Excellent outlook for next week
Victorian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 16th October)
Best Days: Sat: early variable/offshore winds, and a steady mix of easing SW and SE swells. Onshores expected around lunch. Sun: small late pulse of surf, though prob still wind affected. Tues/Wed/Thurs/Fri: long period SW groundswells with generally light winds and sea breezes.
Recap: Easing surf on Thursday (1-2ft west of Melbourne, 2-3ft east) was accompanied by variable winds ahead of a mid-late afternoon SW change. Winds have veered SE this morning as the swell’s bottomed out though we are expecting a new SW groundswell to build through the day.
This weekend (Oct 17 - 18)
*This week’s Forecaster Notes will be a little erratic as Craig’s on annual leave*
So, the weekend’s winds are still a little flukey but we’ve now got a more easily identifiable window of opportunity. And that is Saturday morning.
The current SE airstream will trend E’ly during the day and then NE overnight as it eases back in strength, to become light and variable early Saturday morning. Without a synoptic offshore, most locations will still see some residual surface wobble but the wave faces will be clean and the surf will slowly improve.
That is.. until the trough pushes over the region and SW winds on its western flank envelop the coast.
The timing on this isn’t clear (slow moving troughs are erratic in nature, and will often stall unexpectedly), though the latest guidance suggests an arrival just before lunch on the Surf Coast, and just after across the Peninsula. Initially, wind strengths won’t be too strong (it won’t be the same as a frontal passage), so we’ll see a gradual freshening throughout the afternoon.
As for surf, the approaching but yet-to-appear SW groundswell due this afternoon will peak overnight and then ease steadily through Saturday. We should see inconsistent 3-4ft sets across the Surf Coast and 4-5ft waves east of Melbourne from this source.
Additionally, today’s developing easterly flow through Bass Strait will add a secondary SE swell into the water - not showing very well east of Melbourne, but the Surf Coast (mainly west from Torquay) should pick up some peaky 2-3ft sets from this source.
This means that the regional reefs and points will offer a much different kind of wave than we normally see, and you’ll be best off hitting up the wide open beaches where there’ll be a peaky range of options right along the coast.
Moderate to fresh S/SW winds are expected to persist into Sunday on the backside of the trough. There may be pockets of light variable winds here and there (probably only just the Surf Coast, likely early morning at best) but overall we’re not likely to see anything amazing in the surf department.
Early morning will see small leftovers from Saturday, but a new swell source has actually popped up on the charts since Wednesday’s notes were prepared - another polar low (similar to the one generating this afternoon’s energy) will strengthen today off the ice shelf below WA and SA (see below), and we’ll see an afternoon pulse of S/SW groundswell that should rebuild the Surf Coast back up to 3ft and the East Coasts to 4-5ft by the end of the day.
Keep an eye on the wind obs in case the breeze backs off after lunch, as there could be an OK late lumpy session west from Melbourne.
Next week (Oct 19 onwards)
A weak ridge of high pressure will dominate the Victorian region for much of next week, leading to generally light variable winds most days. Sunday's late pulse of SW swell will ease slowly through Monday though there should be some fun, slightly lumpy waves early as winds become variable.
A series of powerful Southern Ocean lows in our far swell window are generating excellent long period swells that will arrive in succession from Monday evening onwards (leading edges Mon and Wed nights could be around 20+ seconds).
The latest model guidance has strengthened these systems a little more since Wednesday and also maintained their strength a little closer to the mainland, which will assist in maximising surf size potential throughout Victorian waters. The second swell in particular looks to be the biggest of the two.
However, the large travel distance will result in very inconsistent set waves. This will be most prominent on Tuesday and Wednesday, when the first groundswell (see source above) will essentially be the only swell source in the water. On Thursday and Friday, the second long period groundswell will sit on top of decaying energy from the previous swell event, which (despite being smaller in size) will help to reduce the perceived inconsistency a little.
So, how big? At this stage I think we’ll see Tuesday building to 4-5ft across the Torquay swell magnets by the afternoon, possibly undersized early morning (expect flat spells of up to 15-20 mins between set waves). This swell should hold into Wednesday morning before easing through the day. Expect a peak early of Melbourne in the 6ft+ range.
Thursday’s new swell (see source below) should rebuild to between 4ft and 6ft across the Surf Coast’s swell magnets, and east of Melbourne I think we’ll see powerful strong 6-8ft+ sets. Size should persist into Friday then ease.
Note: these size estimations are for the regional swell magnets, so (for example) not every break along the Surf Coast will pick up the nominated size. It's also worth noting that despite the size and strength of the swell energy, it's often the consistency (or lack thereof) that ultimately has the biggest influence on the quality of your session - even if the waves are great when they arrive, it's obviously harder to jag a set when they're extremely infrequent.
Light winds all week will probably hold from the eastern quadrant if anything, though in general it’ll probably be a pattern of morning variable conditions and then afternoon sea breezes.
Have a great weekend, see you Monday!