Batten down the Vicco hatches
Victorian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 22nd March)
Best Days: Sat/Sun: fun surf open beaches, best in the mornings. Mon/Tues: very large swell though very windy. Wed/Thurs: rapidly easing, but clean with light winds. Fri: moderate new swell with N'ly winds. Next weekend: another solid swell.
Recap: Small leftover swells and SE winds favoured the open beaches east of Melbourne on Thursday, with winds tending more E’ly this morning and offering much better conditions. It’s been very small and uninteresting west of Melbourne until this afternoon, when the leading edge of a new groundswell started to push through (see image below from 13th Beach, where sets are 3ft+). The sets are inconsistent and there’s an E’ly wobble on it but the energy is strong. Surf size is a little smaller west from Torquay.
New swell pushing into 13th Beach this afternoon
This weekend (Mar 23 - 24)
*this week's Forecaster Notes will be occasionally brief and erratic, as Craig is on annual leave - to receive notification when they’re updated, please update your account preferences*
This afternoon’s new swell will ease slowly through Saturday, so make the most of the early session for the most size.
We’re likely to see slow, inconsistent 2-3ft sets across the Surf Coast (mainly open beaches) with larger 4-5ft+ waves east of Melbourne. Expect wave heights to lose a foot or so throughout the day.
A shallow front will cross the coast in the afternoon, bringing a gusty westerly change to most coasts, but we’ll see NE winds through the morning and relatively clean conditions across most beach breaks.
A series of fronts pushing through the Bight right now (preceding a more significant low pressure system over the weekend) will generate some small to moderate W/SW swell but it’s not likely to arrive until very late Sunday. As such, we’re looking at small, residual swells in the 1-2ft range west of Melbourne (3-4ft east of Melbourne) with a possible late kick.
Conditions should be clean with mainly variable conditions under a weak pressure gradient (likely some form of N’ly). So, hit up the open beaches.
Next week (Mar 25 onwards)
A complex series of powerful lows will develop south of the continent over the weekend, migrating through our near swell window into the start of next week and delivering a period of very large, windy surf for the state.
Monday morning will see early W/NW gales with the low sitting west of Tasmania (with likely core winds of 50kts+ within our swell swell window, see below), so whilst we are likely to see an initial period of relatively ‘undersized’ conditions early morning - being smaller W/SW swell from the earlier fronts - we’ll see a rapid size increase through the day as the low transits across Victorian longitudes and swings the wind to the west.
Strong to gale force W/SW tending SW winds are likely Tuesday as the front and low clears to the east.
How big? It’s all academic as conditions will be more victory-at-sea than anything as it reaches a peak but stormy 8ft+ sets are likely in Torquay, pushing 10-12ft across the exposed beaches east of Melbourne. Obviously, this means sheltered corners and coves will be your best option.
Ordinarily, these kinds of weather progressions can lead to temporary windows of early W/NW winds in Torquay and whilst this is possible for a brief period on Tuesday, I don’t think it’ll be enough to iron out the bumps from Monday’s squally change. And with early morning likely to be of a similar size to late Monday (albeit easing steadily, perhaps 6-8ft+ in Torquay easing to 4-6ft during the day), protected locations everywhere will once again be your best option.
Looking further ahead, and steadily easing conditions on Wednesday and early Thursday with mainly light winds will precede a moderate bump in new WSW swell late Thursday and into Friday, from a modest series of fronts well SW of WA earlier in the week.
In fact, a stronger frontal progression much closer to Victorian longitudes on Thursday (below the continent) will generate a bigger, better groundswell for next weekend, that could push the Surf Coast back up into the 6ft range. But more on that in Monday’s update.
Have a great weekend!