Small surf to persist for some time

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Ben Matson (thermalben)

South Australian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 20th May)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Small surf and generally E'ly quadrant winds all weekend (chance for early NE)
  • Small surf persisting for much of next week
  • Next swell event due next weekend


Easing surf on Thursday still managed early 4-5ft sets down south, with 1-1.5ft waves on the Mid. Conditions were clean early under a light NE breeze, though it swung E'ly during the day and then SE late afternoon. Smaller surf prevailed today with generally clean conditions at Victor under a moderate to fresh NE breeze and 2-3ft sets at Middleton. The Mid Coast is now tiny.

This weekend (May 21 - 22)

Nothing great expected this weekend.

The Mid Coast will be tiny on Saturday, but clean with offshore winds. A small long period swell for Sunday probably won't show much, if anything at all - perhaps a few stray 0.5 - 1ft sets on the tide if we're particularly lucky.

Down south, today's easing trend will bottom out into Saturday, and generally E'ly breezes won't do too many favours. If you're super keen to get wet, aim for a morning paddle when winds may be temporarily NE. I'm expecting slow 1-2ft sets at Middleton and occasional 2-3ft waves at exposed spots well east and west from here.

The small long period swell due Sunday (which should show at the CdC buoy late Saturday) isn't expected to lift wave heights very much, and with similar winds it'll be a bit of a grovel at exposed spots. Again, early will be best.

Next week (May 23 onwards)

A large blocking high across our immediate swell window will impact our surf outlook in two ways for the first half of next week - it'll maintain low swell heights (by defecting storm activity away from our region) and it'll also keep conditions nice and clean with NE winds.

So, aim for a paddle at the regional swell magnets down south.

An impressive swell front is showing on the charts for Tuesday, with peak swell periods jumping to 19 seconds across the coast, however this isn't expected to produce anything notable.

The swell is sourced from a powerful cut-off low W/SW of Western Australia (see below) that's aimed up into Indonesia, so the models are showing small peripheral energy spreading away from the main fetch. However a few small waves along the Mid Coast can't be ruled out every now and then.

The tail end of this low may push through the Bight on Tuesday as a weakening front, and set up a small W'ly swell for the Mid on Thursday, but again, no major size is expected. Winds will swing onshore around this time but it'll probably be light in strength.

This pattern will be connected to a a series of modest fronts will push through our far swell window mid-late next week and set up a new swell for next weekend (ballpark 3ft+ west at Middleton, probably some small lines on the Mid too), and there's a suggestion for more swell through the early to middle part of the following week as a Long Wave Trough amplifies west of the state, but that's a long time away.

Have a great weekend!