thermalben

Poor surf conditions for a while

Victorian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 23rd October)

Best Days: No great days due to poor winds. Nice W'ly swell due next Thurs/Fri/Sat, local condition as yet unsure. 

Recap: I’m disappointed at the Thurs/Fri groundswell event. It arrived later than forecast, was (unexpectedly) even less consistent than the Tues/Wed swell, and barely scraped into the lower end of forecast estimates (rare 4-5ft sets west of Melbourne, 6ft+ east of Melbourne - though having peaked overnight may have pushed a little higher under the cover of darkness). As expected, winds have been variable throughout the region, but had the Surf Coast seen a light northerly instead of a light southerly (as experienced elsewhere) then surf quality would have been perceived to be a lot better. As a side note, it’s interesting to see that the CdC buoy (SA) picked up larger wave heights from the Thurs/Fri event than the Tues/Wed event (the opposite of what occurred Cape Sorell, which is further south in latitude and on average usually sees larger waves).

A local study in bathymetry and refraction

This weekend (Oct 24 - 25)

With poor winds expected all weekend, there’s no need to waffle on about the synoptics (though, I’ll give it a crack, of course).

As mentioned over the last week, we’ve got a deep polar low firing up to our south-west, and this will generate a couple of new swells for the weekend that should increase surf size in Torquay from 2-3ft early Saturday to 4-5ft by the afternoon, holding into Sunday. It’ll be much bigger east of Melbourne.

However, a complex, dynamic low pressure trough over SA will move eastwards, crossing the Victoria region overnight tonight and bringing gusty southerly winds to all regions by early morning. This will then be reinforced by a strong front (related to the polar low swell source). Winds will be S/SW Saturday and should main strength from the S thru' S/SE into Sunday. 

With limited options offering protection under this wind direction, there’s really not a lot to recommend this weekend. 

Next week (Oct 27 onwards)

A stalled trough in the Tasman Sea and a slow moving high pressure system below Tasmania will maintain strong to gale force E’ly winds through Bass Strait for the first half of next week (see chart below). Local winds - more E/SE in direction - should start to throttle back from about Wednesday onwards but it probably won’t be until Thursday or maybe even Friday that conditions start to improve. 

The weekend’s SW swell will be easing steadily early next week, and thanks to an upstream blocking pattern, we’re looking at regionally small groundswell conditions for the entire week.

However, the Surf Coast will pick up plenty of short range SE windswell, biggest west of Torquay with 3-4ft sets from Monday thru’ Wednesday, then down to 2-3ft Thursday and Friday. Expect smaller size from this source east of Melbourne, and with blustery side-shore conditions, it’s hard to imagine many locations offering worthwhile options under this pattern.

There is a chance for isolated pockets of light winds (around Wed) and we’ll take a closer look at this potential in Monday’s notes. 

Elsewhere, the LWT developing west of WA over the coming days looks like it might ease in strength by the time it pushes into an appreciable region of our favourable swell window. West Oz is looking at a very big swell next week but the poor alignment of the storm track relative to Victoria means we’ll see a lot of west in the resulting swell direction, arriving from about Thursday onwards (peaking Fri/Sat). However there should be plenty of energy pushing through.

So, the swell potential for the long term will probably favour exposed coasts, and we’ll be relying on the local wind to play ball too. We'll firm things up on Monday.

Have a good weekend, see you Monday!

Comments

Patrick0710's picture
Patrick0710's picture
Patrick0710 commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 10:40am

Devil's wind all next week?

Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 12:27pm

I see no W’s ;)

I am the bone

Stok's picture
Stok's picture
Stok commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 1:29pm

Wavepool was good today, and should offer some protection from those Southerlies thanks to those walls over the coming days. Get on it!

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 4:23pm

Tuesday was the best of the last week Ben, for sure. Spent some time paddling around on Thursday arvo in wind and currents and it had neither the size or quality. It did have the intermittency, so you got pushed out of place and copped the sets on the head a bit.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 4:37pm

Tuesday looked so nicely lined up.. a classic long period Vicco swell!

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 6:25pm

Ben do you have any data you can pull up regarding how often Vic gets 18-20s swell events each year? Or 18-20s periods as a swell builds?
One thing we've noticed is just how these light up a few unlikely places, we've had great waves on these occasions this year, but it's a case of blink and you'll miss it with some of the 20s forerunning period of some swells

Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone's picture
Nick Bone commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 6:33pm

Tues? Wednesday arvo by far had the defined period and height I thought. Could see the lines out a mile away from Porto. The vantage is up high but still was still a notable swell

Edit: Not height but definition.

I am the bone

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 9:57pm

Yep Tues arvo into sunset around here seemed biggest. Wednesday had the similar really long lines (eg Juc a single line at 5ft+ on Tuesday) but they seemed smaller and the winds weren't as nice when I was out. Bathymetry the difference?

Tabby10's picture
Tabby10's picture
Tabby10 commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 6:15pm

Tuesday was really fun, thought Thursday night was going to be the same and was majorly disappointed, wind cut the faces way more and no were near the same size

pigdog's picture
pigdog's picture
pigdog commented Saturday, 24 Oct 2020 at 11:46am

Is November going to give us the 9/10 groundswell lined up like a ruler with near perfect winds for our favorite spots.....I'm going to make the call and say its been average last 8 months with no proper run of 3-4 day swell event.
Understanding there has been swell and nice days just no run of
Conservative groundswell back to back to back

Oceanbeach's picture
Oceanbeach's picture
Oceanbeach commented Sunday, 25 Oct 2020 at 5:37pm

I keep hearing something about the MP being changed to regional obviously didn't happen today but was this mentioned by Andrews at some point recently? I had lost interest in the whole shit show until this rumour surfaced....

DThomas's picture
DThomas's picture
DThomas commented Monday, 26 Oct 2020 at 7:44am

When are the building Coolum wave pool?