Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic - Forecast
Southern NSW is currently in the middle of a prolonged southerly swell episode with large pulses of groundswell gracing the coast since Saturday morning.
While the energy and activity is expected to slowly ease towards the end of the week, many trailing pulses of southerly swell are due through the Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic.
The primary site is at North Narrabeen, with a back up location at Dee Why Point. With a stable rivermouth sandbank, Northy pumps under east-northeast to north-east swells, when long lefts run down the bank. However, when the swell comes from the south, Northy shows its versatility as attention turns to the Alley Rights and, at times, Car Park Rights.
What isn't as well known, is that the left can still work, though coming in wider, running off faster, and not quite as long. So with the coming forecast, expect competitors to mix it up between both the left and rights at North Narrabeen.
The first day of the waiting period is this Friday, the 16th April, running till the 26th. What we're looking at through most of the forecast period is a very active Southern Ocean storm track, which will initially be strongest and most favourably aligned Thursday and Friday before relying on diffracted energy bending up and around Tasmania.
On Friday, the opening day of the waiting period, a mid-latitude low will produce a burst of strong west-southwest winds exiting eastern Bass Strait and building mid-period southerly swell. Size-wise the morning looks to be 2ft to possibly 3ft, though building more to 3-4ft through the day. However, conditions will deteriorate with a fresh morning west-southwest breeze giving way to a stronger southerly change mid-late morning.
Friday will most likely be a lay day, especially with more swell forecast.
One point of interest is that the swell due from Friday afternoon through the weekend will be linked to the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Seroja which tore through Western Australia on the weekend. Currently the remnants are moving into the Great Australian Bight, helping feed a seperate mid-latitude low that formed south of the Margaret River region.
Not only will this this additional energy be the catalyst for the strong mid-latitude low (which will create Friday's swell) but it'll also help draw up a strengthening and significant polar front south-west of Tasmania, on the backside of the low.
The polar front will generate a great fetch of gale to severe-gale SW-S/SW winds east of Tasmania (see image below), producing a moderate, long-period southerly groundswell. The groundswell will arrive overnight Friday but peak Saturday with strong 4-5ft sets due across Narrabeen, easing back from the 3ft range Sunday morning.
Saturday's swell unfortunately looks to be spoilt by lingering, moderate south-southeast winds [Editors note - conditions look much better now with a light-moderate W/SW offshore ahead of variable sea breezes], though they could possibly run the contest to make the most of the size. With rain forecast through day it won't be the prettiest either.
Sunday will become cleaner with a light morning offshore from the west-southwest ahead of northeast sea breezes as the swell eases in size.
A low point in swell is expected on Monday morning as we fall in between swell-generating systems, however in the afternoon a stronger mix of mid-period swell and southerly groundswell will move up the coast. The source will be a cold front pushing through the Southern Ocean, across Tasmania. Sets late in the afternoon and on Tuesday will be in the 3-4ft range under an offshore north-west breeze, though we'll keen an eye on this and any changes.
Longer term both models are pointing at a stronger cold-outbreak and larger swell next weekend. We'll provide updates on the timing of swell pulses and local winds over the coming fortnight.