July In Review

Craig Brokensha picture
Craig Brokensha (Craig)
Swellnet Analysis

Another month down, another four weeks of quality, consistent swells in the southern states - particularly along the Surf Coast - and mostly listless waves for the East Coast.

Over west, the Margaret River region is only just starting to break the cycle of large, onshore surf, while South Australian and Victorian surfers tend to sore bodies.

Dawn breaks on yet another pumping day on the Surf Coast (Scanlon)

The climate anomaly charts - which measure the difference from the long-term average - for July are in, and they illustrate what most surfers are well aware of. Throughout July, Margaret River was bombarded by non-stop frontal systems, which in turn have provided consistent swells and favourable winds for both South Australia and Victoria, with the Surf Coast in particular being the greatest beneficiary of this synoptic setup.

This is depicted in the Mean Sea Level Pressure anomaly chart (below), with a significant area of lower-than-normal pressure sitting south of the country. It's no suprise that this area corresponds with both South Australia and Victoria’s prime swell window. Any Southern Ocean storm that delivers will be borne from that patch of ocean. To have such a significant anomaly proves, at least in a theoretical sense, that winter '23 has been a standout season - and one hell of a rebound from the past three years.

Mean Sea Level Pressure anomaly chart for July (NOAA)

The Tasman and Coral Seas have been dominated by high pressure, with only one significant easterly swell gracing the East Coast, that being at the end of the month, following a large spike in southerly swell.

While on the East Coast it’s shaping up to be one of the worst winters in a while, there have been many small days to pick and choose from, just not the consistent, moderate-sized swells from the eastern quadrant.

In that sense it's also been a rebound season.

One day wonder on the East Coast (Brokensha)

Tasmania’s East Coast has been much like the East Coast: mostly small and with long periods of flatness, while the South Arm has been able to rake in fun amounts of swell from the Roaring Forties, with a couple of larger days in the mix.

A quick look at July's average winds paints the same picture. To the west of the continent there's been plenty of swell-generating westerly winds, providing a month of quality waves in Indonesia, while south-east trade-winds have also provided back to back large swells to the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

Average surface winds for July (NOAA)

Meanwhile, the East Coast was in a slump with the persistent westerly flow - clean conditions but all the swell was heading for Fiji. This scenario links to the air temperature charts. With La Niña leaving the building and an El Niño signal setup throughout the Pacific Ocean we’ve seen a reduction in rainfall and increasing temperatures across the country.

Inland eastern Australia has been 1-2°C above average, and this was clearly apparent into the end of the month as spring-like conditions prevailed across the eastern half of the country.

We’re nearly halfway through August and the long-range outlook is a touch more positive for the East Coast while a little less reliable for the southern states.

Could an early transition to spring conditions be on the cards?

The hints are there.

Surface temperature anomaly for July (NOAA)


Trentslatterphoto's picture
Trentslatterphoto's picture
Trentslatterphoto Tuesday, 8 Aug 2023 at 5:58pm

Kudos on the wrap cuz

Buckhunters's picture
Buckhunters's picture
Buckhunters Tuesday, 8 Aug 2023 at 6:03pm

Come on Craigos, surely we can run more than 1 pic from the local Surf Coast photogs? We’d hate to think you East Coasters are salty with all the waves we are getting haha

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy Tuesday, 8 Aug 2023 at 6:07pm

From memory, usually the pics in these reviews are all Craig's shots from his trips up and down the East coast and if he ever does a surf coast mish.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Tuesday, 8 Aug 2023 at 7:05pm

Maybe an end of winter wrap-up Surf Coast gallery.

This is more a meteorological analysis with a couple of pictures for eye candy.

Buckhunters's picture
Buckhunters's picture
Buckhunters Tuesday, 8 Aug 2023 at 7:29pm

Would be good Craigos - those local photogs didn’t have much joy through those lean Covid/La Nina years so I’m sure they’d appreciate having their material published! Cheers

greyhound's picture
greyhound's picture
greyhound Tuesday, 8 Aug 2023 at 6:17pm

Early transition. No no no, say it ain’t so.

southernraw's picture
southernraw's picture
southernraw Tuesday, 8 Aug 2023 at 7:05pm

No complaints from this neck of the woods.
Cheers Craig!

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Tuesday, 8 Aug 2023 at 7:13pm

Nice one Craig.

Couple of really fun days here- some clean, peaky E/NE tradewind swell and some nice S and SE pulses.

All aided and abetted by really shallow sandbars that made everything super hollow.

And blue, warm water.

Rusty Forest's picture
Rusty Forest's picture
Rusty Forest Tuesday, 8 Aug 2023 at 8:34pm

Shouldn't have ordered a new board, put the mockers on lower MNC!!!!! been totally flat for weeks, along with the amount of sand all the beaches are straight handers.

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude Tuesday, 8 Aug 2023 at 9:54pm

Hard to imagine it’s been totally flat?

bbbird's picture
bbbird's picture
bbbird Wednesday, 9 Aug 2023 at 9:19pm

Been plenty waves on the east coast, if you had the motivation, location & floatation.

Heath flowers, insects & ticks were about in July in NSW, approx 6 weeks early this year.

Super succinct seasonal summary Craig