Split EnZed as Cloudbreak and Teahupoo trade swells

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Analysis

Australians can find lots of reasons to shake their fists at New Zealand. Whether it be the Bledisloe Cup, cricket, netball, whatever the sport, the passion between the neighbouring countries always runs high.

Yet Australian surfers, specifically those on the East Coast, have another reason to curse EnZed, not at the people per se, but at its inconvenient location. You see, The Land of the Long White Cloud is like a barrier island limiting the potential in our east and south-east swell windows.

A classic example of this occurred a fortnight ago when a low pressure system set up camp in the South Pacific sending a large and long-lasting swell westwards across the ocean. Australia’s East Coast would’ve been bathed in 15 feet of long-period east swell…if it wasn't for New Zealand intercepting the pass.

The MSLP chart from 22nd July shows an impressive array of isobars directing wind towards Australia, though it was New Zealand that got the bulk of the swell

Right now, a similar pattern is occurring, however it’s not Australia missing out as New Zealand once again gets in the road.

For the last four days a very broad, intense, and slow-moving storm has crossed the southern end of the Tasman Sea, a system that Swellnet forecaster Ben Matson said was “probably the strongest mid-latitude system I have seen in the Tasman Sea for many, many years.''

The system spawned multiple fronts, each of them spiking the swell size amongst the steady diet of south swell hitting Australia’s East Coast.

The strongest progression began last Friday with a core of 50-60 knot winds aimed north-east up the Tasman Sea lashing the west coast of New Zealand with 15-20 ft of swell and ruthless south-westerly winds.

The swell won’t really blossom till it hits Fiji later today with Cloudbreak expecting sets in the 12ft range. However, further east, Tahiti will lie in NZ’s swell shadow and only build to around 8ft from the same swell, peaking on Tuesday.

Aron Cox, Teahupoo (Tim Bonython)

Meanwhile, back down in the southern Tasman Sea, the storm kept tracking east and it reintensified late yesterday south-west of New Zealand’s South Island, with the swell from this progression expected to hit Teahupoo with much more vigour on Thursday, building into the 10ft range. It continues Teahupoo's exceptional season of waves, a run that is forecast to continue.

Yet in a reverse situation to the previous swell, it will be Cloudbreak’s turn to partially lie within NZ’s swell shadow, hence only expecting around 10ft of swell on Wednesday.

Wave height chart from Sunday 4th August showing an established swell heading towards Fiji as the storm reintensifies building another swell for Tahiti

Rarely do both South Pacific waves, Cloudbreak and Teahupoo, receive significant swells from the same weather system as they lie on opposite sides of New Zealand. However, the sheer size and duration of the storm is providing swell for each.

Over the next few days, both Cloudbreak and Teahupoo will lose some swell size due to shadowing, but each wave will also receive a large, unobstructed swell, so who is it that will be shaking their fists at New Zealand this time around?

Well, as this chain of events is unfolding, with 12ft swells to the east and to the west, both Tonga and Samoa, each of whom lie between Fiji and Tahiti and therefore wholly within NZ’s swell shadow, will only see stray 8ft sets as the refracted swells lose their size.

Swellnet's Cloudbreak forecast chart
Swellnet's Teahupoo forecast chart

Comments

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Monday, 5 Aug 2019 at 12:11pm

alright, so its official: NZ is a curse.

gray's picture
gray's picture
gray commented Monday, 5 Aug 2019 at 12:48pm

Not far wrong, esp. given those on the lower half / south coast of the North Island also consider the whole of the South Island as a curse, given the blocking effect of swells to them...hopefully it all goes under with the next big earthquake! ;-)

Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone commented Monday, 5 Aug 2019 at 12:24pm

What would happen if the East Coast, more so the Northern end got 15 foots swells. Wouldnt it be bank buster after bank buster or whatever you call them?

I am the bone

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Monday, 5 Aug 2019 at 12:41pm

nope.

it's short period storm surf that does the most damage.

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Tuesday, 6 Aug 2019 at 3:16pm

So when you say short period that can also mean giant size? I think Nick can vouch that on the MP if we get 10+ foot onshore surf you would have no idea what bank will be left after it. Any massive swell with an onshore is going to rip the crap out of the bottom.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Tuesday, 6 Aug 2019 at 9:30am

Go spend a year or more in Chile.
Your theory would be proven correct.

dazzler's picture
dazzler's picture
dazzler commented Monday, 5 Aug 2019 at 12:29pm

2 of my mates are on Tavarau this week. What size would Cloudbreak be today?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 5 Aug 2019 at 12:38pm

Should be really big.. maybe 10-12ft+ though ASCAT shows a mod/fresh SE breeze so Restaurants would be cooking. 

Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython commented Monday, 5 Aug 2019 at 5:04pm

Maybe too big for Restaurants. And with those strong South East Winds is the reason I didnt go.

mick-free's picture
mick-free's picture
mick-free commented Monday, 5 Aug 2019 at 5:27pm

Swell was wonky this morning and big tides. Looks perfect for winds Wednesday at peak though Tim according to EC for Cloudbreak.

East coast NZ shits all over East coast Oz. Waves 6 out of 7 days compared to 3-4 out of 7. The exception being NE NZ.

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

dazzler's picture
dazzler's picture
dazzler commented Tuesday, 6 Aug 2019 at 4:09pm

Havent heard from the boys. I'm thinking they are too busy getting waves & drinking Fiji Bitter.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Monday, 5 Aug 2019 at 2:20pm

Yet in a cruel twist, the east coast of NZ North Island is very often flat, while east coast Oz rarely is.

The Tasman is much more active than Pacific east of us.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 5 Aug 2019 at 2:21pm

That's a great discussion point. 

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Monday, 5 Aug 2019 at 2:32pm

Yes, I've been saying this for years, I feel the Aus East Coast gets way more swell as NZ semi-anchors or captures lows/troughs forming to its west. If it weren't there they would continue off into the South Pacific..

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Monday, 5 Aug 2019 at 2:45pm

Interesting. I assumed all that pacific and the angle of NZ would make it quite consistent.

Frogg

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Monday, 5 Aug 2019 at 4:46pm

nah, the angle is all wrong.

if it was more north/south or more NE/SW angled NZ would be a much better surf country.

SGAG's picture
SGAG's picture
SGAG commented Saturday, 10 Aug 2019 at 12:10am

This fully applies to Tassie also..

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 5 Aug 2019 at 4:52pm

Arguing over who gets more swell between the East coasts of Oz and NZ is like arguing which dwarf is taller.

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Tuesday, 6 Aug 2019 at 3:18pm

Yes I agree. Splitting small hairs.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Wednesday, 14 Aug 2019 at 12:29pm

Pacific is very active, it's just the swell moves towards the America's.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 5 Aug 2019 at 2:24pm

Surely that's because of continental weather systems pushing out over water, which doesn't theoretically happen in NZ as the land mass is so small the systems remain maritime.

NickT's picture
NickT's picture
NickT commented Tuesday, 6 Aug 2019 at 7:26am

Correct

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Monday, 5 Aug 2019 at 3:03pm

Two main reasons:
1. East Oz gets lots of tradewind swell generated just north of NZ North Island.

2. Cyclogenesis in the lee of continental barriers, in this case over the Tasman Sea.

And by the way, those lows that form in the Tasman have much better SE fetches aimed at you, due to the ridge of high pressure digging in underneath, than NW fetches aimed at our west coast. Takes a rare Tasman TC, or a long prefrontal NW flow to bring us decent NW swell.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Monday, 5 Aug 2019 at 4:47pm

more cyclogenesis in the South Pac than the Coral Sea.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Monday, 5 Aug 2019 at 5:52pm

Yep, and we get quite a lot of S/SW swell. Sometimes, though, just a little too westerly, which is when the SE of the South Island is 8ft and Wellington 1ft :-(

Reefeater's picture
Reefeater's picture
Reefeater commented Tuesday, 6 Aug 2019 at 7:43am

"cyclogenesis" .................I love that word.

Trentslatterphoto's picture
Trentslatterphoto's picture
Trentslatterphoto commented Monday, 5 Aug 2019 at 5:56pm

Kangaroo islands swell blocking bigger brother

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 5 Aug 2019 at 5:59pm

Although.. if KI wasn't there, the Mid Coast wouldn't resemble what we have now... etc etc.

Tobiasl's picture
Tobiasl's picture
Tobiasl commented Monday, 5 Aug 2019 at 6:34pm

Can we umm build a wall? Wait that won’t work, maybe we could be like the French & blow it (NZ) up?! It would solve a lot of problems, particularly the Easterly swell window & the rugby!

Tobias

Thegrowingtrend.com's picture
Thegrowingtrend.com's picture
Thegrowingtrend.com commented Monday, 5 Aug 2019 at 6:58pm

Let’s all learn to sail and surf the most incredible points

Nicko

drodders's picture
drodders's picture
drodders commented Tuesday, 6 Aug 2019 at 9:08am

I bet Australia blocks more swell heading to NZ, Fiji, NC, PNG, Indo etc. than NZ blocks heading our way??

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Tuesday, 6 Aug 2019 at 9:16am

Oh for sure, but we're being selfish here on the East Coast ;)

wallpaper's picture
wallpaper's picture
wallpaper commented Tuesday, 6 Aug 2019 at 12:14pm

how about the blocking effect of Victoria on waves in the Albury-Wodonga region?

drodders's picture
drodders's picture
drodders commented Tuesday, 6 Aug 2019 at 3:11pm

I am going to start a go fund me site to dig up Victoria so the AW region gets more surf...

ojackojacko's picture
ojackojacko's picture
ojackojacko commented Tuesday, 6 Aug 2019 at 5:17pm

onya wallpaper. about time someone had the balls to raise this issue publicly

eat-your-vegies's picture
eat-your-vegies's picture
eat-your-vegies commented Tuesday, 6 Aug 2019 at 1:20pm

Australia has the biggest dwarfs

And don’t blow NZ up. Australia needs more scaffolders.

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Tuesday, 6 Aug 2019 at 1:22pm

So if Chopes has been cooking all winter surely that means the comp is going to get skunked?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 6 Aug 2019 at 1:50pm

That'd be a fair assumption!

Ted from the moon's picture
Ted from the moon's picture
Ted from the moon commented Tuesday, 6 Aug 2019 at 6:15pm

Ben - quick question for you.......would you say that there has been more NW's than normal this winter compared to an average year? I am up around the Hunter part of the coast and it just seems like we have had a whole lot more than other years. And its been super dry and warm - which one would normally associate with the NWer.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 7 Aug 2019 at 5:42am

It does seem that way.. though I couldn't say to what degree without looking at a detailed analysis... seasonal wind rose data from Williamtown is predominantly NW anyway (see below - 9am and 3pm). 

Ted from the moon's picture
Ted from the moon's picture
Ted from the moon commented Wednesday, 7 Aug 2019 at 7:50am

Thanks for that.

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Tuesday, 6 Aug 2019 at 2:17pm

The east coast of Oz is has to be one of the most consistent surf areas in the world so I don't know what you guys are complaining about! There's actually bugger all swell that get's blocked by NZ. it's a fairly rare thing.
For the record that E swell was off the charts here. Everywhere was pumping for over a week. Size wise I'd put it up there with that black noreaster you jokers had in 2016.
In case you're wondering our NE coast, from East Cape to North Cape (North Island) goes flat for weeks at a time. It gets no south swell. The SE coast on the other hand gets swell from NE to SSW so it's relatively consistent. Probably not quite as consistent as the E coast of Australia though. It's farken' sick over there which is why so many of us Kiwis come over to surf. The grass is always greener aye. You guys have it sweet.

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Tuesday, 6 Aug 2019 at 3:28pm

Spuddups, I was dudded so many times when I was young going up the east coast I ended up giving up and going straight to Indo where I have never been dudded (and it was heaps cheaper). It may have been the season (around Christmas mostly after uni finished) but it was onshore and shite for weeks. So hit and mostly miss it was so frustrating and the NE wind in the arvo never stopped blowing a gale. Compared to the southern and western states the swell was very inconsistent.

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Tuesday, 6 Aug 2019 at 4:58pm

Yeah, I guess everywhere has it's good and bad points. If you want to talk about wind though there's none windier than Wellington NZ. You guys have no idea!
I think this vid sums it up quite nicely. Taken from about 5 mins from my house...
https://vimeo.com/28807251

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Tuesday, 6 Aug 2019 at 7:22pm

Beautiful vid mate. And windy!!! Cheers for the share.

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Tuesday, 6 Aug 2019 at 9:21pm

Super cool vid!!

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Tuesday, 6 Aug 2019 at 5:17pm

From my experience (and Spuddups' too, I think), you guys say flat and mean small and really not worth it. We say flat and mean can't even catch a ripple on a 10ft mal.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Tuesday, 6 Aug 2019 at 5:58pm

kaicolo_surfer insta
Cloudbreak.....not today eh ??

Ted from the moon's picture
Ted from the moon's picture
Ted from the moon commented Tuesday, 6 Aug 2019 at 7:22pm
Ted from the moon's picture
Ted from the moon's picture
Ted from the moon commented Tuesday, 6 Aug 2019 at 6:18pm

You fellas are forgetting the two most things why kiwis come to the east coast of Aust and struggle to leave:

1. Settled weather patterns
2. Warmer water

I don't miss the east coast of NZ at all at this time of the year. I was in shorts and t-shirt today walking down for my surf. Heaven. Pumping as well and offshore most of the day. Those winter offshores used to kill me.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Tuesday, 6 Aug 2019 at 7:37pm

cheap weed?

Ted from the moon's picture
Ted from the moon's picture
Ted from the moon commented Wednesday, 7 Aug 2019 at 7:51am

It used to be years ago. Not sure the market rate in any of the locations these days.....

mattlock's picture
mattlock's picture
mattlock commented Wednesday, 7 Aug 2019 at 9:43am

I'm sure there is plenty of weed in NZ. They do have the most amount of weed imbibers per capita in the world. Followed by OZ.

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude commented Tuesday, 6 Aug 2019 at 9:21pm

Spuddups:
‘East Coast Oz most consistent in world’......
Are you serious? Read some of the forecast notes on here since late spring last year right through autumn.

I’ll give you we have lots of setups (but that’s very region specific and all very far apart).

I could think of at least a dozen more consistent coasts in the world, many in this country.

I’m not complaining as I enjoy the variety we get. I’d say that would be the only consistent feature - small variable swells.

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Wednesday, 7 Aug 2019 at 6:02am

I agree, there's plenty of places that are more consistent than E Coast Australia. Indonesia springs to mind. You left out "one of the most" from what I said by the way. By consistent I didn't mean consistently good, more that there's a high number of surfable days. That's the thing, it might not necessarily be that good every day but you can surf almost every day. Also with the warm water the days when the waves aren't too good don't see to matter so much.
That's been my experience anyway from the trips I've done over there. Mostly around the Byron/Tweed area.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 7 Aug 2019 at 8:35am

v. consistent if you have exposure to S swells.

also v. sand dependent.

when sand is good it's almost obscene how many ridiculously good fun days there are.

if sand is bad, it's pure mediocrity.

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Wednesday, 7 Aug 2019 at 9:53am

...the last three months have been quite obscene then...
:-)

I'm not cheap,
But I'm free.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Wednesday, 7 Aug 2019 at 9:47am

East Coast Aus (more so Sydney region) has to be the best place to get consistent good surf close to major cities with a good climate (mild winters and warm water). Nowhere else that I can think off has swell through all seasons and hardly goes totally flat.

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Wednesday, 7 Aug 2019 at 2:09pm

Many places on the Brazilian Coast I would have thought would be similar including Sao Paulo. I think your totally flat is a bit different to mine and also 'consistently good surf' is a bit of misnomer, maybe 'consistently rideable' is a better phrase. I have seen Cronulla for days on end being like a pancake. I have never seen this in Victoria or Indonesia. Friends come down from Sydney and can't believe how consistent the ground swell is down here and say they rarely get it and if it is solid it is a waste of swell as the beach breaks shut down like any good beach break. Water is certainly warmer as is the climate and access is much easier as it is called the Pacific for a reason.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Wednesday, 7 Aug 2019 at 2:14pm

Ah Cronulla, a no go in summer, but Manly, always a grovelly NE windswell wave. And Sao Paulo but not angled well to receive much NE swell in summer time..

Yes groundswell mostly closes out here, but luckily we mostly get mid-period swells which are great for the beaches. The beauty is working the headlands and beaches to maximise each swell and local winds, can't do that as much down in Vicco or SA.

Coming from Adelaide where you'd maybe get a couple of good South Coast days a week, and you need a good bank otherwise it also goes to waste, here in Sydney I surf nearly every day in generally fun waves.

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Wednesday, 7 Aug 2019 at 2:27pm

Believe it or not, you can surf any wind in Victoria except maybe a straight and windy southerly if you are prepared to travel or have a boat. The surf coast is incredibly consistent in Winter and will hold any size as are the winds mostly out of the west somewhere (offshore somewhere), and the east fires more in summer (as does far west). Blokes Island is a wonderland of waves with reefs and banks as is the coast further east. Key to this is reefs and banks depending on the swell size. You would get in the water more but the quality and power leave a lot to be desired in comparison.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Wednesday, 7 Aug 2019 at 2:32pm

True.. but the cold!

And that's a lot of travelling, no need for that on the Northern Beaches, only 10 mins to find something most times.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Saturday, 10 Aug 2019 at 2:21pm

Bali is easily the best city in the world to be a surfer.

mattlock's picture
mattlock's picture
mattlock commented Wednesday, 7 Aug 2019 at 9:57am

I grew up on the east coast and moved to south oz in the late 80's. My assumption is that you get the water more often on the east coast but the quality of wave is consistantly better in the southern ocean.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Wednesday, 7 Aug 2019 at 10:01am

This is true.

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Wednesday, 7 Aug 2019 at 3:11pm

Ha, ha at my age I think I have been through male menopause and the hot flushes keep me warm. I hated it when I was younger now it doesn't seem to worry me, mind you that is with a 3-4 fully sealed and fluffy inside steamer, cap and booties. Warm as toast!

wbat's picture
wbat's picture
wbat commented Thursday, 8 Aug 2019 at 5:29pm

Just checking the swell, period and isometric charts. That really is an impressive weather map.

greyhound's picture
greyhound's picture
greyhound commented Saturday, 10 Aug 2019 at 8:12am

Love the groundswell down here in vicco and the colds never really worried me either . Still pull a 4/5 hour session in August no problem. Bootyless. And I’m a bit of a ahhh greyhound.skinny. Got a great wetsuit which keeps the core warm. Something about mid winter surfing I love, make you feel alive.

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Saturday, 10 Aug 2019 at 9:09am

Yeah, I've never been able to understand the whole aversion to cold water thing. If you've got a decent wettie it makes no difference at all really, other than there's no crowds. People are wearing steamers on the Gold Coast in winter anyway. Go figure.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Saturday, 10 Aug 2019 at 9:41am

no crowds?

last time I chased a swell to Bells in August it was more crowded than Superbank in March.

nah, fcuk that cold water.

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Wednesday, 14 Aug 2019 at 4:12pm

Actually, it just dawned on me why Bells is so crowded. I reckon it has to do with the five million or so people that live within 2hrs of the place. It'd probably be crowded even if there were icebergs floating in the lineup!

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Saturday, 10 Aug 2019 at 1:06pm

Yeah, Bells is probably a bad example.

kavachi's picture
kavachi's picture
kavachi commented Tuesday, 13 Aug 2019 at 8:53pm

No one else barring up over this swell already on its way to Tahiti???
12 feet at 16 seconds....fark me sideways, even for the End of the Road thats a shitload of energy, and from nice SSW angle to provide at least some exit strategy.
See which half of the CT crew lob in early. And which half dont
If the Wisol are at all interested in view #s they should get at least basic webcast feed up and running in time for this. #carnage

kavachi's picture
kavachi's picture
kavachi commented Tuesday, 13 Aug 2019 at 8:55pm

...and light easterly trades all day Sat. Whats not to like?

kavachi's picture
kavachi's picture
kavachi commented Tuesday, 13 Aug 2019 at 8:55pm

...and light easterly trades all day Sat. Whats not to like?

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 14 Aug 2019 at 11:06am

looks amazing

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Wednesday, 14 Aug 2019 at 4:13pm

Pumping swell here today. Should make its way up to Tahiti over the next few days. It'll die out just in time for the comp to start.

Distracted's picture
Distracted's picture
Distracted commented Wednesday, 14 Aug 2019 at 4:36pm

Wonder if this kids brother will hang around for the comp to help out the pro’s get over the ledge?!
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cB2Si6v-FFg