Plenty of swell, but tricky winds abound

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

Victorian Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 20th March)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Strong, easing surf Tues/Wed with fresh E'lies, best suited to open beaches east of Melbourne
  • Slowly building swells Thurs/Fri, peaking Sat/Sun with generally light/mod onshore winds
  • Quieter period settling in next week


Saturday morning offered fun beach breaks with light winds and clean surf across the open beaches, before strengthening northerlies reached gusts of 40kts+ through the middle of the day, swinging westerly into the afternoon. Lingering onshores maintained lumpy surf conditions through Sunday as wave heights slowly built from a small base, and we’ve seen poor conditions today under fresh southerlies. Wave heights are a little undersized with 3ft sets in Torquay and 4-5ft sets to the east, though size does appear to be still increasing and we’re looking at a peak in groundswell sometime this evening. 

This week (Mar 21 - 24)

Looks like a poor couple of days ahead for the Torquay region, mainly due to local winds. They’ll be the by-product of a ridge of high pressure across Tasmania and deepening inland trough over the state, and it won’t be until later this week that the ridge weakens, allowing local winds to throttle back. 

Fresh easterlies are expected Tuesday and Wednesday, which will create terrible conditions along the Surf Coast, despite there being plenty of underlying groundswell. Conversely, winds are looking great for the open beaches east of Melbourne Tuesday and Wednesday but surf size may initially be a little overpowering for the beaches early Tuesday (early 4-6ft sets). However, by the afternoon and Wednesday we’ll see more manageable size and there should be some very good options on hand, though size will be down to 2-3ft+ for the mid-week session.

On Thursday, we’ll start to to see the first new energy from overlapping swell trains generated by another active polar storm track in the Southern Ocean. Initially, there won’t be much size and the long range energy will be very inconsistent, but lighter winds related to a relaxing pressure gradient should maintain fun small exposed beaches east of Melbourne early Thursday, ahead an increase in size into the afternoon and Friday where we’ll start to see just enough size for the Surf Coast to become worthwhile (inconsistent 2-3ft sets).

However, winds are modelled to pick up from the south at this point as a front slides underneath Tasmania, so local conditions aren’t looking great. I’ll fine tune on Wednesday.

This weekend (Mar 25 - 26)

The bulk energy from this next Southern Ocean sequence is expected to fill in over the weekend, sourced from a very strong though low-latitude fetch (see below), and although winds will probably remain synoptically onshore, it’s not expected to be too strong. So, there should be workable options. 

Early indications are for two days of inconsistent 3-4ft+ sets across the Surf Coast and 5-6ft east of Melbourne, so we should be able to navigate a couple of decent sessions either day. 

Next week (Mar 27 onwards)

The weekend’s swells will slowly fade from Monday onwards, and at this stage it’s looking like we have an extended quiet period coming up thanks to a blocking high in our medium to far swell window. There’ll still be waves on offer but it’s likely to remain undersized west of Melbourne for a period.

See you Wednesday! 


Jake pownall's picture
Jake pownall's picture
Jake pownall Monday, 20 Mar 2023 at 12:33pm

End of march and still shocking easterly’s, when will this bloody end.

greyhound's picture
greyhound's picture
greyhound Monday, 20 Mar 2023 at 4:17pm

Pretty frustrating hey Jake.
And Not to many good warm up days for the pros.
They might have to get a little more mobile.

Mr.Tee on a long board's picture
Mr.Tee on a long board's picture
Mr.Tee on a lon... Monday, 20 Mar 2023 at 6:36pm

Protected spots on the Northern side of The Island , today ,20.3.23 , were pumping with a good strong swell and a strong offshore wind. It was very busy and car parks were filling up quickly.Unfortunately the water was overcrowded in one spot in particular and this was during office hours on
a Monday.
Once the water temperature comes down to 6 mm bootie season I hope the weekday crowds thin out in W.P..

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf Wednesday, 22 Mar 2023 at 10:05am

Ha great across the rip but gotta look around can't just park and surf!