Small windows of opportunity

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

Victorian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 31st December)

Best Days: Thurs: early options at open beaches before the onshore change arrives. Fri: good options east of Melbourne as winds go E'ly. Possible late options on the Bellarine. Sat: clean waves at open beaches early before winds swing onshore. 

Recap: Strong surf and gusty winds on Tuesday (briefly offshore in Torquay as the swell built in size), moderating and abating today with lighter winds and fun waves west of Melbourne.

This week (Jan 1 - 2)

*forecast notes will be brief this week*

No major swell trends for the rest of the week. We’re looking at mainly inconsistent residual energy on Thursday with a slight infill throughout Friday (thanks to a front passing south of Tasmania early Thursday) but there won’t be much of a noticeable size increase. 

There should be just enough size for the Torquay reefs and open beaches, but this sized swell will probably be better suited to the open beaches of the Mornington Peninsula and Phillip Island (although there may be a few wobbles on top in these regions, due to recent westerly winds and the lack of a synoptic offshore).

You’ll mainly have to work around the local winds over the next two days. Early light winds Thursday morning will give way to a shallow southerly change during the day (probably around lunchtime) in associated with the aforementioned front. As a high pushes across Tasmania in the wake of the change, winds will swing to the eastern quadrant for Friday which will favour only the open beaches east of Melbourne. 

However, there’s not a lot of confidence in the strength of the wind (models have 15-20kts, which is possible but may not affect all areas) and they’re also tipping a NE tendency in the afternoon, which would open up options along the Bellarine Peninsula after lunchtime. So keep an eye on the wind obs and 13th Beach surfcam.

This weekend (Jan 3-4)

A low pressure system will approach Tasmania over the weekend - from the west - and this is expected to bring about a southerly airstream for Sunday.

A pre-frontal trough just ahead of it may actually result in gusty SW winds developing Saturday afternoon, so at this stage the early surf on Saturday looks to be your best window to get wet this weekend (with freshening N’ly winds).

As for surf, we’re not expecting a great deal of size - a small increase is expected on Sunday, originating from the early incarnation of the same low mentioned above (approaching Tas) however this system did most of its swell production a long way from the Victorian coast, and the latest model guidance has weakened its latter stages. So, I don’t think we’ll see a great increase, of which it’ll probably start to slowly build in size later in the day.

So in general, it’ll be worth an early Saturday surf across the open beaches east of Melbourne (3-5ft sets), with smaller surf in the 2ft range west of Melbourne. Keep your options low for Saturday afternoon and Sunday due to the high risk of onshore winds. 

Next week (Jan 5 onwards)

Sunday’s late swell arrival should hold through Monday before easing during the day and into Tuesday

A series of strong fronts are expected to strengthen SW of West Oz over the weekend, which should generate a strong, moderate sized SW groundswell for the region from about Wednesday onwards, lasting through until Friday morning. However, a dominant high pressure system is expected to influence local winds during this period - probably from the southeast - which may heavily restrict options. More on this in Friday’s update.