Average offerings this week; next week looks amazing
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 24th June)
Best Days: Small waves at protected spots all week under a persistent SE airstream. Large E'ly swell building over the weekend, holding through next week.
Recap: S’ly swells persisted over the weekend, offering very small waves throughout SE Qld but larger surf to 4-5ft at south facing beaches south of Byron. Winds have been generally out of the southern quadrant with pockets of W/SW thru’ SW winds early mornings over the weekend, with a more general coverage today in Northern NSW. A new SE swell started to fill in across Northern NSW this afternoon, though it hasn’t really shown north of the border yet.
Small Monday lunchtime runners at Snapper Rocks
Next week (June 25 - 28)
We’ve got two swell sources for the next few days.
The new SE swell filling into Northern NSW this afternoon will level out into Tuesday, originating from the weakening remnants of the Tasman Low that generated the most recent S’ly swells. South facing beaches south of the border should manage 3-5ft sets, though it’ll be much smaller elsewhere, and we’ll see wave heights easing into Wednesday.
There will however be a stronger S’ly groundswell component in the water by Tuesday afternoon. The polar low responsible for this upcoming long period event displayed some amazing wind strengths over the weekend, though, we have to be mindful when assessing ASCAT data because the map projection distorts the width of the fetch (making it look bigger than it is).
Still, because there were a passage of intense lows one after the other, generating a sustained, active sea state, I’m confident that we’ll see some impressive long period energy, providing solid waves at south facing beaches south of the border. It'll be very inconsistent at times but anywhere in the 3-5ft range at south facing beaches from about lunchtime Tuesday onwards, though much smaller elsewhere.
Freshening SE winds are expected across many regions on Tuesday, so conditions will be a little ordinary, though isolated pockets of SW winds are possible in the morning.
North of the border we’ll see similar conditions for the next couple of days (freshening SE winds, possibly SW early a few spots) and a similar combo of swells, though much smaller in size. Outer Gold Coast points should push into the 2-3ft range and it’ll be bigger (though wind affected) at exposed northern ends, however the Sunny Coast will probably see smaller surf size overall. With these winds, you’ll need to look for some sheltered.
Both swells will ease through Wednesday though the downwards trend will be arrested by a gradual increase in short-to-mid-period E’ly swell, generated by a broad though only modest ridge through the Northern Tasman Sea and Coral Sea. This should maintain 2-3ft+ surf throughout most open beaches for the rest of the week (smalelr at protected spots), possibly nudging a little higher into Friday as the ridge strengthens (Thursday) but with mainly cross-onshore winds, conditions won’t be great.
Again, isolated pockets of SW winds are possible but really, this pattern is only good for locations offering a partial degree of shelter from the wind, but also open enough to pick up most of the swell. So, expect patchy options in general.
This weekend (June 29 - 30)
We’ve got a significant E’ly swell on the cards for next week, and the weekend should see an increase from the early stages of the same broad scale parent system.
Whilst the primary driver is a slow moving tropical low developing near New Caledonia later this week, an equal influencer will be a large, stationary high over new Zealand, extending a ridge from the East Coast of Australia through to the South Pacific. It’s very impressive on the charts (see below).
Early indications are for a fairly steady upwards trend from Saturday morning, with 3-4ft surf building to 4-5ft throughout the day ahead of 5-6ft surf early Sunday building to 6ft, maybe even 6-8ft by late in the day (there may be a slight delay on this upwards trend south from about Yamba).
Even better, local winds look like improving rapidly on Saturday, easing to become light and variable through the afternoon and into Sunday. Let’s refine the size and timing outlook in Wednesday’s update. But in short: well worth booking a weekend session into the diary.
Next week (July 1 onwards)
The length and strength of the fetch associated with this E’ly system looks very impressive in the current model runs, but what I like even more is its stationary position. This should help to boost wave heights slightly above model guidance.
Monday morning is likely to see an initial peak in size some some exposed spots pulling in 6-8ft+ sets. In addition, it looks like a regional blocking pattern will allow this tropical low to push southwards into the Tasman Sea early in the week, bringing maintain the E’ly fetch but pushing it a little more to the south, swinging the swell direction to the east-southeast and south-east as the week progresses.
Either way, currently expectations are for elevated E'ly swells for quite some time across our region.
Additionally, we’ll see small underlying long period S’ly swells next week from a series of intense though poorly aligned polar lows moving under Tasmania later this week and into the weekend.
So.. it’s shaping up to be quite an active time frame ahead. More in Wednesday’s notes.