Im in Vicco (phillip island) and don't ever recall a summer where we have had so much swell, does anyone else?
It actually kind of sucks as beachies more often than not have been too big (just close outs with,washing machine reforms if lucky) banks also haven't really formed up with smaller swells as they normally should, currently beachies are huge and im sure once it calms down again any banks we had will be gone.
So all you city surfers, please don't bother coming down the island cause banks are going to be crap :P
Sure it means with all this swell the reefs have been breaking, but this time of year crowds are just out of control.
Hows your local been?
I'll make a big call.....the Mid Coast of Adelaide has had the best late spring/summer in living memory...! Almost like living at a real surf spot
Have to agree with the comments above. Been heaps of swell this summer. Today was absolutely pumping 6 to 8 foot. Got to surf my 7'4" again. The buoys were reading 12 metres on the islands out to sea from here! Normally we only get these types of swells in winter but hey I'll take it;)
Indo I'm on the mornington peninsula and it has been a pretty dismal summer over here too. Hardly any banks and so many southerlies. Although today was pumping at you know where.. Except the 50+ guys all scratching around.
ha ha..yeah i know where, funny how we still don't like to be the ones who name these spots even though every man and there dog knows about them these days.
Yeah your right Indo! 3 jet skis and 2 boats were on there way out too tassie this arvo while there owners were surfing until a couple of boats went and grabbed them! Pretty hectic to say the least! But such an epic wave that every one wants a piece of it, which is understandable.
I recall a feb/march that had non stop swell, consistently straight swell, don't ask me when at a guess I would say 15 years ago. I have had some surfs lately on the reefs I would normally surf in winter, that's what i love about this place , there is no good or bad season it just happens when it happens, I had the best spring in many years last year.
50 out is pretty normal these days isn't it for a sunday, got great memories of that place.
A lot of swell going past us on the Surfcoast,so not as big as PI, but I do agree about the beachies. Many flounder in the lineups on the reefs too.Still you have to say it hasn't been bad when you can surf your local reef pre-dawn, midweek with just another couple of regulars.Pick your days and your spots.
Yeah you guys have proper reef breaks though so a summer with swell would be pretty good over there apart from the onshores.
I shouldn't winge about our second rate reefs on the island, i took a drive down past wonthaggi the other day and it reminded me how lucky we really are as most of there reefs are barely waves.
I, I had the best spring in many years last year.
Yeah spring is normally not so great, but spring just went was pretty good here also, few good banks and light winds
Surfed the Island yesterday with the full summer/RDO/tradie not working crew. Good swell & waves but its was very busy and was it worth the 3 hr return drive? That end of the Island has always been busy but yesterday was out of control.
There is a lot of talk that this is the worse summer yet (the last 3 have been real bad in Vicco). I know of blokes that have hit the road and driven up to NSW and they didn't score good waves either. One bloke got one shitty surf north of Sydney!
I also remember good summers with good swell after good swell with lots of banks.
Thinking it might be worth going o/s for a trip next year just to get some waves.
Agreed there's been some swells this summer reminiscent of something expected a bit later in the year. On Sunday the Cape du Couedic wave buoy showed a maximum wave height of 12m! (if im reading it right) and as YS said earlier it was big on Sunday. Just a question for Craig/Ben etc how do a find out swell direction when checking forecasts or even past observations? as i gather this buoy only gives wave height & period. Cheers.
Hi Charles-Barkley, it's a real bummer but the Cape du Couedic and Cape Sorell wave buoys don't provide direction and it's kind of understandable as in general it will only change from W/SW to SW to S/SW.
But in surfers terms, especially around the Adelaide Mid Coast and Yorke Peninsula, swell direction is everything and to have a grip of whether the swell is more west than south-west would be very handy.
In the near future we'll have a forecast product which will provide the direction of the incoming swells.
Thanks Craig! Im further west and yeah if the swell is just SW then all that matters is the size, period, tide wind haha but if theres significantly more west or more south then it'll change things - especially at that size! Mind you the south easterly on the weekend kept the options limited. Back on topic the swells have been there and the SE breezes are ok but im still amping for the coming Autumn Winter. This weekend looks a lot calmer but everyone needs a good fishing day now and then.
From what i heard . ( note i didn't actually score , too busy ) there was a two to three week period where simultaneously on seperate coasts there was some " alltime - best they get " banks which in one instance chinese whispers ruined with a swathe of followers . But the other spat out SOLID barrels for atleast 3 days straight . both were ruined by one of the previously mentioned " reef days " swell / gale that followed a change .
Not that i would know , as many others reefs have been the only only option on the limited opportunities I've had .
Note well , no doubt the Interior heat waves and an over abundance of either early sea breezes, SSE trough / inland low alignments have produced what al, of the above are complaining about ....
BUT all is not lost , we ( the entire continent ) are currently surrounded by fairly well above average SST's . Hopefully spelling an earlier start to land breezes in Autumn , and stormy still days March onwards .
All else fails , do what i've done and treat ya self to a WA reunion .... PUMPIN' over there much . and the Leeuwin looks strong . boardies anyone ?
PS . quit ya whingin', ya' all sound like Qld'ers in typical Octobers ( wave drought ) .
Anyway the footy ( the real " non shirt liftin " type ) starts soon , may thin the crowds a little .
I've also noticed while forecasting that the South Australian region in particular has been a lot more active the last few months than is the norm for this time of year and after a little investigation I came across these charts.
This first one I believe shows the average wave height for the Southern Hemipshere (SH) over the last 10 days (top image), 30 days (middle image) and 90 days (bottom image).
You can see that across the whole SH that the largest wave heights over the last 10-90 days have generally been south of WA and the Great Australian Bight and aimed towards the south-east of Australia, with the region off Chile also showing increased activity.
This second chart shows the wind anomalies over the last 10, 30 and 90 days, which is basically the difference in wind strength above the long time average.
If we focus on the 30 day average (middle chart), again we can see that to the south of WA and the Bight, that the storm track has been more active than normal, and this is one of the prime areas for swell production across Southern Australia.
Here's my call on the mid this summer:Bloody consistent,back to back 1-2ft.swells with several days pushing 3ft.on the incoming but unfortunately no really epic days like the week before last Easter when some were calling it solid 4ft.glass.For instance last weekend 6-8 at Yorkes but the magic mid struggled to reach 2+1/2ft.with a slow tide. In my humble opinion the swells haven't had quite enough west in them for the mid to be all time.Best mid in living memory is a huge call.From my living room I can see half the mid so I don't miss much.(apart from 2 weeks over west at xmas)Still I'm not whinging its been a great run of clean little swells and sure beats driving down south for a fix.
The mid is the W swell direction indicator
The mid is often too shallow with summer tides for goood swell penetration, no problem elsewhere
A solid summer swell is a beautiful thing, good score
Sorry Shralpz, but the difference between tides during Summer and Winter is only 0.5m if that (if I remember correctly), and this relatively tiny increase in water depth through the Gulf would make a near negligent affect on the incoming swells.
Swell period would play a greater affect as the larger the period, the deeper the swell "feels" with more energy loss seen due to friction with the ocean floor.
Hi craig, perhaps you can enlighten me on why the swell on the mid always seems to die before the tide peaks at over about 2.6m . Is it because the tide is already flushing back out through Backstairs Passage before reaching its peak on the coast? Or perhaps most reefs get too deep for the waves to feel the bottom properly and vital feeder reefs lose their effect? Triggs and Hump are classic examples of this phenomenon.So where do the swells go?
@ craig//are you saying the larger the period the more energy loss? In winter you can have the same tide heights but there seems to be more water around various reefs/beachies..ie when it says .5 it can be more like 1.0.. I agree with shralpz at this point. When we have winter swells, there 'feels' a deeper energy being created..a more violent, powerul energy that you dont get in summer giving more water? At a difference at 0.5m..I would've thought that would make a HUGE difference in open ocean swells.
Don't string me up if I'm wrong but I'll have a dig at why all of the Above happens in the southern end of Spencer and more so the St Vincent Gulfs .
As Craig says , the longer periods feel the bottom earlier / deeper out to sea . Now longer periods don't always signal larger more powerful swells . Often , especially in Summer the swell origination point is further away due to blocking highs or further south WSW gales . And hence you may see deteriating long period swells march in unabated , unenhanced or unaltered by nearer strong winds .
The other effects in winter to consider would be that Swells would most doubtly especially if its a long distant swell enhanced by a local feature that the local ( nearby storm winds , directing or capturing the longer distant swells and altering or enhancing the power ) , will in most cases lower the net wave energy period but more importantly contribute to a local focused and heightened Storm surge tide . And even further to this , if the immediately local Atmospheric Pressure is quite low then this is another ingredient to higher tides ontop of the astrinomical tides .
Another effect a little less obvious and confused by the passage / interuption of KI , and tyhe lengths of the Gulfs themselves is that in open water tidal Bulges travel east-west ( against the general flow of swell energy from the W-WSW ) .
I've mentioned this elsewhere before to deaf ears , so i won't go any further . But the tidal movement is something for everyone to think about .
Obviously the first two are probably more Prominent .
Old-dog I think that it's simply that there's too much water over the reefs and beaches, and the swell's still there but it just ends up as shore breaks.
Also the pulse you see on the incoming tide helped by the water pushing into the gulf looses its affect towards the top of the tide, so this may also be a factor in the swell "appearing to disappear."
Barley, Southey has answered a couple of your questions pretty well regarding larger period swells feeling the ocean floor earlier and to greater depths than lower period swells, the affects of a local storm causing surging or even a 'coastal trapped wave' (cause for further discussion), and the inverse barometer effect which sees the ocean level rise under lower atmospheric pressure.
An interest between us at Swellnet is the effect period has on the Mid.
Taking the basic theory in that larger period swells contain more energy deeper into the water column and hence 'feel' the ocean bottom at greater depths. A swell of 15 second period will feel the bottom at 175m, while a 17 second swell will feel the bottom at 225m. A 10 second period swell only feels down to 78m.
So say we have a 17 second swell entering the shelf break off the SA coast (200m depth) and then moving through Investigator Strait which has an average depth of 34m. The 17s swell which feels down to 225m will start to lose energy as it hits the shelf break due to it being shallower at 200m, hence falling under frictional effects. It will then continue to lose energy all the way through Investigator Stait until it hits the Mid.
If we have a 10 second swell though which only feels down to 78m, it won't lose any energy while crossing across the deeper shelf break and only see energy loss due to bottom friction once it approaches the entrance to Investigator Strait.
That's why we have a theory that lower mid-period W/SW swell events perform better than those long-period W/SW groundswell events due to above factors. This is just a general thought as I've also seen some large 18 period swells perform outstandingly on the Mid, but most cases those 11-13 second swells seem to go the best.
Also with the notion that the gulf is more active and full of energy through winter, that would probably related to it being the active swell season, with front after front causing continuous swell activity instead of one single swell event every week or two as per summer months.