Make the most of the weekend, next week looks craptacular

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

South Australian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday April 24th)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Great waves down south all weekend with light winds and slowly easing size
  • Poor surf at Victor from Monday onwards, for about a week or so, thanks to persistent SE winds
  • Another solid swell for Victor on Tues, but no good under the onshore airstream
  • Chance for a few small waves on the Mid on Tuesday


Onshore winds maintained average conditions down south on Thursday, but they’ve gone light and variable today with a new pulse of S/SW groundswell lifting Thursday’s 4ft leftovers at Middleton up to 4-5ft this morning; the CdC buoy is still increasing in size this afternoon to occasional 5-6ft sets on dark are possible. Winds have been light and variable today so monitions have been quite workable. Unfortunately, the Mid Coast has seen very small leftover waves for the last few days, from 1-2ft on Thursday to 1-1.5ft this morning, trending almost flat this afternoon (the new swell is too south for the gulf).

This weekend (Apr 27 - 28)

No change to the weekend outlook, with clean conditions both days - light variable winds Saturday tending light N’ly on Sunday, and only weak sea breezes into the afternoons.

Surf size will however be easing steadily. Rare 4-5ft sets off the point at Middleton early Saturday morning will ease to 3ft by lunchtime, and should maintain 2-3ft into Sunday. Expect slightly bigger waves down at Goolwa and around at Waits and Parsons, though the swell direction is S/SW so there won’t be quite the normal size variation we usually see across the region.

Unfortunately, no new swell means limited surf prospects in the gulf this weekend. A minor long range groundswell is expected to show up at some point on Sunday so we can’t rule out possible tiny peelers on the reefs, but it won’t be worth getting too excited about.

Next week (Apr 29 onwards)

Another strong swell is expected early next week, sourced from a polar low currently midway between Heard Island and West Oz longitudes, which will strengthen south of the continent over the weekend and push up through our primary swell window (see below).

The latest model runs have eased back its strength a touch, so I’m going to temper wave height estimates a little, however we should see surf size building towards 4-6ft along most of the open South Coast breaks on Tuesday.  Smaller leftovers (from the weekend) are expected early Monday before we see a possible afternoon increase new energy. 

Unfortunately conditions will remain average throughout this period, thanks to a steady southerly tending south-easterly southerly airstream associated with a large high developing to the west. There won’t be any options out of the wind.

There’s more bad news: the aforementioned high will also set up a blocking pattern forcing Southern Ocean fronts down to the ice shelf, aimed away from our swell window. This onshore SE wind regime may remain entrenched across the coast until the start of the following week - so it’s looking like seven days of craptacular surf at Victor.

We’ll therefore be relying on the Mid Coast for surf potential as conditions will remain favourable all week. Unfortunately, the storm responsible for Tuesday’s swell will only glance the swell window, so we’ll see just a small increase into Tuesday that may only just crack 1-2ft on the more favourable parts of the tide. Otherwise expected tiny surf for the most part.

The long term outlook has some incredible looking storm systems way out in our distant swell window (south of Madagascar) that will deliver incredible waves for the Indo region, but will probably be too far away from our coast to really light things up. The associated long period energy (22 seconds!) from those early developments are due to arrive next weekend but we’ll be relying on future storm activity closer to our region - not yet locked in on the models right now - to offer any appreciable size. 

Therefore, long term South Oz surf prospects are somewhat muted right now, but with plenty of potential into the second week of May.

Craig is back on deck Monday, he’ll have more details on that then.

Have a great weekend!