Plenty of swell, poor winds

South Australian Forecast (issued Monday 2nd March)

Best Days: Early Wednesday in protected spots down South, early Thursday Mid Coast, early Friday both coasts, Saturday morning semi-protected spots down South, Sunday morning down South


Exposed beaches on the South Coast offered the best waves Saturday morning with offshore winds before an onshore change pushed through just before lunch. This change kicked up a weak windswell for the Mid, which eased from a cleaner 1-1.5ft Sunday morning. The South Coast was a write-off with fresh to strong S/SW winds and a building windswell.

Today the South Coast was fun with an easing S/SW windswell from the 3ft range with bigger sets at Waits and Parsons under a fresh N/NE breeze. An onshore change is due mid-late afternoon, so make the most of the current clean conditions.

This week (Mar 3 – Mar 6)

We've got plenty of swell on the way for this week all owing to a strong node of the Long Wave Trough pushing in from the west and across us tomorrow evening, but winds aren't going to play ball.

An initial increase in small-moderate SW groundswell is due through tomorrow, from a relatively weak frontal system that's currently south-west of us. This should build through tomorrow afternoon across both coasts, reaching 3ft+ at Middleton by the evening and 4-5ft at Waits, while the Mid should pulse to 1ft+ through the late afternoon/evening.

Winds will be poor for the South Coast though and lingering onshore from the S/SE after today's change, with the Mid seeing afternoon S/SW sea breeze, but these should tend back to land breezes towards the evening.

The surf should drop back temporarily through Wednesday, with a stronger pulse of longer-period SW groundswell due to arrive through the afternoon and kick into the evening.

The source of this swell will be a much stronger cold front developing south-southwest of WA this evening aiming a fetch of less than favourable W'ly gales through our swell window tomorrow.

While the fetch direction isn't great, we'll still see good levels of SW groundswell spreading out radially towards us, pulsing to 3-4ft at Middleton late Wednesday and 4-5ft at Waits, while the Mid is due to hold around the 1ft+ range most of the day.

A peak in size from this swell is due overnight, but come Thursday a bigger S/SW swell is due to fill in, produced closely behind the frontal system generating later Wednesday's swell. A weaker but better aligned polar front is forecast to project up towards us Wednesday, followed by a broad and elongated by weaker fetch of S/SW winds Thursday.

The S/SW swell from this progression should fill in Thursday, reaching 4-5ft at Middleton and 6ft+ at Waits and Parsons through the day before easing from 3-5ft and 6ft respectively Friday morning.

The Mid Coast should offer 1-1.5ft waves Thursday with 2ft sets on the incoming tide through the afternoon, before fading from 1-1.5ft Friday morning.

Now, conditions for the most part will be poor across the South Coast with onshore SW breezes from Wednesday through Friday, but early W'ly winds are likely around Victor both Wednesday morning and Friday morning. The window will only be small though.

The Mid should see an early S/SE'ly Wednesday morning but Thursday will be average with fresh S'ly tending S/SW winds and Friday morning may see an early S/SE'ly again if we're lucky.

This weekend onwards (Mar 7 onwards)

The S/SW groundswell should continue to ease into the weekend, but Victor should see an early W/NW'ly creating good conditions at semi-protected breaks with moderate amounts of swell still in the mix.

Into Sunday and early next week we should see some good new S/SW groundswell impacting the South Coast, generated by a couple of strong polar fronts firing up over the weekend, but we'll look into this more on Wednesday.