Large swell inbound but with onshore winds

Craig Brokensha picture
Craig Brokensha (Craig)

Victorian Surf Forecast by Craig Brokensha (issued Wednesday February 21st)

Best Days: Desperate surfers Friday morning protected spots, Sunday morning

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Low point in swell tomorrow with strong N/NE tending N/NW winds ahead of a S/SW change into the late PM
  • Large W/SW groundswell building Fri, peaking later with strong SW winds (likely lighter W'ly early on the Surf Coast)
  • Large mid-period SW swell Sat AM, easing with fresh S/SW winds, tending S'ly later
  • Easing surf Sun with variable tending local offshore winds ahead of S/SE sea breezes
  • Freshening S/SE winds Mon with a small SW swell for the PM, easing Tue


Improving conditions across the beaches to the east yesterday as some early lump ironed out, with great surf developing before sea breezes kicked in. A new pulse of mid-period swell provided surf to 4ft to the east, 2-3ft on the Surf Coast, easing into today with some weak, local windswell in the mix.

Good surf late AM yesterday

This week and weekend (Feb 22 - 25)

Tomorrow still looks to be a lay day as the swell bottoms out under strengthening N/NE winds, shifting N/NW early afternoon and strong S/SW through the afternoon.

This will be linked to a strong mid-latitude low moving in from the west, and now we're right on the doorstep of this event, we've got convergence on the model guidance regarding the strength and local winds with the coming swell.

Unfortunately it's gone the way of EC wind wise, though the swell still looks large in size, but finding a quality option will be tricky.

The low is forming as the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Djoungou drifts south-east into the Southern Ocean, merging with a cold front resulting in the rapid deepening of the low.

The low looks a little tighter in scope, with a fetch of severe-gale W/SW winds due to be generated in our western swell window. This should generate a strong pulse of W/SW groundswell for Friday afternoon, peaking into the evening, while some good, reinforcing mid-period SW swell is due Saturday owing to the low weakening but broadening while moving in Friday.

Unfortunately with no secondary frontal activity moving in behind the low, winds will be generally strong from the SW on Friday (likely lighter W-W/NW early but without any size), with fresh S/SW winds on Saturday, tending S'ly later.

Coming back to the sizes and the Surf Coast should build to the 6ft range (magnets) through the afternoon Friday, 8ft to the east, with Saturday easing back from 5-6ft and 6-8ft respectively though with those average winds.

Sunday still looks the pick with light, local offshore winds due across both regions and fun, easing surf from 3ft on the Surf Coast and 4ft+ to the east.

Looking at the start of next week and a surface trough is due to move in later Sunday, bringing poor S/SE winds Monday along with some small, weak mid-period SW swell that will then ease Tuesday.

As touched on Monday, the longer term outlook is a bit more active as a healthy Southern Ocean frontal progression fires up to the south of Western Australia, bringing moderate sized mid-period swell mid-late next week with morning winds likely out of the western quadrant. More on this Friday.


Frodge's picture
Frodge's picture
Frodge Wednesday, 21 Feb 2024 at 10:24am

Hi Craig - are we still expecting sea breezes this afternoon - Am I being optimistic that the wind will hold offshore all day?

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 21 Feb 2024 at 11:50am

To the east winds might flirt E/SE but tend E/NE later again. To the west it's trickier.

Frodge's picture
Frodge's picture
Frodge Wednesday, 21 Feb 2024 at 1:24pm

thanks for providing comment Craig - appreciated. Fingers crossed my optimism pays off.

shanecgriffo's picture
shanecgriffo's picture
shanecgriffo Wednesday, 21 Feb 2024 at 6:21pm

I think you can pretty much count on a fresh south easterly breeze early, nearly every afternoon, into the foreseeable future, the way things are looking.. (lol’ing til i cry… )