Here's What These Merging Storms Mean for Surf in Africa This Week

Jason Lock

by on

Updated 49d ago

That southern hemisphere winter is rapidly drawing to a close. But there's still some juice left south down below the equator with a punchy run of swell lining up for South Africa.

At the moment, there's two massive storms shaping up; one is about 2,500 miles south west of South Africa and the other is to the SSW. The first has storm-force winds on its northwest flank, which is creating a pulse of swell that will hit the tip of South Africa on Wednesday, then filling in along and up the west coast.

Our week-long outlook for JBay. Swell peaks towards the back end of the week.

Our week-long outlook for JBay. Swell peaks towards the back end of the week.

And that could mean, more than a few days of great surf for the area. Plus, this swell could push all the up to Namibia too, setting off the world's favourite left hand sandbar at Skeleton Bay. More on that soon.

“Over the next 48 hours, these two systems are expected to merge together and move slowly east,” says MSW forecaster Tony Butt. “A second area of strong winds, larger and stronger than the first and moving towards the east, will generate a second pulse of swell, pushing wave heights well over 15 feet at southwest exposures around the end of the week.

“There's also a small coastal low pressure hanging around off KwaZulu Natal, which is generating some strong northeast winds, which will push some shorter-period east swell towards easterly exposures (such as J-Bay).

“In the Cape Peninsula, the first swell starts to ramp up late Wednesday, hitting ten feet or so at exposed spots, continuing through Thursday. The second pulse kicks in on Friday, pushing wave heights up to 15 feet or more, then perhaps even bigger on Saturday. Conditions are quite stormy, with strong northwest winds, backing southwest later.

“Along the south coast, around Vic bay, conditions are very good throughout, with mostly light variable winds. The first swell ramps up through Wednesday, holds steady on Thursday at around six to eight feet, before increasing again on Friday, hitting ten feet at exposed spots.

MSW swell and wind chart side-by-side for later today. Showing wind strength and direction when this storm rolls in.

MSW swell and wind chart side-by-side for later today. Showing wind strength and direction when this storm rolls in.

“Around the J-Bay area, the long-period forerunners associated with the first pulse of swell arrive during Wednesday, and the swell fills in overnight. Expect good conditions throughout Thursday, although that short-period easterly swell might interfere with the main southwest swell. Friday then sees an increase in wave heights as that second pulse arrives, hitting six feet or so by afternoon, with good local conditions.

“The second swell also filters through to spots even further east, such as Coffee Bay, probably arriving late Friday and continuing through Saturday.

“Up the west coast, at spots like Eland’s Bay, the swell arrives late Wednesday, continues through Thursday and increases again on Friday. Winds up here are difficult to predict, but could be light and variable at first, but then becoming moderate west or northwest.

“The swell also makes its way right up to Namibia, arriving overnight Wednesday, peaking first on Thursday and then again on Saturday. Winds are southerly trades throughout.”

Keep an eye on our: live JBay cam | Skeleton Bay forecast | Cape Town insight