Plenty of surf ahead, just gotta pick the windows

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

South Australian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 1st May)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Strong surf Tues with good winds at Victor, small on the Mid
  • Onshores kicking in Wed, no great options anywhere
  • Rapidly improving conditions Thurs with lighter winds and easing surf at Victor, small options on the Mid too
  • Small and clean at Victor on Fri
  • Generally average weekend but Saturday looks OK at Victor
  • Stacks of wintereque surf for next week


It's been a great run of waves with plenty of surf in the 3ft+ range at Middleton over the weekend with light offshore winds. The Mid Coast was small but surfable for the grommets. Size eased a little into this morning but has rebuilt into the afternoon back up into the 3-4ft range at Middleton. The Mid Coast is holding in the 1-2ft range.

This week (May 2 - 5)

We’ve got a lovely mobile synoptic pattern on the boil right now, which will deliver a prolonged run of quality groundswells throughout the state, along with periods of favourable winds. 

Strong surf will persist at Victor Harbor on Tuesday, ahead of a reinforcing pulse that’ll maintain size through into Wednesday. Without enough time to undertake a detailed hindcast, the model guidance still ties in favourably with Craig’s notes from Friday, suggesting around 4ft across the Middleton stretch.

The only difference between the two days is that Tuesday will see better conditions under a moderate W'ly thru' W/NW breeze, whilst Wednesday has a gusty SW change thanks to a fast moving frontal system. 

Along the Mid, we'll see a minor boost in size into Tuesday - perhaps with more consistency in the 2ft sets than today - with OK conditions becoming a little more worse for wear throughout the day as the breeze picks up, so get in early. On the other hand, Wednesday will become bumpy and wind affected from the get-go under a fresh sou'wester (which should add another foot of windswell on top throughout the day too).

Thursday will see a quick relaxation of the pressure gradient and thus a rapid improvement in surface conditions as winds swing back to a light W/NW. We'll see fun 2ft+ sets on the Mid Coast throughout the more favourable parts of the tide, and a slow easing trend from 4ft at Middleton. There'll be more west in the swell direction than usual too, so perhaps anticipate a smaller size range across the more sheltered regions such as Chiton.

Friday has another front on the way for the afternoon, though most of the day will see moderate to fresh NW winds and clean conditions at Victor Harbor. We’ll be between swells at this point, so expect fun though small clean surf in the 2ft range at Middleton, with better options at exposed spots. 

The Mid won't enjoy much of Friday's winds and with small leftover swells there won't be much to get excited about. 

This weekend (May 6 - 7)

Friday’s late frontal system will be associated with a deep, slow moving low sitting at much lower latitudes than those systems influencing the region over the coming days.

It’ll generate a strong new swell for the weekend, but the position of the low, and a number of followup secondary fronts, will maintain a predominantly SW tending S/SW airstream throughout the region. Wind speeds will throttle back into Sunday though which may allow for workable conditions at Victor. Expect size to hold 3-5ft both days.

The swell direction won't be great for the Mid, and Saturday's S/SW breeze won't allow for great conditions, but the turn of the tide may see a few 2ft sets at the swell magnets. Better conditions on Sunday will be accompanied by a slow drop in surf, still enough for longboarders and beginners but nothing out of the ordinary for everyone else.

It’s worth noting that the models aren’t consolidating the associated fronts (generating the weekend swell) very well at the moment - see below. If this happens we may see a minor upgrade in size potential, though ultimately only Victor will likely benefit due to the swell direction. 

Next week (May 8 onwards)

More winter fronts are looking likely for the longer term, so a continuation of this favourable autumn surf pattern looks set to continue for some time. I can’t see things slowing down throughout South Oz for a while yet.

See you Wednesday!