Fantastic round of NE groundswell on the way

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Ben Matson (thermalben)

Eastern Tasmania Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 3rd May)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Small average surf next few days
  • Building NE swells Thurs onwards, pulsing strongly late Fri
  • Large NE swell rebuilding Sat, easing Sun, with excellent conditions
  • Average outlook for next week


Very small surf conditions have prevailed across the East Coast for the last few days. A southerly change is making its way up the coast. 

This week (May 4 - 7)

*Today’s Forecaster Notes will be brief as Craig is away*

Most of the swell chart activity is centered around an active Southern Ocean progression. Indeed, we’re expecting large surf across some parts of the southern states over the next few days (Cape Sorell picked up a solid swell with 20 second swell periods this morning) but the storm track is generally too zonal (i.e. west-east) to favour the Tasmanian East Coast. 

South swell magnets may pick up small lines of diffracted swell but on the whole there’s nothing to get excited about from this swell window. Tuesday will probably be wind affected anyway in the lee of today’s change, Wednesday should see clean conditions with light winds. 

Thursday is where things start to get interesting.

A developing easterly trough low off the NSW coast will interact with a large high in the southern Tasman Sea, to form a broad band of E/NE thru’ NE gales that’ll encompass a decent percentage of the Tasman by the end of the week, stretching right back to about Fiji (see below).

The low will gradually deepen and so we’ll see a correspondingly slow increase in size through Thursday from 1-2ft to 3-4ft by the afternoon, but Friday is where things will kick into gear, with size pushing 5-6ft+ by the end of the day (smaller earlier).

Local conditions look pretty good overall - a light synoptic NE flow is possible at times but for the most part there won’t be much strength on offer. 

Let’s take a closer look on Wednesday.  

This weekend (May 8 - 9)

The easterly trough low will actually undergo a secondary intensification on Friday (see below), positioned a little closer within our swell window, and therefore the biggest swells from this entire sequence is currently slated to occur over the weekend - potentially easing temporarily early Saturday, ahead of a peak later Saturday or early Sunday.

Even better, a weak front will steer the winds back to a moderate offshore breeze both days.

As for size, early indications are for 5-6ft surf Saturday morning rebuilding to a brief peak in the 6-8ft+ at the swell magnets late afternoon, easing through Sunday - though with a chance for a few early bombs.

All in all, a very worthwhile weekend to be hunting waves though you’ll be best off at protected spots, especially at the height of the swell. It'll pack quite a punch. 

Next week (May 10 onwards)

There's no sign of any letup of the Southern Ocean storm track for the long term, though it’ll push close to the coast so we’ll see stronger winds from the SW developing around Monday or Tuesday. 

This will accompany a steady decrease in NE swell from the weekend, as the easterly trough low departs our swell window.

Early Monday should see leftover surf in the 3-5ft range, and this may be your only window of opportunity as we’ll be back to more standard southerly swells for the rest of the week. More on this in Wednesday’s update.