Forecast: Margaret River Pro
The Aussie leg of the CT has been spluttering along but it's not for a lack of good surf. Kirra pumped for one day, Bells too, and now we cast our eyes west and wonder what the Margaret River Pro has in store. Will the powerful south-west swells arrive on time? Will John John - or any of the pros - replicate the champ's sublime performance at Main Break last year?
It's been a prolonged summer in the west with mild to hot temperatures persisting well into autumn along with fun swells for the Margaret River region. The swell from TC Marcus was a great one day wonder, but we're now seeing a shift in weather patterns to something more typical of the season.
The Margaret River Pro waiting period kicks off tomorrow, but we're not likely to see any competition run until the weekend owing to persistent onshore winds across the South West of the state.
Later in the week large surf will develop across the region, generated by a vigorous low that's currently located near Heard Island (half way between South Africa and Australia).
It's worth breaking down the specifics of this storm as there are two distinct phases: on Friday there'll be relatively weaker groundswell energy with more south in it, while on Saturday less consistent but stronger long-period energy is due to make landfall.
Two days ago (on Sunday the 8th), a deep and powerful low formed south-east of South Africa, generating a fetch of severe-gale (40-50kt) west-southwest winds from the far reaches of Margaret River's swell window. This is the source of Saturday's inconsistent and more westerly groundswell.
This low has since been tracking south-east and over the coming days will quickly swing back up towards Western Australia while producing a fetch of weaker south-west gales. Friday's (relatively) weaker and more SW swell is the product of this secondary intensification.
On Friday, we should see sets building to 8ft across exposed breaks under gusty, onshore south-southwest winds. We may see winds tend S/SE late, favouring North Point but this swell is borderline both in size and direction.
On Saturday, the less consistent long-period groundswell energy is expected to come in at 10ft (with the odd bigger cleanup likely) at exposed spots, easing slowly through the day and with a more favourable south-southeast wind blowing through the morning. This swell will be slightly better aligned for North Point, however the WSL will have to factor in inconsistency and the easing trend. They'll be watching this day very closely.
Consider that last year's decamp to North Point was only salvaged by one ride, Seabass' 10-pointer. That may give them the confidence to roll the dice again, especially considering that, should the gamble fail, there are a number of good Main Break days to follow.
Sunday should see easing surf from 6ft to occasional 8ft range at Main Break with a morning south-east wind ahead of afternoon sea breezes. However, it'll be much cleaner Monday with an easterly offshore but smaller surf back to 4-5ft.
Tuesday will be clean again as winds swing more east-northeast and there's the possibility of a reinforcing south-southwest groundswell to 4-5ft.
The second half of the waiting period will provide plenty more potential for good surf as a series of strong storms develop in the middle of the southern Indian Ocean producing large W/SW groundswell energy late next week as a strong high sitting off the West Oz coast provides favourable offshore winds.
Keep an eye on the comments section below for running updates on this dynamic forecast period.