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Ben Matson (thermalben)

South Australian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 18th May)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Initially solid but easing surf down south on Thursday with light winds
  • Small waves Fri onwards with a lengthy spell of light/mod E'ly quadrant winds
  • Tiny to flat on the Mid for the forseeable future, maybe some tiny lines Sun
  • Next decent swell cycle expected from later next weekend onwards


Powerful surf reached 8ft+ at Victor on Tuesday, with winds holding out from the W/NW, allowing generally clean conditions at those sheltered spots (and a few exposed locations) handling the size. The Mid Coast saw generally light onshore winds and sets around the 3ft mark. Surf size has eased steadily on both coasts today, from 2-3ft to 1-2ft on the Mid and 6-8ft to 4-5ft down south, with light winds on the mid but early light W/NW winds at Victor swinging moderate to fresh SW by mid morning. 

This week (May 19 - 20)

Now that we’re on the backside of this swell event, the outlook is somewhat academic, continuing down Thursday, then down even more Friday. 

Light variable winds on Thursday will swing easterly on Friday and perk up a bit, so make the most of the next 24 hours down south. Early size should manage 4-5ft sets at Middleton (bigger elsewhere) but it’ll steadily abate to 3ft by the afternoon. Expect 2-3ft surf on Friday morning down to 2ft by the afternoon. Early morning may see a touch of NE in the easterly breeze.

The Mid Coast is now pretty small, so don’t expect much surf over the next few days - this is a shame as conditions will be super clean with light winds. Just a few stray 1-1.5ft sets at the swell magnets on Thursday if you’re lucky. Give it a miss otherwise. 

This weekend (May 21 - 22)

The Southern Ocean storm track has shut down in recent days thanks to blocking pattern upstream (see the big high across SA in the chart below), so we’re looking at very small waves this weekend. And, winds will hold out of the east, which won’t favour the Victor region.

Expect small 1-2ft surf on Saturday down south (a little bigger at the swell magnets), with tiny to flat conditions on the Mid.

Late afternoon should see the arrival of a small long period groundswell, sourced from a couple of strong but poorly consolidated storms well SW of West Oz at the moment (see below).

This may deliver some minor waves for the Mid on Sunday, but I can’t see much above half to one foot, if we see anything at all. A slight lift in size at Victor back up into the 1-2ft range may see some assistance from an early E/NE breeze at a few spots but it won’t be worth too much time and effort.

Next week (May 23 onwards)

This broadscale blocking pattern mentioned above is a bit of a problem, as it’s going to push the storm track up into the Southern Indian Ocean, and away from our swell window. As such we’re looking at very small swells for most of next week with generally light winds. So, expect small surf at the regional swell magnets down south for quite some time.

We may see a break down of this block later next week, leading to a cycle of fronts through the region next weekend and a subsequent increase in surf size into the start of the following week, but that's a long time away.

See you Friday!