Weekend Surf Forecast 1 - 3 March 2019

28 Feb 2019 0 Share

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST

Issued Thursday, 28 February 2019

At last, autumn is upon us. Gone are the record-breaking heat-waves, interminable weeks of small northeast windswell and hordes of sunbakers. Not to mention the squadrons of bluebottles. And in its place? Well, as you’ll see below, I’ll think you’ll find the first weekend of autumn and the days following quite satisfactory.

While there’s no obvious synoptic feature on the charts giving it away, the entire Eastern Seaboard is once again on the pump – not only this weekend, but also for the entirety of next week. This is linked to a robust tradewind belt that’s been in place throughout the northern Tasman Sea and broader Southwest Pacific this week – and this is now being further enhanced by the remote Tropical Cyclone Pola.

For the southern states, there’s a mixed bunch of good and bad conditions. The former will be found on Friday and Saturday as mostly favourable N to NE winds greet modest levels of SW swell - both across South Australian and Victorian coasts. The latter occurs in the wake of a strong SW change effecting both states on Sunday. Last but not least, the West Coast is looking pretty mediocre on Friday and Saturday, but conditions are set to transform by Sunday morning as a powerful SW groundswell arrives under offshore ESE winds.

Autumn, here at last. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Tommy Skelly.

Autumn, here at last. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Tommy Skelly.

Queensland and Far Northern NSW
If you’ve been thinking that the swell-tap might turn off in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Oma’s departure, think again. As of right now, the region is entering a renewed phase in energetic ESE swell-activity; characterised by a steady building trend in ESE swell that looks like culminating in large, double overhead plus sets across the region’s more exposed coasts on Monday through early Tuesday. While this is partially linked to the recently formed Tropical Cyclone Pola, located south of Fiji, it is in large-part the by-product of a strong south-easterly tradewind belt supported by a high over the Tasman Sea.

Friday
Potential for larger, mid-period ESE swell. Sets ranging from 3 to 4ft+ across exposed coasts, wrapping at 2 to 4ft along the points and inside the bays with size depending on exposure. Easing in the afternoon. WIND: SE to ESE 10 to 15 knots, freshening to 15 to 20 knots.

Saturday
ESE swell around 3 to 5ft across the most exposed coasts. Ranging from 2 to 4ft+ along the points and inside the bays with size depending on exposure. WIND: ESE to SE 15 to 20 knots.

Sunday
ESE swell maintains 4 to 5ft sets across the most exposed coasts. Wrapping at 2 to 4ft along the points and inside the bays with size depending on exposure. Picking up in the afternoon. WIND: Scope for early lighter inshore SSW to SSE winds inshore, otherwise SE to ESE 10 to 20 knots

Most of the mid and northern NSW will be looking mighty fine as a renewed and long-lived push in ESE swell sets in over the weekend and continues next week. Photo: Uploaded to CW by BundyG.

Most of the mid and northern NSW will be looking mighty fine as a renewed and long-lived push in ESE swell sets in over the weekend and continues next week. Photo: Uploaded to CW by BundyG.

Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
While it’s clear that Sydney and locations south won’t be enjoying the impressive size of an inbound easterly swell as locations further north, it looks like there will still be plenty of fun to be had across exposed beaches as it gradually builds in size this weekend. The new swell looks like it will start nudging up throughout Saturday arvo and should maintain good size in the 2 to 3ft range – perhaps with the odd larger set at standout breaks – all day long.

Friday
Mix of background Easterly windswell and slight S groundswell; Slow sets around 1 to 2ft exposed open and south facing breaks, otherwise grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light and variable up to 5 knots, tending NE, ENE around 10 to 15 knots in the afternoon.

Saturday
Minor building trend in Easterly windswell. Around 2ft+ along exposed open beaches early, picking up towards a more consistent 2 to 3ft into the afternoon. WIND: Early light North to NNE 5 to 15 knots, tending NE up to 15 to 20 knots in the afternoon.

Sunday
Potential for short period Easterly swell mixing with slight NE windswell. Consistent 2 to 3ft along the most exposed open beaches, bumping up in the afternoon. Otherwise smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light WNW to NW to North, tending NE and freshening to 15 to 20 knots in the afternoon.

Many an exposed beach will be turning it on as a new round of E swell starts to pick up across the NSW coast this weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Murdoch.

Many an exposed beach will be turning it on as a new round of E swell starts to pick up across the NSW coast this weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Murdoch.

Victoria
The autumn switch flicks on across the state this weekend as favourable, offshore winds great a modest SW swell; for the most part favouring exposed beaches as it gradually builds in size throughout Saturday. Sunday morning will also be offering up a clean wave further east as winds realign to the WNW and NNW ahead of a strong SW change putting an end to proceedings in the early afternoon.

Friday
Residual SW swell levels off at a slow 2ft+ along the exposed beaches, grading to about 1ft along the Surf Coast reefs and tiny elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Light and NW to NE 5 to 15 knots, tending NE 10 to 15 knots, then ENE to ESE in the afternoon.

Saturday
Small SW groundswell gradually builds in. Clean 2 to 3ft early, picking up to 3 to 4ft along the exposed beaches during the afternoon. Sets up to a slow 1 to 2ft along the Surf Coast reefs, otherwise grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: NNW to N/NE 10 to 20 knots.

Sunday
SW groundswell slowly eases. Mostly clean at 3 to 4ft along the exposed beaches. Wrapping at about 1 to 3ft along the Surf Coast reefs, fading in the afternoon. WIND: Early WNW to NW, shifting SW to SSW 15 to 20 knots in the early afternoon.

Exposed Victorian coasts will be showing some form as a new SW swell picks up under NNE winds on Saturday. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Hamish Stanton.

Exposed Victorian coasts will be showing some form as a new SW swell picks up under NNE winds on Saturday. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Hamish Stanton.

Western Australia
There’s some pretty serious swell taking shape on the Southwest’s forecast horizon this week – and a first, larger round of SW swell peaking on Saturday will be just the first of several powerful events across the region into the first week of Autumn. In the near-term strong onshore winds will keep a lid on the appeal of a new SW groundswell arriving on Friday and Saturday. However, come Sunday morning it’s game on as the new SW groundswell arrives under early offshore ESE winds, so it’s well worth getting your ducks in a row before then.

Friday
Combined rise in SW groundswell and windswell under fresh onshore winds. Southwest: Up to a messy 3 to 4ft+ exposed breaks early, picking up to 4 to 6ft in the afternoon, bigger later. Perth/Mandurah: Around 0.5 to 1ft+. WIND: Early SW 15 to 20 knots, tending SSW and easing during the afternoon.

Saturday
Large SW groundswell peaks under early offshore winds. South West: Strong sets up to a clean 6 to 8ft at the most exposed breaks, easing marginally in the arvo. Perth/Mandurah: 2 to 3ft. WIND: Early SSW 5 to 15 knots, tending SW and freshening in the afternoon.

Sunday
Easing SW groundswell under early offshores. South West: Scope for sets ranging from 4 to 6ft+ across exposed breaks, easing in the arvo. Otherwise smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. Perth/Mandurah: Clean in the 1 to 2ft range. WIND: Early ESE to SE 10 to 15 knots, tending SSE to South and increasing in the afternoon.

The first week of autumn brings welcome developments to the West Coast. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Jed Penkethman.

The first week of autumn brings welcome developments to the West Coast. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Jed Penkethman.

South Australia
A full day of offshore winds on Friday is let down by a lack of swell, but thankfully there will be a bit more energy on tap by Saturday morning under still favourable NNE winds. That, however, looks like it will be all she wrote this weekend. The arrival of a strong SW change later Saturday leads in a full day of fresh onshore winds on Sunday, so it’s worth milking the clean conditions while they last.

Friday
Residual SSW swell bottoms out. South Coast: Slow sets around 1 to 2ft at Waits and Parsons, grading to 1ft or around Middleton, even smaller later. Mid Coast: Flat. WIND: Early ENE tending NE to NNE 5 to 15 knots during the morning, tending variable in the afternoon.

Saturday
Small SSW groundswell arrives under offshore winds. South Coast: Clean sets around 2 to 3ft at Waits and Parsons, picking up a bit during the afternoon. Grading to a slower 1 to 2ft around Middleton, bigger later. Mid Coast: Around 0.5 to 1ft. WIND: Early NNE 15 to 20 knots, tending NW ahead of a strong SSW change in the afternoon.

Sunday
SW groundswell slowly builds under onshore winds. South Coast: Sets ranging from 3 to 4ft at Waits and Parsons, grading to 2 to 3ft around Middleton, bigger later. Mid Coast: 1 to 2ft. WIND: SSW, Southerly, tending SSE 10 to 20 knots.

There are some good windows of opportunity across the more exposed South Australian coasts before a strong SSW change arrives on Saturday arvo. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Cliffo18.

There are some good windows of opportunity across the more exposed South Australian coasts before a strong SSW change arrives on Saturday arvo. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Cliffo18.


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