13th Beach is the go-to option for Surf Coast sailors on any W-NW wind, and is also popular with the Melbourne crew being a relatively short drive from the city.
13th picks up a solid amount of swell, and can offer pretty good starboard tack beach break riding on the right day. The spot is fickle though, with many sessions cut short by fluky, frontal wind. On smaller days 13th is suitable for a range of abilities, and when it is big it becomes quite challenging with most opting to move up to the nearby Poo Point.
On bigger swells the Ant’s Bombie out the back of the main sailing area is a feasible windsurfing option for an adrenaline rush. This wave holds big size, but is reasonably mellow, unlike the famous Beacon Bombie – a powerful right hand reef breaking about 1km offshore. The Beacon Bombie could be one of the best windsurfing spots in Victoria for those with the balls and the resources to handle the difficult logistics.
25 knot+ WNW wind, mid tide and a moderate swell for a mix of good jumping and riding. 25-30 knot NW wind and a moderate swell for pure down the line riding.
Works on anything between W and NW. W is cross onshore and offers fun jumping on small to moderate swells. WNW is generally cross shore and can provide a good mix of riding and jumping. Straight NW is proper cross offshore and gusty but offers clean faces for down the line riding.
13th Beach picks up a few feet more than the Surf Coast reefs, and a few feet less than the open beaches on the Mornington Peninsula. So, it isn’t really a true swell magnet option like Gunnamatta or Woolamai – there needs to be some sort of swell running for it to be good. That being said, it quickly can get big and hard to windsurf at size – so as a general rule anything between 2-5ft on the Swellnet Barwon Heads forecast should be workable.
Refer to notes on wave height.
High tide is generally not a good option at 13th as it creates larger wind shadows and less beach space to launch and get out through the break. Low tide makes this more manageable, and the best wave quality is likely to be more-so around mid tide.
13th Beach is suitable for a range of levels, depending on the conditions. With small swell and cross or cross onshore wind it is a good place for beginner-intermediates. On big swells and NW wind, even very experienced riders can have trouble getting out due to the gusty wind and large walls of whitewater. Assess the conditions and match them to your ability.
The cliffs and sand dunes at 13th Beach are considerable – and this obviously can create problems if the wind has any element of offshore (~WNW-NW). For inexperienced riders, small swell and W-WNW wind is ideal. As the wind swings more to the north 13th Beach requires greater levels of skill to get in and out through the break in gusty wind – higher volume boards are a good idea.
13th Beach is scattered with rocks and reef. Towards the Beacon end of the beach (to the east) there is not a lot of sandy beach. Sailing at Ant’s there can be small areas of rocks and reef, usually downwind of the carpark, but this depends on tide and how the sand has been shifting around. Keep an eye out and be conscious that getting caught downwind could mean getting washed into a lot of rocks.
High tide, decent sized swell, fluky NW wind – a recipe for getting annihilated in the shorebreak! This is especially bad if you’ve drifted downwind to a rocky zone. In general the shorebreak and the wind on the inside is better on lower tides as it creates more beach space to get away from the cliffs.
The best conditions at 13th generally rely on strong frontal systems from the West to North West, which means it is usually best in the winter months. That being said, 13th picks up significantly more swell than Poo Point so even weaker systems in summer can have adequate swell for a decent session.
Check the swell forecast on Swellnet for the Mornington Peninsula here, and for Barwon Heads here. The Mornington Peninsula forecast is for the open beaches is always going to be at least a few feet bigger than at 13th Beach. The Barwon Heads forecast tends to under call the swell, expect it to be somewhere between these two forecasts – but leaning more towards the Barwon forecast range.
Check live readings from Pt Nepean Swell Buoy here. A 2m average swell height with a decent period usually translates to 3-4ft+ waves on 13th Beach, and will be bigger at the Beacon end.
At 4-5ft+ 13th Beach will quickly become challenging, so it is really only an option for experienced riders at size. Waratah Bay is a more beginner friendly alternative if there a solid swell running at 13th.
South Channel is generally going to be stronger than the wind on the water at any Surf Coast spot. The true wind strength is usually somewhere between the readings on South Channel and Aireys Inlet. Due to the local wind effects which tend to the keep the wind on a westerly system hanging to the north longer than forecasted, Aireys is also more useful for determining the real wind direction.
Nearest Windguru Forecast:
Waves heights given in feet are ‘surfers’ size or Hawaiian Scale. Loosely this means a 3ft wave is head high, 4ft is overhead and 6ft is double overhead or mast high. Use the table below to roughly translate between surf forecasts and live swell readings at Point Nepean.
|Wave Size||Swellnet Forecast (Mornington Peninsula)||Point Nepean Swell Buoy (average height)|
Swell period relates to the amount of energy in the swell, a sub 10 second period is low and will be weak. An average quality swell will be around 12-14 seconds and high period, high energy swells are typically over 15 seconds. Higher period swells will generally wrap further into more sheltered locations and lead to increased wave heights.
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Photos by Georgia Pignolet, Phoenix Mcleod, Alastair McLeod | untracked.media