Weekend Surf Forecast 22 - 24 March 2019

21 Mar 2019 0 Share

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

COASTALWATCH | WEEKEND SURF FORECAST

Issued Thursday, 21 March 2019

Going on recent computer modelling, the inexorable cooling of the southern hemisphere throughout the first month of autumn is starting to translate into some major swell-potential throughout Australian longitudes. Initially this applies to the southern states early to mid-next week, but there are also some tentative signs we’ll see something significant across the East Coast.

In the near-term, however, conditions continue to look pretty tame around the country this weekend. Across the Eastern Seaboard we have a minor increase in easterly swell on the radar that looks like pushing wave heights up from their current, tiny levels, to something that qualifies as small but fun all weekend. That sweeping statement pretty well applies to both Sydney and the South Coast as well as northern NSW and southern Queensland coasts, with Friday and Saturday showing peak size.

Further south, there’s a major, winter-scale swell-event brewing for both South Australian and Victorian coasts early to mid next week. Prior to its arrival there will still be plenty of fun to be had across all exposed south and southwest facing beaches – so if you’ve been enjoying your local sand set-ups, it’s probably worth making the most of it before they get washed away mid next week. Last but not least, a solid run of SSW across the West Coast is marred by strong SSE winds; making for a full weekend of wind-affected options across exposed coasts.

The southern hemisphere is cooling, but the water is still warm as. Photo: Uploaded to CW by RG.

The southern hemisphere is cooling, but the water is still warm as. Photo: Uploaded to CW by RG.

Sydney, Newcastle and the South Coast.
A modest, bust still very welcome upswing in Easterly swell should see a notable improvement in conditions over the next few days; arriving at bonafide 2 to 3ft across the region’s more exposed open breaks under mostly favourable winds. The peak of this event looks like straddling both Friday and Saturday, before starting to fade away again throughout Sunday. As far as surface quality goes, early westerly to NW winds on Saturday and Sunday mornings are likely to see the best of it before onshores develop in the afternoons.

Friday
Potential for larger Easterly swell. Sets ranging from 2 to 3ft exposed beaches, inconsistent in the upper range and grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early SSW to South 5 to 10 knots, tending light ESE to ENE later.

Saturday
Inconsistent Easterly swell. Sets up to a slow 2 to 3ft at the most exposed beaches early, otherwise smaller elsewhere and fading in the afternoon. WIND: WNW to NW 5 to 10 knots, tending North, then NNE 10 to 15 knots during the afternoon.

Sunday
Long-range Easterly swell fills in. Up to a slow 2ft and occasionally bigger across exposed breaks, otherwise between 1 and 2ft elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light WNW to Westerly, shifting South to SE 10 to 15 knots later.

One of these fine autumn days the NSW coast is sure to light up. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Dan Bielich.

One of these fine autumn days the NSW coast is sure to light up. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Dan Bielich.

Queensland and Far Northern NSW
In the context of this week’s extended run of tiny ESE swell, a minor rise in Easterly swell into the 2 to 3ft range sounds pretty good. Still, it’s the kind of swell that looks closer to 2ft than three – so if you keep your expectations in check you might just have a bit of fun. Small waves aside, surface conditions are looking good under early light offshore breezes, tending to moderate north to nor-easters in the afternoons.

Friday
E tradewind swell up to an inconsistent 2ft+ exposed coasts, wrapping at lower levels inside the points and bays with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light WSW to SSW, tending SE to East around 10 knots in the afternoon.

Saturday
Long range Easterly tradewind swell up to a slow 2 to 3ft across the most exposed coasts, grading smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. WIND: Early light WSW to WNW land-breezes, tending variable, then Northerly to NNE around 10 to 15 knots in the afternoon.

Sunday
Long-range Easterly swell continues at a slow 2 to 3ft at the most exposed coasts, grading to more like 2ft elsewhere and smaller along the points and inside the bays. WIND: Early light WNW to NW 5 to 15 knots, tending Northerly, NNE around 10 to 15 knots.

Come on Huey, bring us another cyclone! Photo: Uploaded to CW by bisurfphotos.

Come on Huey, bring us another cyclone! Photo: Uploaded to CW by bisurfphotos.

Victoria
While strong ESE winds continue to take the edge off wave-quality across the state on Friday, it looks like there will be plenty of fun to be had along the exposed beaches this weekend. A gradual reorientation in wind-direction to ENE/NE should open up clean, offshore 3 to 4ft conditions on Saturday, with scope for smaller but still good conditions across the region on Sunday.

Friday
New SW groundswell builds in. Probably undersized at a cross-shore 2 to 3ft along the exposed beaches early, building to 3 to 4ft during the afternoon. Mixing with short-period ESE windswell at a junky, windblown 1 to 2ft+ across the Surf Coast, bigger later. WIND: Early Easterly, tending ESE 15 to 25 knots.

Saturday
Easing SW swell. Sets up to a clean 3 to 4ft+ along the exposed beaches, while wrapping at a slow 2 to 3ft along the Surf Coast reefs early, otherwise smaller elsewhere and easing later. WIND: Early ENE to NE 10 to 15 knots, tending variable ahead of a strong SW change 15 to 25 knots during the late afternoon.

Sunday
SW swell drops to about 2 to 3ft+ along the exposed beaches, easing in the arvo. Wrapping at about 2ft along the Surf Coast reefs, smaller in the afternoon. WIND: Early light WNW, turning NNW to NE 5 to 15 knots in the afternoon.

Exposed Victorian coasts will have their moments this weekend. Photo: Digby Ayton.

Exposed Victorian coasts will have their moments this weekend. Photo: Digby Ayton.

Western Australia
The fact that there’s no shortage of swell on-tap across the region looks pretty undisputable this weekend. But conditions aren’t looking flash. Strong SSE winds will be clamping down on surface quality along the exposed coasts from the outset on Friday and Saturday mornings – and at this stage Sunday isn’t looking ay better, with early southerly to SSE winds offering little respite all day. That’s likely to leave the sheltered spots as the pick – particularly as a new round of SSW swell comes up on Sunday.

Friday
Easing SW groundswell settles under fresh offshore SSE winds. South West: Semi-clean sets in the 4 to 5ft range at exposed breaks early, settling to 3 to 4ft in the arvo. Perth/Mandurah: Around 1ft. WIND: SE to SSE 15 to 25 knots, tending Southerly and freshening to 20 to 30 knots in the afternoon.

Saturday
Renewed SSW swell. South West: Speculatively 3 to 5ft at the most exposed breaks, building to 4 to 6ft during the day. Perth/Mandurah: About 1ft. WIND: SE/SSE 15 to 20 knots, turning Southerly in the afternoon.

Sunday
Good potential for larger SSW groundswell rising under strong ESE, SE winds. South West: Scope for 4 to 6ft+ sets early, building towards 5 to 8ft across exposed breaks in the arvo - otherwise smaller elsewhere with size depending on exposure. Perth/Mandurah: Clean in the 1 to 2ft range. WIND: Southerly 15 to 20 knots, tending SSE and freshening later.

Persistent and strong SSE to southerly winds will detract from this kind of shine across the Southwest this weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Malua Matt.

Persistent and strong SSE to southerly winds will detract from this kind of shine across the Southwest this weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Malua Matt.

South Australia
Thursday’s cruel onshore southerly winds are set to endure for another 24 hours or so, before finally giving way to fresh westerly quarter breezes this weekend. That mean a bit improvement in wave-quality across the South Coast will come just in time; opening up good conditions as a new round of SSW swell builds in on Saturday, before slowly easing again throughout Sunday.

Friday
New SSW groundswell picks up under freshening southerly winds. South Coast: Sets around 2ft+ at Waits and Parsons, grading to 1 to 2ft at Middleton, picking up a foot or so in the arvo. Mid Coast: Around 0.5ft. WIND: SE, SSE, 15 to 20 knots, tending South in the arvo.

Saturday
Easing SSW swell under light winds. South Coast: Clean sets around 3 to 4ft+ at Waits and Parsons, backing off during the afternoon. Grading to 2 to 3ft around Middleton. Mid Coast: Around 0.5 to 1ft. WIND: Westerly 10 to 15 knots, tending SW later.

Sunday
SSW swell levels off under early light offshore winds. South Coast: Clean sets ranging from 2 to 4ft at Waits and Parsons, grading to a slow 2ft+ around Middleton. Mid Coast: About 0.5ft. WIND: Early light and variable land-breezes 5 to 10 knots, tending West to NW 10 to 20 knots in the arvo.

The South Coast will reopen for surfing business as winds swing to the west this weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Treeksea.

The South Coast will reopen for surfing business as winds swing to the west this weekend. Photo: Uploaded to CW by Treeksea.


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