Westerly swells dominate the period

Craig Brokensha picture
Craig Brokensha (Craig)

South Australian Forecast (issued Monday 26th May)

Best Days: Tuesday morning down South, Wednesday morning both coasts, Thursday exposed beaches down South, Friday, Saturday down South


The run of clean conditions, warm weather and good surf continued across the South Coast over the weekend with an inconsistent but clean 2ft to sometimes 3ft of swell along the Middleton stretch and better 3-4ft sets out at Waits.

Sunday started off a similar size with light morning offshores that persisted into the afternoon creating a full fun day of waves.

A late increase in new W/SW swell was seen across the Mid Coast and this has combined with a short-range swell to offer 1-2ft sets under light variable winds.

This week (May 26 - 30)

There's plenty of W'ly swell on the way for the Mid this week but with less than ideal winds, while the South Coast will generally miss out on most of the size but remain clean.

Firstly today's swell will be backed up by a secondary pulse of larger W/SW swell tomorrow, generated by a strong mid-latitude front that's currently pushing through the Bight. This should provide more consistent 2ft+ waves through tomorrow on the Mid before easing slowly from 1-2ft into Wednesday. Also in the mix will be some local NW windswell from pre-frontal NW winds, but not above 2ft or so.

The northern latitude of the front will limit size across the South Coast, but an acute S'ly swell should counter this, with a continuation of 2ft waves expected across Middleton, with 2-3ft waves out at Waits.

The morning will be the cleanest down South (choppy on the Mid) with a fresh N/NW'ly ahead of a W/SW change through the afternoon. Wednesday should then be clean again as winds tend NW during the morning down South, and lighter on the Mid from a similar direction creating lumpy conditions.

Thursday morning is expected to be a low point in swell activity ahead of another acute increase in W'ly swell late in the day ahead of a peak Friday. This will be generated by a similar front to the one generating tomorrow's swell, but the system will break down while entering the Bight and form into a broad low just to our west.

This will limit the size to 1-2ft on the Mid again, with the South Coast also being small and in the 1-2ft range at Middleton with 2ft to sometimes 3ft sets at Goolwa and Waits. With the mid-latitude low forming to our west we should see winds become more favourable for both coasts through Thursday and Friday, persisting from the N'th on the former and then NE on the later.

This weekend onwards (May 31st onwards)

Friday's swell should drop away through the weekend on the Mid, while the South Coast should see a couple of pulses of new long-range but very inconsistent SW groundswell arriving from the Southern Indian Ocean.

Size wise there isn't much in it with infrequent 2ft to occasionally 3ft set expected across Middleton Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, with 3ft+ waves at Waits. Conditions should be favourable for the start of the weekend with an offshore N/NE'ly but Sunday a weak change is due to move through with a light and likely variable SE breeze due down South.

Longer term there's still nothing too significant on the cards for next week as the upper level weather patterns remain subdued (read no real strong amplifications of the Long Wave Trough). In saying this we should see a touch more size than the coming week, but check back Wednesday for more on this.