Large E'ly swells on the way, holding for quite some time
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 26th June)
Best Days: Most days will have plenty of waves for the points; biggest late Sun/Mon/Tues (maybe too big for many spots).
Recap: There's been plenty of surf across all coasts, with building SE swells throughout Far Northern NSW and SE Qld offering 3ft sets across the outer points, and a long period southerly swell building through Tuesday south of the border, reaching 4-5ft at south swell magnets, easing slowly today. Winds have been problematic at exposed coasts and Tuesday saw periods of easterlies, but we’ve seen a broader spread of offshores in Northern NSW today and S’ly winds throughout SE Qld with ideal conditions at protected spots.
Small peelers at Noosa
Looks like summer, eh? Snapper Rocks
Chunky mix of Wednesday swells on the Tweed Coast
This week (June 27 - 28)
Looks like more of the same for the next few days. Except the southerly swell is on the way out so expect easing size from this direction throughout Northern NSW.
Elsewhere, a broad, stationary ridge through the Coral Sea will maintain mid range SE swells for most of SE Qld and Far Northern NSW (with smaller surf as you head south from Yamba). We’ll se a continuation of 2-3ft+ sets of variable quality across the outer points, with larger but more wind affected waves at exposed beaches, such as the northern ends of the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, and most open stretches of the Tweed, Byron and Ballina coasts.
Winds will generally remain moderate to fresh SE (even E/SE across some regions, mainly the Sunshine Coast), though we’ll see a little lighter strength across the Mid North Coast. And there’s a reasonable chance for pockets of offshore winds - not just early morning, but also associated with passing showery cells. So there'll be lumpy, chunky beachbreaks from time to time if you're prepared to sniff out a window of opportunity.
All in all, it just looks like a fun summer trade swell, but with five extra degrees of wind chill!
This weekend (June 29 - 30)
There's no change to the weekend outlook at this stage.
The ridge will weaken into Saturday, though we’ll still be at risk of onshore E/SE thru’ SE winds on Saturday. But the trend will be improving quickly and by Sunday we should be back to a light variable airstream.
Wave heights will also build over the weekend, from a broadening, strengthening easterly fetch in the northern Tasman Sea later this week in conjunction with a significant low pressure system developing between New Caledonia and Fiji.
Whilst we’re not expecting a peak from this event until Monday, the early stages of this synoptic cycle will kick up a fun mid-range E’ly swell Saturday and early Sunday with 4-5ft sets at open beaches, and smaller waves at protected spots.
The leading edge of the main swell is expected to reach the coast on Sunday afternoon, though we need to bear in mind that last light is a lot earlier this time of the year, so a session pegged for “the last few hours of the day” means we need to see some activity by 3pm or thereabouts. Had this situation been positioned in late December, then the chances of a solid late session from the new swell would be higher.
Anyway, despite expecting a peak on Monday, there’s a good chance that exposed locations will push north of 6ft+ mid-late Sunday afternoon, and with light variable morning winds tending S’ly by this time, we should be in a good position for some impressive options at those locations that can handle a large, powerful east swell (sand permitting).
Let’s reassess the timing in Friday’s notes.
Next week (July 1 onwards)
There’s a lot to get excited about with this tropical low - it’ll be broad, very strong, slow moving, and aimed in a really nice part of our swell window for quite a while.
A new ridge is expected to build across the region on Monday, freshening SW tending S’ly then S/SE winds through the day so the points will offer the cleanest surf. At this stage I’m still pushing above model guidance (5-6ft) and expecting solid 8ft+ surf at exposed locations (smaller running down the points, and at sheltered locations), easing a little into Tuesday.
However, to be honest - this swell will probably overpower most coasts so you'll probably have to do a lot of searching for anywhere handling the size. Large E'ly groundswells like this are not common, and many locations that can handle the size are suffering from unusual sand distributions. So, keep your expectations in check.
The ridge looks like it may not be very strong, and only short lived, so light winds are on the cards for Tuesday. Size should be down a foot or two from Monday (6ft+ open beaches early, easing later, smaller at sheltered spots).
The models have shifted the long term position of this tropical system a little since Monday’s outlook, but it’s still going to remain a very good spot: slightly further east, and stationary, probably until the middle of the week at least. This should fluctuate wave heights in the 4-5ft, maybe 4-6ft range from Wednesday through Friday, easing a little into the weekend but likely to remain somewhere in the inconsistent 3ft+ range.
The only other swell source is a short-lived, poorly aligned (though very powerful) low south of Tasmania on Sunday that may deliver some small S’ly swell to Northern NSW on Monday and Tuesday. It’ll be hard to spot beneath the E/NE groundswell though.
Wednesday is at risk for a developing S’ly airstream across most areas as a front pushes into the Tasman Sea and forms a low towards New Zealand; we may also pick up a short range S’ly swell from this pattern (late Wed/Thurs) but let’s take a closer look on Friday.