Weekend Surf Forecast 23 - 25 November 2018

22 Nov 2018 0 Share

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST

Issued Thursday, 22 November 2018

The last weekend of spring is upon us – and so, fortuitously I might add – is a large Tasman low now intensifying over Bass Strait. In the wake of Thursday's dusting of NSW, the storm will bring a substantial round of S swell to the coastal fringes.

The southern half of the NSW coast looms as the focal point for this steep rise in southerly swell – but even at this late stage there’s some give or take surrounding the swell-specifics. Never the less, it’s clear that a powerful upswing in S swell will follow the low’s eastward track across the southern Tasman Sea, preceding a fairly steep drop-off in energy early next week. Further north, the acutely directional character of this event will initially by-pass southern Queensland coasts – at least until swell direction becomes more favourable early next week. That will leave northern NSW coasts as a better bet for some solid waves as a leading S pulse starts showing up later on Saturday and throughout Sunday.

As for the rest of the continent, conditions aren’t looking so flash. Onshore winds loom as the bane of every Victorian surfers existence over the next few days; pretty much leaving Sunday as the pick of an ordinary bunch. Similarly, onshores also hamper wave quality across South Australia, with a brief respite on Saturday offering up some small, clean options along the South Coast before winds swing back to the south on Sunday. Finally, the West Coast also sees a fairly forgettable combination of onshore/ cross-shore winds and mostly small-scale SW swell all weekend.

Late spring sees a hive of wave activity around the country. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Dan Bielich.

Late spring sees a hive of wave activity around the country. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Dan Bielich.

Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast.
Ok, hold your horses for a minute. Before you go forth and take the forecast summary below as gospel, keep in mind these swell-specifics are likely to shift over the next 24 hours. Already, the models are tightening up surrounding the development of a deep Tasman low off Tasmania and Bass Strait – but it’s close proximity to the south-eastern Australian landmass is compounding the complexity – and hence difficulty in forecasting this event. So, disclaimers aside, it’s clear we’re in for plenty of S swell as the low gears up – and as you can see below, a predominant westerly airflow will also be coming to the party. Stay tuned for an update on Friday as the low intensifies offshore.

Friday
Leftover SE swell. Sets up to a slow 2 to 3ft exposed breaks early, grading smaller elsewhere. Fading as new, directional S swell begins to pick up towards an infrequent 1 to 3ft across south facing breaks in the late afternoon. WIND: WNW 20 to 30 knots, tending W 15 to 25 knots later.

Saturday
Strong pulse of directional, mid-period S groundswell peaks early. Potential for powerful sets around 4 to 5ft+ south facing beaches, grading to 2 to 4ft elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Westerly, WSW 15 to 25 knots, tending light SW during the morning, then lighter S to SE in the afternoon.

Sunday
Renewed SSE groundswell rebuilds. Speculatively peaking at 5 to 6ft+ south facing breaks mid to late morning, before settling in the afternoon. Ranging anywhere from 3 to 6ft elsewhere and easing in the afternoon. WIND: Early light WSW to SW 5 to 10 knots, tending Southerly 10 to 20 knots in the afternoon.

A blast of cold westerly winds and steep rising S swell sees a major transformation in conditions along the NSW coast this weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Bad Dog.

A blast of cold westerly winds and steep rising S swell sees a major transformation in conditions along the NSW coast this weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Bad Dog.

Queensland and Far Northern NSW
Thursday’s upswing in SE swell continues to run at fairly low-levels across the region on Friday – again favouring northern NSW coasts with scope for larger 2 to 3ft sets – but for the most part only offering up smaller 1 to 2ft options north of the border. As for this weekend, you’ll clearly be better off somewhere south of the border, with a new round of directional SSW swell anticipated to almost entirely by-pass southern Queensland coasts – at least until swell-direction trends straighter south on Monday. That leaves northern NSW coasts as your best option for some smaller 2 to 3ft lines on Saturday, leading in something more substantial on Sunday.

Friday
Small SSE groundswell ranging from a slow 2 to 3ft across northern NSW exposed coasts, grading to about 1 to 2ft exposed QLD breaks and smaller along the points and inside the bays. WIND: Westerly 10 to 20 knots.

Saturday
Potential for small, mid period S groundswell up to a slow 2 to 3ft+ northern NSW south facing beaches, possibly bigger later. Wrapping at a smaller 1ft+ across exposed QLD beaches, otherwise tiny to near-flat elsewhere. WIND: WSW to WNW 10 to 15 knots, becoming lighter in the afternoon.

Sunday
Potential for directional, mid period S groundswell slowly easing during the day. Initially ranging from 4 to 5ft+ across northern NSW exposed coasts, grading to 2 to 5ft open beaches and down to a slower 2 to 3ft exposed QLD breaks and smaller again along the points and inside the bays. WIND: WNW 10 to 15 knots, tending Northerly, then NNE 10 to 20 knots in the afternoon. Potential for a late Southerly change.

The bulk of size associated with a building trend in southerly swell will for the most part be confined to northern NSW this weekend. Photo: uploaded to CW by Josh Mcmullen.

The bulk of size associated with a building trend in southerly swell will for the most part be confined to northern NSW this weekend. Photo: uploaded to CW by Josh Mcmullen.

Victoria
Honking onshore, south-westerly winds offer up the bare minimum of surfing options across the state on Friday. With wind-speeds forecast at 20 to 35 knots with stronger squalls, you’d be better advised to stay warm and dry – at least until things settle down this weekend. Unfortunately winds will still be pretty fresh out of the SSW on Saturday – but there should be something there along the Surf Coast for those who don’t mind sacrificing wave quality for a good crowd factor. That leaves Sunday as a slightly better option as a light to variable onshore airflow sees better small-wave options across all coasts.

Friday
Mid-period SW swell and large SSW windswell up to a windblown 3 to 5ft along the exposed beaches, picking up to 4 to 5ft+. Sets wrapping at a slower, wind-affected 3 to 4ft on the Surf Coast reefs, smaller elsewhere and easing later. WIND: SW 20 to 35 knots with stronger squalls.

Saturday
Combination of easing SW swell and S windswell. Up to a junky, windblown 3 to 4ft+ along exposed beaches early, settling during the afternoon. Wrapping at 2 to 3ft+ along the Surf Coast reefs and smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: SSW 15 to 20 knots, tending South and easing during the afternoon.

Sunday
Reinforcing SW swell and fading S windswell under light winds. Wobbly sets ranging from a clean 2 to 3ft+ along exposed beaches early, easing later. Wrapping at about 1 to 3ft along the Surf Coast reefs and smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light S to SE around 5 knots tending Southerly 5 to 15 knots later.

It's not the greatest weekend to be chasing waves across Victoria - at least until onshore winds peter out on Sunday. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Grey C.

It's not the greatest weekend to be chasing waves across Victoria - at least until onshore winds peter out on Sunday. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Grey C.

Western Australia
Fortune clearly favours the weekday surfer across the Southwest. While Friday morning offers up a continued run of cross-offshore SE to SSE winds along the coastal fringes, they’re not expected to be so accommodating this weekend. A developing south-westerly flow will quickly erode surface quality on Saturday morning, with conditions further deteriorating as they tend more west during the day. That’s likely to precede a freshening SSW airflow arriving on Sunday; all in all making for a pretty mediocre weekend of small-scale SW swell in the 2 to 4ft range, grading to near-flat across Perth’s metro beaches.

Friday
Leftover SW swell reinforced by new SSW groundswell under onshore S to SW winds. South West: Junky 2 to 3ft+ across exposed breaks early, building towards a slow 3 to 4ft in the late afternoon. Perth/Mandurah: Up to 0.5 to 1ft along exposed beaches, picking up to 1ft+ later. WIND: Early SE/SSE 10 to 20 knots, tending Southerly during the morning and SSW later.

Saturday
Small to mid-sized SW swell hangs in under south-westerly winds. South West: Sets ranging from 2 to 3ft+ across exposed breaks, easing during the afternoon. Perth/Mandurah: Clean in the 1ft range along exposed beaches. WIND: SW 10 to 15 knots, tending WSW 10 to 15 knots during the day, then Westerly later.

Sunday
Reinforcing SW groundswell gradually builds under onshore southerly winds. South West: Up to a choppy 2 to 3ft+ exposed breaks, building to 3 to 4ft later. Perth/Mandurah: Around 1ft. WIND: SSW 15 to 20 knots.

You might find a few clean ones at the right spot early on Friday, but onshore winds are set to take the shine off conditions across the Southwest this weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Bruce Ellis.

You might find a few clean ones at the right spot early on Friday, but onshore winds are set to take the shine off conditions across the Southwest this weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Bruce Ellis.

South Australia
Strong onshore SSW winds persist as the bane of every South Australian surfer’s existence on Friday, blowing out an otherwise good sized SSW swell in the 2 to 4ft range. The good news is a significant improvement in conditions should follow this weekend as the onshore flow peters out and gives way to lighter easterlies on Saturday. This may well offer up your best opportunity for some semi-clean waves as a small SSW swell continues to range from 2 to 3ft along the South Coast. Sunday sees a resumption in light onshore southerly winds, taking the shine off a still minor SSW swell all day.

Friday
Continued SSW groundswell and fading S swell range from 4 to 5ft at Waits and Parsons, grading to 3 to 4ft around Middleton early, steadily easing throughout the day. Mid Coast: Around 1 to 2ft, fading. WIND: SSW around 15 to 20 knots, tending South and easing later.

Saturday
Small SSW/ S swells continues under easterly winds. South Coast: Sets to 2 to 3ft Waits and Parsons, easing later. Grading to 2ft around Middleton. Mid Coast: Around 1ft. WIND: Light ENE, tending ESE to SE around 5 to 15 knots, in the afternoon.

Sunday
Small-scale SSW groundswell persists under onshore winds. Slow sets up to a junky 2 to 3ft+ at Waits and Parsons, wrapping at about 2ft into Middleton. Mid Coast: Flat. WIND: SE/SSE 10 to 15 knots, tending South in the arvo.

Onshore winds preclude this kind of action across SA for most of the weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Luca Salisbury.

Onshore winds preclude this kind of action across SA for most of the weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Luca Salisbury.


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