J'Bay Open early forecast
On the 9th of July (local time) the event that marks the halfway point of the CT season begins. Five events have so far been completed, and after the Corona Open J'Bay - which begins next Tuesday - there'll be five events to go.
J'Bay is one of the most anticipated stops on tour, for surfers and fans alike, and the early outlook is so-so with the first half of the waiting period expected to see mid-period groundswells with favourable winds.
J'Bay performs best on swells out of the south-west to south-southwest, and similar to the Victorian Surf Coast, the more west in the swell, the less size will wrap into the point.
Winds are offshore from the west-northwest to south-south west which coincides with the best swell-generating systems, which are strong cold fronts pushing up and across the south of South Africa.
The ideal set up is when the Long Wave Trough (LWT) is positioned just east of South Africa, projecting strong polar storms up and across the south-east corner of the country - see image below. That pattern makes for swells oriented more out of the south so they retain much of their size as the reach the bay.
This is expected to be the case at the start of the waiting period, but it will quickly move off to the east followed up an upper ridge which isn't ideal, steering the storms more into the Indian Ocean. We'll see a flurry of cold fronts projected past South Africa just before the waiting period, though weakening once the event kicks off.
As a result the opening week looks mediocre with small swells and favourable morning offshore winds ahead of afternoon sea breezes.
On the opening day (Tuesday), a new mid-period W/SW swell should offer 2-3 ft waves, while a building mid-period swell on Wednesday should offer a touch more size, say 3-4ft through the afternoon. It'll ease through Thursday from a similar size.
Following this, weaker and unfavourably aligned storms will only produce small mid-period S/SW swells into the end of the week and weekend, however the longer term outlook is more positive.
While it's a long way out, model indications are that we'll see a flurry of stronger cold fronts pushing into South Africa during the second half of the waiting period.
We'll keep a close eye on this and provide another updated article. Till then, stay tuned to the comments below.