Victorian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 3rd February)
Best Days: Wed/Thurs: great waves east of Melbourne. Fri/Sat/Sun: building long range groundswell with surf just about everywhere. Next week: series of long range groundswells form Tues thru' Sun.
Recap: Plenty of surf all weekend with easterly winds creating very good conditions east of Melbourne. A blustery southerly change moved into Bass Strait this morning and it’s written off conditions locally with mainly small residual swells (and now a building local windswell).
This week (Feb 4-7)
We’ve got a strong SW groundswell expected in the water Tuesday, generated by a strong front that tracked close to the WA coast on Friday. Unfortunately, fresh and gusty SE winds will create poor/dicey conditions just about everywhere but there is a small window of opportunity possible for the East Coast in the afternoon as winds clock more around to the E/SE. However, keep your expectations low.
Wednesday will offer much better surf prospects for the open beaches east of Melbourne, with a general E’ly synoptic flow and an easing swell trend. Therefore, these coasts should be well worth the effort. Smaller surf again and offshore NE winds on Thursday will provide another good day at these spots but we’ll be back to the really small stuff by then.
As for the Surf Coast, Tuesday and Wednesday will suffer heavily under this SE tending gusty E’ly airstream. In fact our model is forecasting 3-4ft of E’ly windswell on Wednesday (that may offer some novelty rideable waves way along the Great Ocean Road) but overall most spots will be a write off.
Easing swells and NE winds on Thursday should deliver something of an improvement for the open beaches but really it’ll be a weak leftover windswell, and not worthy of a day off work.
Friday is where things get interesting for both coasts. A deep low pressure system currently well to the SW of West Oz is generating a solid swell that’s due to arrive in the early hours of Friday morning, and begin a building process into the afternoon. Winds are looking good at this stage we we’re likely to be under the influence of a weak trough of low pressure, which should lead to light variable winds (and hopefully weak sea breezes).
Such swells from this part of the swell window are usually very inconsistent, and this one probably won’t be much different - so you’ll need some patience at the more prominent surf breaks. At the moment our model is suggesting a peak in size in the early hours of Saturday morning but I still think we’ll see some decent sets throughout the afternoon on Friday around 3ft along the Surf Coast, and towards 4-6ft east of Melbourne.
In fact I reckon the models are slightly undercooking this swell - following the main development cycle of the primary low pressure system, an interesting secondary front is modelled to wrap around the (weakening) low on Wednesday and Thursday. As this fetch will be working on an already active sea state, it’s likely to maintain strong energy across the region for much of Saturday. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the odd 3-4ft set in Torquay any time between late Friday afternoon and Saturday afternoon (and I mean odd.. it could be 25-30 mins between these bigger sets). Same for the East Coast too - it’s not an unreasonable proposition for a few of the open beaches to dial in 6ft+ sets, five waves at a time every half hour or so. And with light winds on offer there should be good waves at most locations. So this time frame from Friday afternoon onwards is absolutely worth working around. Let's just see how Wednesday's updated forecast is looking with regards to the winds.
This weekend (Feb 8-9)
So now that I’ve just gone into detail about Saturday (above), I’ll finish off the weekend forecast by noting that Sunday will be on the backside of this swell event, and should see similarly light variable winds (probably early NE) under the influence of the same weak trough. Well worth your attention both days. Get cracking.
Next week (Feb 10 onwards)
Yep, lots of swell due next week. The Southern Ocean looks like it’ll become really, really active with a series of back-to-back polar lows embedded within a broad and sustained westerly pattern in the furious fifties. This really is shaping up to be a classic summer pattern of waves arriving from around Tuesday next week and pulsing through until the following weekend.. with plenty of size for all coasts (including the Surf Coast). The only caveat is the local winds, but we’ll fine tune that in more detail on Wednesday’s and Friday’s forecast. Either way, it’s a great time to consider hitting the road in search of pumping waves.