Slow moving Tasman low a swell producer into the weekend

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Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Eastern Tasmania Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Wed 25 August)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Strong local S swell Thurs with fresh S'ly winds
  • SE/ESE swell Fri, easing Sat with lighter winds as Tasman low drifts towards New Zealand
  • More E swell possible mid next week, stay tuned for details


A bombing Tasman low formed off the NSW S coast during Tuesday with S gales extending southwards to be adjacent to the Tasmanian east coast. That has seen a steep rising S swell today build into the 5-6ft range, overlapping a more refracted S swell yesterday in the 3-4ft range. Strong S’ly winds have hampered surfing options in the last 36 hrs.

This week and weekend (Aug 25-29) 

Alright, this vigorous Tasman low will dominate surf and weather for the week and into the weekend. Keeping in mind these systems are incredibly dynamic so small changes in position, strength and movement will have impacts on our surf potential, lets wade in.

The low is currently slowly drifting SE, with a proximate fetch of SSE to SE gale force winds just entering the Tasmanian East coast swell window.

That should see surf from the S to SSE build overnight and into tomorrow with size in the 6ft range at exposed spots, easing down into the 4-6ft range during the day, but tending more of a favourable SSE/SE angle. Winds will remain an issue with fresh S’ly winds, easing and tending more SE through the day.

These winds continue to ease through Fri but remain SE in direction, with a possible period of lighter SW winds inshore early. Strong swell from the SE/ESE being generated by the SW flank of the low as it drifts towards the South Island should see plenty of surf in the 5ft range, holding into Sat before easing back. 

Winds improve over the weekend with a light NW to NE flow opening up options closed by fresh S’lies. 

Get in Saturday, surf will ease right back through Sunday into the 2ft range.

Longer term and models show the decaying low remnants reforming near New Zealand on Sun29/8 with potential for a strong to gale force fetch out of Cook Strait 30/8. These fetches are typically SE in direction but models show a more E/NE fetch with potential for an E/NE swell for the East Coast Tues or Wed next week. There’s a lot of model divergence as the Tasman sea remains unseasonably volatile. Check back in Fri for the latest.