Weekend Surf Forecast 1 - 3 December 2017
COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST
Forecast issued Thursday, 30 November 2017
Summer has finally arrived in its official capacity – and depending on where you reside, you could say it’s kicking off with a bang or a whimper. The NSW coast falls into the former category and clearly stands head and shoulders above all other states as the place to be surfing this weekend. The onset of a rapidly building NE swindswell is set to culminate in consistent 3 to 5ft plus surf; initially effected by moderate to strong NNE winds on Saturday, preceding a shift to the northwest on Sunday morning. This should produce a rare day of clean, pumping NE swell – at least lasting throughout morning and possibly staying clean all afternoon. In contrast, the forecast for remaining states is either looking downright mediocre or just plain woeful.
Southern Queensland and northern NSW are beset by persistent onshore NE winds blowing across lower-levels of ENE swell; making for two full days of lumpy, choppy waves in the 2 to 3ft range. Further south, both Victoria and South Australia fall under the influence of straight onshore southerly winds. In conjunction with small SW swell and localised southerly windswell, this points to two full days of junky, wind-blown surf mostly ranging from 2 to 4ft. That leaves the West Coast as a slightly better options for some small, cleaner waves – but small is likely to be the operative word.
Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast
The prospect of two full days of solid NE swell isn’t something that comes around every other day along the NSW coast – and given that’s exactly what’s in store this weekend it’s probably well worth planning for.
A strengthening northerly fetch setting up offshore on Friday drives short-period NE swell up to a consistent, albeit wind-affected 3 to 4ft plus along the more exposed open beaches under light to moderate NNE winds on Saturday morning, making for great, albeit wind-affected conditions. A further building trend should follow throughout Saturday afternoon - and this sets the stage for an extended period of good to excellent conditions on Sunday morning. Light NW winds are forecast to greet a mid to large NE swell showing at peak periods around 9 seconds; producing consistent surf ranging anywhere from 3 to 6ft across exposed beaches all morning – and there are some indications winds will remain favourable into the afternoon to boot.
NE windswell ranging from 1 – 3ft across the most exposed open beaches, picking up to a junky 2 - 4ft during the afternoon. Grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early N 5 to 15 knots tending NNE and freshening to 15 to 25 knots during the afternoon and up to 20 to 30 knots later.
Rising NE windswell. Ranging from 3 – 4ft+ along exposed open breaks, building towards 4 – 5ft+ during the afternoon/ evening. Grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposur. WIND: Early light N inshore tending NNE and freshening to 15 to 25 knots during the afternoon.
Pumping NE swell. Ranging anywhere from 3 - 6ft exposed open beaches, with size depending on exposure, easing during the afternoon. WIND: Early light NW to NNW, possibly turning NNE or light and variable 5 to 15 knots during the afternoon.
Queensland and Far Northern NSW
Fresh onshore NE to N winds provide an effective constraint on your surfing options this weekend. The relentless onshore flow starts out with more east than northeast in it on Friday; making for a very forgettable day of windblown 2 to 3ft waves throughout the region. The good news is some better options will gradually open up as winds come around to the NE and then NNE on Saturday; making for cross-onshore 2 to 3ft plus surf inside those rare, semi-sheltered northern corners offering a bit of respite from the breeze. Sunday looks like the cleanest day as winds tend straighter north, producing reasonably good conditions at those aforementioned, semi-sheltered venues all day.
ENE tradewind swell. Ranging from 2 - 3ft exposed beaches early, grading to 1 – 2ft inside the points and bays. WIND: Early light and variable inshore, tending ENE to NE 10 to 15 knots later.
Stronger ENE windswell. Sets around 2 - 3ft+ exposed beaches, grading to 2ft inside the points and bays. WIND: NE to NNE 10 to 15 knots early, freshening to 15 to 20 knots during the afternoon, stronger from Ballina south.
ENE tradewind swell up to 2 - 3ft+ exposed breaks, grading to 2ft or so inside the points and bays. WIND: NNW inshore early, tending NNE 10 to 15 knots during the day.
There’s no easy way to put a positive spin on the forecast for Victoria this weekend. If there’s one big upside on Friday, it’s ideal conditions for learning to surf along the exposed beaches as offshore northerly winds groom tiny levels of SW swell. From Friday afternoon the arrival of a weak onshore southerly flow leads in pretty lacklustre conditions; featuring some minor S windswell in the 2 to 3ft range under moderate to fresh onshore SSW to SSE winds. Still, there should be rideable waves on offer and if recent guidance for Sunday is anything to go by, it’s well worth making the most of it. A low pressure system forming over eastern Bass Strait is forecast to trigger strengthening southerly quarter winds into Saturday night and Sunday morning; strong enough to effectively write off the prospect of surfing
Background SW swell. Slow sets up to 1 - 2ft max along exposed beaches, new S windswell picks up marginally during the afternoon. Tiny to flat along the Surf Coast, picking up during the afternoon. WIND: Light NW to N/NE early, tending to sea-breezes 5 to 15 knots.
Low quality S windswell up to a windblown 2 – 4ft along the exposed beaches, grading to 2 - 3ft+ along the Surf Coast. WIND: SSW 5 to 15 knots tending SSE during the afternoon.
Stormy, windblown SSE windswell clean sets ranging from 2 – 3ft+ along the exposed beaches and wrapping at similar levels along the Surf Coast. WIND: SSW potentially 20 to 35 knots early, easing marginally during the afternoon.
On the upside, there will be clean waves on offer during the morning hours this weekend. The downside is a distinct lack of swell. While there should be some small leftover waves in the 2 to 3ft max range on Friday, Saturday morning is shaping up as tiny or verging on flat across the Southwest. To make matters worse, a projected rise in long-period SW groundswell later Saturday through Sunday also looks like it will come in on the small side; perhaps offering up some slower 2 to 3ft sets along exposed stretches. However it pans out it will be best to get in early while the easterly winds last.
Small leftovers in mid period SW swell under offshore morning winds. South West: Clean, 2 to 3ft. Perth/Mandurah. Mostly clean, 0.5 to 1ft. WIND: E at 10 to 20 knots easing variable before tending S’ly at 20 knots.
Inconsistent long period SW groundswell slowly fills in. South West coast: Clean, 1 to 2ft, rising inconsistent 1 to a3ft sets later. Perth/Mandurah: Clean although generally flat. WIND: ESE at 20 to 25 knots tending S’ly 20 to 25 knots.
Small SW groundswell shows under offshore morning winds. South West: Slow sets to 1 to 3ft. Perth/Mandurah: Bumpy, 0 to 1ft. WIND: ESE at 10 to 15 knots tending variable then S’ly 20 knots.
There’s no sugar coating what’s shaping up as a very mediocre weekend of waves across SA. Strong onshore southerly winds are set to blow out conditions on Friday and there’s set to remain that way throughout Saturday and Sunday, making for small, windblown waves mostly ranging from 2 to 4ft along the more exposed South Coast beaches. That leaves the Mid Coast as the only option for some better, cross-shore conditions, but an absence of notable swell will probably limit your options to kite-surfing or sail-boarding.
Minor rise in WSW swell under moderate SSE winds. South Coast: Windblown, 1 to 3ft. Mid Coast: Semi clean, 1 to 1.5ft, rising S windswell later. WIND: SSE at 15 to 20 knots freshening 30 knots S'ly.
Combo of rising mid period SW swell, messy wind swell. South Coast: Windblown 4 to 5ft+. Mid Coast: Messy, 1ft to 2ft. WIND: SSW 20 to 30 knots.
Combo of mid period SW swell, messy wind swell. South Coast: Messy, 2 to 4ft, easing. Mid Coast: Messy, 1 to 1.5ft, easing. WIND: South to SSW 10 to 20 knots.
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