Long range outlook looking great

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

Victorian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 19th November)

Best Days: Thurs and Sat: Good surf east of Melbourne. Sun PM / Mon AM: good waves west of Melbourne with a new long period groundswell and generally OK winds. 

This week (Nov 18-22)

*Forecaster notes will be very brief this week as Craig’s away. Sorry for any inconvenience*

There’s been some good waves west of Melbourne for the last few mornings, with a couple of hours of offshore winds and a decent groundswell on offer.  

We’re now on the backside of this swell event and smaller conditions will settle for Thursday, best suited to the exposed beaches east of Melbourne under a freshening N/NE wind. You’ll need to surf early though as NW winds are expected by mid-afternoon and this may cause some problems at exposed spots.

As a side note (and for buoy obs regulars): we can expect peak swell periods at the Cape Sorell and Pt Nepean buoys to jump early Thursday (say, 16-17 seconds), but the source of this energy was in our far swell window so I'm not expecting surf size to push any higher than the pre-existing, easing energy from today (still, 4-5ft sets are likely along the Mornington Peninsula, with a couple of feet expected in Torquay). 

A weak front will clip the region early Friday morning but it won’t have much strength and early morning should offer a brief period of W’ly winds around Torquay. A second, slightly bigger swell will also arrive on Friday and this should offer enough size for the Surf Coast (2-3ft) but local winds may create bumpy conditions at times.

Saturday’s looking great for the open beaches east of Melbourne. We’ll see slowly easing swells and winds should tend light NE (there may be a slight wobble on top from Friday’s onshores, but it’ll improve quickly). Surf size will be small in Torquay but there should be some peaky waves at the exposed beaches for the grommets.

Sunday looks interesting, with some good afternoon possibilities for the Surf Coast. The leading edge of a long period SW groundswell (18-20 seconds) is expected to arrive overnight Saturday, before building slowly through Sunday. This swell will have been generated by an intense low that formed east of Heard Island yesterday, and is expected to power through the swell window over the coming days. Although the storm track does look very impressive, I am a little concerned about its northern latitude and the associated westerly component in the swell direction which could restrict wave heights along the Surf Coast.

At this stage we probably won’t see the bulk of the swell start to show until lunchtime or early afternoon, but a kick towards 3ft+ is likely in Torquay by mid-late afternoon (and 6ft+ or even bigger east of Melbourne). If there's a negative, is that the bigger sets will be rather inconsistent. But right now Sunday afternoon is looking very worthwhile. 

Winds on Sunday look generally favourable too. Another weak front will clip the region but at this stage it probably won’t have much strength in it, so although we’ll probably see onshores as the swell starts to build, they should do too much damage.

This solid groundswell will  persist nicely through Monday (although it'll be very icnonsistent again) and early indications are that favourably light variable winds will create clean conditions at most regions. Some models have another front pushing through on Monday afternoon (that would bring accompanying gusty westerlies), but others are holding this progression back until Tuesday - let's see how the data is looking on Friday before making a call.

Beyond this, there are even more fronts lining up for the Victorian coast which suggests plenty of waves in most areas through the rest of the week. More on this in Friday’s notes.