Weekend Surf Forecast 3 - 5 May 2019

2 May 2019 0 Share

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST

Issued Thursday, 2 May 2019

There are a few synoptic curve-balls being thrown at various regions by mother nature this weekend. Across the East Coast, the long-awaited development of a significant low pressure system over the Tasman Sea holds firming chances for a steep rise in SSE swell this weekend that looks like spilling over into early next week in fine form. However, it’s also looking increasingly likely that Sydney, Newcastle and locations south will pull in the vast bulk of this event, while northern NSW and southern Queensland only receive a diluted version. This will all become clearer over the next 24 hours.

At the same time the southern states can look forward to some pretty run-of-the-mill conditions as mostly low-levels of SW swell coincide with light to moderate onshore winds. Having said that, both South Australian and Victorian exposed beaches will have their moments as winds die off on Sunday. That leaves the West Coast as, well, pretty much a no-go zone all weekend. The arrival of two successive, vigorous frontal lows will hammer the Southwest with all manner of howling onshore winds and combined WNW and WSW storm-swells; probably making for a great weekend to put one’s feet up and kicking back.

A long drive. Photo: Otway Dundee.

A long drive. Photo: Otway Dundee.

Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
At long last, there’s a serious swell beginning to take shape on our forecast horizon, following the development of an East Coast Low offshore this weekend. While there’s still some uncertainty surrounding the size and timing particulars, there’s little doubt it’s going to kick off on Saturday; initially manifesting as a very minor rise in southerly windswell on Saturday arvo, ahead of a much larger rise in SSE swell into Sunday and Monday; albeit under strong cross-shore winds. Exactly when and how big this will be – not to mention what local conditions will be like – will all become a bit clearer by Friday afternoon, so be sure to tune in then for an update.

Friday
NE windswell hangs in around 2 to 3ft along exposed open beaches, gradually fading in the afternoon. WIND: Early NW to NNW 10 to 15 knots, tending North 10 to 20 knots in the afternoon, then NW later.

Saturday
Residual NE swell and underlying East swell up to 1 to 2ft exposed breaks, superseded by rising Southerly windswell towards 2ft+ during the late afternoon. WIND: WSW 10 to 15 knots, turning SW to South, then SSE up to 15 to 20 knots during the afternoon.

Sunday
New Southerly windswell. Speculatively undersized early at about 3 to 4ft+ along south facing beaches at dawn, trending SSE in direction and building to 4 to 5ft+ during the afternoon – possibly bigger later. Revisions likely on Friday. WIND: Early SW 15 to 25 knots, turning SSW and freshening to 20 to 30 knots during the day.

By early next week we could be starting down the barrel of some serious swell.. Literally. Photo: Uploaded to CW by East Coast chap.

By early next week we could be starting down the barrel of some serious swell.. Literally. Photo: Uploaded to CW by East Coast chap.

Queensland and Far Northern NSW
As mentioned above, there’s a significant ECL in the makings off the NSW coast this weekend – and while that holds high chances for a big SSE swell-event from the southern half of the NSW coast, there are indications that the storm will quickly drift out of range of the northern NSW coast - and to a greater extent the southern Queensland coast. This is contingent on latest model runs indicating the low will retrograde (moving west) as it intensifies on Sunday; thereby compressing the fetch into the shadow of the southern NSW coast. The good news is there’s still likely to be a notable round of S to SSE swell arriving across the region throughout Sunday arvo before reaching peak size on Monday – but this scenario may well change again over the next 24 hours.

Friday
Easterly tradewind swell continues to range from 2 to 3ft along exposed open breaks. Tending to a smaller 1 to 2ft+ inside the bays and points with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light WSW to SW inshore, tending, NE to NNE 10 to 15 knots, then Northerly in the afternoon.

Saturday
Fading Easterly tradewind swell up to a slower 2 to 3ft along exposed coasts, grading smaller along the points and inside the bays with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early WNW to NW 5 to 15 knots, turning NNW in the afternoon.

Sunday
New S windswell up to 2 to 3ft along northern NSW coasts, potentially building in the arvo. Combining with long-range Easterly groundswell at a slow 2 to 3ft+ along exposed open breaks with long waits between sets, grading smaller along the points and inside the bays. WIND: Early WSW/SSW inshore, turning SSW 10 to 20 knots.

It doesn't look like an ECL developing off the NSW will translate into this across southern Queensland coasts, but only time will tell. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Otwaydundee.

It doesn't look like an ECL developing off the NSW will translate into this across southern Queensland coasts, but only time will tell. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Otwaydundee.

Victoria
Conditions take a gradual turn for the worse over the next few days as mostly low-levels of WSW and SW swell coincide with onshore winds. Friday morning may still be worth a paddle under freshening NW winds, but it probably won’t hold much appeal compared to some of the good days seen this week. That leads on lighter onshore southerly winds on Saturday, making a mess of a modest building trend in SW groundswell as the day progresses. That probably leaves Sunday as your best bet for some still lumpy, but surfable 3 to 4ft conditions along the exposed beaches as light southerly winds tend SE later in the day.

Friday
Leftover WSW swell ranges from 2 to 3ft along the exposed beaches early, fading into the afternoon. Grading to around 1ft+ along the Surf Coast reefs, easing later. WIND: NW 10 to 15 knots, freshening to 15 to 20 knots and tending WNW in the afternoon.

Saturday
Potential for new, short-period SW windswell and underlying, long-range SW groundswell. Up to a textured 2 to 3ft+ along the exposed beaches, rising to 3 to 4ft+ and deteriorating during the day. Wrapping at 2ft along the Surf Coast reefs, bumping up during the afternoon. Grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light Southerly 5 to 10 knots, tending SW to SSW and easing in the afternoon.

Sunday
Potential for stronger, long-period SSW groundswell. Sets around 3 to 4ft along exposed beaches, wrapping a 2 to 3ft along the Surf Coast reefs, otherwise grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light and variable to light South 5 to 15 knots, tending SSE to SE in the afternoon.

Victoria's exposed stretches look like the pick this weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Johnte.

Victoria's exposed stretches look like the pick this weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Johnte.

Western Australia
Your surfing window of opportunity is set to slam shut this weekend, so you’d be well advised to make the most of the still pristine conditions on offer early on Friday. The arrival of a vigorous cold front across the coast early on Saturday leads in fresh onshore NW to W winds that will offer no quarter; leaving you with no surfing options unless you’re prepared for long drives north or south. You can hit the repeat button for Sunday as a second cold front arrives across the region; reinvigorating strong onshore winds across the coast throughout the day.

Friday
Long-range SW groundswell gradually fills in. Southwest: Slow sets around 3 to 4ft early, up to 3 to 5ft the afternoon. Perth: Around 1 to 1.5ft. WIND: Early ENE to NE 10 to 20 knots, tending NNE and freshening in the afternoon.

Saturday
Long range SW groundswell abates as Westerly windswell rapidly builds under strong onshore winds. South West: Windblown 3 to 4ft sets early, rising to a chaotic 4 to 6ft+ later. Perth/Mandurah: Clean although tiny within the 0.5 to 1ft range. WIND: NW 20 to 35 knots early, tending WNW and easing to 15 to 25 knots during the afternoon.

Sunday
Stormy West swell steadily eases. Southwest: Speculatively up to a stormy 5 to 6ft+ along exposed breaks, grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. Perth: Up to a junky 2ft+ early, fading later. WIND: NW 15 to 25 knots, freshening to 20 to 35 knots and shifting WNW to West in the afternoon.

The West Coast will see better days than what's in store this weekend. Photo: Dan Wyer.

The West Coast will see better days than what's in store this weekend. Photo: Dan Wyer.

South Australia
Conditions tilt towards the mediocre side this weekend as a developing onshore airflow takes the shine off conditions. Having said that, there will still be waves – and it won’t exactly be blown to bits. Saturday holds potential for a modest building trend in energy throughout the day as winds progressively ease in strength; potentially making for some semi-clean 3 to 4ft options by Saturday afternoon. That should lead in smaller, but cleaner options across the region early on Sunday. So what am I saying? It’s actually looking pretty good.

Friday
Leftover SSW swell under Westerly winds. South Coast: Sets ranging from 2 to 3ft at Waits and Parsons, settling in the afternoon. Grading to a slower 2ft around Middleton and fading in the arvo. Mid Coast: Potential for stronger Westerly windswell rising from 1 to 2ft early to a windy 2ft+ later. WIND: NW to Northerly 15 to 25 knots, tending Westerly, SW in the afternoon.

Saturday
Reinforcing SW swell under light to moderate onshore winds. South Coast: Bumpy 2 to 3ft+ at Waits and Parsons, building to 3 to 4ft. Wrapping at 2ft around Middleton, up to 2 to 3ft later. Mid Coast: Leftover WSW swell up to 1ft+, fading later. WIND: Early SSW 10 to 15 knots tending S to SSE and easing to 10 knots in the afternoon.

Sunday
Easing SSW swell under Northerly winds. South Coast: Scope for 2 to 3ft sets at Waits and Parsons. Around 2ft at Middleton. Mid Coast: 0.5ft. WIND: Early light ENE to SE 5 to 10 knots, tending SSE in the afternoon.

It's not looking too shabby across SA this weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Pat Pombart.

It's not looking too shabby across SA this weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Pat Pombart.


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