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Typical summer pattern ahead

South Australian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 31st December)

Best Days: Thurs: very early options down south before the onshores kick in. Posisbly some small peelers on the Mid. Fri: clean waves down south. Sat: very early options down south. Sun: late pulse of small new swell on the Mid Coast.

Recap: Plenty of waves across the Mid Coast on Tuesday but with onshore winds. A little more swell hung around today than was expected (i.e. way more consistency in the 2ft sets) and conditions were very clean through the morning with light offshore winds ahead of an afternoon sea breeze. The South Coast saw poor conditions on Tuesday thanks to a gusty onshore airstream, but conditions improved this morning with light variable winds for a few hours (the sea breeze is kicking in nicely now though). 

This week (Jan 1 - 2)

*forecast notes will be brief this week*

No major swell trends for the rest of the week. We’re looking at mainly inconsistent residual energy both days, with an overall drop in size although the Mid Coast is likely to continue providing small teaser lines in the 1ft range all day Thursday. With offshore winds there might be just enough to get a longboard sliding across the reefs.

At Victor, SE winds are expected to kick in early-mid morning but there’ll probably be a few hours of lighter E/NE winds around dawn.

Given the existing onshore airstream, and the likelihood that if it backs off overnight, it’ll probably only be in the early hours of the morning, this means that any improvement from this afternoon’s bumpy conditions would probably be minor. 

Therefore, sheltered corners that can handle a light easterly breeze (all three of ‘em) will be your only real option down south on Thursday, and make it early before the onshore kicks in.

Friday looks much better. The small swell increase for the afternoon (as noted in Monday’s forecast) has been pushed back to very late in the day so we’ll probably see a similar level of residual energy (inconsistent 2ft sets at Middleton, 3ft Waits and Goolwa) all day.

Early NE winds are expected to swing NW around lunchtime and become quite fresh and gusty - so conditions should be on the improve all day. So, well worth a Victor mission.

As for the Mid Coast, conditions will be clean early but developing N’ly then NW winds will create bumpy conditions through the afternoon. With no new energy expect a continuation of teaser lines in the sub 1ft range.

This weekend (Jan 3-4)

A weak front passing south of the state will bring a gusty southerly change to most regions on Sunday. Prior to this, a pre-frontal trough just ahead of it is expected to create a gusty SW change on Saturday afternoon, so at this stage the early surf on Saturday looks to be your only window of clean conditions down south.

We’re likely to see a slight rise in new swell, but nothing amazing - occasional 2-3ft sets at Middleton and up to 3-4ft at Goolwa and Waits. Saturday afternoon and Sunday will be a write-off under fresh onshore winds.

As for the Mid Coast, Saturday's small new swell will probably be too south in direction so no surf of interest is expected here.

However, Sunday still has promise: a polar low is developing east of Heard Island, and it’s expected to generate a small W/SW swell for the gulf, arriving during the day and peaking in the late afternoon (possibly even holding into Monday morning). 

Model guidance has marginally eased the strength of this system so I’m not expecting much more than an inconsistent 1-2ft across the reefs, but we should see some late surfable lines across the Mid Coast. 

So in short: your best surfing options are either very early Saturday down south or very late Sunday in the gulf.

Next week (Jan 5 onwards)

Apart from Sunday’s easing swell into Monday, nothing major is on the radar for the first few days of the new week.

Elsewhere, a series of strong fronts are expected to strengthen SW of West Oz over the weekend, which should generate a strong, moderate sized SW groundswell for the region from about Wednesday onwards, lasting through until Friday morning. At this stage winds look like they’ll be out of the eastern quadrant (initially SE on Wednesday, then NE by Thursday), and there should be just enough size for a few inconsistent 1-2ft waves along the Mid Coast. More on this in Friday’s update.