Weekend Surf Forecast 18 - 20 January, 2019
Issued Thursday, 17 January 2019
Without wanting to engage in any alliteration, it mustu be said, the swell-supressing influence of the southern hemisphere summer appears to be in full swing around the country this weekend. Across the Eastern Seaboard we’re seeing a combination of small-scale ENE and NE windswells; showing most size across southern NSW coasts in the 2 to 3ft range. Further north, the last vestiges of early January’s easterly tradewind swell fade into the 1 to 2ft range across southern Queensland coasts under dreaded northerly winds.
Down south, the forecast is only marginally better. Victoria and South Australia see a steady run of small to mid-range SW swell; for the most part arriving under light to moderate onshore winds to produce junky 2 to 4ft waves along the more exposed beaches all weekend. Only Western Australia bucks the small-wave trend, with the arrival of a significant SSW groundswell on Sunday offering up powerful waves under freshening southerly winds.
Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
This summer’s interminable run of small-scale NE windswell, punctuated by occasional, small southerly pulses continues; not only over the course of the weekend – but also for the foreseeable future. It’s fair to say one might struggle to stay enthusiastic about surfing such conditions, but I’m staying glass-half-full: There are plenty of small waves to be had this weekend - both out of the NE and South - and that’s got to be better than none.
NE windwell ranges from 2 to 3ft at the more exposed open beaches, otherwise grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Northerly 5 to 15 knots early, tending NE 15 to 25 knots.
NE windswell ranging from 2 to 3ft across the most exposed open breaks, easing as S windswell picks up to a junky 2 to 3ft along south facing beaches during the afternoon WIND: Early light WNW near dawn, shifting Southerly 15 to 25 knots early morning, then tending SSE and easing to 10 to 15 knots later.
S windswell up to a junky 2 to 3ft south facing beaches, grading to 2ft or so elsewhere with size depending on exposure and easing later. WIND: Light SSE to SE 5 to 10 knots, tending East during the day and ENE up to 10 to 15 knots in the arvo.
Queensland and Far Northern NSW
The easterly swell-party of early January is officially over. In its wake, we can expect a long-enduring hangover comprising fresh northerly winds and a diminishing easterly swell in the 1 to 2ft range. These conditions are set to play out throughout the weekend, so making plans for some alternative amusement to surfing looks like your best bet.
Leftover E tradewind swell hovers a junky 2ft exposed open beaches, while wrapping at lower levels inside the bays and along the points. WIND: Early NNE 5 to 15 knots, tending NNE 10 to 15 knots. Up to 15 to 20 knots south of the border.
E swell mixing with slight NE windswell at around 1 to 2ft exposed open beaches, otherwise tiny along the points and inside the bays. WIND: Early light NNW 10 to 15 knots, tending Northerly 15 to 20 knots in the arvo.
Fading E swell and slight NE windswell drop into the 1 to 2ft range along exposed coasts, while grading smaller inside the points and bays. WIND: Early light and variable, tending Easterly around 10 knots during the day.
An emerging onshore south-westerly airflow is set to take the shine off the current run of small-scale SW swell this weekend. That leaves Friday morning as a short-lived window for some reasonably clean 2 to 3ft sets along open beaches, before the onshores develop during the day. A minor uptick in size on Sunday should continue to offer up plenty of Junky onshore options on Saturday – again favouring the exposed beaches for Size, but the Surf Coast for surface quality. Sunday morning offers up another opportunity for some reasonably clean, small wave options, before conditions start to transform with the arrival of a stronger SW groundswell early next week.
Mid-period SW groundswell continues to range from 2 to 3ft+ along the exposed beaches, wrapping at a slow 2ft along the Surf Coast reefs and fading into the afternoon. WIND: Early light and variable land-breezes, turning SW 5 to 15 knots during the morning, freshening in the arvo.
Renewed SW swell up to 3 to 4ft along the exposed beaches, while wrapping at 1 to 2ft+ along the Surf Coast reefs. Otherwise smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Westerly, tending SW 10 to 20 knots early, tending Southerly during the afternoon.
Smaller SW swell reinforced by new, long-period SSW forerunners in the afternoon. Inconsistent 2 to 3ft along the exposed beaches, while wrapping at a slow 1 to 2ft along the Surf Coast reefs. Infrequent sets bumping up in the afternoon. WIND: Early light and variable to light South, increasing to 10 to 15 knots later.
There’s a bit more swell on the horizon this weekend – but in the near-term you’ll have to continue to make do with small-scale SW swell; still hovering around the 3ft mark across exposed Southwest areas on Friday and Saturday. Both days should see early ESE winds offering up some good options before the southerly wrecking ball arrives into the afternoon. Sunday then marks the arrival of a much stronger SSW groundswell; conservatively arriving in the 4 to 6ft plus range along exposed Southwest Coasts. At this stage, however, there’s a good chance stronger southerly winds will spoil exposed breaks. Stay tuned for Friday’s update for clarification.
Easing SSW swell under cross-offshore winds. South West: Semi-clean 2 to 4ft sets across exposed breaks, easing a foot or so in the afternoon. Perth/Mandurah: Around 1ft. WIND: Easterly, ESE around 5 to 10 knots, turning South, SSE and freshening to 10 to 20 knots in the afternoon.
Leftover SSW swell mixes with small SW groundswell under offshore winds. South West: Sets up to 2 to 3ft across exposed breaks early, bumping up later. Otherwise grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. Perth/Mandurah: Up to 0.5 to 1ft along exposed beaches. WIND: ESE 10 to 15 knots, turning South and freshening during the afternoon.
Residual SSW swell reinforced by building SW groundswell in the afternoon. South West: Cross-offshore 4 to 6ft+ across exposed breaks, building to a junky 5 to 7ft+ during the day. Perth/Mandurah: Clean in the 1ft+ range along exposed beaches, bumping up later. WIND: SSE 10 to 15 knots, tending South and freshening later.
There’s no reading between the lines of the forecast over the next few days as a static pattern of small-scale SSW swell coincides with moderate onshore winds. That lends the focus to the most exposed South Coast beaches for some mostly junky onshore 2 to 3ft waves. You’ll probably fare best during the early morning hours as lighter winds precede SSW to SSE winds getting up to 10 to 15 knots.
Reinforcing 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: Around 1ft+. WIND: Southerly, SW 10 to 15 knots.
SSW swell continues to range from 2 to 3ft at Waits and Parsons, grading to a junky 1 to 2ft around Middleton. Mid Coast: Around 0.5ft. WIND: SSE 10 to 15 knots, tending southerly and freshening in the afternoon.
SSW swell holds steady. South Coast: Around 2 to 3ft at Waits and Parsons, grading to 2ft or so around Middleton. Mid Coast: 0.5ft to flat. WIND: SE 5 to 15 knots, then SSE and freshening in the afternoon.
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