It’s fair to say the Surf is on the proverbial pump around much of the Australian coastline this weekend. Starting with southeast Queensland and far northern NSW, we’re once again looking at a welcome and well out of season ESE swell; originating from an intense storm that set up some 2,000 nautical miles away, deep in the Southwest Pacific. As discussed in more detail below, this sees a pretty interesting pulse of long-period ESE groundswell arriving across the region under light winds over the course of the weekend. Further down the coast, however, both mid-northern, Sydney and southern NSW coasts will pretty much miss-out on this event, thanks to comprehensive swell-shadowing from New Zealand’s North Island.
Across Victoria, one WSW groundswell overlaps with another to sustain energetic surf across all coasts – for the most part favouring the Torquay reefs and the broader Great Ocean Road – but also offering up a good day across all exposed areas under light winds on Saturday morning. South Australia fares similarly well under a pattern of NW winds and solid swell.
Over the course of the winter so far the West Coast has been all or nothing; either cranking and offshore for days, or completely stormy and blown-out under howling onshore winds. This weekend falls definitively into the former category as several days of light easterly quarter breezes greet a couple of back-to-back SW groundswells; initially easing throughout Friday and Saturday, ahead of a renewed building trend setting in on Sunday. Wherever you find yourself, have a good one.
Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
It’s looking like pretty slim pickings across the region this weekend as south and SSE swells linger at very low levels. Both Friday morning and Sunday looks like the highlights; featuring slightly bigger 1 to 2ft waves across southern exposures – but it may well fall below this threshold on Saturday. There’s also a faint component of easterly swell also showing at very low levels across the region, both on Saturday and Sunday. If you’re feeling intrepid you might to do well to head way up north, where the bulk of an ESE groundswell is projected to show at a good size across southern Queensland and northern NSW coasts all weekend.
Faded SSE swell lingers in the 1 to 2ft range across south facing breaks, tending clean and tiny to near flat elsewhere. WIND: WNW to NW 5 to 10 knots, tending light/ variable in the afternoon, then SW in the evening.
Mix of small ESE and South swells. Up to a slow 1 to 2ft on exposed breaks with size depending on exposure, otherwise grading tiny to near-flat elsewhere. WIND: WSW 10 to 15 knots early, tending SSW during the morning. Fading and tending back to the west in afternoon.
Slight South and East swells continue at 1ft+ along exposed open and south facing beaches, grading closer to flat elsewhere. WIND: Westerly, WSW to 10 to 15 knots early, tending to light South to SE in the afternoon.
Queensland and Far Northern NSW
Both from yours and this forecaster’s perspective, this weekend is shaping up as one of the more interesting to be looking for waves across the region. Over the course of last weekend and early this week we saw an intense sub-tropical low setting up a broad area of ESE gales over the far Southwest Pacific. The head of the core, 40knot fetch-area was located some 1,850 nautical miles offshore, making it a true long-range source; pretty much on par with something that might arrive across Indonesia. Further, much of the NSW coast was shadowed by New Zealand’s North Island – and that looks like containing the best of this event to locations north of Coffs Harbour. These factors, coupled with the fairly rapid eastward contraction of the source over the last few days, has spawned a small, long-period ESE groundswell that’s slated to show peak size on Saturday and early Sunday, holding pretty firm potential for very well organised, albeit infrequent 3 to 4ft sets across the more exposed breaks.
Long-range ESE groundswell gradually supersedes fading Southerly swell. Far northern NSW: South swell sets ranging 2 to 3ft across south facing breaks, easing in the afternoon. Mixing with ESE swell at lower levels with size depending on exposure. Southern QLD: around 1 to 2ft along exposed open breaks, potentially bumping up to an inconsistent 2ft+ during the late afternoon. WIND: Light West to SW up to 5 knots early, tending light and variable, then light NNE 10 knots in the afternoon.
Long range ESE groundswell peaks. Slow sets ranging from 3 to 4ft along exposed breaks, grading to more like 2 to 3ft elsewhere and smaller again inside the points and bays. WIND: Early WNW to NW 5 to 15 knots, tending to light and variable sea-breezes in the afternoon.
ESE groundswell hangs in around 2 to 4ft on exposed areas, inconsistent in the upper range and tending smaller in points and bays. WIND: SW to SSW 10 to 15 knots, tending SSE during the afternoon.
A continued run of consistent WSW groundswell sees no shortage of good surf across the state this weekend. The Surf Coast will probably remain the focus on Friday as a still energetic swell keeps set waves up in the 4ft range along the Torquay reefs, as early NW winds swing to the west, opening up great conditions before they swing south in the afternoon. Saturday morning looks like producing a more equitable distribution of surfing options as light NW to NNE land-breezes offer up all manner of clean waves state-wide. That will lead in a return to predominant WNW to NW winds on Sunday, shifting the focus back to the Surf Coast as a new WSW groundswell arrives on cue.
Renewed WSW groundswell gradually eases as winds hold westerly. Sets around 4 to 6ft along the exposed beaches, wrapping at a clean 3 to 4ft+ on the Surf Coast reefs, smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: NNW to NW 10 to 15 knots, tending Westerly during the day, then SSW in the afternoon.
WSW groundswell continues under continued WNW winds. Sets around 4 to 5ft along exposed beaches, wrapping at 2 to 4ft along the Surf Coast reefs. Easing a foot or so in the afternoon. WIND: Calm to light and variable, tending WNW 5 to 15 knots.
Reinforcing WSW groundswell with continued NW winds. Up to 5 to 6ft+ along exposed beaches, wrapping at 3 to 5ft along the Surf Coast reefs, grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: WNW around 10 knots, tending NW to NNW in the afternoon.
There are several days of solid, clean and cranking conditions lining up for the Southwest. By Friday morning light offshore ENE breezes will be grooming a sizeable SW swell, leading in a full day of great conditions as winds fall away to variable during the afternoon. That sets the stage for a smaller, but still perfectly clean 4 to 5ft day along exposed areas on Saturday, with a slow decline coinciding with a brief SSE wind-shift during the afternoon. If you still have some gas in the tank it’s game on again come Sunday morning as a renewed increase in SW groundswell arrives under offshore east to SE winds.
Settling SW groundswell under offshore wind. South West: settling 6 to 8ft sets organising towards 5 to 6ft+ through the afternoon. Perth/Mandurah: cleaning up 2 to 3ft early, then dropping. WIND: Easterly, ENE 5 to 10 knots, tending light and variable before turning SE later.
SW groundswell stabilises. Southwest: steady 4 to 5ft along exposed breaks, settling marginally in the afternoon. Perth: settling 2ft. WIND: ESE to 10 knots early, tending SE, then SSE 10 to 15 knots in afternoon.
Potential for new SW groundswell. Southwest: Possibly undersized early at 3 to 5ft+, building to 4 to 6ft++ exposed coasts in the afternoon, grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. Perth: Around 2 to 3ft. WIND: Light ESE to SE tending SSE around 10 knots in the afternoon.
Apart from a short-lived southerly wind-shift on Friday, good winter conditions are set to continue for days to come across the state. An active winter-stormtrack continues to deliver a consistent run of SW swell; showing at challenging, overhead levels across the more exposed South Coast beaches, while offering up more user friendly 2 to 4ft options inside Middleton and surrounds. Saturday morning isn’t looking bad as early light NNW to NW winds open up clean conditions before winds swing to the west in the afternoon. Sunday looks even better, with lighter NNE winds cleaning up a renewed SW swell filling in throughout the day.
Secondary SW groundswell. South Coast: sets reinforced up 5 to 6ft+ at Waits and Parsons, wrapping up to 2 to 4ft around Middleton. Mid Coast: 1 to 2ft+. WIND: NW near dawn, ahead of an early SSW change 10 to 20 knots, easing later.
Settling SW groundswell under easing wind. South Coast: easing 5 to 6ft sets at Waits and Parsons early, grading to 2 to 4ft at Middleton. Mid Coast: Around 2ft. WIND: NNW to NW around 10 knots, tending light West to SW in the afternoon.
Reinforcing SW groundswell under light northerlies. South Coast: clean fading 3 to 5ft at Waits and Parsons, wrapping sets 2 to 3ft+ at Middleton. Mid Coast: settled 1ft+. WIND: Northerly, NNE 5 to 10 knots early, tending to variable sea-breezes later.