Margaret River Pro: Long range forecast
After the Championship Tour’s FIFO visit to Bali, the workers will shortly return to the mines of WA - specifically Southwest WA, where the long-running Margaret River Pro copped a late start date owing to last year’s shark scare.
Locals scoffed as the new waiting period may sidestep shark season but it’s now running deeper into winter - the windy season. Will the move backfire?
To date, WA’s southwest has had a good autumn with long runs of offshore wind and the odd mid-range swell, a pattern that, at least from this vantage point, looks set to continue into the waiting period.
The first day of the waiting period - Wednesday the 29th May - will offer relatively short period waves in the head high range under freshening NE winds. An unremarkable day with pleasant conditions that the organisers may choose to kick off in.
The next day, Thursday, will again see settled conditions with even smaller swell early in the morning, however, and this is all a matter of timing, a new long-period west-southwest groundswell will quickly build to 6ft by late afternoon. Strengthening northerly winds may spoil the picture.
The source of this swell will be a low coiling up around the Kerguelen Islands, three days prior on Sunday 26th May - sending swell towards Indonesia and Western Australia. It’ll strike the southwest on the afternoon of Thursday the 30th from the west-southwest, peaking Friday with follow up swells expected Saturday and Sunday from back to back frontal systems spawning off the original low and projecting closer towards Western Australia under the influence of a strong and pronounced node of the Long Wave Trough - see image below.
Unfortunately, Friday's swell will arrive with a bit of wind from the north again and looks to be a write off even with 6-8ft of groundswell. By Saturday, however, a high slips in over Western Australia funnelling offshore winds into the region; first east, then NE edging northerly.
Saturday looks biggest at this stage as the second swell fills in, providing 10ft surf on the coast with an easterly offshore, freshening from the north-east into the afternoon. A great day at the marquee breaks, not to mention the Margs carpark marquee filled with weekend crowds.
Sunday will see more of the same, albeit with a tapering swell and a wind edging towards the NE. If the day pans out as predicted there’s a good chance of the Box - 8ft waves from the WSW, light NE wind.
The next three days see slowly easing swell with persistent winds from the NE to north, after which we’ll see another break in swell and weather. At that point they’ll be halfway into the waiting period, a week that continues an unremarkable autumn.
The second half of the waiting period is too far out but there’s indications of continued swell activity from the west, but we’ll update the forecast along the way.