Average week of waves, then a round of cold fronts

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

Victorian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 10th May)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Poor conditions Tuesday, improving east of Melbourne on Wednesday as winds swing E'ly
  • Extended period of W'lies with cold fronts from late Thurs thru' Mon
  • Plenty of swell during this but only brief pockets of OK conditions west of Melbourne


Saturday offer easing, average waves with freshening W/NW tending SW winds. Sunday’s new swell was a late arrival, reaching the Cape Sorell buoy just before dawn and slowly building to a peak around 4ft at exposed Torquay reefs by lunchtime through the afternoon, with smaller waves elsewhere. Surf size eased back a little overnight, maintaining slow, inconsistent 3ft sets in Torquay this morning before abating a little more into the afternoon. An onshore change originally expected to arrive mid-morning today has been pushed back to this evening, so we’ve seen clean conditions west of Melbourne with freshening N/NW winds. East of Melbourne has been bigger surf, though generally wind affected at exposed spots.

Clean afternoon options in Torquay 

This week (May 11 - 14)

*Today’s Forecaster Notes will be brief as Craig is away*

The next few days look a little tricky.

Tuesday in particular will see poor conditions across most coast thanks to a gusty onshore flow in the wake of tonight’s change, which is expected to stall across the region under the strong influence of a coastal trough developing off the NSW coast. This will drive fresh S’ly tending SE winds across most coasts, bumping up an otherwise strong mix of unrelated groundswells. 

Winds should veer E’ly into Wednesday, allowing the open beaches east of Melbourne to clean up but with strong sets in the 5-6ft range it’ll be tough work finding something workable. West of Melbourne will likely remain poor quality with wind affected conditions. 

On Thursday, the swell will drop out to a low point, and early light NW winds will freshen through the day ahead of a late SW change. There'll be small morning waves in Torquay but it's not worth getting excited about.

This SW change will be associated with the first in a series of strong fronts push across the region, tied in with an amplifying Long Wave Trough, and we’re looking at gusty westerly quadrant winds from late Thursday thru’ Monday. 

Although we’re looking at a couple of strong embedded pulses throughout this period, Friday will probably be a little undersized with a slow increase into the 3ft+ range west of Meblboure and early W/NW winds swinging W/SW or SW through the day. East of Melbourne probably won’t offer many workable options under this pattern. 

This weekend (May 15 - 16)

Just a classic winter frontal pattern for the weekend, with varying winds from the west - probably W/NW through the mornings, tending SW into the afternoons - no major strength but enough to cause problems at exposed spots.

The associated fronts will have generated plenty of swell prior to reaching the coast, though I’m not expecting any major size - west of Melbourne maintaining 3-4ft most days with occasional pulses into the 4-5ft+ range, whilst east of Melbourne will be a write off for the open beaches but we'll probably see just enough size for small waves inside Western Port.

Next week (May 17 onwards)

Monday’s shaping up to see the last day of westerly quadrant winds, and there should be plenty of size on offer for Torquay though conditions won’t be great (apart from an early window in Torquay). Tuesday onwards should allow for improving conditions with light winds and slowly easing swells, holding through the rest of the week. 

As for future swell prospects, it looks like the storm track will move a little further north, and become quite zonal into the long term which suggests a series of westerly swells for this region later next week - kicking in around Saturday - which may impact surf size in Torquay.

More on this in Wednesday’s update. 


Stormn's picture
Stormn's picture
Stormn Wednesday, 12 May 2021 at 2:23pm

Heads up for anyone thinking of surfing PI, big chunks of whale meat/blubber were observed floating just beyond the surf zone between Surfies Point and Forrest Caves this morning with some shark activity observed. The whale that’s been at Forrest for a while is breaking up finally but bits are washing up here and there either side of where it ended up.

Bnkref's picture
Bnkref's picture
Bnkref Wednesday, 12 May 2021 at 7:40pm

Bugger that. Have people been surfing FC while it's been there?

Hiccups's picture
Hiccups's picture
Hiccups Thursday, 13 May 2021 at 10:45am

I surfed there a couple of weeks ago. Alone. Fair few out the next day too. I thought it was ok whale-wise there now. Guess not.