Easing surf and slowly improving conditions

Victorian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 23rd September)

Best Days: Fri: better conditions for the open beaches with light variable winds tending E'ly. Sat/Sun/Mon: fun waves across the open beaches under a light NE breeze.

Recap: Strong building swells all day Tuesday but with poor conditions under a freshening onshore breeze. Winds eased this morning  but remained southerly, so surf conditions have been very ordinary as wave heights slowly abate across the region.

This week (Sep 24 - 25)

Nothing great expected for the rest of the week but it’ll be a small improvement over the last few days.

Our current swell is expected to continue easing through Thursday, with enough energy for some small waves on the Surf Coast (2ft, maybe 3ft at exposed spots) however conditions are still likely to feel the effects of the last few days of onshore winds. 

Ideally, we need a synoptic wind from the northern quadrant of at least 10-12kts for four to six hours to efficiently iron out the lumpiness. As this is not likely, even if winds swing light offshore (as is possible early morning along the Surf Coast) there’ll still be some lumps and bumps on the surface.

Winds will probably remain light to moderate southerly east of Melbourne so don’t expect anything great in the conditions department here either. Open beaches should still be quite strong though with sets around 4-5ft.

On Friday, winds are expected to slowly swing to the east, following a period of variable winds in the morning. A small bump of long range swell is expected to fill out across the coast, but it’ll be very inconsistent owing to its distant origin from a polar low that developed east of Heard Island on Monday. 

The Surf Coast should see set waves somewhere between 2ft and very occasionally 3ft (building to a peak in the afternoon), and with these local winds, conditions will probably be best suited to the open beaches. East of Melbourne we’ll probably see reinforcing surf around the 4-5ft mark at most open beaches, with improving quality as winds eventually swing E’ly. 

This weekend (Sep 26 - 27)

A slow moving high pressure system is expected to maintain light to moderate NE winds all weekend. With a moderate long range swell running, we should see good waves at most open beaches east and west of Melbourne.

The surf will continue to extend from a polar low passage through the Far Southern Ocean at the moment, however model guidance is indicating surf size will fall away through Sunday as we push off the peak of the initial SW energy. As such, aim for a surf on Saturday for the biggest and best waves. 

Size wise, Saturday should maintain inconsistent 2-3ft surf west of Melbourne, with the open beaches east of Melbourne bigger around 4-5ft. Expect slightly smaller surf into Sunday - the models do have a small new W/SW swell arriving overnight Saturday and into Sunday but I don’t think there’ll be any appreciable size associated with it, due to its distant origin and the slightly more west component in the direction. Nevertheless the beachbreaks should be worthwhile just about everywhere. 

Next week (Sep 28 onwards)

Still nothing major on the radar for next week at this stage.

Another polar low is expected to intensify immediately S/SW of West Oz (off the ice shelf) on Friday, and it’ll generate a new SW swell that is due to push through on Monday, probably in the afternoon. At this stage no major size is expected but assuming local winds will be favourable - which it look like they will be, as an unrelated trough approaches from the west - we should see inconsistent 2-3ft surf in Torquay and 4-5ft surf east of Melbourne. Surf size will probably be a little smaller prior to its arrival.

Otherwise, the rest of next week looks small and lacklustre as a large blocking pattern develops across the south-eastern Indian Ocean, ahead of a major intensification of the Long Wave Trough in the Central/Southern Indian Ocean through the early to middle part of next week.

Initially, this pattern looks like it’ll be focused up into Indonesia (and will probably generate a very large late season groundswell in the 10-12ft+ range around Oct 4/5) however it appears that it’ll be quite a few days before it migrates into a favourable part of our swell window. I’m not expecting any major surf from this pattern until the middle of the following week (i.e. Oct 5-ish onwards)

Therefore, the long term outlook for next weekend will be relying on small scale features located more closely to the Victorian region, of which there are a few starting to appear in the long term model data for later next week - but I’ll evaluate them in more detail in Friday’s notes. 


superfish's picture
superfish's picture
superfish commented Wednesday, 23 Sep 2015 at 6:48pm

You say in your notes that Monday will remain offshore (and the image says Tuesday will also be NE), and a dropping swell through Monday with a slight increase in the afternoon (as you said, 2-3ft). However all the other models I can find seem to have winds turning NW-W and a significant increase in size (maybe 3ft+ in Torquay). As I'm going to be south-west where any W in the wind is a nuisance and size is an issue, could you please keep us updated if your forecast changes for Monday and the winds will be turning W. If not, it's gonna pump !!
Cheers, great job

Nick.F's picture
Nick.F's picture
Nick.F commented Wednesday, 23 Sep 2015 at 8:05pm

Superfish in the forecast on swellnet it has Sunday being 1-2ft at Torquay and looking at that picture of the extended forecast seems like it looks the same size on Tuesday as well around 1-2 ft for Torqauy and NE turning E and then on the photo looks like Tuesday will be 2ft around torquay and offshore that's just what I see in the photo though Seems like different sizes to what the forecast notes say.

superfish's picture
superfish's picture
superfish commented Wednesday, 23 Sep 2015 at 8:21pm

Yea I'm aware of what the forecaster notes say and the picture says .. I've referenced that in my question. I'm just doubtful of this being the case and am not sure if I should make plans to hang around exposed parts because if the forecast panned out as in the image it would be epic !

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 25 Sep 2015 at 2:27pm

Sorry for the delay in replying, I missed your comment SF. Not quite sure how you quality 2-3ft as being a "slight" increase but 3ft+ as a "significant" increase, as they're very similar. 

Regardless, Monday looks very tricky due to the eastward passage of a trough. Initially I thought winds would be light and variable all day (therefore with a reasonable chance for a period of light offshore winds) however the latest model runs have marginally sped up the trough's approach. One of the models still has N'ly winds on the West Coast through the early morning (and even into lunchtime/early afternoon across the MP and PI) but at this stage it looks a little risky for you. As such I'd give Monday a miss.