Victoria Swell Alert: July 29, 2014

29 Jul 2014 1 Share

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

It's a good time to be a Victorian surfer with a flexible schedule. The Surf Coast is on the verge of an extended run of clean, overhead waves as back to back pulses of heavy WSW groundswell arrive from a gargantuan low pressure complex migrating slowly below the Great Australian Bight.

Strong offshore winds and large WSW groundswell conspire to light up Victoria's Surf Coast over the next four days. Photo: Judy Scanlon.

Strong offshore winds and large WSW groundswell conspire to light up Victoria's Surf Coast over the next four days. Photo: Judy Scanlon.

SUMMARY

- Several days of excellent conditions loom for Victoria’s Surf Coast as large WSW groundswell coincides with strong NW winds.

- Expect 4 to 6ft surf across the Torquay reefs on Wednesday and Thursday ahead of a larger pulse arriving on Friday morning.

- The swell is linked to a large, complex low pressure system currently affecting the Southern Ocean.

Large WSW groundswell lights up Victoria’s Surf Coast
Victorian surfers are on the cusp of an extended run of large to oversized WSW groundswell that will lend the focus to the Surf Coast along with other sheltered east facing breaks for several days to come. This sustained run of groundswell is follows an active long wave trough migrating through southern Australian longitudes; manifesting as a gargantuan low pressure complex occupying the vast expanse of Southern Ocean waters between Tasmania and Western Australia. Multiple embedded frontal lows within the parent system support a vast WSW fetch, fluctuating between gale to low end storm-force strengths with each successive front. The end result is a series of heavy, overlapping pulses of WSW groundswell producing successive days of large surf state-wide.

A first, heavy pulse building in throughout Tuesday holds peak size on Wednesday morning, producing unruly storm-surf in the 8ft plus range across exposed beaches. However, the majority of Surf Coast breaks will reshape the raw groundswell into more accessible 4 to 6ft lines across the premier breaks as it coincides with strong NW winds of 20 to 30 knots with stronger gusts reaching 40 knots. Although this first pulse should scale back a notch by Thursday morning wave heights will remain large to heavy across all coasts throughout the day – again supporting strong set waves across Surf Coast breaks in the 4 to 6ft range.

Latest deepwater virtual buoy points for Victoria depict a sustained run of large WSW groundswell fluctuating either side of 20ft offshore for several days to come.

Latest deepwater virtual buoy points for Victoria depict a sustained run of large WSW groundswell fluctuating either side of 20ft offshore for several days to come.

This precedes the arrival of a second, heavy WSW pulse filling in late Thursday to produce what’s likely to be the largest surf of this episode on Friday – primarily owing to a slightly longer peak wave periods of 16 to 17 seconds coupled with a slight southward shift in the mean directional band to 240 degrees. This holds stronger potential for 6 to 8ft sets across the Surf Coast on Friday and if this sounds like your cup of tea then aim to get in early. In the short term the extended run of strong NW winds is supported by a high over the southeast of the continent deflecting fronts southeast as the reach Bass Strait. However, during Friday winds are set to swing strong SW as an intense frontal system combines with a new high over the Bight. The emerging high should support a fully day of onshore SSW winds on Saturday, so it’s well worth making the most of this episode prior to Friday’s wind-shift.

Source: BOM. Tuesday's Southern Ocean MSLP Chart clearly depicts the vast extent of the low complex occupying the Southern Ocean below the Australian mainland.

Source: BOM. Tuesday's Southern Ocean MSLP Chart clearly depicts the vast extent of the low complex occupying the Southern Ocean below the Australian mainland.

A vigorous polar front feeding into the broader low pressure complex capitalises on the pre-existing sea-state generated in the wake of previous fronts to produce the largest round of WSW groundswell on Friday.

A vigorous polar front feeding into the broader low pressure complex capitalises on the pre-existing sea-state generated in the wake of previous fronts to produce the largest round of WSW groundswell on Friday.


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