Victorian Surf Forecast (issued Friday 7th February)

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thermalben started the topic in Friday, 7 Feb 2014 at 4:04pm

Victorian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 7th February)

Best Days: Saturday: fun waves west of Melbourne, better surf east of Melbourne in the a'noon. Wed/Thurs: great, sizeable waves east of Melbourne with offshore winds.

Recap: Small waves on Thursday with a combo of leftover SE windswell and tiny SW groundswell. But, the open beaches had a few peaky waves. A new long period swell started to building this morning, but unfortunately an onshore change associated with a weak trough pushed through several hours earlier than expected (early morning, instead of lunchtime) which has significantly lowered the incentive to hunt down a rideable wave this afternoon as the swell continues to build.  

This weekend (Feb 8-9)

Saturday is your day. The new swell building at the moment is expected to persist right through Saturday, thanks to a series of secondary fronts that wrapped around the primary swell generating low, earlier in the week.

However, the large distance between the swell source and the mainland will make for very inconsistent set waves at times, so you’ll have to be patient. Size wise we’re looking at set waves in the 2-3ft+ range along the Surf Coast (marginally bigger along the Bellarine), and 4-6ft east of Melbourne.  

Wind wise, we’re really not expecting any synoptic influence until late in the day, so we’ll probably see light and variable conditions (note: ‘variable’ also means a possibility that these winds will be onshore). Early morning there’ll probably still be some leftover lumpiness from today’s onshore change but it should improve all morning. After lunchtime we may see an easterly tendency crop up and this will only do good things east of Melbourne (however may cause some problems west of Melbourne). 

So, in short - if you’re looking to surf west of Melbourne, aim for an early surf. If you’re looking to surf east of Melbourne, enjoy a leisurely sleep in and aim for the arvo session.

As for Sunday, we’ve got a deepening low expected to form west of Tasmania in the early hours of the morning. This is expected to push a gusty, gale force W’ly tending W/SW then SW change across Bass Strait. The timing of this change is a little unsure, but most model guidance suggests sometime mid-morning. We’ll see strengthening N’ly winds prior to that but it’ll be a brief window, if it appears at all - so keep your expectations low for any quality surf.

Swell wise, we’ll be on the backside of Saturday’s event so expect small surf in Torquay (ahead of a late arvo increase in short range bumpy windswell), and slightly bigger surf east or Melbourne (perhaps 3-4ft open beaches).

Next week (Feb 10-14)

Sunday’s low looks pretty impressive on the synoptic charts but really, it’s only expected to occupy Victoria’s swell window for a brief period (its early development will be focused into SA, and once it slips south of Bass Strait all swell energy will be aimed towards New Zealand). So, there’s no great expectations for anything amazing to pad out the start of the new week. We’ll see some lumpy leftover surf in Torquay around 3ft on Monday but lingering southerly winds will take the sheen off things. 

Beyond this, and we’ve got some great surf on target for the middle to latter part of next week - however current model guidance suggests we’ll see persistent E/NE winds (as is common for this time of year) thanks to a near-stationary high pressure system south-east of Tasmania and a broad, complex low pressure trough across much of the mainland.  So, this will cause many great problems in Torquay but will provide unreal conditions to the open beaches east of Melbourne.

As for swell prospects, an intense polar low is developing south of Heard Island at the moment, and its expected to track slowly towards Australian waters over the coming days. A series of secondary fronts wrapping around the low will building upon the pre-existing sea state, of which the leading edge of the first swell is due to arrive sometime around lunch/early afternoon on Tuesday (peak periods of 18-19 seconds).

We should see a corresponding increase in new swell very late in the day across central Vicco beaches, however the biggest and best waves will occur on Wednesday and Thursday as the bulk energy moves through the region. Gut feel right now is that our swell model is under calling wave heights, and the Peninsula could see set waves as high as 6ft, maybe even the odd 8ft bomb at times (although it’ll be very, very inconsistent due to the enormous travel distance). Torquay will see much smaller surf (3-4ft sets) but at this stage it looks like the easterly winds will kick it in the guts.

Anyway, let’s take another pass on this in Monday’s notes when we should have a better idea as to the local airstream next week. But right now Wed/Thurs are looking pretty good for some quality summer groundswell in Vicco.