Weekend Surf Forecast 7 - 9 December 2018
COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST
Summer kicks into full swing across Sydney and the southern NSW coast this weekend. Warm temperatures nudging 30 degrees combine with a consistent run of short-period NE windswell under north to nor’east winds, making for a couple of good beach days for all walks of life.
However, the further north you go, the larger and more energetic the surf becomes. Southern Queensland and northern NSW coasts are now on the cusp of a sustained run of easterly tradewind swell; building steeply into Friday morning and in all likelihood holding at very solid, albeit wind-affected 3 to 6ft levels over the weekend and early next week.
Further south, the picture isn’t so pretty. Regardless of the timely arrival of a solid SW/WSW groundswell, the quality of surface conditions across both Victorian and South Australian coasts are reduced by persistent onshore, southerly quarter winds all weekend. Over West, the outlook is better, as a large SSW groundswell coincides with early cross-offshore winds across the Margaret River region both on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast.
Just as the tail-end of this week’s SSE swell fades away, we have a new round of localised NE windswell set to emerge as the dominant source of surf. However, the big emphasis is on ‘localised’. The fetch driving the windswell is very short in length and positioned immediately adjacent to the coastal fringe. That in turn means very short-peak wave periods, mostly in the 6 to 7 second band – and that does not bode well for wave quality or wave refraction. So while it’s projected to hit peaks of 2 to 3ft+, you’ll probably only find set waves of this calibre isolated to a relatively small number of NE swell-magnets. Otherwise you’re more likely to find pretty junky 1 to 2ft+ options along the majority of open stretches. Still, there are plenty of waves on tap all weekend – probably strongest on Sunday, with more to come early next week.
Rising NE windswell up to a weak 1 to 2ft+ along the most exposed open beaches early, building towards a junky 1 to 3ft in the afternoon/ evening. WIND: Early light Northerly to NNW inshore around 5 to 15 knots, tending NE 20 to 25 knots in the afternoon.
Peaky NE windswell ranging from 2 to 3ft along the most exposed open beaches, bumping up a bit in the late afternoon. Otherwise mixing with a small SE swell at lower levels elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Northerly, NNW around 10 to 15 knots knots, turning NE 15 to 25 knots in the afternoon.
NE windswell peaks. Sets ranging from 2 to 3ft+ at the most exposed open beaches, otherwise smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light North to NNW, tending NE to ENE 10 to 15 knots plus in the afternoon.
Queensland and Far Northern NSW
Well, at last Huey is turning on the swell-tap, in the form of an early-season burst of easterly tradewind swell that’s set to come to a head this weekend. This is the by-product of ex-tropical cyclone Owen and an associated monsoon trough enhancing a broad tradewind belt; strong enough to support easterly swell in the 3 to 6ft range across exposed beaches for several days. With fresh ESE to E winds also in force, the points and bays will quickly emerge as the place to be. Regardless of a less-than ideal easterly bias in wind-direction it’s well worth making the most of conditions this weekend. As the ridge begins to weaken, winds are projected to turn ENE across the region, leading to a significant decline in wave quality as the swell begins to decline early to mid next week.
ESE tradewind swell ranging from 3 to 4ft exposed open beaches, picking up in the arvo. Wrapping at 2 to 3ft inside the bays and along the points. WIND: Early lighter inshore southerly winds, tending SE to ESE 15 to 20 knots, then East later.
Stronger Easterly tradewind swell up to 3 to 5ft+ exposed open beaches, wrapping at 2 to 3ft+ along the points and inside the bays with size depending on exposure. WIND: Easterly, ESE 10 to 20 knots, tending ENE from Byron south.
Easterly tradewind swell. Sets up to a consistent 3 to 5ft+ exposed open breaks, easing marginally in the afternoon. Wrapping at 2 to 4ft inside the points and bays. WIND: ESE across southern QLD, tending ENE up to 10 to 15 knots across northern NSW coasts.
You might find a few very small – or even tiny, clean waves along the most exposed Victorian coasts on Friday; marking the last day of such conditions prior to a dreaded onshore southerly airflow arriving just in time for the weekend. On the upside, a new round of WSW groundswell will accompany the onshore flow to produce some solid, junky waves in the 3 to 4ft range along exposed beaches, with more size inbound on Sunday arvo. The Surf Coast will also pull in a bit of this swell; admittedly slower and also wind-affected – but there’s waves, to be sure.
Small WSW swell up to a slow 2ft+ or so along exposed beaches. Wrapping at 1 to 2ft or less along the Surf Coast reefs, inconsistent in the upper range and grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: NNW to NNE 15 to 25 knots, easing ahead of a weak SW change in the afternoon.
New WSW groundswell fills in. Possibly undersized early at 2 to 3ft+, picking up to 3 to 4ft along exposed beaches during the morning. Wrapping at a slow 2 to 3ft along the Surf Coast reefs and smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light and variable tending SSW around 10 to 15 knots, then Southerly later.
WSW swell reinforced by new SW groundswell in the afternoon. Sets up around 3 to 4ft along the exposed beaches early, building to larger 4 to 5ft+ in the afternoon. Wrapping at a slow 2 to 3ft along the Surf Coast reefs, picking up later. WIND: Southerly, SSE 10 to 15 knots, tending SE later.
Stick to the early and you’ll do just fine this weekend. The arrival of a solid round of SSW groundswell on Saturday coincides with early offshores, producing good or even great 4 to 6ft conditions across exposed Southwest breaks before winds veer to the south during the day. That pretty much sets the trend for Sunday as the groundswell begins to taper off; producing another great morning of solid, offshore surf before the southerly blows it out in the afternoon.
SW groundswell continues to drop off under moderate onshore winds. Southwest: Choppy 4 to 6ft sets across exposed breaks, easing in the afternoon. Perth/Mandurah: Clean in the 1 to 3ft range. WIND: SW 5 to 15 knots, tending WSW in the afternoon.
Stronger rise in SSW groundswell under light offshore winds. South West: Good potential for clean 4 to 6ft+ sets across exposed breaks, rising to 5 to 8ft during the afternoon. Perth/Mandurah: Up to 1 to 2ft+ along exposed beaches, picking up to 2 to 3ft later. WIND: ESE to SE 5 to 15 knots, tending South to SSW and freshening during the afternoon.
SW groundswell continues. South West: Cross-offshore sets ranging from 5 to 7ft across exposed breaks, settling marginally during the afternoon. Perth/Mandurah: Clean in the 2ft+ range along exposed beaches. WIND: ESE/SE 10 to 15 knots, tending S to SW 15 to 25 knots during the afternoon.
As long as you’re not fussy you should do just fine this weekend. But if you prefer your SW swell under offshore winds, then the news ain’t so good. Regardless of a solid upswing in SW groundswell setting in from Friday onwards, a developing south to south-easterly airflow will add plenty of lump and bump into the equation all weekend.
Potential for rising SW swell. South Coast: Around 2ft+ at Waits and Parsons, speculatively building to 2 to 3ft+ in the afternoon. Around 1ft+ at Middleton, bumping up later. Mid Coast: Virtually flat. WIND: Early light NW to NE land-breezes, turning SW 10 to 15 knots in the afternoon.
New SW groundswell fills in. South Coast: Around 3 to 4ft at Waits and Parsons, grading to 2 to 3ft around Middleton. Mid Coast: 0.5ft. WIND: Southerly, SSE 10 to 15 knots, freshening in the afternoon.
Fading SW swell reinforced by new SSW groundswell throughout the day. South Coast: Around 2 to 3ft+ Waits and Parsons, building to 3 to 4ft+ or more in the afternoon. Grading to 1 to 2ft around Middleton, rising to 2 to 3ft later. Mid Coast: 0.5 to 1ft. WIND: SE early, turning to S 10 to 20 knots in the afternoon.
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