Small leftovers this weekend; strong week of surf ahead for the points
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 16th June)
Best Days: Tues onwards: strong S/E tending SE then E/SE groundswell. S'ly winds Tues, light variable winds from Wed onwards.
Recap: E/SE swells have eased slightly over the last few days, with solid 4ft sets on offer at exposed beaches early Thursday now down to 2ft+ across the region. Protected locations are considerably smaller, and with southerly winds on hand the outer points have delivered the best waves.
This weekend (Jun 17 - 18)
No changes to the weekend outlook.
We’re looking at wave height levelling out around the 2ft+ mark across exposed beaches this weekend, with smaller, very inconsistent waves across protected locations. The main factor keeping wave heights from becoming completely flat is a moderate-strength (not so positive) but stationary (very positive) easterly fetch well off the Far Northern NSW coast.
However, we’re looking at an extended run of southerly winds - five days in total from Saturday - of which they’ll become quite gusty at times. This is in response to a broad coastal trough extending south from our latitudes over the coming days, eventually forming a closed low in the central Tasman Sea during Sunday.
Initially, the local origin of the southerly fetch and its short length will limit any new swell from the south (though next week is a different story). So, the best we can hope for this weekend is peaky residual E’ly swell, best at protected southern ends. Keep your expectations low - especially relative to some of the chocolate barrels seen over the past week.
Next week (Jun 19 onwards)
Next week remains very tricky from a forecasting perspective.
The models have shifted around again on the precise details of the Tasman Low. Broadly speaking, the synoptics look much the same however the precise detail makes all of the difference in a surf forecast - in this case, the models now have the strongest winds around the low’s western flank (i.e. S’lies) instead of its southern flank (i.e. E’lies). The different in surf potential is significant for us.
Adding further complexity to the forecast is a series of deep, complex mid latitude lows traversing the waters south of Tasmania over the weekend. They're not very well aligned for our region but will nevertheless generate a sequence of small long period southerly swells that will glance the Northern NSW coast throughout the first half of the week. But, I am not expecting much size from this region and with larger surf prospects expected from the Tasman Sea, it’s not worth going into specifics.
The developing Tasman Low on Sunday will initially strengthen southerly winds parallel to the coast, that should kick up a late increase in local windswell (Sunday afternoon) across Northern NSW, but Monday is where we’ll start to see the period draw out and the surf prospects start to improve.
In fact, model guidance has this Tasman Low remaining slow moving all week so we’re looking at a five-day run of surf size in the 4-6ft range across Northern NSW, from Monday onwards. However, at first quality will be heavily compromised by gusty southerly winds, and an initial strong southerly bias in the swell direction. So expect much smaller surf inside protected southern ends across Northern NSW.
It’s not until Tuesday, and then even more so Wednesday where we’ll see the swell direction shift SE, then E/SE, thanks to more favourable developments within the low near New Zealand on Monday and Tuesday. There are a couple of other positives that are not easily seen through a quick glance of the synoptics - as the week progresses, the swell periods will draw out (so, swell quality will get strong, and better) and as the Tasman Low draws away form the mainland we’ll see the southerly breeze abate and become light offshore.
So, ignore Monday for the most part - Tuesday is where the swell is expected to kick in properly (though still windy) and Wednesday is where the real quality will start to surface. Depending on how this low behaves, we could see a couple of embedded pulses within this pattern well north of 6ft+ at exposed beaches (current expectations later Tuesday or early Wednesday).
As for SE Qld, we’ll see much smaller surf at first, though by the end of the week wave heights should start to become a little more uniform across the coast as the swell direction tends more E/SE.
Monday’s looking at wind affected 3ft+ sets across open beaches but only 2ft+ across the outer points by the afternoon (smaller earlier). Expect bigger waves across the outer points to 3ft+ by late Tuesday and early Wednesday, with a similar size expected through the rest of the week. Exposed beaches (i.e. northern ends) will however see larger waves through the second half of the week around 4-5ft.
Therefore, the pick of the forecast period is currently Tuesday thru’ Friday. But, I’ll update with revised information as it comes to hand.
Have a great weekend!