Small conditions this week; building E'ly swells from Saturday onwards
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 13th November)
Best Days: Fri: small increase in trade swell. Sat/Sun: better increase in trade swell. Mon/Tues/Wed: stronger E'ly swell.
Recap: A combo of SE and S’ly swell built wave heights through Saturday, reaching 2-3ft across SE Qld into the afternoon and 3-5ft at south swell magnets south of Byron. The south swell eased through Sunday but the SE swell maintained good 2-3ft+ sets across the Far Northern NSW and SE Qld coasts. Today we’ve seen size ease back as well as the strength.
This week (Nov 14th - 17th)
There are no new swell sources in our swell windows right now, so we can expect a few days of small lazy surf right across the coast through the middle of the week.
No major strength is expected in the local wind field until Friday when we’ll see a freshening NE trend across the Mid North Coast, otherwise expect the usual regime of early light variable flows and afternoon sea breezes. Hit up the swell magnets for slow, weak, peaky surf, and keep your expectations proportionality low.
A minor increase in trade swell is possible very late Thursday and Friday, originating from a temporary flow developing south of New Caledonia on Wednesday, but I’d be surprised if open beaches between the Sunny Coast and Ballina saw much more than 2ft.
This weekend (Nov 18th - 19th)
I’ve been discussing this E’ly swell event for ten days now (first mentioned as a fantasy system in these notes on Nov 3rd), and despite the impressive convergence between model guidance last week, they have diverged somewhat over the last few days. Which is not altogether unsurprising I suppose, seeing that we’re still quite a few days away from this system actually developing.
The upshot at this point in time is that the weekend will kick off with a small trade swell, generated by a modest E’ly fetch developing south of Fiji on Wednesday and reaching a peak on Thursday. But, it’s not expected to be very well consolidated, and will be positioned quite a distance from our coast so the best we can hope for are building 2-3ft waves throughout Saturday (more chance for this size range in the afternoon, than the morning).
The new swell expected on Sunday has suffered a downgrade in the latest model guidance, though we are seeing some see-sawing heights between each model run. At the moment the entire leading edge could very well be shunted back until Monday, but we need a few more days to firm things up.
Current expectations are that we’ll see the trade swell kick up notch, mainly due to some additional energy originating from the head of the new fetch developing around a deepening E’ly dip north of New Zealand on Friday. This will however be aimed more towards the Coral Sea, which means we’ll see the upper end of the likely size range (3-4ft+) across the Sunshine Coast, with smaller surf as you head south (compared to Saturday’s trade swell, which should be relatively uniform across the region).
Winds will remain onshore all weekend, though at this stage there’s no suggestion of any major strength away from the Mid North Coast, which may see a little more influence from a strengthening Tasman high.
Anyway, lets take another pass on the data on Wednesday.
Next week (Nov 20th onwards)
With only low to moderate confidence on this event, we really have to wait a few more days to firm up specifics.
For now Monday, Tuesday and maybe Wednesday look like they’ll pick up somewhere in the order of 4-5ft E’ly swell across open beaches (in fact, our Coffs Harbour data point is estimating 4-6ft surf on Tuesday, see below). However, an anchored high pressure system in the Tasman Sea its likely to maintain onshore easterlies.
Looking further ahead, and the middle of next week is expected to see a renewed strengthening Tasman high direct a broad NE flow across the western Tasman Sea, generating a lengthy period of NE swell about the Southern NSW coast into the end of next week and the following weekend. This energy will be smaller but equally worthwhile out of the E/NE about Northern NSW and SE Qld.
So, there is plenty of surf in the longer term outlook still to negotiate. More on that in Wednesday’s update.