Yeah, nah: 'tis a pretty uninspiring outlook
Victorian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 20th October)
Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)
- Small waves Thurs at open beaches east of Melbourne
- Chance for a few small lingering SE wind waves west of TQ, early Thurs (gone by mid-late morning)
- Tiny surf, generally light winds Fri/Sat
- Building swells Sun but bumpy with fresh onshore winds
- No major surf expected all of next week, until next weekend at the earliest
- Wednesday the pick of the long range forecast period, east of Melbourne
Surf conditions were bumpy on Tuesday with onshore winds, and moderate, easing swells from Monday’s increase. We’ve seen a building SE windswell today that’s mainly benefited the Surf Coast in the size department, west of Torquay (despite generally average quality conditions). Elsewhere we’ve seen smaller waves, with clean conditions along the Peninsula and Phillip Island’s open beaches under moderate easterly breezes. Open beaches here had 2-3ft sets this morning but it’s down to under 2ft this afternoon.
This week (Oct 21 - 22)
There’s not a lot of juice left in the tank.
The Southern Ocean is now rather quiet; buoy data from Cape Sorell is abating steadily and is now close to 1m, whilst peak swell periods are around 10 seconds.
It’s not very active and suggests we’ll see tiny surf even at the swell magnets east of Melbourne tomorrow. This is a shame as conditions will be super clean with moderate NE winds. Keep your expectations legged around small peaky shories and you may do OK.
As for the current SE windswell, the fetch is slowly rotating from the east to the north-east, which is essentially aligned outside of the Surf Coast’s narrow swell window. So apart from a few small lingering sets early Thursday (1ft+ east of TQ, 2ft+ west of TQ, biggest at the far western end), expect wave heights to become very small throughout the day.
Very small surf is then expected to prevail across all coasts on Friday. Model guidance has a faint new groundswell from a source I’m unsure of (likely generated early/mid last week, prior to my stint on the forecast bench) but I can’t see it amounting to much. Exposed beaches will be your best friend.
This weekend (Oct 23 - 24)
Still looks like an onshore change will cross the coast on Saturday, strengthening into Sunday as a low takes shape east of Tasmania.
We may see a brief window of favourably light winds early Saturday but for the most part the weekend’s looking rather craptacular.
As for new swell, Saturday will remain small for most of the day - there’s no new groundswell due until very late, and the strength of the onshore won’t be enough to kick up anything appreciable (at first).
Sunday should see some small windswell across the region, but more prominent will be a long period groundswell generated by a large, intense low pressure system way out near Heard Island at the moment. The large travel distance from the swell source will result in significant wave decay, probably capping surf size around the 3ft+ mark Lon the Surf Coast with very long breaks between the sets.
East of Melbourne should push 4-5ft+ at open beaches but this isn’t enough for the sheltered spots to be worthwhile.
So in short, flag the weekend.
Next week (Oct 25 onwards)
There’s been a few changes in the outlook for next week.
Lingering, though easing onshore winds Monday will probably maintain poor surf conditions across all coasts, as Sunday’s swell concurrently eases back in size.
A new blocking pattern developing upstream this weekend will once again shut down the supply of new swell to our region, so the first half of the week will probably see small background energy across exposed coasts. Light winds Tuesday should allow for an improvement on the surface but Wednesday is a better choice as we’ll be back to a moderate easterly breeze, favouring the open beaches east of Melbourne.
At this stage there’s a suggestion that the storm track will start to regroup in the Southern Ocean during the middle to latter part of next week, resulting in a kick in size for next weekend, through into the following week. However, Thursday and Friday will probably maintain small waves at exposed coasts.
More on this in Friday’s update.