Bali, Indonesia Surf Forecast 3 - 15 May, 2017
Forecast Issued by Ben Macartney. Tuesday, 2 March 2017
If you happened to have scheduled your annual Indo trip for early May – or you’ve just put the rest of your life on hold in favour of a spontaneous mission to The Archipelago – then it’s fair to say your timing is good indeed. The southern Indian Ocean storm-track gradually activated through the last weeks of April and heightened storm activity remain in full effect throughout Indonesia’s swell window throughout the first week of May. The net effect will be a couple of large SSW pulses arriving over the next fortnight; interspersed with non-stop small to mid-sized days under persistent ESE tradewinds.
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Small to mid-sized SSW groundswell dominates the short term outlook; maintaining a consistent run of 2 to 4ft surf across The Archipelago under moderate to strong ESE tradewinds for the remainder of the week. This precedes a first, large SSW pulse filling in on Sunday and Monday, with another large pulse on the radar for late next week.
SW groundswell. Sets up to 3 - 4ft exposed breaks, grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light and variable tending ESE 5 to 10 knots.
Reinforcing SSW groundswell. Sets around 2 - 4ft exposed breaks, grading smaller elsewhere depending on exposure. WIND: Early light and variable tending ESE 10 to 15 knots.
Long-range SSW groundswell builds in. Sets around 3 – 4ft exposed breaks. Grading smaller elsewhere depending on exposure. WIND: Early light and variable tending ESE around 15 to 20 knots.
SSW groundswell. Sets to 2 – 4ft exposed breaks. Grading smaller elsewhere depending on exposure. WIND: Light and variable tending ESE around 15 to 20 knots.
Strong build in SSW groundswell. Sets to 3 – 5ft exposed breaks early, picking up to 5 – 6ft+ into the afternoon. Grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Light and variable tending ESE 10 to 20 knots.
SSW groundswell peaks. Around 4 – 6ft+ exposed breaks, easing into the afternoon. Grading smaller elsewhere depending on exposure. WIND: Early light and variable tending ESE 10 to 15 knots.
The onset of the early season kicks off with an excellent forecast, characterised by back to back groundswells and a strong tradewind burst conspiring to produce pumping conditions across The Archipelago – at least through to the middle of May. In the short term we can look forward to a continued run of small to mid-sized surf; mostly fluctuating around the 3 to 4ft mark across the most exposed breaks, while grading to a more accessible 2 to 3ft at breaks inside Bali’s Bukit Peninsula.
This arose from a series of moderate strength Indian Ocean lows migrating across polar latitudes over the course of last week; produce several overlapping pulses of mid-period groundswell in the 2 to 4ft range from Wednesday to Saturday. This coincides with freshening ESE tradewinds; picking up to 10 to 15 knots on Thursday before hitting a gustier 15 to 20 knots into Friday and Saturday. These robust tradewinds are forecast to persist across Java, Bali and Nusa Tenggara for most of next week; in all likelihood making for excellent conditions across the major west facing breaks right through to mid-May and beyond.
The forecast shifts up a couple of gears this weekend, with the arrival of a large SSW groundswell now likely during Sunday and Monday. The swell-source is large Indian Ocean low that’s already intensifying southwest of the Kerguelen Islands. The low established a broad area of SW gales southwest of these islands on Monday and Tuesday and it’s forecast to maintain a slightly stronger, 30 to 45 knot fetch as it migrated further out across the south-eastern Indian Ocean on Wednesday/ Thursday.
This holds good potential for a large, long interval SW groundswell arriving across The Archipelago late this week; the leading edge arriving early on Sunday morning, leading in the bulk of swell kicking in late Sunday and early Monday 8 May. For now this swell holds potential for large surf in the 5 to 8ft range
Across exposed reefs late Sunday/ early Monday, with plenty of mid-sized leftovers slowly easing throughout Tuesday 9 and Wednesday 10 May.
Large SSW groundswell slated for mid-May
Beyond that, long-range model guidance is picking up another major source of SSW groundswell for Indonesia late next week. This surrounds the evolution of a deep, complex polar low, originating far below South Africa and Madagascar on Friday and Saturday. Latest GFS runs indicate the storm will drive maximum significant wave height to 30 to 40ft as it tracks out below the Kerguelen Islands on Friday and Saturday before gradually weakening as it pushed out across the south-eastern Indian Ocean on Sunday and Monday.
Based on this, we can look forward to a big, long-period SSW groundswell making landfall during Thursday 11 and maintaining peak size throughout Friday 12 May; speculatively in the vicinity of 8 to 10ft plus across exposed breaks. The extended lifecycle of the low as it moved off towards Western Australia suggest the swell could produce several days of large surf, with a slow easing trend speculatively going from 6 to 8ft on Saturday 13 to 4 to 6ft on Sunday 14 May, with plenty of mid-sized surf leftover into the week beginning Monday 15. Given this is still storm dependent, revisions to both the size and timing of this event are possible in next week’s update.
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