2020 Christmas outlook

Craig Brokensha
Swellnet Analysis

It wouldn't be 2020 without one more curve ball thrown our way right on the eve of Christmas. With a fresh cluster of COVID cases emanating from the Northern Beaches, a lot of holiday plans have been thrown out the window, but a positive is that for those in lockdown there'll continue to be surf.

We've already had over a week of easterly swell and it'll be topped up by less-consistent and tricky pulses of distant east-northeast cyclone swell, originating from Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasa.

Yasa weakened to below cyclone strength today, but it's been aiming a good, sustained fetch of strong to gale-force winds towards the East Coast since late last week. This will generate varying pulses of E/NE groundswell, ebbing and pulsing between 3-5ft, with one final pulse due on Christmas Day. The Christmas pulse was generated last night and early this morning while Yasa was still a Category 1 cyclone, and we should see infrequent sets to 4ft from south-east Queensland to southern NSW, easing slowly into the afternoon, down further Boxing Day.

Conditions look favourable for most locations in south-east Queensland and northern NSW with variable tending light offshore winds ahead of afternoon E/SE sea breezes. Southern NSW isn't as favourable with a surface trough due to bring a a fresh to strong S-SE change at dawn, limiting surfing options.

The trough looks to weaken into Boxing Day, leaving variable morning winds across most locations, although the Hunter and lower Mid North Coast look to be onshore from the SE.

Moving to the southern states, and overall the surf prospects for Christmas Day look average, with cleaner, fun surf due Boxing Day morning.

All locations are due to see a small increase in mid-period swell Thursday, peaking Christmas Eve though S/SE winds will create average conditions in Victoria, slightly better across the South Australian South Coast as winds tend E-E/NE. Middleton should be a peaky 2-3ft, similar in size though bumpy on the Surf Coast and 4ft+ on the Mornington Peninsula.

Saturday looks much better across both South Australian and Victorian exposed locations with a variable offshore wind, though smaller, easing swell.

Moving down to Tassie, the South Arm should see 2ft sets Christmas Day with the new, mid-period SW swell but onshore W/SW-SW winds will create poor conditions. Saturday is the pick with offshore winds as the swell eases.

Over in the west, there's a slight kick in swell due Christmas Day, but similar to the states to the east, it'll be weak, mid-period S/SW energy along with strong S/SE winds. Margaret River should offer 3-4ft sets, tiny and to 1-1.5ft across Perth and Mandurah. The swell will ease Saturday with similar winds, limiting surfing options for a quality wave.

Looking into next week, there are no standout days anywhere across the country, but lets hope by then the current outbreak is under control.

Merry Christmas from the Swellnet team!

Comments

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink commented Tuesday, 22 Dec 2020 at 4:40pm

Well done Craig and crew. Will be interesting to see how these parts go for crowds over the summer hols. Plenty on it today, many having finished work and school hols started. On the other hand, as a guy mentioned to me the other day out in the surf, less backpackers to crowd out the local. Maybe!

masseydoug's picture
masseydoug's picture
masseydoug commented Tuesday, 22 Dec 2020 at 5:20pm

Where is the congrats to Tyler Wright for her historic win at Pipe after a long break from the tour, and to the WSL for all their efforts to get the show started again. Sunset in January should be great to watch.

surferdoug

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 22 Dec 2020 at 5:34pm
Bnkref's picture
Bnkref's picture
Bnkref commented Tuesday, 22 Dec 2020 at 6:37pm

Yeah thanks Craig and team. Another cracking year on Swellnet.

Groper's picture
Groper's picture
Groper commented Tuesday, 22 Dec 2020 at 7:07pm

Very poor water quality for sections of northern NSW.

Major kong's picture
Major kong's picture
Major kong commented Tuesday, 22 Dec 2020 at 7:25pm

thanks legends. cheers for keepin the forecasts goin during various lockdowns and droppin stories, wicked vids, horrible soundtracks etc.. solid effort SW crew... ps thanks to all the regular contributors to the forums. i love the knowledge, banter and argy bargy etc... i hope that all aussies/expats get a wave to end the year and lets keep mucking about in the ocean. so long and thanks for all the forecasts. pps farkin awesome effort tyler wright, you little anzac!

Major kong

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Tuesday, 22 Dec 2020 at 8:42pm

Literally winter down here today. Winter for the Spirit of Christmas. Hidey Ho!

scott.kempton's picture
scott.kempton's picture
scott.kempton commented Tuesday, 22 Dec 2020 at 9:03pm

Thanks for the forecaster notes crew I plan my work around it a week out and its always on the money . With all the rain I'm flat out with work and hoping SE Qld goes quiet for Jan Cheers

Daveharro's picture
Daveharro's picture
Daveharro commented Tuesday, 22 Dec 2020 at 10:46pm

Yes thank you everyone who works on the forecasts, great services, best wishes from WA.

Harrydog

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Wednesday, 23 Dec 2020 at 7:44am

Thanks guys, as always it's been a great, dynamic year full of learning and also like no other. Luckily the waves here at home have been a good distraction from the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Panman's picture
Panman's picture
Panman commented Wednesday, 23 Dec 2020 at 1:09pm

Yep love the banter and how big is that snapper your holding

Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67 commented Wednesday, 23 Dec 2020 at 5:45pm

Thanks fella's for a great year of forecasting! Very fickle of the mid-north the last few days, feels like we never saw an uptick from Yasa with the points getting smaller slowly from Monday to today. Some good four foot sets up until this morning but literally 30 mins in-between...more like 1-2 with very occasional 3. Makes for some some good conversation time anyway :)