The East Coast Awakening: Monday 23rd May
COASTALWATCH | SWELL DIARY
REGION: East Coast
SWELL: ENE - SSE
WAVE HEIGHT: 3-6 and 6-10 Feet
PERIOD: 16-17 sec
WIND: SSW - SW
The weekend saw excellent surf on offer as a combination of ENE and SSE swells maintained great conditions across the region. Sunday in particular, saw solid surf ranging from 2 to 4ft from both directions under early light offshore winds, with a first, long-interval SSE pulse contributing to some solid sets across southern exposures focussing the swell.
Monday morning saw leading edge of a larger, more powerful round of SSE groundswell across the region. It’s arrival was signalled by a spike in peak wave period to 19 seconds on the Sydney Waverider Buoy just after midnight Sunday. This led in a steady rise in wave-height into the early hours of Monday morning as the groundswell continued to build in at peak intervals of 16 to 17 seconds.
From Sydney south, observed surf heights were ranging from 3 to 6ft across exposed beaches on Monday morning, with reports of larger 6 to 10ft sets marching into Bondi and various deepwater Sydney reefs. The source of this exceptional groundswell is a deep Southern Ocean low that set below New Zealand mid to late last week. As discussed on Friday, the storm established two distant wind-fetches within a broader, complex parent system.
The first was a gale force SSW to SW fetch that set up across the low’s western sector on Thursday and Friday. The indirect alignment of this fetch coupled with its remote location (roughly 950nm southeast of Sydney), generated a small to mid-sized pulse of SSE groundswell that registered at 14 to 15 seconds on the various Waverider Buoys off the southern half of the NSW coast on Sunday.
This first pulse has been well and truly overshadowed by Monday morning’s second pulse. This was spawned by a stronger area of 40 to 50kt southerly quarter winds that originated south of the 60S parallel directly below NZ. This powerful fetch-area propagated northward towards the base of the South Island; briefly giving rise to a captured fetch area of 40 to 50kts through to Saturday morning.
Although the bulk of a resulting XXL, SW groundswell generated by the storm is aimed out towards Tahiti, the resulting SSE groundswell spreading back towards the NSW coast is showing at peak intervals about as high as you’re likely to see along the Eastern Seaboard. Further, the large distance between the swell source and the East Coast means long waits between sets. Both the size and period of the SSE groundswell will progressively scale down throughout Tuesday, making for a full day of great conditions as early WNW winds greet still powerful sets ranging either side of 4ft across exposed breaks.
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