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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Thu, 30 August 2018

A gigantic storm with a central pressure of 930 minibars forms on Sunday south of the African continent, straddling the ice shelf. Spike looks at the Cell C Goodwave forecast.


PURPLE PEOPLE EATER: A little storm is about to form due south of Derek Hynd's house.

It's not often you see storms to 930 millibars (minibars was just to get your attention). The potency of a storm like this, the experts say, is akin to hundreds if not thousands of simultaneous nuclear devices exploding. It peaks at its most virulant and potent late Sunday into Monday early morning.

Thankfully, this one is quite far away from us, 1500 nautical miles away to be more precise. And while the wind direction is massively west to east in the bigger part of its energy, there is a second, weaker but still vast and powerful section to the west of the storm that has south swell potential.

By my secret swell calculation, this swell - if it transpires - will take 60 hours to make landfull. That means that, roughly from Sunday at lunchtime, the swell is in transit, moving through the ocean and covering the distance at speeds of around 25kts.


VORTEX CORTEX: Nothing gets Spike more excited than this large purple blob.

The southern and Eastern Cape may begin to feel the long-range effects of the swell on Wednesday next week, though the main thrust of this swell is Australia bound. The whole shebang rumbles across the Indian Ocean, spewing a helluva swell for Indo and western Australia. Batten the hatches Bruce.

The clincher for the Cell C Goodwave, however, is that a large High pressure system sits in the mid ocean which deflects the storm southwards and keeps the winds heading laterally across the ocean.

This, as the Durban ous know, means that swell directions over the foreseeable future remain a no-no for the New Pier. The famous pier has always wanted a more SE type of swell, but with the work on the harbour groin over the year, this has become more of a ESE to E type of swell, which is a rarity.

As spring approaches, however, it's not uncommon for the oscillation in air temperature to bring volatility and storms with the right winds for a Good Wave swell, when a coastal low detaches and heads east, and the Indian Ocean High sucks air towards the low, kinking the predominant wind fetch to blow east rather than southerly.

Will keep ya posted.

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