Weekend and Christmas Surf Forecast 21 - 25 December 2018

20 Dec 2018 0 Share

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST

Issued Thursday, 20 December 2018

It’s almost uncanny, that just about everywhere you look, the surf is going to turn on over the Christmas break. One of the only exceptions to this rule is on the NSW coast. Two consecutive southerly changes drive a consistent run of junky south to southeasterly windswell over the weekend; mostly ranging either side of 3ft across south facing breaks before quickly dropping off again as swell-direction trends SE on Christmas Eve. That looks like culminating in a typically warm, 2ft waves under NE winds for Christmas Day; perhaps offering up an ideal opportunity to take the whole family to the beach and to test out a new foamie.

Further north, southern Queensland and northern NSW coasts fare better. An initial, steep rise in SSE windswell over the weekend leads in a consistent run of short-period SE tradewind swell over Christmas. Going on latest model runs that looks like supporting 3 to 4ft sets along exposed stretches from Christmas Eve through to Boxing Day – but stay tuned to Friday’s update for confirmation.

Down south, Victoria and South Australia sees a continuation of pretty mediocre conditions as fresh southerly winds coincide with very low-levels of SW swell this weekend. Thankfully, conditions are set to turn about-face across both states just in time for Chrissie as a new SW groundswell coincides with early light N to NE winds both on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Last but not least, Western Australia is shaping up as an excellent place to be this Christmas. Wherever you find yourself, all the best for Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

The Christmas holidays are almost here... for just about everyone. Photo: Uploaded to CW by NoSurfLife.

The Christmas holidays are almost here... for just about everyone. Photo: Uploaded to CW by NoSurfLife.

Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
Fresh southerly winds and a couple of pulses of short-range windswell from the same direction sees fairly mediocre conditions this weekend - but come Christmas we’ll be enjoying fairly typical summer conditions; featuring warm temps, small SE swell and early light winds tending to moderate north-easterlies.

Friday sees an initial rise in southerly windswell reaching peaks of 2 to 3ft+ across southern exposures on Friday; initially blown out by fresh onshore southerly winds – but conditions should rapidly improve as they fall away to lighter ESE in the afternoon. A second, strong southerly change due on Saturday morning leads in a stronger rise in S windswell that holds better potential for a 2 to 4ft peak across southern exposures later Saturday through early Sunday. Once again, strong onshore southerly winds won’t exactly make for epic conditions, but there will be waves, to be sure. By early Christmas Eve the tail end of this pulse will transition SE at lower levels; probably offering up some 2 to 3ft leftovers before dwindling into the afternoon.

Friday
Steep rise in S windswell supersedes background NE and SE swells. Peaking at a junky 2 to 3ft+ across south facing beaches during the day, otherwise smaller along open beaches with size depending on exposure. WIND: Southerly 15 to 20 knots, steadily easing and tending SSE to ESE in the afternoon.

Saturday
Fading SSE swell reinforced by renewed S windswell. Building from 2ft+ early towards 2 to 3ft+ across south facing breaks during the afternoon, otherwise grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: Early ESE 5 to 10 knots, shifting S during the morning and increasing to 20 to 25 knots.

Sunday
SSE windswell speculatively peaks a junky 2 to 3ft+ at the most exposed open beaches, ranging from 1 to 3ft elsewhere with size depending on exposure and easing later. WIND: Early SSW to SSE 10 to 20 knots, easing and tending SE to ESE in the afternoon.

Monday
Leftover SE windwell ranging from 2 to 3ft at the more exposed open beaches, inconsistent in the upper range and easing in the afternoon. Otherwise smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light and variable tending ENE 5 to 15 knots, increasing to 10 to 20 knots during the afternoon.

Tuesday
ESE swell around 2ft exposed open beaches early, speculatively bumping up in the afternoon. WIND: WNW 5 to 10 knots, tending NE 10 to 15 knots in the afternoon. 

A modest rise in southerly windswell leads in a smaller run of SE/ESE swell across the region this Christmas. Photo: Uploaded by CW by Peter Tids.

A modest rise in southerly windswell leads in a smaller run of SE/ESE swell across the region this Christmas. Photo: Uploaded by CW by Peter Tids.

Queensland and Far Northern NSW
Just as our latest run of easterly swell begins to dwindle away we have a renewed and steep building trend of south-easterly tradewind swell setting in just in time for the Christmas break. Friday sees the last notable day of waves as leftover E swell drops back to a slower 2ft – and that probably leaves Saturday as your best window to get your Christmas shopping out of the way before the swell starts picking up on Sunday. This initial increase carries a strong southerly bias that’s likely to wash off most of the size north of the border. However, it’s set to transition to the southeast into Christmas Eve; leading in a sustained run of surf ranging anywhere from 2 to 4ft into Christmas Day depending on where you look.

Friday
Smaller E swell lingers at a slower 2ft along exposed open breaks, while mixing with slight NE windswell at lower levels along the points and inside the bays. WIND: Early NNW, tending northerly 10 to 20 knots, dying out in the afternoon ahead of a weak southerly change in the late arvo/ evening.

Saturday
Residual E swell mixing with slight NE windswell around 1 to 2ft exposed open beaches. Scope for a minor rise in S swell across northern NSW coasts during the afternoon, otherwise tiny along the points and inside the bays. WIND: Early SSW inshore tending SSE 15 to 20 knots.

Sunday
SSE windswell up to 2 to 3ft+ early, rising to a windblown 3 to 4ft northern NSW south facing breaks during the afternoon. Wrapping at 1 to 3ft exposed QLD coasts, picking up to 2 to 3ft+ later. Grading smaller inside the points and bays. WIND: Early S 15 to 25 knots, tending SSE 20 to 30 knots, then SE later.

Monday
Easing SSE swell ranges from 3 to 4ft along northern NSW south facing breaks, grading to 2 to 3ft+ exposed QLD coasts and smaller inside the points and bays. WIND: Early light SW to SSW inshore, tending SSE 15 to 20 knots, SE later.

Tuesday
SE swell ranges from 2 to 3ft+ exposed open beaches. Wrapping at lower 1 to 2ft+ levels inside the bays and along the points. WIND: Light SW to SSW inshore 5 to 10 knots early, tending SE to ESE 10 to 15 knots in the arvo.

An increase in SE tradewind swell kicks into gear just in time for Chrissy. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Mr Vacation.

An increase in SE tradewind swell kicks into gear just in time for Chrissy. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Mr Vacation.

Victoria
In the short-term it’s clear that surfing conditions will remain a bit yuck; given the prevailing southerly airflow is forecast to remain in place for another 48 hours or so. Thankfully, conditions are set to come good in a big way this Christmas as a serendipitous combination of new SW groundswell and light offshore north to northeast winds align across the state. For now that presents good potential for ; producmb both winds and o side of the scale over the next couple of days,

Friday
Potential for a modest rise in SW swell under freshening onshore southerly winds. Around 2 to 3ft along the exposed beaches. Wrapping at 2ft along the Surf Coast reefs, otherwise smaller elsewhere. WIND: SSW 10 to 20 knots, freshening to 15 to 25 knots during the day.

Saturday
SW swell holds around 2 to 3ft+ along the exposed beaches, while wrapping at a slower 2ft+ along the Surf Coast reefs. Otherwise smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Southerly 15 to 20 knots early, tending SW and easing to 10 to 15 knots during the day.

Sunday
SW swell slowly fades under onshore winds. Ranging from 2 to 3ft along the exposed beaches while wrapping at a slow 1 to 2ft+ along the Surf Coast reefs, easing in the afternoon. WIND: Potential for early light WNW to variable 5 to 10 knots, tending to Southerly sea-breezes later.

Monday
Potential for rising SW swell up to a clean 3 to 4ft along exposed beaches, building to 4 to 5ft+ in the afternoon. Wrapping at a slower 2 to 3ft along the Surf Coast reefs, picking up to a solid 3 to 4ft+ later. Otherwise grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light N to NE 5 to 10 knots, tending light E to SE later.

Tuesday
SW swell peaks around 4 to 5ft+ along exposed beaches, while wrapping at a slower 3 to 4ft+ along the Surf Coast reefs, otherwise grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light NNW to NE 5 to 10 knots, tending SW 10 to 15 knots during the morning, then Southerly, SSE later.

A new SW swell arrives just in time for Christmas, with early N to NE winds to boot. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Jordan Smith.

A new SW swell arrives just in time for Christmas, with early N to NE winds to boot. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Jordan Smith.

Western Australia
While the weekend is shaping up as a fairly non-descript run of 2 to 3ft waves across the Southwest, it looks like the waves will turn on just in time for Christmas this year. The arrival of a robust SW groundswell presents firm potential for a solid run of 3 to 6ft conditions across the region under the same SE to southerly wind-regime that’s been in force of late. At this stage, the morning hours of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will both be on the pump, so it’s looking like a merry one indeed.

Friday
Slow easing SW swell under early offshore winds. Southwest: Clean 2 to 3ft+ sets across exposed breaks early, smaller later. Perth/Mandurah: Clean in the 1ft range. WIND: ESE 15 to 20 knots, tending Easterly 10 to 15 knots during the morning, then shifting South in the afternoon.

Saturday
Mid period SW swell slowly eases under strong cross-offshore winds. South West: Up to a slow 2 to 3ft across exposed breaks early, new SW swell bumps up later. Perth/Mandurah: Up to 0.5 to 1ft along exposed beaches. WIND: Easterly, ESE 10 to 15 knots turning lighter SE to NE during the morning, then South during the afternoon.

Sunday
Potential for building SW groundswell. South West: Cross-offshore 2 to 3ft+ early, building to 3 to 5ft across exposed breaks, in the afternoon. Perth/Mandurah: Clean in the 1ft+ range along exposed beaches. WIND: SSE 10 to 20 knots, tending South and freshening later.

Monday
SW groundswell maintains peak size under early cross-offshore winds. Southwest: Ranging from 4 to 6ft+ across exposed breaks, smaller later. Perth/Mandurah: Clean in the 1 to 2ft range. WIND: Early SE to SSE 10 to 15 knots, tending Southerly and freshening to 15 to 25 knots in the afternoon.

Tuesday
Easing SW groundswell under early offshore winds. Southwest: Clean 4 to 5ft sets across exposed breaks, settling to 3 to 4ft+ in the afternoon. Perth/Mandurah: Clean in the 1ft+ range. WIND: Early ESE winds 10 to 20 knots, easing and tending lighter East to variable during the day, then Southerly to SW at 10 to 20 knots in the arvo.

The Southwest is set to light up over Christmas as a new SW groundswell arrives under early offshores. Photo: Dan Wyer.

The Southwest is set to light up over Christmas as a new SW groundswell arrives under early offshores. Photo: Dan Wyer.

South Australia
While this weekend is nothing to write home about, there’s clearly some great opportunities to surf some quality waves in your santa-hat this year. A solid pulse of SSW groundswell looks like coinciding with N to NE winds both on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Have a merry one!

Friday
Mix of fading S windswell and slight SW swell. South Coast: Around 2 to 3ft at Waits and Parsons, grading to 1 to 2ft at Middleton. Mid Coast: 0.5ft to flat. WIND: SSW to South 12 to 18 knots.

Saturday
Potential for a minor rise in SSW swell. South Coast: Around 2 to 3ft at Waits and Parsons, grading to 2ft around Middleton. Mid Coast: Up to 0.5ft. WIND: Southerly 10 to 15 knots, tending SSW in the afternoon.

Sunday
SSW swell levels off under light winds. South Coast: Clean sets ranging from 2 to 3ft Waits and Parsons, grading to 1 to 2ft around Middleton. Mid Coast: 0.5ft. WIND: Light E to NE 5 to 10 knots, tending to light SE sea-breezes in the afternoon.

Monday
Potential for steep rising SSW groundswell. About 2 to 4ft at Waits and Parsons, rising to 3 to 5ft during the day. Grading to 2 to 3ft+ around Middleton. Mid Coast: Around 1ft+. WIND: Early NE, tending to Southerly sea-breezes to 15 knots in the afternoon.

Tuesday
SSW groundswell continues. South Coast: Around 3 to 4ft+ at Waits and Parsons, grading to 2 to 3ft around Middleton, steadily dropping into the afternoon. Mid Coast: 0.5ft to flat. WIND: Early light NE to variable below 5 knots, tending SSE 5 to 15 knots in the afternoon.

A full week of onshore winds finally relents as winds swing offshore and a new SSW swell arrives over the Christmas period. Photo: Uploaded to CW by MitchF.

A full week of onshore winds finally relents as winds swing offshore and a new SSW swell arrives over the Christmas period. Photo: Uploaded to CW by MitchF.


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