Weekend Surf Forecast 21 - 23 February, 2020

20 Feb 2020 0 Share

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST

Issued Thursday, 20 February 2020

The East and West coasts have both been on the proverbial bump through mid February. Across NSW, the glut of surf that followed in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Uesi’s poleward track across the Tasman Sea was backed up by a new, and unrelated south swell on Thursday; spawned by a complex mid-latitude low drifting across the southern Tasman Sea. Several days of slow declining SSE swell follow across the region, before wave energy finally subsides to relatively low levels early to mid next week.

Following TC Uesi’s exceptional, albeit relatively short-lived Easterly groundswell that lit up far northern NSW and southern Queensland coasts last weekend, its back to, well the surfing equivalent of bread and butter over the next few days. A combination of ESE and South swells generate consistent surf in the 2 to 4ft range, as a developing onshore ESE airflow provides an effective constraint to surfing options as the weekend progresses.

Further south, onshore winds hamper conditions both across Victorian and South Australian coasts – at least until winds shift light offshore on Sunday morning. And lastly, over west, it’s still one happy surfing day after another as a pattern of early offshore land-breezes coincide with consistent SSW swell; initially levelling off at a fun size on Friday, before energy starts to ramp up again over the weekend.

Photo: Brown water and debris aside, the surf has pumped across the East Coast mid Feb. Photo: Uploaded to CW by P_Balmer.

Photo: Brown water and debris aside, the surf has pumped across the East Coast mid Feb. Photo: Uploaded to CW by P_Balmer.

Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
February’s sustained run of good surf just keeps on coming across the NSW coast this weekend. The arrival of a large, mid-period southerly swell on Thursday was spawned by a complex low that set up just east of Tasmania on Bass Strait on Wednesday, before drifting east, out towards New Zealand’s South Island on Thursday. The storm’s departure sets up a gradual decline in SSE swell over the next few days; still showing some chunk in the 3 to 5ft range early on Friday, before further settling to a pretty fun size by Saturday.

The downside is a developing high pressure ridge setting up a light to moderate onshore airflow this weekend. That pretty much leaves Friday morning as the only window for some reasonably clean conditions under early light winds, prior to easterlies setting in over the course of the weekend.

Friday
SSE swell gradually eases, initially ranging from 3 to 5ft+ across south facing breaks, settling to 3 to 4ft+ during the day and backing off further the afternoon. Wrapping at 2 to 4ft+ elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light WSW 5 to 10 knots, tending variable, then light East to ESE and freshening to 10 to 15 knots in the arvo.

Saturday
Reinforcing South swell maintains solid surf throughout the day. Around 2 to 4ft south facing beaches, grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure and easing later. WIND: SE 5 to 15 knots early, tending ESE, Easterly during the afternoon.

Sunday
Smaller SSE swell gradually eases. Sets around 2 to occasional 3ft across south facing beaches, grading smaller elsewhere and easing in the afternoon. WIND: North to NE 5 to 15 knots early, freshening to 10 to 20 knots in the afternoon.

The good conditions keep coming on Friday, before onshores take the edge off a declining SSE swell over the weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Surfable.

The good conditions keep coming on Friday, before onshores take the edge off a declining SSE swell over the weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Surfable.

Queensland and Far Northern NSW
A combined upswing in ESE tradewind and new round of South swell opens up a wider range of good surfable options, both north and south of the border over the next few days. A slight uptick in easterly swell is overshadowed by a stronger push in south swell across far northern NSW on Friday that holds potential for some larger 3 to 4ft sets across the more exposed breaks into the afternoon. That sets the trend for Saturday morning as south swell continues to mix in with a slightly stronger pulse of long-range ESE swell; again opening up good 2 to 4ft options depending on where you look. That’s followed by a steady rise in shorter period ESE windswell throughout Sunday, leading in a continued run of surf across the region early to mid next week.

Friday
Building South swell crosses over with rising East swell. Far northern NSW: Around 2 to 3ft early, picking up towards 3 to 4ft+ across southern exposures in the arvo, more like 2 to 3ft+ exposed open beaches. Southern QLD: East and South swells wrapping at 2 to 3ft across exposed beaches, more like 1 to 2ft+ elsewhere. WIND: Light SSW 5 to 10 knots inshore early, otherwise SSE 10 to 15 knots, tending SE to ESE knots in the afternoon.

Saturday
Combination of easing South swell, long rang ESE groundswell and rising SE windswell. Far northern NSW: South swell up to 3 to 4ft south facing breaks, more like 2 to 3ft+ across less exposed spots. Southern QLD: Ranging from 2 to 3ft exposed coasts, grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Possibly lighter South inshore early, otherwise SE 10 to 15 knots, freshening to 15 to 20 knots during the afternoon.

Sunday
Short period SE/ESE tradewind swell bumps up. Ranging from 2 to 4ft along the more exposed open beaches, more like 1 to 3ft elsewhere and smaller inside the points and bays. WIND: Early lighter SSW inshore, otherwise SE to ESE around 15 to 20 knots.

A modest upswing in ESE and South swells offers up consistent surf across the region all weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Igarnerimagery.

A modest upswing in ESE and South swells offers up consistent surf across the region all weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Igarnerimagery.

Victoria
An enduring onshore airflow holds marginal surfing prospects for Victorian surfers over the next couple of days. Friday sees southerly quarter winds supported by a slow moving high pressure ridge extending across Victorian coasts. Winds begin to reorient SE to ESE on Saturday as a trough deepens over the state, opening up better potential across the more southwest facing stretches – but it won’t be until Sunday that we’re more likely to see some morning offshores opening up better surfing prospects – at least until onshore southerly winds redevelop in the afternoon.

Friday
Reinforcing SW swell fills in with persistent onshores. Exposed beaches: Junky 2 to 3ft+. Surf Coast: Sets around 1 to 2ft on the exposed reefs, bumping up in the arvo. Otherwise smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: SSW 10 to 20 knots, tending Southerly in the morning and SSE in the afternoon.

Saturday
Small to mid-sized SW groundswell gradually eases under light onshore winds. Exposed beaches: Bumpy 3 to 4ft sets. Surf Coast: Slow sets ranging from 2 to 3ft on the reefs, smaller elsewhere. WIND: SE 5 to 10 knots, tending SSE up to 5 to 15 knots during the afternoon.

Sunday
Easing SW swell and early light winds. Exposed beaches: Sets ranging from 2 to 3ft+. Surf Coast: Around 2ft+ on the reefs, more like 1 to 2ft elsewhere. WIND: Early light and variable to light North, NE, shifting Southerly 10 to 15 knots, during the late afternoon.

There's better SW swell-potential in the making for Victorian coasts early next week. Photo: Judy Scanlon.

There's better SW swell-potential in the making for Victorian coasts early next week. Photo: Judy Scanlon.

Western Australia
The recent run of good conditions just keeps on coming across the Southwest over the next few days. The immediate future sees SSW swell levelling off at accessible 3 to 4ft levels on Friday, with early easterlies seeing another great window to hit exposed areas. That sets the trend for Saturday as early light easterly quarter breezes open up great conditions all morning. That precedes another strong push in SSW groundswell showing throughout Saturday arvo and into Sunday morning, holding potential for larger, more wind-affected conditions favouring the more sheltered breaks for most of the day.

Friday
Reinforcing SSW groundswell fills in under early offshore winds. Southwest: Ranging from 3 to 4ft across exposed breaks, wrapping at lower levels elsewhere with size depending on exposure. Perth: Clean 1ft+ sets at the more exposed spots. WIND: Easterly, ENE 15 to 25 knots, turning light North to variable in the afternoon, then shifting South later.

Saturday
Leftover SSW swell reinforced by long-period SSW groundswell in the afternoon. South West: Sets ranging from 3 to 4ft across exposed coasts, building to 4 to 6ft in the afternoon, possibly bigger in the evening. Perth: Up to 0.5 to 1ft along the exposed beaches. WIND: ESE to ENE 5 to 15 knots, tending South to SSW and freshening in the afternoon.

Sunday
Long-period SSW groundswell peaks early, under moderate SE winds. South West: Solid sets ranging from 6 to 8ft+ across exposed breaks, wrapping at lower levels elsewhere and settling in the afternoon. Perth: Sets ranging from 2 to 3ft. WIND: SE 10 to 20 knots, tending SSE 15 to 25 knots or more in the arvo.

The recent run of SW groundswell gives way to more accessible and still clean surf across the Southwest this weekend. Photo: Dan Wyer.

The recent run of SW groundswell gives way to more accessible and still clean surf across the Southwest this weekend. Photo: Dan Wyer.

South Australia
A slow moving high pressure ridge lying across the state will ensure pesky onshore breezes keep a firm lid on the appeal of a steady run of small to mid-sized SSW swell over the next couple of days. It won’t be until Sunday that conditions finally come good, with local winds forecast to swing light ENE to NE in the morning, opening up a great window across the more exposed South Coast breaks until winds turn south and increase in the afternoon.

Friday
SSW swell levels off under lighter onshores. South Coast: Scope for 3 to 4ft sets around Waits and Parsons, wrapping at 2 to 3ft from Middleton to Goolwa. Mid Coast: 0.5 to 1ft. WIND: Early SSE 5 to 15 knots, tending Southerly 10 to 20 knots in the afternoon.

Saturday
Leftover SSW swell lingers under persistent onshore SE winds. South Coast: Around 3 to 4ft around Waits and Parsons, ranging between 2 and 3ft from Middleton to Goolwa. Mid Coast: Virtually flat. WIND: ESE to SE around 10 knots, tending SSE and freshening to 10 to 20 knots in the arvo.

Sunday
Smaller SSW swell with scope for early light offshore winds. South Coast: Clean sets up to 2 to 3ft+ at Waits and Parsons, wrapping at 1 to 2ft+ from Middleton to Goolwa. Mid Coast: Virtually flat. WIND: Variable to light ENE to NE 5 to 10 knots, tending to southerly sea-breezes 10 to 15 knots in the afternoon.

Exposed spots should be showing some form as winds finally swing light offshore early on Sunday. Photo: Uploaded to CW by GreyC.

Exposed spots should be showing some form as winds finally swing light offshore early on Sunday. Photo: Uploaded to CW by GreyC.


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