursday, 10 March 2018
As discussed in the latest Swell Alert, the evolution of a deep East Coast low off the southern NSW coast over the next 24 hours promises large – if not huge surf for the Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast this weekend; albeit under strong SSW winds invariably limiting clean options to southern corners. Further north, the swell will take longer to arrive and will also arrive in a diluted form, owing to close proximity of the source to the southern NSW coast. That will lend the focus to northern NSW as the swell kicks in on Sunday – and sets wrapping in north of the border are likely to be comparatively small, not to mention few and far between.
In contrast, Victoria and South Australian surfers get a pretty raw deal from the ECL; copping several days of straight and strong onshore southerly winds; fuelled by the low interacting with a high pressure ridge to the west. Further afield, the West Coast, being far removed from this activity, sees a full day and bit of good conditions under light ENE to NE winds, before light to moderate south-westerlies take the shine off conditions on Sunday.
Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
I have a love/ hate relationship with East Coast Lows. While there’s no doubt all manner of aquatic hell is about to break loose across the region this weekend, persistent variability in model guidance is keeps me on my forecasting toes. Just as one model run picks up a phenomenal storm-swell, the next plays it down again. Either way, there’s going to be no shortage of swell arriving out of the south this weekend (and out of the SSE early next week); building steeply throughout Saturday – initially under favourable WSW winds. If one things certain, it looks like it will be well worth making the most of Saturday morning’s offshores and rising swell before the sea-state transforms – potentially going ballistic at a windblown 8 to 12ft or more. As mentioned in the recent Swell Alert there’s still plenty of elasticity in the forecast outcome, so be sure to tune in for more updates on Friday.
Residual SSE swell up to 1ft exposed open and south facing breaks, otherwise virtually flat. WIND: WNW to W 20 to 25 knots.
Varying model guidance lends uncertainty to steep rising S swell. Speculatively building from 2 to 3ft+ south facing beaches early towards 3 to 5ft during the morning and onto 6 to 10ft during the afternoon. Grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure WIND: Early WSW 20 to 30 knots, tending SW during the morning and possibly SSW into the afternoon.
Good chances for large S swell. Speculatively 5 to 8ft+ south facing beaches early, easing during the afternoon. Grading anywhere from 3 to 6ft sheltered southern corners with size depending on exposure. WIND: SSW 20 to 40 knots.
Queensland and Far Northern NSW
As the last of our current E and S swells fade to tiny levels on Friday some serious swell-developments get underway to the south. An ECL forming just off the southern NSW coast sets up a large run-up in S swell for Sunday – but having said that, there’s clearly going to be the haves and have nots when it comes to surf this weekend. A deepwater SSW swell derived from the East Coast Low will, for the most part, sail straight past southern Queensland on its way to Fiji. Further south, locations like Ballina and Yamba will see a solid rise in S swell; potentially hitting at a solid 4 to 6ft+ along the more exposed back-beaches, while producing a wide range of smaller surf depending on each location’s exposure. It’s also looking like early WSW winds will see great conditions early on Sunday before winds swing to the south – at which point the focus will turn to sheltered points and bays.
Mix of smaller-scale E and S swells up to 1 to 2ft exposed breaks, grading smaller along the points and inside the bays. WIND: Early NW to WNW tending W 15 to 25 knots and stronger WSW later.
Tiny ENE and SSE swells around 1ft exposed QLD breaks. Small, refracted S windswell picks up to 1 to 2ft across northern NSW during the afternoon, otherwise virtually flat. WIND: W 15 to 25 knots.
Large, directional S swell fills in. Around 3 to 4ft across northern NSW exposed breaks early, building towards 4 to 6ft+ during the day and possibly bigger later. Initially tiny at a slow1 to 2ft across exposed QLD breaks, picking up to 2 to 3ft+ later. WIND: WSW 15 to 20 knots, tending SSW during the afternoon
A deep East Coast low developing off Bass Strait looms as the bane of every Victorian surfer’s existence over the next few days. Strong onshore southerly winds of 20 to 40 knots will leave little to the imagination on Friday – so unless you’re a fan of extreme kite-surfing you might as well hang up your surfing-boots for the day. Although the wind eases by Saturday, it’s forecast to be hammering in at 20 to 30 knots all morning and it’s only going to ease marginally during the arvo. Even Sunday morning looks blown out and that pretty much leaves Sunday afternoon as your best bet for some still choppy onshore waves as southerly winds ease to about 10 to 15 knots or less.
Chaotic mix of SW groundswell and steep rising SSW windswell. Around 6 to 8ft along the exposed beaches, picking up into the afternoon. Grading to 3 to 5ft+ along the Surf Coast reefs, speculatively building to a stormy 5 to 8ft+. WIND: SSW 30 to 40 knots all day.
Windblown SSW swell rapidly eases. Ranging from 5 to 8ft along the exposed beaches early, settling to 4 to 6ft+ during the afternoon. Potentially a junky 3 to 5ft along the Surf Coast reefs, rapidly easing. WIND: S 20 to 30 knots, gradually easing to 15 to 25 knots during the afternoon.
Messy SSW swell eases as reinforcing SW groundswell overlaps. Ranging from 4 to 6ft along the exposed beaches, grading 3 to 4ft+ along the Surf Coast reefs and smaller elsewhere. WIND: Southerly at 15 to 20 knots, easing to 10 to 15 knots later.
There’s some great windows of opportunity across the Southwest over the next day or two. Offshore ENE winds greet a solid building SW groundswell on Friday, producing great conditions until a southerly change arrives during the afternoon. Saturday morning also offer up a much narrower window as light inshore NE winds coincide with a still solid SW swell – but you’ll have to be in at the proverbial sparrows before winds turn NW during the day. Sunday sees lighter onshore winds offering up reasonable, mid-sized options that will gradually deteriorate winds freshen a little during the afternoon.
Overlapping SW groundswell under continued offshore winds. South West: Clean, 3 to 4ft+, rising 6ft sets later. Perth/Mandurah: , 1 to 1.5ft, rising 2ft sets later. WIND: ENE 15 to 20 knots easing before shifting southerly later in the afternoon.
Mid sized SW groundswell holds as winds shift into the north. South West coast: Semi clean early, 4 to 5ft. Perth/Mandurah: Clean, 1 to 2ft, easing. WIND: NE at 10 to 20 knots tending north in the morning then NW later.
Overlapping WSW swell fills. South West: Semi clean, 3 to 4ft+, easing. Perth/Mandurah: Clean, 1 to 2ft. WIND: WNW at 5 to 10 knots tending SSW at 10 to 15 knots in the afternoon. Light and variable winds expected across Metro waters in the morning.
There are three different shades of onshore conditions to pick from across the South Coast this weekend. You can have big and heavily wind-blown on Saturday, still large and blown out on Sunday, or mid-sized and choppy as on Sunday. With winds blowing strong out of the south for days to come, it looks like you’re only viable surfing options will be limited to the Mid Coast – and if so it’s well worth hitting it while there’s some size to speak of on Friday. By Saturday it’s projected to drop steeply, leaving very little in the way of appealing surf options all weekend.
Reinforced SSW groundswell, wind swell combo. South Coast: Windblown, 6 to 8ft easing, largest at magnets. Mid Coast: Semi clean in areas, 1 to 3ft, easing. WIND: Southerly at 20 to 30 knots.
Mid period south swell eases prior to an overlapping SW groundswell later. South Coast: Messy, 4 to 6ft. Largest at magnets. Mid Coast: Semi clean, 1 to 1.5ft. WIND: SSE at 15 to 20 knots.
Reinforced SW groundswell slowly eases under SE wind conditions. South Coast: Unsettled, 3 to 4ft+, easing later. Largest at magnets. Mid Coast: Clean, 1ft with scope for occasional larger sets in the morning.. WIND: SE at 10 to 15 knots.
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A long S groundswell is about to rock the entire NSW coast under a favourable autumn wind-regime.
Surfing gets serious around the place this weekend.
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