Plenty of weekend surf on offer

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

Victorian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 16th May)

Best Days: Sat/Sun: great waves west of Melbourne (take the crowd repellant!). Could also be good options east of Melbourne if the wind shifts more N'ly (most likely Sun). Tues/Wed: possible early windows of good waves west of Melbourne with a new swell.

Recap: After a slow start on Thursday, a new W/SW swell filled in throughout the afternoon and has held into today with 3ft sets in the Torquay region, with much bigger waves east of Melbourne. Moderate to fresh NW winds have favoured the Surf Coast, although winds were N’ly  across the Mornington Peninsula and Phillip Island on Thursday.

This week (May 15-16 onwards)

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

This weekend (May 17-18)

Fresh north-west winds and a continuation of strong W/SW swell will continue to favour the Surf Coast all weekend. These swells have originated from a succession of strong fronts that passed south of the continent earlier in the week, and should maintain wave heights in and around the 3ft range in Torquay. However, there will be very long breaks between the bigger sets. 

East of Melbourne it’ll be a lot bigger (6ft+ open beaches) however the wind will create some problems. That being said, following the passage of a front below Tasmania on Saturday night, winds should straighten up to a more N’ly flow east of Melbourne on Sunday and this should favour the Peninsula and Phillip Island. Either way there’ll be plenty of options but you might have to do some driving to find the best of this swell/wind combo. Western Port should have some very small waves but for the most part it’ll probably be undersized and quite tidally affected.

Next week (May 19-23)

Another strong front trailing this week’s progression is expected to intensify south of South Oz overnight over the weekend, however the models have slightly pulled it back in strength and timing which means the resulting swell is not expected to make landfall until overnight Monday - meaning it won’t be useful for surfers until Tuesday. So, Monday is likely to see easing swells with fresh offshore winds - probably still some small peelers on the Surf Coast but not to the level we’re expecting over the weekend.

A series of fronts related to the generation of this swell are also expected to clip the Victorian coast on Tuesday, which will swing the winds around to the south-west. However, model guidance is currently suggesting we’ll see a secondary front rear up from the west which should assist in swinging the local Surf Coast winds around to the W/NW on Tuesday morning. It’s currently a gamble as to whether this will be beneficial for Torquay surfers, as the window of good winds will probably last only a few hours, and the new swell is expected to peak in the afternoon - but I’ll evaluate this in more detail on Monday. Worth pencilling in for now anyway.

Otherwise, these fronts will be tracking at low latitudes through the first half of next week and it’ll supply a reasonable level of SW groundswell into the region through into Wednesday before easing on Thursday. Right now it’ll probably reach 3ft on the Surf Coast, so let’s hope for those early period of favourable winds. 

East of Melbourne, winds will be less beneficial here and there’s unlikely to be quite enough size for anything notable at Western Port. 

Further low latitude fontal activity may provide another small boost in swell around Thursday afternoon (low confidence right now) however the overarching synoptic pattern during this time will be dominated by a large blocking high south of Western Australia. This will probably keep a lid on anything sizeable through the back half of next week and the following weekend.

Longer term (May 24 onwards)

As discussed above, the large scale blocking pattern to our west will probably result in smaller surf through next weekend. As such, the next stab at a decent swell event for Victorian waters will probably be the middle of the following week (May 27/28/29) as the long wave trough starts to redevelop SW of Western Australia, but I’ll talk about that in more detail on Monday.