Plenty of surf but tricky winds abound

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Ben Matson (thermalben)

South Australian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 3rd May)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Rapidly improving conditions Thurs with lighter winds and easing swells
  • Small and clean surf down south Fri AM
  • Average weekend at Victor, though there'll be small sideshore conditions on the Mid
  • Next week has swell potential but winds look dicey right now (for Victor)


Small wind affected surf across the Mid on Tuesday around 1- 2ft, with a small stormy today near 3ft+ under fresh to strong onshore winds. Fun clean waves on a building swell down south on Tuesday in the 4ft range, with early light offshore winds ahead of fresh westerlies developing through the day. A brief window of W'ly winds this morning before full blown SW winds kicked in mid-morning, bumping up the solid swell. 

This week (May 4 - 5)

No major change for the rest of the week. 

Today’s gusty onshore wind is expected to rapidly ease into Thursday, so surface conditions should improve quite a bit. Although winds are still fresh S/SW at Hindmarsh Island, we should see light variable conditions settle in through the early hours of the morning and then a light to moerate W/NW flow through the day. This will slowy clean up surface conditions at Victor, though expect a few early wobbles with size around 3-4ft at Middleton, easing during the day.

On the Mid we'll see light winds and lumpy but easing surf from 2ft+. Nothing special but worth a surf. 

Smaller leftovers are expected Friday with very little to get excited about on the Mid, but with the South Coast dropping to 2ft+ at Middleton there'll be good waves at Waits and Parsons under early NW winds. We are expecting winds to veer W'ly around lunchtime ahead of a late SW change so get in early for the best surf. 

This weekend (May 6 - 7)

Local winds don’t look very good for the South Coast this weekend. 

Friday’s late frontal passage will evolve into a deepening Tasman Low just east of Bass Strait, which will steer southerly winds into the South Australian coastline both days. 

Although not expected to be overly strong, this will adversely affect the South Coast the most, generating average conditions pretty much everywhere.

Sideshore conditions on the Mid Coast have a chance at seeing periods of early S/SE winds, and thus reasonable surfing options, so this will be your best chance for a wave.

As for swell, we do have some new energy inbound too, and the source of the swell isn't too bad for options on the Mid.

This swell will have been generated by an earlier incarnation of Friday’s late front (currently developing well south of the continent, see below), which should kick up a couple of feet for the Mid for both days (Saturday is the pick). The orientation of the fetch is not perfectly within the Mid's swell window but it's a decent system and there should be a reasonable penetration of size through Investigator Strait. 

Victor should pick up 3-5ft sets at Middleton (and more at exposed spots) but with these winds it's a moot point.

Next week (May 8 onwards)

Sunday’s suggested Tasman Low hints at the development of a regional block, which may steer a passage of strong fronts to the south early next week, reducing their size potential across South Australian waters. That being said, strong activity in our far swell window later this week and over the weekend is expected to generate some really nice groundswell for the state, arriving Tuesday or thereabouts. However local winds are of concern for Victor at the moment as the block may not move eastwards until mid-week, finally allowing the predominant southerly airstream to shift easterly. The Mid may pick up small options through this period though.

Let’s take another pass on Friday.