Weekend Surf Forecast 24 to 26 August 2018

23 Aug 2018 0 Share

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST

Issued Thursday, 23 August 2018

It’s one of those rare weekends featuring good to great conditions just about everywhere you look. This week’s constant run of surf continues across the Eastern Seaboard over the next few days; starting out with a new pulse of SE swell on Friday, preceding the onset of a localised NE windswell; building to a peak of 2 to 4ft on Sunday. Across the southern half of the NSW coast both Friday and Sunday mornings are looking like the pick as light and variable to offshore winds greet the best of both swells.

Further north, southern Queensland won’t far quite so well under a freshening NE airflow – but that’s all set to change once the associated surface trough moves offshore on Sunday, leading in lighter north-westerlies during the morning.

Down south, both Victoria and South Australia benefit from very light winds for several days; opening up a wide spectrum of good surfable options across all coasts from Friday to Sunday, with substantial size probably favouring semi-protected areas like the Surf Coast on both days. Over west, the news is also good; featuring solid SW groundswell and mostly easterly quarter or light winds for several days to come.

Take a walk on some water. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Campa.

Take a walk on some water. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Campa.

Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast.
There’s no shortage of new swell inbound across the NSW coast over the next few days. In fact, there’s actually several new swells set to overlap over the next 72 hours. The first swell off the rank is a new pulse of mid-period SE groundswell showing peak size on Friday – and this holds good potential for some solid 3 to 4ft+ sets across exposed areas under early light winds. The only real downside is a developing NE airflow that will quickly erode surface quality during the day, so it will be well worth hitting it nice and early. The nor-easter’s silver lining is a subsequent rise in short-range NE windswell over the weekend; initially bumping up to a fairly weak 2ft+ or so on Saturday ahead of a further increase to a more substantial peak in the 2 to 4ft range under light offshore winds early on Sunday. 

Friday
Mid-period SE groundswell peaks. Clean sets to 3 to 4ft+ exposed breaks, grading smaller elsewhere and easing into the afternoon. WIND: Early light and variable around 5 to 10 knots, tending NE and freshening to 10 to 15 knots during the day.

Saturday
Leftover SE groundswell inconsistent 2 to 3ft+ sets exposed breaks, fading as NE windswell bumps up to a junky 2ft+ during the afternoon. WIND: NE 10 to 15 knots and freshening to 15 to 20 knots during the day.

Sunday
Potential for short-period NE windswell. Around 2 to 4ft exposed open beaches, easing during the afternoon and grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light WNW to NW tending light and variable, then to light sea-breezes later.

You might find a few of these across the NSW coast before the wind comes up on Friday morning. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Luca Salisbury.

You might find a few of these across the NSW coast before the wind comes up on Friday morning. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Luca Salisbury.

Queensland and Far Northern NSW
Onshore winds loom as the bane of every southern Queensland and northern NSW surfer over the coming days. The confluence of a deepening surface trough over the southeast and high pressure system over the western Tasman set up a moderate onshore ENE to NE airflow; ideally suited to wrecking surface quality across the region on Friday and Saturday. The good news is a favourable WNW to NW wind-shift looks likely on Sunday – and this will quickly open up some good or even great conditions as localised northeast windswell hits peak size in the 2 to 4ft range.

Friday
Leftover SSE swell around 2 to 3ft northern NSW southern exposures, bumping up as reinforcing SSE groundswell fills in later. Sets ranging from 1 to 2ft+ exposed QLD breaks, grading smaller along the points and bays. WIND: Early light ENE up to 10 knots, freshening to 10 to 15 knots tending NE during the day.

Saturday
Easing SSE groundswell crossed by slight NE wind-chop. Wind-affected 3 to 4ft sets northern NSW south facing beaches, fading during the afternoon. Smaller, junky 1 to 3ft southern QLD exposed coasts, deteriorating during the day. WIND: Possibly light and variable inshore early, otherwise NE 10 to 15 knots, freshening in the evening.

Sunday
Potential for junky NE windswell peaking at 2 to 4ft along exposed beaches, grading smaller inside the points and bays with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early NNW to NNE 15 to 20 knots, rapidly easing and tending NW, then light and variable later.

Certainly none of this on the forecast horizon, but it does look like an El Nino will develop this spring/summer.. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Mr Vacation.

Certainly none of this on the forecast horizon, but it does look like an El Nino will develop this spring/summer.. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Mr Vacation.

Victoria
For a state that lies directly in the path of the Southern Ocean storm-track, local conditions are looking conspicuously light – even glassy across Victoria this weekend. A weak high pressure ridge extending across Bass Strait looks like producing several, virtually windless days across the region; opening up a rare window of good conditions across all coasts pulling in the swell. And speaking of, there’s no shortage of SW groundswell inbound; commencing with a building trend on Friday that’s set to top out at solid levels across all coasts on Saturday, before gradually easing on Sunday.

Friday
Powerful, long range SW groundswell builds in. Probably undersized early at a slow 3 to 4ft+ exposed beaches early, building towards 4 to 6ft+ into the arvo. Wrapping in the 2 to 3ft range along the Surf Coast, picking up to 3 to 4ft later. WIND: Calm to light NW to NE, tending variable, then E to SE 5 to 10 knots during the afternoon.

Saturday
Solid SW groundswell under light winds.  Clean 5 to 6ft+ sets along the exposed beaches. Wrapping at 4 to 5ft+ along the Surf Coast reefs and grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: Early light and variable land-breezes, tending to light sea-breezes up to 5 to 10 knots later.

Sunday
Potential for reinforcing SW groundswell. Clean sets ranging from 4 to 6ft along exposed beaches. Wrapping at 3 to 5ft along the Surf Coast reefs, grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: Early light WNW to NNW, tending light and variable during the afternoon.

A solid SW groundswell arrives under a light wind-regime, opening up all sorts of good surfing options across Victoria this weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Barwon Steve.

A solid SW groundswell arrives under a light wind-regime, opening up all sorts of good surfing options across Victoria this weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Barwon Steve.

Western Australia
The dark days of winter are clearly over across the Southwest. With the exception of a weak cold front clipping the south-west corner of the state later Saturday, the forecast is looking pretty well like successive days of solid offshore surf – for the most part ranging anywhere from 4 to 8ft depending on time and place. Offshore winds are forecast to prevail from Friday to Sunday – and they’re likely to remain mostly favourable on all three days.

Friday
Reinforcing SW groundswell under early light ENE winds. South West: Semi-clean 4 to 6ft+ exposed areas. Perth/Mandurah: Clean 1 to 2ft early, fading later. WIND: Early light ENE to NE, tending N to NW during the day and light and variable later.

Saturday
Potential for powerful SW groundswell with strong onshore winds looming. South West: Junky sets ranging from 5 to 6ft+ across exposed breaks. Perth/Mandurah: Around 1 to 3ft. WIND: Early light ENE, tending variable S/SW to S/SE, possibly W to SW and freshening during the afternoon.

Sunday
Easing SW groundswell. South West coast: Potential for clean 4 to 6ft sets exposed breaks, easing to 3 to 5ft later. Perth/ Mandurah: Around 2ft+. WIND: Model divergence. Potential for fresh ESE to ENE around 15 to 20 knots, tending E during the afternoon.

There's some great conditions on the cards under periods of offshore winds across the Southwest this weekend. Photo: CW.

There's some great conditions on the cards under periods of offshore winds across the Southwest this weekend. Photo: CW.

South Australia
A light wind-regime promises a full weekend of good to great conditions across SA as it coincides with solid levels of SW groundswell; for the most part ranging anywhere from 3 to 6ft along the South Coast depending on when and where you look. Having said that, the forecast does show some very light onshore, southerly quarter breezes – but they should stay light enough to keep surface quality pretty appealing all weekend.

Friday
Long range SW groundswell slowly builds in under early light winds. South Coast: Ranging from a slow 3 to 5ft Waits and Parsons, building to 4 to 6ft during the day. Grading to 2 to 4ft around Middleton and picking up during the morning. Mid Coast: WSW swell around 0.5 to 1ft. WIND: ENE to ESE 10 to 15 knots.

Saturday
Potential for solid, long range SSW groundswell. South Coast: Semi-clean early at 4 to 6ft Waits and Parsons. Grading to 3 to 4ft+ or so at Middleton. Mid Coast: Clean, 0.5ft. WIND: Early light SE to SSE, tending S to SW up to 10 knots in the afternoon.

Sunday
Solid SSW groundswell continues. Clean 3 to 5ft+ at Waits and Parsons. Grading to 3 to 4ft at Middleton. Mid Coast: 0.5 to 1ft. WIND: Early calm to light land-breezes tending variable during the afternoon.

Good conditions about across SA under a light wind-regime prevailing all weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Glasso.

Good conditions about across SA under a light wind-regime prevailing all weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Glasso.


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