Small surf for South Oz; offshore later this week

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Ben Matson (thermalben)

South Australian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 3rd March)

Best Days: Tues/Wed: Small swells best suited to Victor though winds could swing onshore at times. Only small on the Mid. Thurs/Fri: winds around to the north, best suited to Victor. Could be a small sneaky wave on the Mid on the tide. Sat: early clean conditions down south before a front hits. 

Recap: The weekend’s large swell kicked in as expected with solid but bumpy 8ft+ sets across the South Coast into Saturday afternoon, with onshore winds. Size eased from 6-8ft on Sunday morning, and winds swung lighter E’ly allowing conditions to clean up during the morning. We’ve then seen much smaller surf today with early light W’ly winds now fresh SE. The Mid Coast managed a small increase over the weekend though conditions were choppy on Saturday. Sunday and even this morning saw much cleaner conditions with light offshore winds and occasional 1-2ft sets.  

This week (Apr 4 - 7)

Note: these Forecaster Notes will be brief this week as Craig is on annual leave

Small swells are expected over the next couple of days.

A ridge of high pressure through the Bight will maintain mainly light winds, though there is a risk of onshore winds at times on Tuesday and Wednesday. By Thursday and Friday we should be around to a northerly and thus much cleaner conditions at Victor Harbor.

The Mid Coast won’t see much swell this week. A series of modest fronts through the Southern Ocean now and over the coming days (pushing east of Heard Island at the moment) will produce some small new swells for the state on Thursday and Friday though no major size is expected. However, the Mid Coast has an uncanny ability to transform small mid-period swells into rideable waves, so don’t be surprised if the turn of the tide on Thursday and Friday produces a few little peelers across the reefs. 

These swells won’t do a lot down south but with offshore winds it’ll be well worth a drive. Expect very inconsistent 2-3ft sets at Middleton for the second half of the week, with 3-4ft bombs at Goolwa, Waits and Parsons. These swells may not be in the water early Thursday morning and there’ll be long lulls at times so you’ll need to be patient.

This weekend (April 8 - 9)

A weak front in the Bight on Friday will be overtaken by a more vigorous front on Saturday, that will being a strong onshore change to all coasts during Saturday morning.

There’s a chance for a few hours of NNW winds early Saturday morning but otherwise Victor will deliver onshore conditions (though it'll be rapidly easing on Sunday). Initially, Saturday morning will see a similar size as per Friday however we should see a kick in size on Sunday from a fetch trailing the front, plus a secondary long range groundswell, generated by an earlier incarnation of the same storm (east of Heard Island from Wednesday onwards).

So Victor options look to be clean early Saturday or maybe some wobbly leftovers on Sunday.

This front will kick up a decent small stormy for the Mid Coast on Saturday, with rapidly improving conditions into Sunday as the wind abates. Saturday afternoon could reach 3ft+ (a high percentage of this local windswell) whilst Sunday should hover somewhere between 2ft and maybe 3ft. Not epic but certainly worth a paddle.  

Next week (Apr 10 onwards)

The storm track looks active next week, but only below 50S which will restrict size across the South Australia coast, especially inside the gulf. However despite a lack of size, large swell periods should maintain a high quality in the swell signal, if very inconsistent at times. This suggests small to moderate levels of swell for the Victor region.

However, when the storm track is so far south, this increases the risk of high pressure in the Bight and subsequently SE winds across the region. So this is certainly on the cards for next week too.

The super long range forecast for Easter suggest a generally climatically average sized swell (in and around 3-4ft at Victor Harbor, 1-2ft on the Mid Coast), owing to a continuation of an active Southern Ocean storm track though at reasonably low latitudes. And local winds should be favourably light and variable for at least two days of the long weekend. Let’s see how much this moves around over the coming days!