Fun waves persisting for most of this week
Victorian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 21st October)
Best Days: Tues/Wed: smaller and cleaner with light winds. Late Wed/Thurs: building long range swells, super inconsistent but with good winds. Fri: Inconsistent, windy conditions in Torquay though OK.
Recap: The weekend delivered large waves with mainly onshore winds across most exposed coasts, though the Surf Coast saw early windows of light W/NW winds. Surf size peaked around 6-8ft here very late Saturday and early Sunday, and has since slowly eased though this morning is still holding 4-6ft. East of Melbourne was/is much bigger with great (smaller) options across the sheltered spots.
This week (Oct 22 - 25)
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The next few days will see easing swells from today and light variable winds with sea breezes. Tuesday should retain enough size for good options across the Surf Coast reefs (3ft sets), but it’ll become a little smaller by Wednesday, and therefore the open beaches east of Melbourne will be a better choice (banks pending, of course).
During Wednesday, the regional wave buoys will pick up the leading edge of a long range groundswell, generated over the last few days from an unusually stationary sequence of lows out near Heard Island. It’s a real shame that this pattern was so far form the mainland, as the swell will be of very high quality - but once it reaches Victorian longitudes it’ll be greatly diminished in size and consistency.
Nevertheless, we’re looking at some really nice waves across the coast as the swell fills in. Late Wednesday may see a kick in size, but I suspect the bulk swell energy will be located a reasonable distance behind the leading edge (~18 hours) so Thursday morning is looking at seeing a more prominent kick in size, with the swell likely to persist through Friday. Set waves will be extremely inconsistent but should reach 2-3ft across the Surf Coast swell magnets and open beaches east of Melbourne are likely to push 4-5ft+.
Thursday will however be the day for the best waves. Early light winds will swing to the north and freshen into the afternoon as a high pressure system develops to our west and a front approaches from the west. Friday will see strong to gale force NW winds tending W’ly into the afternoon as the front crosses the coast.
Additionally, the earlier stages of this front - immediately south-west of WA on Tuesday - will have been in the form of an intense cut-off low, with core winds up to 50kts (see below).
This is expected to generate a strong secondary W/SW swell that will arrive during Friday afternoon, and may provide a late kick in size across the coast. However the swell direction will be very W’ly and by the time it kicks in, the front itself will also be making landfall so exposed beaches will be windy, and the strong W’ly component in the swell direction will shave off a lot of size along the Surf Coast (the latter stages of the front will ride too far north through the Bight, just out of our swell window).
I’m also not confident on the timing, because the leading edge is due in around lunchtime which means we may not see a kick until the last hour or two of the day. As such, there is potential for the last hour or two of the day to see another foot of windy surf, with a much bigger boost east of Melbourne - but Saturday is a safer bet for the size increase.
This weekend (Oct 26 - 27)
Friday’s late frontal passage will dominate Saturday’s surf conditions with gusty SW winds easing, and a combo of swells producing 3-5ft surf in Torquay and 6ft+ sets across the open beaches east of Melbourne.
There’s a chance for a brief window of W/NW winds along the Surf Coast, but the way the models are with this system right now doesn’t lend itself to a high level of confidence - the cut-off low is smaller and localised compared to the last few days’ broader synoptics - so small changes in the forecast position of the low could have a major bearing on surf size and quality.
So, let’s take a look on Wednesday to firm up the details.
As for Sunday, the most likely scenario is that we’ll be in a post-frontal easing onshore airstream, with easing surf from 3ft+ in Torquay (bigger east of Melbourne) and a reasonable chance for workable winds along the Surf Coast.
Next week (Oct 28 onwards)
A very long period groundswell is expected to push into the Victorian coast on Monday, generated by an intense low pushing east from Madagascar longitudes over the coming days. The enormous travel distance will create very cinisonstent waves, but we’ll see large periods (20+ seconds) at the regional buoys and there’s a reasonable chance for a few small waves along the Surf Coast in the 2ft+ range Monday and Tuesday with better options east of Melbourne, occasionally 3-5ft at exposed beaches.
Otherwise, there are no other major swell sources expected to provide new swell through the first half of next week as a blocking pattern takes up residence across our swell window.
Another series of fronts are lurking at the tail end of the model runs and are suggesting we’ll see an upswing through the second half of the week, but that’s still some time away. I’ll have more details on Wednesday.