Plenty of surf for the Garden State

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

Victorian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 12th May)

Best Days: Plenty of waves west of Melbourne right throughout the forecast period. TuesdayThursday afternoon and Friday currently the pick.

Recap: Tiny waves Saturday, building slowly Sunday with some a strong but very inconsistent new groundswell showing today. Seems to be reaching a peak across the coast now with 3-4ft sets in Torquay (up from 2-3ft this morning), and much bigger waves east of Melbourne.

This week (May 13-16 onwards)

*note: forecast notes will be somewhat brief this week as Craig is on leave*

One of the fun things about diving into the Victorian forecasts - after a lengthy period where I haven’t regularly been monitoring the Southern Ocean charts - is getting up to speed on what’s generating the swell energy currently in the water. 

I’ve just read Craig’s notes from Friday (which were pretty well bang on for the Sat-Mon trend) which details the source of today’s waves - a strong succession of fronts across the Southern Indian Ocean mid-late last week, near Heard Island. 

A second phase of long period swell is expected to arrive overnight (watch for the Cape Sorell and Pt Nepean buoys to crack the Tp 18 second+ mark again this evening), which should keep most areas flush with a similar level of inconsistent swell through Tuesday. Conditions are looking great with light N’ly winds right across the region. 

This swell should then ease very slowly into the afternoon and further into Wednesday, but there should still be enough size for plenty of fun runners in Torquay (just mind the wait between sets). Moderate to fresh N/NW winds will keep conditions clean just about everywhere.

A deep low pressure system well SW of West Oz right now is churning out a conveyor-belt of cold fronts that are going to generate some excellent W/SW swell for the second half of this week. The strong west component in the swell direction will heavily attenuate size for the Surf Coast - as well as reduce the consistency quite a bit - but winds will freshen from the NW, meaning this will be your best destination. 

The leading edge of the first swell is due in on Thursday morning, and we should se a corresponding increase into the afternoon that’ll ebb and pulse through Friday and Saturday in the 3ft+ range across the Torquay reefs (maybe some bigger pulses from time to time, and very inconsistent). 

Wave heights will be considerably larger east of Melbourne due to the swell direction (i.e. open beaches holding between 6ft and occasionally 8ft at times) but the wind will create problems at exposed spots and the swell direction will somewhat limit size penetration into Western Port. 

This weekend (May 17-18)

A small short wave trough trailing this front progression is expected to clip the coast on Saturday that’ll probably swing winds to the west during the day (at strength) but they’ll revert back to a lighter N/NW for Sunday. 

Size wise we’re looking at a similar range on Saturday morning as per Friday (very inconsistent 3ft+ Surf Coast), before it eases during the day (a post-front increase is possible but initially it’ll be short range local stuff). Sunday looks quite good at this stage with a brief flush of SW swell from Saturday’s system filling in across the coast (again, somewhere around 3ft+ Surf Coast) with clean conditions. 

East of Melbourne, Saturday will generally be a write off due to the winds, but building high pressure in the wake of the front should allow the wind to rapidly abate on Sunday, resulting in a fast improvement in surface conditions - with the likely size, probably more suited to Flinders and possibly Western Port due to the additional SW component in the swell direction (however it will be only small here). Let’s take a closer look on Wednesday.

Long term (May 19 onwards)

Lots of Southern Ocean fronts lining up into the long term period for next week, however there is a suggestion that they’ll remain quite north in latitude (as per this week) which would result in a stronger westerly component in the swell direction. Regardless, it’s looking busy and that’s a Good Thing for Victorian surfers. See you Wednesday.