Patchy week ahead, next week looks a little better

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

Victorian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 18th October)

Best Days: West of Melbourne: no great days. East of Melbourne: Wed/Thurs: small clean beachies.

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Easing groundswell Tues but with average conditions as onshore winds freshen
  • Fun small waves east of Melbourne Wed/Thurs with offshore winds
  • Average weekend - tiny Sat with an onshore change, building swell Sun but remaining onshore
  • Better options early next week with more swell and slowly improving conditions. Nothing amazing though


Onshore winds created poor surf conditions on Saturday but conditions improved on Sunday as winds veered NW, and wave heights abated from 2-3ft west of Melbourne (bigger to the east). A further easing of size this morning coincided with a period of light winds across all coasts, but onshore winds developed from mid-morning onwards, as a small unrelated new swell also built across the coast. Size seems to be holding 2-3ft west of Melbourne again.

Fun lines of new swell on Torquay this morning

This week (Oct 19 - 22)

Easing swells are expected from Tuesday onwards, but the main issue we have for the short term - at least, west of Melbourne - is a developing south-easterly airstream on Tuesday that’ll veer gusty easterly into Wednesday.

These winds will be related to the passage of a high pressure system, trailing the weak front that clipped the coast today, along with a small surface trough developing across eastern Bass Strait on Tuesday morning.

Local winds shouldn’t be too strong on Tuesday morning but it’ll be enough to bump up leftover 2-3ft sets across the Surf Coast, and there won’t initially be enough east in the breeze to favour the open beaches east of Melbourne.

A further easing of background groundswell on Wednesday will coincide with the local wind tending straight E’ly, though we’ll also see a peak in local SE windswell from the eastern surface trough. East of Melbourne, the groundswell should be down to a slow but clean 2-3ft along the Peninsula and Phillip Island’s open beaches.

West of Melbourne, the short range SE energy could be of a similar size - though biggest west from Torquay (in fact, locations at the western extremity could see the odd bigger set). Expect low quality here though under a fresh easterly breeze. 

E’ly winds will maintain strength through northern Bass Strait overnight Wednesday into Thursday, though the direction will veer slightly more E/NE, which reduces the fetch length and thus size potential of the associated windswell. We’ll be back to locally lighter/moderate N/NE winds on Thursday but I fear most of the swell energy will push past of the coastal margin. As such expect small easing beach breaks across all regions with improving surface conditions. 

Friday will then finish the week with small levels of background energy and generally light winds. 

This weekend (Oct 23 - 24)

The synoptics for this week show a classic regional blocking pattern (see below). Our primary swell windows have already shut down, and so with no new energy inbound for the start of the weekend, we’ll kick off proceedings with minor residual energy and a fresh onshore wind change as a front crosses the coast.

Sunday has more size promise though. The early stages of the weekend's front is starting to form way out west of Heard Island (see above), and over the coming days will strengthen into an impressive system in the Southern Indian Ocean, before weakening as it reaches about Western Australia’s longitudes later Thursday, eventually limping across the Victorian coast Saturday morning.

Indeed, locally strengthening S/SW winds on Sunday will be related to a re-intensification of the front/low in the western Tasman Sea, rather than any dynamics associated with its previous passage through the Bight. 

As such, Sunday’s increase in swell will be a mix of local windswell but also a healthy percentage of long period groundswell from the distant low pressure system over the coming days. The large travel timeline will result in quite a lot of wave decay, which will keep a lid on surf size, but inconsistent 3ft+ sets are probable on the Surf Coast, with 4-5ft+ sets east of Melbourne. Quality won’t be high under the accompanying breeze though.

Check back on Wednesday to see if there's a chance for local winds to have improved. 

Next week (Oct 25 onwards)

A series of strong secondary fronts/lows trailing behind are expected to generate slightly better quality groundswell for next week, with possibly a little more size, peaking between Monday and Tuesday with 3-4ft sets across the Surf Coast, pushing 5-6ft east of Melbourne. Local conditions look a little better though with a weak high pressure system resulting in light winds. 

Further groundswells are expected mid-week with a likely period of easterly winds, however at this stage there’s no sign of any major swell events on the horizon.

See you Wednesday!


geek's picture
geek's picture
geek Monday, 18 Oct 2021 at 5:17pm

Not looking great for the city crew who can head to MP on the weekend, pool looking like the way to go if you can get a booking!

McGusto's picture
McGusto's picture
McGusto Monday, 18 Oct 2021 at 6:55pm

Beaches will be fun no matter what on Friday!!….
but I’m staying positive on the forecast of NE winds and underlying building groundswell. That’s all you need when you’ve been out of the water for months and months! 2-3ft on the ninch is prob all
I could take

Mr.Tee on a long board's picture
Mr.Tee on a long board's picture
Mr.Tee on a lon... Monday, 18 Oct 2021 at 7:22pm

I will take whatever I can get later next week. It is been too long since I was last out on the shark biscuit. ;-P