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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Mon, 29 January 2018

Intense Tropical Cyclone Cebile is spewing swell 1,500 miles east of La Réunion, but she's a whopping 3,000 miles from Durban. Spike looks at the wave potential.


WINDOW ON WORLD: The cyclone rumbles just on the cusp of the Durban swell window

Cebile-29-jan-2018According to cyclone monitoring scientists, Cebile's 10-minute sustained winds are blasting at 185 km/h (100 knots), but 1-minute sustained winds are at 205 km/h (110 knots), with gusts of up to a hair-raising 260 km/h (140 knots). Central barometric pressure sits at 944 hectopascals, and the system is moving southwest at 7 knots.

According to the tracking analysis, she will continue to move SW (towards Durban) for the next five days along a tram track that is within the swell window for Durban, but only just. On Saturday, she starts to drop rapidly in a SSE direction, growing further away.

At that point, as she begins moving south, she sits 2,450 miles from Durban, 500 miles closer and more directly into the swell window. An incredibly long-lulled east swell should slowly start to arrive in Durban in five to six days from today, with a 17 second east swell (with possible surf to 4-5') arriving this weekend. Expect long lulls of 20 minutes or more. The swell energy and size will have been limited by fetch, not wind speed or duration. Fetch distance is only about 300 miles. The swell could last literally a week, until late next week, with periods of glassy mornings but lots of onshore. Still, could be another purple patch, if not as powerful as the last one.

That's the next one folks, and it might be a slightly damp squid (compared to the bombs blown up by Berguitta last week) but could be more manageable: clean, lined up 4 to maybe up to 6 foot sets coming through every like 20 minutes or more. There's also a chance you get the swell well into next week from when she was closer to Durban. Either way, small to medium grunt swell, with very long gaps, are likely at a minimum.

According to the naming convention of SW Indian Ocean cyclones as determined by Mauritius Meteorological Services and Météo Madagascar, Cebile is a Zimbabwe Ndebele name for girls that means "Rich". The SW Indian Ocean cyclone season started on November 15, 2017, and will end officially on April 30, 2018.

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