Average outlook, but a few windows to work around (down south)

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

South Australian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 22nd March)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Small surf early Thurs, slowly building at Victor towards a peak Sun
  • Poor winds at Victor until Sun/Mon
  • Not much swell potential for the Mid this forecast period


Onshore winds have maintained poor conditions at Victor over the last few days with easing swells. Tiny leftover lines on the Mid early Tuesday have become flat today.

This week (Mar 23 - 24)

Poor waves are expected to finish the week though wave heights will trend up, which is good news.

Moderate southerly winds on Thursday will freshen into Friday from the S/SE under the influence of a high pressure ridge to the south. 

A series of overlapping swell trains will start to filter in on Thursday morning with a gradual increase expected over the coming three days. Initially I’m not expecting enough size to allow for anything worthwhile on the Mid, and the direction will generally be a little too south. So keep your expectations low in the gulf, I doubt we’ll see much more than lazy one footers across the reefs at best.

Down south should see 1-2ft surf Thursday morning reaching 2-3ft by Friday afternoon, but under the persistent onshore breeze quality will be very low.  

This weekend (Mar 25 - 26)

The bulk energy from the upcoming Southern Ocean sequence will build further into Saturday, reaching a peak on Sunday, and as it’ll be sourced from a strong though low-latitude fetch (see below), swell direction should be slightly S of SW, which is only favourable for the South Coast. 

This mean I’m not expecting much surf on the Mid this weekend, which is a shame as local winds are looking great both days. Residual one foot sets are about the most I’m willing to bet on, even then there's a fair chance it'll be flat. 

Victor’s winds look terrible on Saturday with moderate easterlies tending south-east, but size should be up into the 3-4ft range at Middleton. A further pulse to 3-5ft is expected on Sunday, and it’s now looking like a weak trough in the Bight will steer the wind around to the E/NE, allowing conditions to clean up somewhat - there’ll still be wobbles through the lineup, but Sunday is looking to be the pick of the forecast period right now.

Let’s re-evaluate on Friday.

Next week (Mar 27 onwards)

Easing swells are expected from Monday onwards, with light winds likely to maintain reasonable conditions down south. 

The latest model runs have added a small polar low flaring up south of WA on Saturday that looks like it’ll just brush the eastern periphery of Victor’s S/SW swell window, leading to a kick in new swell on Tuesday. No major size is expected but we can expect some 3ft sets from this source. Early outlook is that local winds look iffy to accompany this pulse though.

The weekend’s cut-off low in the Bight doesn’t look good on paper right now so I’m not expecting any major size from it.

Elsewhere, and a few other systems sitting in the long range charts that should produce swell for the longer term, but in general the pattern looks a little lacklustre for this time of the year, so the general expectation for the second half of next week leading into the weekend is for low groundswell potential and average surf conditions. 

I’ll have more in Friday’s update. 


Saelements's picture
Saelements's picture
Saelements Thursday, 23 Mar 2023 at 6:15am

Autumn curse continues ,

Stef_Olly's picture
Stef_Olly's picture
Stef_Olly Thursday, 6 Apr 2023 at 1:28pm

Can only laugh reading this dogs breakfast Easter outlook for us wave starved SA surfers. Happy Easter to all the crew at Swellnet though! Yeeew!!

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Thursday, 6 Apr 2023 at 1:36pm

You too Stef!