Strong swells, gusty winds, but a few pockets of opportunity

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

Victorian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 14th May)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Large windy surf Sat, easing Sun and improving west of Melbourne
  • Another large windy swell Mon, improving during the a'noon
  • Tues looking good for Torquay with strong, easing swells and favourable winds
  • Smaller Wed but clean
  • Next round of swell due Fri onwards


Wave heights dropped through Thursday, initially there were some small waves across open beaches in the morning but the entire state was close to flat by early afternoon ahead of a late increase in local windswell. Today’s seen building surf from 2-3ft into the 3-4ft range in Torquay, with larger though very wind affected 4-6ft building surf east of Melbourne. Early W/NW winds are now around to a gusty W/SW.

Torquay picking up the new swell early this morning

Small peelers at Lorne this morning

This weekend (May 15 - 16)

No change to the weekend outlook. 

A vigorous front crossing the coast tonight (due into the Surf Coast between 1-3am Saturday) is unlikely to offer a brief window of early W/NW winds west of Melbourne, the timing’s simply too tight. As such we’re going to be into a full blown SW tending S/SW airstream around 30kts.

As for surf, we’ve got a bunch of mid-range swells (and a healthy dose of windswell) that’ll overlap throughout the day. Of course, most locations will be a write-off so we’re honing in on sheltered locations everywhere for Saturday - as for a size reference, west of Melbourne should push somewhere between 4ft to maybe 6ft of choppy surf at exposed spots, and east of Melbourne will be larger again but you’ll only be able to surf small waves at protected venues. Don’t expect a lot of quality either, it’ll be a mish-mash of variable energy, and the wind chill will have a sting.

Sunday’s shaping up much better with winds backing to the W/NW as another front rears up to the west of the state, and wave heights ease back. West of Melbourne should manage 3-4ft sets early (smaller during the day) whilst east of Melbourne will be larger but still messy at the open beaches, with small but rapidly improving waves inside Western Port.

Next week (May 17 onwards)

I really like the look of the polar low generating Monday’s new groundswell (see below). It’s already generating new energy for Victoria, and will push through our swell window over the weekend, generating a couple of pulses of SW then S/SW swells for the start of next week.

The first swell will arrive overnight Sunday and build through Monday however we’ll be under a post-frontal SW flow for the most part, so conditions will be bumpy - however, we should be sufficiently on the backside of Sunday night’s frontal progression to allow for (1) an outside chance for an early W/NW breeze in Torquay, and (2) a steady easing in wind strength through the day, and a backing of the wind from the SW to the W/NW. 

Wave heights should build into the 5-6ft+ range across exposed Torquay reefs by the afternoon (smaller earlier) so regardless, there’ll be plenty of options at sheltered spots - including those in Western Port. 

Tuesday looks much better. Wave heights will be easing through the day but early morning could still pick up the odd 4ft to maybe 6ft bomb west of Torquay at dawn (down to 3-4ft by lunchtime), but more importantly winds will be back to the NW so conditions will be rapidly improving. We’ll see good early options in Western Port before the size drops through the day.

NW winds will persist on Wednesday as the swell continues to ease. Thursday will see the start of a new swell cycle from an improve though slightly distant polar low progression earlier in the week. This should rebuild the Surf Coast from 2-3ft Thursday back into the 3-4ft range from Friday through Sunday. 

Have a great weekend, see you Monday!


Tubbabird's picture
Tubbabird's picture
Tubbabird Monday, 17 May 2021 at 11:33am


Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Monday, 17 May 2021 at 12:19pm

Haha, here I am!