ABOVE: Gus motoring on his little orange sled.
ABOVE: Gus motoring on his little orange sled.

Surfs been up – for shift workers

Bit of a mixed bag for us surfers this week.

As predicted, a low pressure system intensified and came up the Tasman. It produced some pretty solid swell but the majority stayed well offshore and headed to the tropics.

We did get some refracted south swell, but with very strong winds from the same source.

End result, to get shelter from the wind also meant shelter from the swell. Sadly for the weekend crew that's a bland recipe. Midweek saw the wind ease and swing north northwest. The residual swell turned east southeast and although reduced in size increased its period, giving it more thump. The sun came out to warm up some very sweet head-high beach breaks. It was all very nice for the shift workers, but not much use to the weekend crew.

This weekend is shaping up a little odd. Nobody is really sure what to call, because there is another possible east coast low on the cards. The modelling suggests that a band of low pressure will cross the East Coast some time today or early tomorrow. It looks like it will sweep straight across the Tasman, rapidly intensifying and throwing most of its energy towards New Zealand. Not so great for us. But these systems are unpredictable. If the high pressure behind it maintains the current trends, we'll see sunny days, northwest to southwest winds with possible afternoon sea breezes plus a fairly small maybe 1m short-period northeast swell that would swing through east and into the southeast, increasing slightly during Sunday to Monday.

If the high over the continent does not hold the low to the south-east as forecast, it could stall in the Tasman, producing a longer wind fetch. It may then turn to the north or northwest and drive back up the coast. A less likely scenario, yet not impossible, is if the high backs off just a little. Then we'd see an increased pulse in east to southeast swell on Sunday although how big is impossible to predict.

Bottom line here is if you like it small and clean then Saturday is probably the pick on the open beaches. If you're hoping for a little more size however, Sunday might produce an increased pulse of swell if we're lucky.

Sadly it seems that yet once again the best days will be during the working week.

Either way, make the most of it while you can. This coming spring could be a season of many long-lasting high pressure systems with north-east winds and we all know what that means around here.

Remember, have fun, wait your turn, and surf today like you want to surf again tomorrow.

Ben 'Bear' Bennink is a former professional longboarder and retired NSSA master coach. He writes for Pacific Longboarder Magazine and is semi-retired in Byron Bay where he is editor of inbyronbaytoday.com.

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