Tricky period of swell and local conditions

Craig Brokensha picture
Craig Brokensha (Craig)

Victorian Surf Forecast by Craig Brokensha (issued Wednesday March 20th)

Best Days: Tomorrow, Friday morning to the east, Sunday morning to the west, Monday to the west, Tuesday morning to the west, Thursday/Friday week to the east

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Easing W/SW groundswell tomorrow with a mid-period SW swell to replace it, easing a touch Fri
  • Variable tending light offshore winds tomorrow ahead of weak S/SE sea breezes
  • Light E/NE-NE winds Fri AM, freshening from the S into the PM
  • Moderate sized, mid-period SW swell for Sat, holding Sun AM, increasing a little further Sun PM
  • Moderate to fresh S/SE tending S/SW winds Sat
  • W/NW winds Sun AM, strengthening from the W/SW into the PM
  • Moderate + sized mid-period SW swell Mon AM, ahead of a larger SW groundswell into the late PM
  • Fresh W/NW winds Mon, tending stronger S/SW-SW late PM
  • Easing large SW groundswell Tue with W/NW winds, tending S'ly around midday
  • Smaller Wed with light-mod SE winds, freshening
  • Easing swell Thu with strong E/SE-E tending SE winds
  • Building SE windswell Thu, easing Fri with strong E tending SE winds


Yesterday was small but clean with 1-2ft sets on the Surf Coast beaches in the morning, 2ft to occasionally 3ft to the east, building slowly into the early afternoon as winds started to shift more west. The Surf Coast offered bumpy, building surf into the evening, peaking overnight and then backing off a touch to 3ft+ this morning (4ft magnets). Winds are better than expected with lumpy options for the keen, choppy and onshore to the east, though we'll see them deteriorate through the day.

This week and next (Mar 21 - 29)

We've got an improvement in the wind outlook for the end of the week. Today's easing groundswell will be replaced by mid-period SW swell energy tomorrow, produced by a broad fetch of weak SW winds that are currently projecting into us.

This should maintain 3ft+ surf tomorrow on the Surf Coast, 4-5ft or so to the east along with more variable winds. The surf will likely be lumpy again but variable W/NW winds are due on the Surf Coast, N/NE-NE to the east ahead of weak S/SE sea breezes.

Into Friday the swell is due to ease a little, but still hold 3ft on the sets across the Surf Coast, 4-5ft to the east under E/NE-NE winds, freshening from the S'th into the afternoon as a trough moves through.

So all in all the end of the week looks a little better surf wise, though not perfect.

Unfortunately winds look to linger out of the S'th come Saturday, when some new mid-period swell fills in, generated by a healthy progression of polar frontal systems moving under the country over the coming days.

While not overly strong, 3ft+ waves are due on the Surf Coast again Saturday with 4-5ft sets to the east, similar Sunday morning as winds shift back to the W/NW. This will be ahead of a strengthening frontal system moving in from the west, with a stronger W/SW change due later morning, along with a further increase in mid-period swell energy.

Of greater significance is the stronger polar low forming on the tail of the activity moving through this week. The low isn't as well structured as forecast Monday, but it will be moving on top of an active sea state.

A slow moving fetch of W'ly tending W/SW gales projecting through our south-western swell window should produce a large SW groundswell that's due to kick later Monday, peak overnight and ease through Tuesday.

Size wise, we're looking at sets to 6-8ft on the Surf Coast late Monday and early Tuesday (more so 6ft to occasionally 8ft), 8ft+ to the east, easing steadily through the day. Winds will be great most of Monday, fresh from the W/NW with surf to 4-5ft on the Surf Coast, 6-8ft to the east ahead of the larger groundswell, while a strong S/SW-SW change is due late afternoon as the swell really kicks.

Tuesday morning now looks better with the secondary front moving through Monday holding until early afternoon Tuesday, with morning W/NW winds due, shifting S/SW-S once it moves through.

The swell is due to continue easing Wednesday with light to moderate SE winds, freshening through the day. There's an outside chance for morning variable winds but we'll review this Friday.

Thursday will be best at selected beaches to the east with strong E-E/SE winds and a further drop in SW swell energy, while kicking up some localised SE windswell.

It looks like E'ly winds will persist Friday, swinging more NE into next weekend with a couple of new sources of small-moderate sized SW groundswell. More on this Friday though.


greyhound's picture
greyhound's picture
greyhound Wednesday, 20 Mar 2024 at 7:41pm

Good luck trying to snag a wave at bells on Monday.