South Australian Surf Forecast (issued Wednesday 5th February)

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thermalben started the topic in Wednesday, 5 Feb 2014 at 10:02pm

South Australian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 5th February)

Best Days: Outside chance for very late Thurs, otherwise Fri/Sat: small clean waves on the Mid. Late Tues/Wed/Thurs: small clean waves on the Mid. Victor looks OK Saturday and possibly early Sunday.

Recap: Strong SE winds ironed out a tiny swell on the Mid Coast on Tuesday, whilst creating the usual summer junkfest down south. Victor saw light E’ly winds this morning before fresh S’lies kicked in around noon, whilst the Mid Coast dished up some impressive gully winds first up (gusting 31kts at 4am!) before backing off mid-morning and swinging to a light sea breeze in the afternoon, followed by a moderate land breeze a few hours before sundown. All of this with little swell in the gulf and small average leftovers at Victor - a very typical summer day of waves on the Fleurieu Peninsula.  

This week (Feb 6-7)

Nothing of major interest for Thursday. With no new swell expected until late in the day, the Mid Coast will remain tiny to flat for the most part. Light to moderate onshore winds down south (possibly variable at dawn) should offer a few peaky waves for the morning session but it’s not worth a drive from Adelaide.

Sometime around early afternoon Thursday, we should start to see some new long period groundswell (Tp 16-18 secs) register at the Cape du Couedic buoy, generated by a deep low pressure system located well to the SW of WA over the latter part of the weekend and early this week.

However, the bulk of the swell is not due to kick in until overnight Thursday, before padding out much of Friday with a fun round of (inconsistent) summer swell. Late Thursday afternoon may see some very distinct lines of new swell on the Mid Coast, but it’s hard to be confident whether we’ll see much size before the sun goes down. Estimating the time between the leading edge and the ‘surfable’ part of the swell is difficult, but for this particular low pressure system it’s likely to be a five or six hour translation. So, if the buoy picks up the new swell earlier than noon, we could be in luck for an OK late session. If it doesn’t register the leading edge until after 3pm, our chances of a few late lines will be greatly reduced. Keep an eye on the South Port surfcam and pounce accordingly.

Victor should also see some new lines late in the day (the overall swell direction will be mainly SW, which should be OK for both coasts) - but it won’t be of a size range to greatly concern yourself with down south - especially if winds are onshore around this time, as they’re expected to be.

Friday’s looking average at Victor with the same pattern of early light variable winds (following moderate onshores all night), tending SE during the day. So, lumpy at best in the morning, and choppy into the afternoon. We’ll see new swell but it’ll probably hover in that size range where it’s too big for Waits and Goolwa, too small for the Dump/Chiton, and therefore only of any value to Middleton.

The Mid Coast on the other hand, could dish up some fun little peelers for the grommets, and owners of high volume grovel boards. The low responsible for this swell wasn’t anything outstanding, however a series of secondary fronts wrapped around (and are still wrapping around) the remnants of the former primary low. Such a synoptic pattern is more conducive to a penetrable groundswell for the Mid Coast, as the longer duration of the fetch results in a broader spread of swell periods which seem to push through the gulf a little better.

That being said, no great size is expected and we’ll really need some assistance from the tail push to make things happen - wave heights should maintain 1ft or maybe 2ft tops on the more favourable parts of the tide, and with some luck the afternoon sea breeze will give way to a late land breeze like we saw today. As per usual, monitor the trend via the surfcam and start making decisions as the tide swings.

This weekend (Feb 8-9)

Saturday looks OK for the most part. We’ll see small residual energy from Friday in the water, very inconsistent at times but with set waves between 1ft and occasionally 2ft if we're super lucky (expect long breaks between sets). Light offshore winds and sea breezes should create clean conditions overall. Down south, similarly light morning winds will accompany a steady SW groundswell that’ll again probably be slightly too big west of Victor but too small for close to Victor (so again, Middleton beckons). Regardless you’ll find waves on Saturday without too much trouble.

A gusty onshore change will then envelop the coast overnight Saturday, but quickly clear to the east for Sunday. The fetch associated with this front is looking to be reasonably well positioned for a shot of new swell into the gulf, but it probably won’t arrive until the afternoon. This is probably a good thing as onshore winds will ease all day and should become more manageable by the afternoon. Expect a few 2ft sets on the Mid for the late session.

Don’t expect much down south on Sunday except a moderate-sized bumpy swell best suited to your favourite Middleton A-frame. If you want to glean a positive, we do have (1) a chance for an early W/NW wind in and around Victor and (2) a reasonable chance for a late pulse of bigger waves (once the low pushes under Kangaroo Island and into Victor’s proper swell window) however winds will certainly be SW by the time the swell kicks into gear. On the whole, aim for the Mid and be content with the shorter driving distance (unless you live down south, in which case it’s hard to split the difference).

Next week (Feb 10 onwards)

Next week looks bloody unreal for South Oz, right across the state. We’re looking at the development of an extended series of deep polar lows, that are expected to occupy the waters between 60E and 120E between this Friday and next Tuesday. A conveyor belt of fronts wrapping around these lows are expected to push a reasonable distance north - to around 42S or thereabouts - and the resulting swell(s) should provide quality waves across the region for several days. Also adding to the good forecast is a ridge of high pressure that’s expected to (typical of this time of year) anchor itself across the Bight, directing moderate SE winds to most coasts.

So,  the leading edge of the first swell is due to make landfall sometime during the middle of the day on Tuesday. We’ll probably see a late kick in size at most locations, with Wednesday and Thursday likely to see really good waves (as per usual, peg your expectations back for the Mid Coast but occasional 2ft sets are a reasonable possibility - I’m just concerned that the swell may have a smidge more south in direction than is optimal for the Mid). Friday will likely see the tail end of this episode but we’ll re-evaluate all of this in more detail in Friday’s notes.