Long Weekend Surf Forecast 24 - 27 January, 2020

23 Jan 2020 0 Share

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST

Issued Thursday, 23 January 2020

Surf abounds around the coastal fringes of this great land over the Australia Day long-weekend – but the constituents of the various swell-trains are disparate, to say the least. On the one hand, states like Victoria and South Australia stand to receive two powerful pulses of SW groundswell, overlapping at 15 to 16 second peak intervals through Sunday and Monday. That points to good to excellent conditions opening up across the Surf Coast on both days, while leaving the more exposed stretches well and truly maxed out.

In contrast, the East Coast sees short-period windswells inbound throughout the long weekend; for the most part featuring short range ENE and NE windswells, along with a token, short-period SE to ESE windswell also in the mix from Sydney south on Saturday. Further north, southern Queensland coasts also benefit from a small, long-range pulse of ESE groundswell, emanating from the distant influence of tropical cyclone Tino that went extratropical over the central Pacific Ocean early this week.

Finally, the South West coast of Western Australia is also shaping up as a pretty good place to be – provided you’re an early riser. A pattern of early SE winds tending south to southwest opens up several days of early offshore winds, coinciding with consistent, mid-period SW swell in the 4ft range. Wherever you find yourself, have a great Australia Day long weekend!

Line up the long weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Keavans.

Line up the long weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Keavans.

Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
It’s all about the NE swell over the long weekend. An initial upswing in short-range energy on Friday evening leads in a solid 3 to 4ft peak at the more exposed spots early on Friday; albeit under less-than-deal south to SE winds. There will still be a bit of leftover NE swell on offer on Saturday – and along with a token upswing in ESE windswell there should still be peaky options the vicinity of 2ft+ all day. From Sunday, however, we’ll start to see NE windswell quickly re-emerging as a ridge rebuilds over the western Tasman Sea. This will see NE energy picking up into Sunday arvo, leading in another day of consistent surf in the 3ft range on Monday. 

Friday
Settling NE swell under south to SE winds. Up to 3 to 4ft across northern and open exposures early, fading to 2 to 3ft in the afternoon. Grading to a smaller 1 to 2ft+ across south facing beaches. WIND: Southerly 10 to 15 knots early, tending lighter SE to ESE in the afternoon.

Saturday
Smaller NE swell mixing with ESE windswell, around 2ft+ across the exposed beaches, grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: SE to ESE 5 to 15 knots early, tending East in the late afternoon/ evening.

Sunday
Mix of slight NE and SE windswells, initially up to 2ft across the more exposed beaches, ahead of a gradual increase in NE windswell into the afternoon. WIND: Light variable inshore early, tending North to 10 knots before turning NE 10 to 15 knots in the late afternoon/ evening.

Monday
Scope for renewed NE windswell, around 2 to 3ft+ across the more exposed beaches, picking up in the afternoon. Grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Light NW to calm inshore early, turning NE 10 to 15 knots in the afternoon.

A consistent run of NE windswell sees plenty of great summer beach days across the NSW coast over the long weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Spudimages.

A consistent run of NE windswell sees plenty of great summer beach days across the NSW coast over the long weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Spudimages.

Queensland and Far Northern NSW
No one likes to the harbinger of bad news, but please don’t be under any misapprehension: I don’t control the weather. Clearly it hasn’t been the start of the tropical swell-season we might have hoped for this year and the current pattern of persistent northerly quarter winds and low-level Easterly swell is set to continue unabated – not just over the long-weekend  – but probably right through to mid-next week. On the upside is there are a few waves to be had. A small pulse of ESE groundswell originating from the remote, extratropical reincarnation of ex-TC Tino fills in over the next couple of days; in all likelihood producing 2 to 3ft sets with occasional bigger ones on Friday through early Saturday, before it starts to wane again on Sunday and Monday.

Friday
Long-range ESE groundswell combines with localised NE windchop. Expect slow, increasingly windblown sets in the 2 to occasional 3ft range along exposed beaches, otherwise smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: NNW inshore 10 to 20 knots inshore, tending North to NNE 15 to 25 knots in the afternoon.

Saturday
Scope for renewed ESE sets and continued localised NNE windswell.  Sideshore 2 to occasional 3ft sets, otherwise smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Northerly winds inshore NNW to North 10 to 15 knots early, tending NNE/NE 10 to 20 knots in the afternoon.

Sunday
Fading NE and E swell mix.  Dropping sets around 2ft exposed breaks, mixing with drifty wind waves at 1 to 2ft elsewhere. WIND: NNE 5 to 15 knots, freshening NE 10 to 20 knots in the afternoon.

Monday
Minor uptick in ENE tradewind swell, tending consistent 2ft and occasionally bigger across exposed open beaches, grading smaller inside the points and bays. WIND: North to NE to 10 knots early, tending NE 10 to 15 knots in the arvo.

Memories of days like this will have to suffice as the current pattern of northerly winds and small easterly swell continues across the region. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Otwaydundee.

Memories of days like this will have to suffice as the current pattern of northerly winds and small easterly swell continues across the region. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Otwaydundee.

Victoria
The Surf Coast emerges as the focus of good surfing this long-weekend. A pattern of early WNW winds tending to west to SW in the afternoons remains in place over the next couple of days, opening up clean, mid-sized WSW swell wrapping in the 3 to 4ft range and occasionally bigger on the more exposed reefs. The only downside is the strong westerly bias in swell direction; inevitably resulting in long lulls between sets.

Friday
Stronger WSW swell fills in under persistent WNW winds. Exposed beaches: Cross-shore 5 to 6ft+ and up to 8ft in the evening. Surf Coast: Clean sets ranging from 3 to 4ft+ on the open reefs, picking up a notch or two in the afternoon. Grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: NW to WNW 15 to 20 knots, tending Westerly through the day.

Saturday
Strong WSW swell with fair winds possible. Exposed beaches: 4 to 6ft+ sets and easing into the afternoon. Surf Coast: Clean 3 to 4ft sets wrapping on the reefs, grading smaller elsewhere. WIND: Early NW to WNW 10 to 15 knots, easing ahead of a SW to Southerly shift to 10 knots during the afternoon.

Sunday
Easing settled WSW and W swells. Exposed beaches: Around 3 to 5ft, easing in the afternoon. Surf Coast: easing sets wrapping around 2 to 3ft+ on exposed reefs, grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: WNW tending WSW, 10 to 15 knots through the day, then SSE in the arvo.

Monday
Scope for strong SW groundswell building in under light winds. Exposed Beaches: Sets wrap around 5 to 6ft+. Surf Coast: Sets wrapping at 3 to 5ft on the reefs, otherwise smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light and variable tending SSE to SE 10 knots in the afternoon.

The Surf Coast and surrounds will be the place to be over the long-weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Johnte.

The Surf Coast and surrounds will be the place to be over the long-weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Johnte.

Western Australia
You snooze, you lose is the rule to follow over the long-weekend. A ridge and developing low pressure trough supports a continuation pattern of southerly quarter winds; characterised by early lighter SE land-breezes that will open up clean conditions, before surface quality deteriorates in line with the inevitable shift to the south and southwest at strength during the afternoons. The next three days sees a pretty consistent run of SW swell, fluctuating around the 3 to 5ft mark across exposed coasts, before it finally starts to wane on Monday.

Friday
Slowly easing SW swell. Southwest: settling 3 to 5ft surf across exposed breaks early, fading in the afternoon. Perth: 1 to 2ft and organising. WIND: SE to ESE 5 to 15 knots early, fading during the morning before turning South to SSW up to 15 to 20 knots in afternoon.

Saturday
Reinforcing SW groundswell fills in. South West: Ranging from 3 to 5ft across exposed coasts, grading smaller inside bays and points. Perth: 1ft+ exposed beaches. WIND: SE, tending SSE 5 to 15 knots early, then S to SSW and freshening to 10 to 20 knots in the afternoon.

Sunday
SW groundswell slowly fades with south winds. South West: Ranging from 3 to 4ft+ on the open areas, tending smaller in bays and points. Perth: wrapping 1ft on open areas. WIND: ESE to SE early 10 to 15 knots, shifting South to SW 15 to 25 knots in the arvo.

Monday
Mix of decreased SW and SSW swells under developing onshore winds. South West: 2 to 3ft+ across exposed breaks, easing throughout the afternoon. Perth: settled smaller 0.5ft to near-flat. WIND: Early SE to SSE 5 to 15 knots, tending SSW to SW up to 15 to 20 knots in the afternoon.

Early lighter SE winds open up good conditions across the Southwest over the long weekend. Photo: Dan Wyer.

Early lighter SE winds open up good conditions across the Southwest over the long weekend. Photo: Dan Wyer.

South Australia
There’s no shortage of powerful SW groundswell on tap across the state over the coming days; spawned by a deep, slow moving extratropical low that’s forecast to retrograde below the Great Australian Bight over the next 24 to 48 hours. The storm presents impressive potential for several days of large, long-interval SW groundswell; inbound from 220 degrees from Sunday to through to Tuesday.

Friday
SW swell holding strong. South Coast: continued 4 to 6ft+ around Waits and Parsons, wrapping in 2 to 4ft range from Middleton to Goolwa. Mid Coast: Around 2ft. WIND: WNW, Westerly 10 to 20 knots, tending WSW in the afternoon.

Saturday
Easing SW swell mix. South Coast: easing 3 to 5ft around Waits and Parsons, grading 2 to 3ft+ from Middleton to Goolwa. Mid Coast: 1ft+. WIND: WNW 5 to 15 knots, tending SW to SSW 10 to 15 knots in the afternoon.

Sunday
Fading SW swell reinforced by new SW groundswell. South Coast: 3 to 4ft early at Waits and Parsons, grading 1 to 3ft from Middleton to Goolwa, bumping up in the afternoon. Mid Coast: Around 1ft. WIND: Early light and variable, tending SSW 10 to 15 knots in the afternoon.

Monday
Renewed SW groundswell reinforcement. South Coast: 4 to 6ft+ sets holding up at Waits and Parsons. Wrapping up to 3 to 4ft along Middleton to Goolwa. Mid Coast: 1 to 2ft range WIND: Early light NNE, tending SW to SSW 10 to 15 knots.

South Australia is on the pump this weekend. Photo: Dan Wyer.

South Australia is on the pump this weekend. Photo: Dan Wyer.


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