Pumping waves right across the South Oz coast

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Ben Matson (thermalben)

South Australian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 12th May)

Best Days: Plenty of fun small waves on the Mid right all week, biggest later Thursday and Friday. Great conditions all week down south. Should be fun waves on both coasts this weekend too.

Recap: Tiny conditions Saturday, building slowly Sunday with strong but very inconsistent new lines of swell showing today. Light N'ly winds are keeeping conditions very clean down south, but are not affecting the Mid too much. Set waves seem to be in the 2ft range across the Mid Coast (although inconsistent), with 3-4ft waves at Middleton and bigger sets at Goolwa and Waits. 

This week (May 13-16 onwards)

*note: forecast notes will be somewhat brief this week as Craig is on leave*

One of the fun things about diving into the South Oz forecasts - after a lengthy period where I haven’t regularly been monitoring the Southern Ocean charts - is getting up to speed on what’s generating the swell energy currently in the water. 

I’ve just read Craig’s notes from Friday (which were pretty well bang on for the Sat-Mon trend) which details the source of today’s waves - a strong succession of fronts across the Southern Indian Ocean mid-late last week, near Heard Island. 

A second phase of long period swell is expected to arrive later today, which should keep most areas flush with a similar level of inconsistent swell through Tuesday. Conditions are looking great for the Victor region with light N’ly winds right across the region; surf size should maintain 3-4ft at Middleton with bigger waves at Goolwa and Waits in the order of a couple of feet. 

On the Mid Coast, we’ll see an early continuation of inconsistent 1-2ft+ waves on the more favourable parts of the tide, and early NE winds will keep conditions clean. They’ll swing northerly during the day and freshen a little so keep this in mind if you’re looking for an afternoon paddle (some breaks may become bumpy). 

This swell should then ease slowly across both coasts into the afternoon and further into Wednesday, but conditions will remain similar to Tuesday with moderate N’ly winds (lighter and more NE early morning on the Mid Coast). 

A deep low pressure system well SW of West Oz right now is churning out a conveyor-belt of cold fronts that are going to generate some excellent W/SW swell for the second half of this week. The strong west component in the swell direction will favour the Mid Coast and we should see some very good waves on the incoming tide, up to 2-3ft at times later Thursday and into Friday. A broad ridge of high pressure across the eastern states will maintain northerly winds about the coast but at this stage it looks like there won’t be much strength in the gulf so conditions should be clean. So it’s well worth looking into an afternoon paddle both of these days (I’ll update this in more detail on Wednesday).

Victor will also produce great waves on Thursday and Friday under the northerly flow however the strong west component in the swell direction will restrict surf size down south, probably somewhere in the ballpark of what we’ve seen today (3-4ft Middleton, 4-6ft Waits and Goolwa). It'll be rather inconsisent at times too.

This weekend (May 17-18)

A small short wave trough trailing this front progression is expected to pass well to the south of the state early Saturday, and it’ll provide a small pulse of new swell for late Saturday and early Sunday. This low will be a little better positioned for the South Coast (which should build to 3-5ft by late Saturday) but we should also see a small lift in size on the Mid Coast, up to 1-2ft on the afternoon tidal push. Winds are expected to swing from an early NW around to a variable pattern so conditions should remain clean.

Slowly easing swells are then expected on Sunday with light winds tending N’ly as a ridge of high pressure builds across the region.

Long term (May 19 onwards)

Lots of Southern Ocean fronts lining up into the long term period for next week, however there is a suggestion that they’ll remain quite north in latitude, which would result in a similar amount of west component in the swell direction as per this week. All in all, a great autumn pattern of waves for the foreseeable future.