Weekend Surf Forecast 15 – 17 February 2019

14 Feb 2019 1 Share

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST

Issued Thursday, 14 February 2019

The monsoon trough and focus of tropical activity shifted out into the Southwest Pacific this week; spawning the third Coral Sea Tropical Cyclone (TC Oma) for the 2018/2019 season. While still located well offshore, out near Vanuatu, TC Oma will begin to exert a swell-generating influence over the next few days – and going on recent model guidance it could have a far more significant impact on the Queensland coast over the course of next week.

In line with these developments, Southern Queensland and northern NSW coasts look like the places to be this weekend as a building SE/ ESE swell sets in. A combination of consistent, mid-period energy coupled with a resilient SSE to SE airflow looks ideally suited to the majority of southern Queensland Points, not to mention Byron Bay over the border. To briefly nit-pick, conditions may prove a little more wind-swelly and of lower quality than previous cyclone-related swell-events – but there will be no shortage of waves on tap this weekend – and there’s a whole lot more on the radar over the course of next week.

Further down the Coast, it appears Sydney and the South Coast will, for the most part, miss out on the bulk of this swell; given it’s comparatively poor exposure to the emerging SE fetch. Never the less there’s still plenty of small-ish waves to be had; starting out with a mix of minor E and S swells Friday/ Saturday, ahead of a minor rise in Easterly swell on Sunday.

This week’s sustained run of WSW swell across Victorian coasts finally starts to conk out over the next few days. That leaves Friday as what looks like the final day of notably good conditions along the Surf Coast, before the focus switches over to more exposed venues this weekend. Likewise SA sees declining SSW swell opening up good options across exposed South Coast beaches on Friday – and there should be some reasonable small wave options at these venues on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Last but not least, the West Coast is looking a little bit quiet on the wave-front, as a lull in activity sees background WSW and SW swells offering up sporadic 2 to 3ft sets across the Southwest on Friday and Saturday. That leaves Sunday morning as your best bet for a few larger 3 to 4ft sets under straight offshore winds


Bring on cyclone season. Photo: Uploaded to CW by @instaduck11.

Bring on cyclone season. Photo: Uploaded to CW by @instaduck11.

Queensland and Far Northern NSW
Holy mother of Hui, have you guys seen the charts! The forecast for next week looks completely off the hook, all-time, 100% pumping, absolutely coooking, if not out of control. Ok I’m out of superlatives. But seriously, Tropical Cyclone Oma, currently located just northwest of Vanuatu, looms as a major source of surf over the coming week; initially contributing to a strong rise in SE and ESE swell over the weekend, before temporarily easing early to mid next week. From there, it may well go ballistic as TC Oma makes its approach mid to late next week. Whether or not current forecast guidance holds true is still a big maybe – but emerging model consensus is looking very positive to say the least.

Friday
New SSE windswell combines with underlying ESE tradewind swell. SSE swell up to 3 to 4ft+ across exposed northern NSW coasts, grading to 3 to 4ft along exposed southern QLD beaches 2 to 3ft or less along points and inside the bays with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early lighter SSW inshore, tending SSE to SE 20 to 25 knots.

Saturday
Potential for building SE/ESE tradewind swell. Potential for solid 4 to 5ft+ sets across northern NSW exposed breaks, wrapping at 3 to 4ft+ along exposed QLD beaches, and down to 2 to 4ft along the points and inside the bays. WIND: Early light SSW inshore, tending SSE to SE and freshening to 15 to 25 knots.

Sunday
Potential for a peak in mid-period ESE tradewind swell. Up to a consistent 4 to 6ft along exposed coasts, wrapping at 3 to 5ft into inside the points and bays. WIND: Early Light SW to SSW inshore, tending SSE to SE 15 to 20 knots.

This IR satellite image depicts catagory 2 TC Oma near Vanuatu on Thursday. The system is set to emerge as a major driver of SE and E swell for southern Queensland and northern NSW coasts over the coming week. Source: Met Fiji.

This IR satellite image depicts catagory 2 TC Oma near Vanuatu on Thursday. The system is set to emerge as a major driver of SE and E swell for southern Queensland and northern NSW coasts over the coming week. Source: Met Fiji.

Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast.
While TC Oma is nice to look at on the charts – particularly now that long-range guidance move it west/ south-west towards the Queensland coast next week. However, its swell-related effects definitely won’t be evident in any major way across Sydney, Newcastle and locations south this weekend. True, the models are picking up a modest rise in mid-period Easterly swell on Sunday – but I’d say modest is the operative word. Still, it’s looking like there will be clean 2ft waves and occasionally bigger on Sunday morning – and there should be a similar-sized pulse of South groundswell showing at true south facing beaches at similar levels on Saturday. 

Friday
Potential for small S groundswell mixing with leftover Easterly swell. Sets around the 2ft mark across south facing beaches, bumping up later. E swell down to 1 to 2ft along exposed open beaches with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light and variable to light East 5 to 10 knots, tending ENE 10 to 15 knots in the afternoon.

Saturday
Small, directional S groundswell up to a slow 2 to 3ft across south facing beaches. Mixing with SE and E swells at more like 1 to 2ft exposed beaches. WIND: Easterly 5 to 10 knots, tending ENE and freshening to 5 to 15 knots in the afternoon.

Sunday
Potential for a minor rise in ENE swell. Sets up to 2 to 3ft at the most exposed open beaches, slow in the upper range. Mixing with underlying S swell in the 1 to 2ft range elsewhere. WIND: Early light WNW to NW 5 to 10 knots, tending NE 10 to 15 knots, then freshening to 15 to 20 knots in the arvo.

A combination of small Southerly and Easterly swells should be just enough to keep you in the water this weekend. Photo: Uploaded by @ozbeaches

A combination of small Southerly and Easterly swells should be just enough to keep you in the water this weekend. Photo: Uploaded by @ozbeaches

Victoria
This week’s welcome autumn preview has one more day left in the tank, before the surf-focus starts to shift back to the exposed Victorian coasts this weekend. Friday morning sees a final window of offshore winds greeting a still good-sized SW swell in the 3 to 4ft range along the Surf Coast, before winds swing onshore into the afternoon and then SE on Saturday. That should precede a further shift to the NE by Sunday morning, opening up clean 3 to 4ft options arriving over brand new banks.

Friday
Easing SW swell. Up to a junky 4 to 6ft along the exposed beaches, subsiding in the afternoon. Wrapping at 3 to 4ft+ on Surf Coast reefs and smaller the arvo. Grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light and variable West to SW 5 to 15 knots, turning South to SE up to 10 to 15 knots in the afternoon.

Saturday
SW swell continues to settle. Choppy, onshore 3 to 5ft early, easing to 3 to 4ft along the exposed beaches during the day. Sets up to a clean 2 to 4ft along the Surf Coast reefs early, down to 2 to 3ft later. Otherwise grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: SE, 5 to 15 knots, tending variable, then SSE and freshening to 10 to 15 knots or more during the afternoon.

Sunday
Easing SW groundswell ranges from a slower 3 to 4ft along the exposed beaches, settling to 2 to 3ft during the afternoon. Wrapping at a slow 2 to 3ft along the Surf Coast reefs, fading in the afternoon. WIND: Early light E to NE 5 to 10 knots, tending to sea-breezes in the arvo.

By Sunday morning Victoria's exposed beaches will be back, as lighter NE winds greet a subsiding SW swell. Photo: Uploaded by Aidan.

By Sunday morning Victoria's exposed beaches will be back, as lighter NE winds greet a subsiding SW swell. Photo: Uploaded by Aidan.

Western Australia
It’s all looking a bit on the slow-side across the West Coast this weekend. A combination of small SW and WSW swells don’t hint at much more than very slow 2 to occasional 3ft sets along the most exposed areas on Friday and Saturday, and persistent SSE winds won’t be adding a whole lot of appeal to small swell. That pretty much leaves Sunday as your best bet for a few larger 3 to 4ft waves as a new round of SW swell moves in – this time under straighter offshore ESE winds throughout the morning.

Friday
Mix of smaller WSW and SSW swells. Southwest: Slow sets up to a clean 2ft+ along exposed breaks, otherwise more like 1 to 2ft elsewhere with size depending on exposure. Perth: Around 0.5 to 1ft. WIND: SSE 10 to 15 knots, tending South to SSW 15 to 20 knots later.

Saturday
Mix of new SW groundswell and slight WSW swell persist at low-levels. South West: Inconsistent sets around 1 to 3ft at the most exposed breaks, picking up a bit in the arvo. Grading to more like 1 to 2ft elsewhere with size depending on exposure. Perth/Mandurah: Virtually flat. WIND: SSE 10 to 20 knots, freshening into the afternoon.

Sunday
Potential for new, mid-period SSW swell. South West: Scope for sets ranging from 3 to 4ft across exposed breaks, grading to more like 2 to 3ft elsewhere with size depending on exposure. Perth/Mandurah: Clean in the 0.5 to 1ft range. WIND: ESE to SE 15 to 20 knots, tending SSE, Southerly and freshening later.

Sunday holds your best chances for a few clean 3 to 4fters across the Southwest this weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Bruce Ellis.

Sunday holds your best chances for a few clean 3 to 4fters across the Southwest this weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Bruce Ellis.

South Australia
A slow fading SSW swell continues to offer up good or even great surfing options along the South Coast on Friday morning, before conditions revert to something best described as run-of-the-mill this weekend. Still, there will be waves to be had, both on Saturday and Sunday, with the morning hours seeing the best of it under light winds.

Friday
Clean SSW swell slowly eases. South Coast: 3 to 4ft+ at Waits and Parsons, grading to 2 to 3ft+ around Middleton. Mid Coast: Sets around 1ft+. WIND: Early E to NE 5 to 15 knots, tending SSE and freshening in the afternoon.

Saturday
Settling SSW swell under light winds. South Coast: Sets around 3 to 4ft at Waits and Parsons, easing during the afternoon. Grading to a slower 2 to 3ft around Middleton, bumping up later. Mid Coast: Around 0.5 to 1ft. WIND: Early light ESE to SE 5 to 10 knots, then South and freshening during the day.

Sunday
Smaller SSW swell continues to fade under light winds. South Coast: Sets ranging from 2 to 3ft at Waits and Parsons, grading to 1 to 2ft+ around Middleton. Mid Coast: 0.5t. WIND: Early light and variable tending SSW 10 to 15 knots in the arvo.

The more exposed South Coast beaches might just show some form as the current run of SSW swell drops to lower levels into Friday and the weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Baby_EmmaWise.

The more exposed South Coast beaches might just show some form as the current run of SSW swell drops to lower levels into Friday and the weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Baby_EmmaWise.


Tags: Weekend Surf Forecast , Ben Macartney , Tropical Cyclone Oma (create Alert from these tags)

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