Weekend Surf Forecast 29 - 31 March 2019

28 Mar 2019 0 Share

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST

Issued Thursday, 28 March 2019

There’s a distinct autumn influence on surfing conditions that’s clearly evident, just about everywhere you look this weekend. This isn’t any more obvious than along the NSW coast, we’re a mid-morning westerly wind-shift is set to light up a small NE pulse on Saturday; potentially leading in something more substantial out of the south – again under offshore winds on Sunday. At the same time, southern Queensland benefits from a small round of ESE swell; probably showing peak size on Friday before fading to incrementally lower levels over the course of the weekend – and it looks like a leading southerly pulse arriving on Sunday will be mostly confined to far northern NSW.

Across Victoria, we once again see the switch being flicked to the ON position along the Surf Coast as a building trend in SW groundswell coincides with favourable westerly quarter winds all weekend. The same, unfortunately, can’t be said for conditions across South Australia. A strong high developing southwest of the continent extends a broad ridge across the state, that will almost certainly direct fresh onshore SW winds across the region for several days to come.

That pretty much leaves the West Coast as the pick of the bunch. The same, emerging high pressure system emerges as a driver of offshore winds across the state from Friday to Sunday – for the most part generating large, clean conditions on Friday, before lending the focus to the exposed breaks as it steadily scales back to more accessible levels throughout Saturday and Sunday. Have a good one!

Wide open space. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Bronco.

Wide open space. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Bronco.

Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
Confounding. That’s the best term to describe a developing South-swell scenario unfolding this Sunday/ Monday. Prior to that, Friday is looking pretty straightforward as leftover south-groundswell drops back to a slower 1 to 2ft+ across the region. From there, we have building confidence for a short-lived spike in NE windswell, briefly lighting up the coast under a westerly wind-shift setting in during the morning. It’s from Sunday onwards that a developing low exiting eastern Bass Strait throws a curve-ball into the forecast. For now, there are fair chances we’ll see a steep spike in S swell setting in throughout the day; potentially going from very small, 1 to 2ft levels early, to a thumping 3 to 5ft or bigger in the afternoon. For now there’s still plenty of scope for changes to how Sunday’s south swell will pan out, so check back in on Friday for an update.

Friday
Easing S groundswell. Slow 2ft sets across south facing beaches early, fading as NE windswell picks up to 1 to 2ft during the afternoon and a bit bigger in the evening. WIND: Early WNW to NW, tending Northerly 10 to 15 knots, tending NE 15 to 25 knots in the late afternoon.

Saturday
Potential for consistent NE windswell up to 2 to 3ft exposed open beaches early, rapidly easing during the day. Mixing with underlying South groundswell at 1 to 2ft at south facing beaches. WIND: Early WNW to NW 10 to 15 knots tending WSW and freshening to 15 to 25 knots during the day.

Sunday
Uncertainty on size and timing of new S swell. Speculatively in the 2 to 3ft range across south facing beaches, potentially building to a stronger 3 to 4ft+ in the afternoon. Otherwise more like a slow 1 to 2ft along open beaches with size depending on exposure, bumping up later. Revisions likely on Friday. WIND: Westerly, WSW 10 to 20 knots, easing and tending light and variable or light South to SE in the afternoon.

We just might see a new south-swell might starting to heave across the NSW coast on Sunday arvo, but exactly how big is still unclear. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Drydrs.

We just might see a new south-swell might starting to heave across the NSW coast on Sunday arvo, but exactly how big is still unclear. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Drydrs.

Queensland and Far Northern NSW
It’s been slim pickings across the region of late – and it looks like it’s going to stay that way – at least until a new South swell and adjoining SE windswell start to pick up early next week. Friday is shaping up as the pick across southern Queensland as a short-range ESE windswell shows peak size in the 3ft range, before dropping a foot or so by Saturday – and smaller again by Sunday. From there, the focus shifts to the south as the leading edge of a new southerly swell starts filling in on Sunday. Initially this only looks like benefiting the most exposed northern NSW coasts in the 2 to 4ft range, with a SSW bias likely to see the vast bulk of it sailing straight past Point Danger on its way to Fiji – but this will become clearer in Friday’s detailed update.

Friday
Combined ESE windswell and underlying S groundswell. Around 2 to 3ft across coasts, both swells easing in the afternoon. Otherwise grading smaller at 1 to 2ft along the points and inside the bays. WIND: Early light SW to SSW inshore, otherwise SE 10 to 15 knots, tending lighter ESE to ENE in the afternoon.

Saturday
Faded Easterly windswell and residual S swell. Around 2ft+ exposed breaks, otherwise more like 1 to 2ft elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early NW to NNW 10 to 20 knots, then WNW and easing later.

Sunday
Potential increase in directional S swell; speculatively 2 to 3ft early, building to 3 to 4ft across northern NSW south facing beaches during the afternoon. Slight Easterly swell up to 1 to 2ft across exposed QLD breaks, bumping up later. Grading smaller along the points and inside the bays. WIND: Early lighter WSW to SSW, tending South to SSE 15 to 20 knots, during the day, then SE and easing later.

The run of small surf continues across the region this weekend, but that does not preclude a bit of fun. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Rod Schiesaro.

The run of small surf continues across the region this weekend, but that does not preclude a bit of fun. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Rod Schiesaro.

Victoria
You could do worse than take a drive along the Great Ocean Road in search of a few waves this weekend. A renewed building trend in SW groundswell setting in on Friday leads in a full day of solid surf across the region this weekend; best described as ranging anywhere from 2 to 6ft along the Surf Coast depending on location, time and tide. The new swell coincides with a predominant Westerly wind-regime that should pretty well keep your surfing options wide open, both on Saturday and Sunday.

Friday
New SW swell picks up throughout the day. Speculatively building from 2 to 3ft along exposed beaches early, towards 3 to 4ft during the day and up to 4 to 5ft+ in the afternoon. Around 1 to 2ft on Surf Coast reefs early, picking up to 2 to 3ft+ later. Grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: WNW to NNW 10 to 15 knots, tending WNW and freshening, then WSW to SW 20 to 30 knots in the afternoon.

Saturday
Potential for large SW groundswell ranging from 5 to 6ft+ along the exposed beaches, while wrapping at 4 to 5ft+ along the Surf Coast reefs and smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Inshore Westerly across the Surf Coast at 10 to 20 knots, otherwise WSW 15 to 25 knots, tending SW in the arvo.

Sunday
Potential for reinforcing SW groundswell. Speculatively rising from 3 to 5ft early, towards 4 to 5ft+ along the exposed beaches in the arvo. Wrapping at about 2 to 4ft along the Surf Coast reefs, otherwise smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early WNW 15 to 25 knots, tending Westerly, then SW in the afternoon.

The Surf Coast offers up good conditions all weekend - and early next week to boot. Photo: Judy Scanlon.

The Surf Coast offers up good conditions all weekend - and early next week to boot. Photo: Judy Scanlon.

Western Australia
The last couple of days lack of swell is likely to provide a bit of a shock to the system for West Coast surfers accustomed to uninterrupted days of solid surf. Thankfully, everything returns to normal this weekend as a new SW groundswell arrives under early offshore winds. This episode looks like peaking across the Southwest on Friday, before levelling off at a pretty accessible 3 to 4ft along the more exposed stretches on Saturday – and it looks well worth making the most of before it drops to another foot by Sunday.

Friday
SSW groundswell slowly eases under early offshore breezes. Southwest: Clean 4 to 6ft+ sets across southern exposures, otherwise smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. Perth/Mandurah: Around 1 to 2ft, easing later. WIND: ESE 15 to 20 knots, tending SE to SSE in the afternoon.

Saturday
Leftover SSW swell gradually fades under early offshores. South West: Clean sets up to 3 to 4ft+ at the most exposed breaks early, dropping to 2 to 3ft+ in the afternoon. Perth/Mandurah: About 0.5 to 1ft. WIND: Easterly, ESE 15 to 20 knots, easing to lighter East, ENE during the day, then SE in the afternoon.

Sunday
Small mix of SSW and SW swells. South West: Slow 2 to 3ft sets across the most exposed breaks, inconsistent in the upper range.  Otherwise smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. Perth/Mandurah: Clean in the flat to 0.5ft range. WIND: Easterly 10 to 20 knots, tending ENE, then light North to variable later.

There's good conditions on tap across the Southwest all weekend. Photo: Dan Wyer.

There's good conditions on tap across the Southwest all weekend. Photo: Dan Wyer.

South Australia
Despite the onset of a renewed and sustained building trend in SW groundswell across the state, fresh onshore winds are set to keep a lid on your surfing options this weekend. Friday morning looks like offering up a short-lived window of good conditions as early north-westerlies precede a strong SW change kicking in during the morning – and that’s pretty much all-she-wrote. Both Saturday and Sunday feature strong SW breezes in the order of 15 to 25 knots – but if you don’t mind a bit of lump and bump in your waves you’ll do just fine.

Friday
Potential for rebuilding SSW swell under strong westerly winds. South Coast: Windy 2 to 3ft at Waits and Parsons rising to 3 to 4ft+ later. Around 1 to 2ft at Middleton, picking up to 2 to 3ft in the arvo,. Mid Coast: Windblown 0.5ft. WIND: Early NW to WNW 10 to 15 knots, tending SW 15 to 25 knots in the morning, freshening to 20 to 30 knots in the afternoon.

Saturday
Stormy SW swell under strong SW winds. South Coast: Windblown 5 to 7ft+ at Waits and Parsons, easing during the afternoon. Grading to a choppy 3 to 5ft around Middleton. Mid Coast: Stormy 2 to 3ft. WIND: SSW 15 to 25 knots, tending SW and easing later.

Sunday
SSW swell drops off under early onshore winds. South Coast: Junky sets ranging from 4 to 5ft+ at Waits and Parsons, grading to 3 to 4ft around Middleton and easing later. Mid Coast: About 0.5ft. WIND: Early SW 15 to 25 knots, tending SSW and easing in the arvo.

Persistent, onshore SW winds keep a lid on potential for conditions like this across SA all weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Midcoastlyfe.

Persistent, onshore SW winds keep a lid on potential for conditions like this across SA all weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Midcoastlyfe.


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