Weekend Surf Forecast 6 - 8 March 2020

5 Mar 2020 0 Share

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST

Issued Thursday, 5 March 2020

At last, autumn is upon us, but if you’re thinking light offshore land-breezes and pumping groundswells, well, think again. For the most part, we’re still seeing a late summer pattern dominating surfing conditions. The Eastern States are now under the influence of the remnants of ex-Tropical Cyclone Esther. In short, that influence can be summed up as pretty good for NSW, not bad for southern Queensland and downright woeful for Victoria.

Both Victoria and South Australia sees onshore winds and diminishing levels of SSW swell adding up to a pretty lacklustre weekend of waves. Along the West Coast, the opening week of autumn has featured some of the smallest surf you’re likely to see across the Southwest. And while there’s a bit more surf on tap across the region over the weekend, wave-energy generally remains suppressed until mid to late next week.

Autumn, at last. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Justin Dyke.

Autumn, at last. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Justin Dyke.

Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
Despite distant origins, the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Esther are proving quite beneficial to surf potential across the NSW coast. The system’s arrival over the NSW interior is the culmination of a long journey that commenced over the Gulf of Carpentaria in late February. Since then, the system initially moved westward to Western Australia’s Pilbara coast, before it turned east and south-east on a long trek across the mainland over the course of this week.

It’s movement across NSW over the last 48 hours culminated in a solid push in NE windswell across the region on Thursday – and this will carry over at a fun size across open breaks Friday morning. And the story doesn’t end there. The continued eastward movement of ex-TC Esther over the southern Tasman Sea on Friday sets up a new and substantial push in South and SSE swell this weekend; albeit flanked by southerly winds.

Friday
Easing NE windswell underpinned by fading SSE groundswell. Sets ranging from 2 to 4ft exposed open beaches early, mixing with residual SSE swell at 1 to 3ft south facing beaches, easing into the afternoon. WIND: Light West to NW 5 to 15 knots near dawn, turning SW to Southerly 10 to 15 knots across the South Coast early-morning, reaching Sydney mid to late morning. Freshening and tending SSE during the afternoon.

Saturday
New South windswell. Peaking up to 3 to 4ft south facing beaches, mixing with residual ENE swell around 2 to 3ft+ elsewhere and easing in the afternoon. WIND: SSW, Southerly 15 to 20 knots, tending SSE during the afternoon.

Sunday
Reinforcing SSE swell hangs in. Around 3 to 4ft across southern exposures, more like 2 to 3+ range elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Southerly, tending SSE 10 to 20 knots.

While not quite up to the calibre of late Feb, the first weekend of autumn isn't looking too bad across the NSW coast. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Organdonor.

While not quite up to the calibre of late Feb, the first weekend of autumn isn't looking too bad across the NSW coast. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Organdonor.

Queensland and Far Northern NSW
A modest uptick in short and long-range ESE swells opens up some reasonably surfing across the region this weekend. Friday sees one final day of light to moderate northerlies, prior to a robust SSE change arriving early on Saturday. This leads in a combined increase in short range SSE windswell, over the top of a distant pulse of ESE swell arriving from deep in the Southwest Pacific. That should translate into several days of 2 to 3ft waves across southern Queensland – and up to a foot bigger south of the border. The caveat is the aforementioned, strong SSE to SE winds; invariably keeping a firm lid on surfing options on both days.

Friday
Easing South groundswell mixing with slight ESE swell. Far northern NSW: Slow 2 to 3ft sets south facing beaches, mixing with ESE swell at similar levels across open beaches. Southern QLD: ESE swell ranging from 2 to 3ft across exposed beaches, grading smaller inside the points and bays. WIND: Early light NW to NNW, tending Northerly 10 to 15 knots during the morning, then NNE in the afternoon.

Saturday
Long range ESE swell, superseding leftover South swell. Inconsistent sets ranging from 2 to 3ft exposed open beaches, more like 1 to 2ft+ elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Lighter WNW to SW early, tending South to SSE 15 to 25 knots during the day.

Sunday
Long range ESE swell reinforced by rising SSE swell. Southern QLD: Ranging from 2 to 3ft+ exposed beaches, more like 1 to 2ft+ inside the points and bays. Far northern NSW: SSE swell builds into the 3 to 4ft range, more like 2 to 3ft+ elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Scope for early lighter SSW inshore, otherwise SSE around 15 to 25 knots.

Northern NSW will pull in the bulk of a new SSE swell building from Sunday onwards. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Ben McGrath.

Northern NSW will pull in the bulk of a new SSE swell building from Sunday onwards. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Ben McGrath.

Victoria
An underwhelming short-term outlook presents marginal surf prospects for Victorian surfers this weekend. A deep low pressure trough currently drifting across the state supports several days of onshore winds; starting out SSW on Friday before gradually coming around to the SE and ESE over the course of the weekend. At the same time we can expect leftover SSW swell to further diminish; leaving very little in the way of surfing options.

Friday
Leftover SSW swell under onshore winds. Exposed Beaches: Junky 2 to 3ft+ sets. Surf Coast: Wrapping at a bumpy 2ft+ on the reefs, grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: SW to SSW 15 to 20 knots.

Saturday
Background SW swell gradually eases under moderate onshore winds. Exposed beaches: Infrequent, lumpy 2 to 3ft on the sets, dwindling in the arvo. Surf Coast: Slow, bumpy sets ranging from 1 to 2ft on the reefs, smaller elsewhere and easing later. WIND: Southerly, SSW 15 to 20 knots, possibly swinging SSE to SE in the arvo.

Sunday
Slight SW swell persists at low-levels. Exposed beaches: Around 1 to 2ft. Surf Coast: Sets up to an infrequent 1ft on the reefs, tiny to near-flat elsewhere. WIND: ESE to SE 10 to 20 knots.

The highlights of late Feb give way to a pretty lacklustre run of onshore conditions across Vicco this weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Barwon Steve.

The highlights of late Feb give way to a pretty lacklustre run of onshore conditions across Vicco this weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Barwon Steve.

Western Australia
Following the excellent run of surf that greeted surfers across the Southwest for most of February, the near-flat conditions prevailing into the opening days of March have probably come as a bit of a shock. Although subdued levels of SSW swell are set to persist across the region this weekend, there should be a bit more push in the 2 to 3ft range across exposed breaks, with most size straddling Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. Having said that, onshore SW winds are likely to further dampen your surfing prospects on Saturday – and this looks like setting the trend for Sunday.

Friday
Reinforcing SSW groundswell arrives with early offshore winds. South West: Slow 1 to 3ft sets across exposed breaks, up to 2 to 3ft+ later. Otherwise grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. Perth: Flat to 0.5ft. WIND: SE to SSE 15 to 25 knots, tending South around lunchtime and SSW in the afternoon.

Saturday
Slight SSW swell continues, under onshore winds. South West: Choppy sets around 2 to occasional 3ft across exposed coasts, grading smaller elsewhere. Perth: Flat to 0.5ft. WIND: SSW to SW 15 to 20 knots, tending back to the South in the afternoon.

Sunday
Fading SSW swell under light ESE winds. South West: Slower 1 to 2ft sets across south exposed breaks, infrequent in the upper range. Scope for a pulse to 2 to 3ft in the late arvo/ evening. Perth: 0.5ft to near-flat. WIND: SE 10 to 15 knots, turning South, SSW and freshening to 15 to 25 knots in the afternoon.

Near flat conditions still means 2 to 3ft setsacross the Southwest.. Photo: Dan Wyer.

Near flat conditions still means 2 to 3ft setsacross the Southwest.. Photo: Dan Wyer.

South Australia
Diminishing levels of SSW swell coupled with fresh onshore winds loom as a series deterrent to the prospect of surfing over the next few days. Fresh onshore SE to SSE winds are supported by a slow-moving high below the Great Australian Bight, tending a ridge across southern coasts for several days to come. At the same time, this week’s sustained run of SSW groundswell is finally set to conk out; fading to very low levels across all coasts on Saturday and Sunday.

Friday
SSW groundswell eases, under persistent onshore winds. South Coast: Bumpy 3 to 4ft at Waits and Parsons. Wrapping at 2ft+ or so along Middleton to Goolwa, settling in the arvo. Mid Coast: Around 0.5ft. WIND: Southerly 10 to 20 knots, tending SSE during the day.

Saturday
Leftover SSW swell settles as winds swing SE. South Coast: Around 2ft+ around Waits and Parsons, up to 1ft+ from Middleton to Goolwa. Mid Coast: Flat. WIND: ESE to SE 15 to 20 knots, tending SSE and freshening in the afternoon.

Sunday
SSW groundswell rebuilds with early offshore winds. South Coast: Clean sets up to 2ft at Waits and Parsons, wrapping at 1ft+ from Middleton to Goolwa. Mid Coast: Flat. WIND: ESE to SE 5 to 15 knots, tending South 15 to 20 knots in the afternoon.


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