Inbound: lots of swell, lots of wind
Victorian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 16th October)
Best Days: Sat/Sun: very large swell, with brief windows of W/NW winds early morning in Torquay (more likely Sat than Sun). Best suited to sheltered spots all weekend. Mon: strong though easing swell with abating winds. Tues: smaller and cleaner.
Recap: Tuesday saw tiny conditions, with a very late arrival of new swell preceding a peak in size this morning. Wave heights came in pretty much within expectations, though the inconsistency was a major factor, delivering extremely long breaks between waves (this was not unexpected either). The Surf Coast saw occasional 2-3ft sets, with the Mornington Peninsula seeing 4-6ft surf, and conditions were clean for the first half of the day before the sea breeze kicked in after lunch (though it’s not affecting everywhere yet).
This week (Oct 14 - 17)
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Righto. We’ve got a blustery period ahead as a classic winter frontal progression sweeps across the state. Winds will alternate from the NW to the W/SW, generally at strong to gale force strength though there could be higher wind gusts at times close to each frontal passage.
Our inbound swell from the parent low won’t really kick in until the weekend. As such, Thursday and Friday’s surf prospects look a little grim: when you take into account today’s inconsistency, start to ease back the size, and then load it up with 25kts of W/NW breeze, it’s hard to imagine the Surf Coast being very attractive. But there’ll be small windy waves early if you’re keen. Everywhere east of Melbourne will be even less platable.
Smaller surf is expected on Friday with similarly windy conditions redeveloping through the day as another front approaches from the west, bringing a W’ly change late.
A small front riding through the Bight today is too far north to generate any notable swell for our region, so the only increase we’ll see will be locally generated (for that matter, Melbourne surfers can consider Bayside options once the wind’s up over 30kts).
Model guidance is showing the leading edge of our large weekend swell pushing into Bass Strait late Friday but I still think we won’t see an appreciable size increase until Saturday morning.
This weekend (Oct 18 - 19)
There’s been a small downgrade for the weekend’s swell. But, it’s still looking to be very large and quite windy.
The structure of this system is very much the same, but core winds around the main polar low - responsible for Sunday morning’s peak in size - won’t be quite as strong as Monday’s guidance suggested, and it’s now unlikely to display the same swell-window-slingshot I was anticipating. The strongest winds will also be better aimed up into South Oz (see below).
Nevertheless, the trend will will be all day Saturday, peaking overnight or perhaps early Sunday morning, and then easing through the afternoon. Starting off a little smaller early morning (say, 4-5ft), the Surf Coast should reach maximum surf size around the 6-8ft mark whilst the open beaches east of Melbourne will be pushing 10ft+, offering the best options inside Western Port under gale force conditions.
As for conditions, we can expect mainly gusty W’ly winds across locations east of Melbourne (slightly more W/NW early morning, especially Saturday), but the Surf Coast should see a more effective, pronounced morning period of W/NW or even NW winds on Saturday morning. Of course, this will occur during the ‘low point’ of the weekend’s swell trend, and although Sunday morning may see a brief W/NW wind, it’s likely too be much shorter in length (if it shows at all).
Additionally, as mentioned on Monday, these temporary pockets of favourable winds may only just clean up the wave faces, thanks to three days of persistent westerly gales through Bass Strait maintaining wobbly lineups for the most part. So, keep a lid on your expectations this weekend - it'll be very solid, blowy and difficult at most breaks. But well worth scouting the coast for a wide variety of protected corners, coves and points.
Next week (Oct 20 onwards)
Sunday afternoon’s easing trend will be slightly arrested on Monday by a minor pulse of swell from the tail end of the main weather system over the weekend.
Winds will also ease in strength and we’ll see morning W/NW breeze on the Surf Coast with abating 4-5ft+ surf here, bigger in the 6-8ft+ range east of Melbourne and once again best suited to Western Port.
Smaller surf will then hold out into Tuesday and early Wednesday, ahead of a series of long range groundswells pushing through from Wednesday afternoon onwards (leading edge should be in early morning), generated by a broad storm series way our near Heard Island over the coming days. This will be better aimed to Indo and WA than Victoria but we’ll see some nice groundswell lines through the second half of the week, holding into the weekend.
Unfortunately, a couple of cold fronts are also expected to push through around this time so winds may be less than idea. But I’ll have more on that in Friday’s update.