South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 21st March)
Best Days: All days should have good waves. Biggest Sun/Mon/Tues.
Recap: Building trade swell with fun lumpy waves on the points.
This weekend (Mar 22-23)
No major changes to the weekend forecast. Today’s punchy trade swell will throttle back a bit overnight, but there’ll still be good waves at most locations on Saturday with mainly light variable winds and an afternoon sea breeze.
Sunday morning should see the arrival of long range E’ly groundswell courtesy of TC Mike. I've already detailed the complexities around this swell in the various forecast notes since last Friday; suffice to say that this swell is due to peak in size overnight Sunday or early Monday morning. Winds look OK for Sunday on the whole, mainly light and variable (again) with moderate afternoon sea breezes.
As for the size potential on Sunday - set waves will be extremely inconsistent due to the large travel distance of this swell, but should be somewhere between 3ft and possibly 5ft at most open stretches by the end of the day. If you’ve got a particularly reliable swell magnet or bombie that accentuates long period easterly swells particularly well, then rogue 6ft+ sets are certainly possible. However, most of your surfing will be done at the bottom end of this size range and the wait between sets could be up to fifteen or twenty minutes.
Next week (Mar 24-28 onwards)
The surf outlook for Monday remains similar to Sunday, although we’ll be on the backside of this event (rather than the frontside), so expect the biggest waves in the morning (again, a very inconsistent 3-5ft at open beaches with infrequent sets to 6ft+ at swell magnets).
With a weak pressure gradient across much of the coast conditions should be quite clean first thing, but afternoon sea breezes will bump up things into the afternoon so aim for an early session once again.
This E’ly groundswell will then slowly abate through Tuesday (although still with plenty of push, albeit very infrequently) to become significantly smaller by Wednesday.
However, the good news is that restrengthening trades in the southern Coral Sea early in the week will kick up a punchy - and far more consistent - trade swell for the middle of the week that’ll replace the easing E’ly groundswell. It won’t be so much noticeable as an increase in swell size - because the E'ly groundswell will still be quite prominent on Tuesday - but it'll be more easily distinguished as an increase in the frequency of closely-spaced, peaky waves through Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday.
Freshening E/SE winds will confine the best waves to the protected points during this period, and as was the case yesterday and today, the Sunshine Coast will see the biggest surf due to its closer proximity to the swell source.
Looking beyond the middle of the week and next Thursday onwards suggests a quieter period as the trades slowly ease in strength, and the Tasman Sea labours through an extended period of inactivity. As such, make the most of the swells due this weekend and early next week as there’s nothing of any great interest in the long term outlook right now. More on this in Monday’s update.
Should've been more specific - Quite an interesting system over inland Eastern Australia developing monday....... I could've posted this in the east coast tassie forecast, but hey.......
Sleepydog I dunno what you're on about, but yeah, can't wait for ACCESS to spit it out onto the ocean. IF it does...
TB one of your fave topics, the wording of BoM coastal waters forecasts...
Deceptively powerful surf conditions are expected to be hazardous for coastal activities such as crossing bars by boat and rock fishing."
Doesn't mention lulls unfortunately, so the caution itself is a bit deceptive.
Mitch vegan; maaaaate.... It's called an inland trough. By Wed', it'll be raining from Rockhampton to Eden...
But I'm "retired" now...... I'll keep my hail marys to myself ;)
Oh yeah, on another thread you were talking about little wind chops...... The tiniest ones, those mini ripples you get when it's offshore are capillary waves (I think)....... And I think the next size up are orbital progressive waves, but don't quote me on it...... Do some googling.....
Trade swell this morning? Some nice waves but has this cyclone swell stopped of for a bite to eat at macca's. Tomorrow morning is the word on the street- at least the bouys are online this time!
yeah all that extra help from the trade fetch was actually a pain in the arse with the morning low, so many double ups
Yup SD got it, cheers, just lost with your "should've been more specific" comment.
Mitch, bad editing on my behalf..... Not Ben, but I should've been more specific.... My original post didn't have what day the inland trough would develop... If one had've looked for a trough on Sat when i posted, one would shake their head and say WHAAAAAT??? ;)
Wow some impressive readings currently on the Byron buoy.
One thing that surprises me is the size of Hmax (4m). I would not have expected this from such a long range groundswell. In my experience the differences between Hmax and Hsig on long range groundswell a is typically not this large. I would have expected something more along the lines of the mooloolaba wave buoy.
donweather wrote: One thing that surprises me is the size of Hmax (4m). I would not have expected this from such a long range groundswell. In my experience the differences between Hmax and Hsig on long range groundswell a is typically not this large.
I do agree though, the data is pretty impressive for a weather system that was such a huge distance from the mainland. Good viewing on the Byron surfcam too!
It was weird out there this morning.....long long waits...no surprises there,.......then just random single waves.....and with a slowly increasing gurgle and wobble as the local wind conditions started to take effect.
Some hall of fame waves but not many and it was frustrating as hell.
Oh, for a proper morning sou-wester. That would have been insane.
Six foot sets.
Random single waves? You mean one wave sets? Inconsistency is a trait of long range swells, but does it also effect the set count? Wouldn't have thought so myself.
yeah, random single wave bombs.
it's like all the rest of the waves in the set conked out and couldn't make the trip.
Same thing down here Steve yesterday. Super inconsistent 3ft one wave sets.
Today though was much more consistent and 3-5ft, with a lot more waves in each set, not too dissimilar to a swell of similar size from around the North Island New Zealand.
Craig, looking at the Sydney wave buoy readings, I'm wondering if you guys haven't really seen the groundswell yet? ie is it running behind down there for you guys? It just doesn't look to have the peak swell periods that we're seeing up here.....it looks to be more like the tradewind swell that you'd expect from the fetch in front of the TC Mike fetch.....around the North Island of NZ, similar to what you seem to have observe early this morning in the water?
Local windswell is contaminating the buoy data down here ATM Don (there is definitely long period groundswell in the water though). However, personally I've been suss on the MHL data for the last few months. Not sure whether it's just my imagination but it seems to have missed key characteristics of many recent swells.
Gday, Don..... Keeping well? ;)
Yeah as Ben said, Eden is also picking up the long-range energy to 15 seconds.
Ben, when you say "down here ATM", where is "down here"? Are you in Sydney ATM?
Because if "down here" is either the sunny or gold coast, I can't see the local windswell "contaminating" anything. Here are the last 24 hour observations for those areas, keeping in mind these conditions would also be very similar offshore...
Offshore land breezes till 9am - glassy as. 11am southport seaway averaged 7 knots.....The strongest recorded seabreeze"gust" in the last 2 days was 16 knots....
Been in Sydney for eight years SD.. unless stated otherwise, I'm always referencing my local coast (I do the daily surf report for the Northern Beaches too).
Cheers, only been here a few weeks..... Was under the impression you lived in noosa, via your reports from longboard festival.....
Nah Craig and I were working at Noosa for the event. Nothing like a mobile office :)
Sheepdog wrote: Gday, Don..... Keeping well? ;)
Hello. Yep, always well.
When the little onzie's came up everyone went home or to work...?
BH's started getting good late morning, Dozen people out and peelers, Solid too.
Classic, more than one wave sets????? thats for sure :)
Has anyone even gone home from the Noosa festival?? Some nice waves but not really enough to justify that many people for a Monday or is it always just like that? I definitely concur with the one wave set people, or two and three wave set, it was rare to get the lineup cleared unfortunately. Nothing remotely close to the pictures of that Saturday arvo last week.
Craig, note my cryptic comment at 12.57pm on sat'........ Ne swell..... you know where.... friday morning the pick.... 3 - 4 foot, glassy as...... ;)
Try the bar, should be no one out and some spitting kegs like you were talking about before. Good tide too ;)
Hey SD, I do have one question regarding this swell you forecast 12-13 days out. It's fair to say that 12-13 days ago, the long range models were progging TC Mike/High pressure system combo fetch right at the ends of their runs/outlook and in fact this prognosis came to fruition almost exactly as was forecast some 12-13days prior. This is a very very very rare occurence. That is, what the models are forecasting some 10 days out very rarely comes to fruition that spot on.
So my question to you is, how did you know that this long range forecast was going to come fruition? Was it more luck than good management, or was there some tingling in those old bones of yours that set you off for this forecast?
Tingling in the bones..... 32 years of weather watching.... Not just surf, but east coast weather in general... Back on the 12th, the "7 day charts", no matter what one you looked at, had this system up and running, all generally in agreement.... I also have another favorite site of mine (NO!!! IT's mine!!! Not sharing!!!!!! ;) ) that has ALL previous cyclone tracks.... ALL OF THEM..... This one was very similar to a couple I posted a while back.....
Also note that the last two cyclone swells did arrive "a bit later than expected"..... Probably not by my "12 hour line", but certainly 6 to 10 hours..... I don't know why this is, Don.... It's just something I have noticed over the years....... Very strange.....
Don, Take note of Cyclone Olaf here..... Also note position of highs and associated fetch above NZ. Eerily similar?
SD, you called this some 12-13 days out. Long range models only had it in their 9-10 day outlook, and in fact I don't think GFS had it as intense. More so EC and Access G, but as I said if you looked at the 9-10 day charts today, it would be highly unlikely that they'd come to fruition in 9-10 days time.
I looked up the archives of TC Olaf and it only appeared to deliver a [email protected] sec swell (or thereabouts) which appears to be much less punch than this current round of 15 sec period swell? Could that be that Olaf didn't retrograde slightly on an already active sea state?
Oh, and did the last cyclone swell really come in 10 hrs behind schedule? I thought it peaked overnight Sat/Sun, which was pretty spot on to most model forecasts wasn't it?
I surfed the Olaf swell... I'm sure it was bigger than 5 foot..... Also take note of the article attached to the Olaf map... Rob Sherwell and Mike Perry were predicting 8foot plus..... by memory it was solid 4 to 6 with the odd bomb.... That's why I predicted 4 to 6 foot..... I actually originally predicted 4 foot plus, but grew more confident by the 14/15th....
As far the the "11 seconds" go, I don't know if that is possible, coming from such a distance, with a 970h storm up against a high... I won't ask you to divulge your source, but 11 seconds just doesn't seem right. You are far more skilled on the "physics" side of things than me, Don... In your gut, looking at that Olaf map, could that swell really have a shorter period than Luci? And for a laymens terms sorta guy like me, why?
I did call the swell on the 12th..... The 7 days maps had 18th/19th.... That was the "birth" of the storm.... It looked like a beauty.... I then checked my historical cyclone charts for that region ( most cyclones out there actually occur in El nino), cross referred them to historical mslp BOM charts, and noted that 80- 90% sit right in the swell window thanks to seasonal high pressure systems at that time of year.... So, it was a slight punt, but with very VERY good odds....
ps - when it was forming on the 18th/19th, I gave it 2 days "brew time", and 4 ish days travel... That's where my "odd" 6 day theory comes in..... That takes us to the 24th or 25th....... You are spot on re' 4 ish' days.... Out of habit, I just included my old fashioned brew time or swell development in my time frame.
Good calling Doggie.
"Tingling in the bones..... 32 years of weather watching"
Thanks, free ride. But unlike Ben or Craig, I am a 1 trick pony..... Got qld totally down pat.... As for where I am living now, jesus....... harder to pick than Barbara Streisand's nose. Maybe this friday on my east coast early? Ne swell? Bigger than maybe predicted? Glassy before 10am ? It's alot harder down here.....
Whats your thoughts on this next SPCZ squeeze play?
Twice as consistent today... 2 wave sets
That's the convergence zone, isn't it?... Ummm, i don't think that next low will form into a cyclone ( positioned at fiji around april fools day).... but looks like a decent squeeze.......and a good trade fetch for the next week.... problem is that bloody inland trough.......Mongrel thing.... At least some of the farmers are smiling......
ps - hope I'm wrong - but alot of cold air may blow up from east of NZ toward Fiji 27th, 28th......
Donweather, free ride, Ben, Craig..... Was just looking at wave buoy data for SE Qld, and Byron.... I usually don't bother with that stuff. But I found that this particular swell had quite different "peaks"... Now, Byron to Caloundra isn't that far, yet the peak times vary greatly......
What's the go with that? Byron peaked early morning on the 24th, yet Goldy seaway peaked on the 25th mid morning... well over a 24hr differential All other readings fall between the two mentioned.....?????
that has to be an artifact.
Gold coast - http://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/coastal/monitoring/waves/site_param.php?siteid...
Byron - http://new.mhl.nsw.gov.au/data/realtime/wave/Stn-byronbay
Not sure how familiar you are with how these graphs are constructed SD, but as far as I understand it, each point represents a period of 22.4min.
- That peak on the GC you refer to is just one data point; I wouldn't put too much behind it, as compared to the general trend.
- I'd say the peakyness of the Byron plot is more prominent, because it has less of the tradeswell.
- The plot of the period shows a clearer trend. Compare the Caloundra (or Nth Moreton Bay) buoy to the rest. It seems to have filtered out all the noise, being in the bay, but the proper pulse of groundswell is clearly recorded. This kind of illustrates what you and DW have been discussing too, Don (correct me if O'm wrong) refers to pulses being pushed out regularly. SD you were talking about 11sec energy from a swell that far out, probably not being able to make it. Well seems like it could reach the deeper waters buoys, but not quite past the mouth of the bay.
Both those buoys confirm exactly what I thought. Both peaked in the early hours of march 24th. Look at Hsig and Tsig/Tzero crossing. All peaked early mar 24th.
As Ben alluded to in another post, Hmax can be a combination of 2 swells crossing at the same time.
Thanks, Don and Mitch... Never been into the "new wave" forcasting..... just got me' guitar..... works good enough.. ;) But, Mitch, I took your advice and looked at the Moreton stats..... and the Mooloolabah stats....
They sort of back what I am saying.... I looked at hsig/tsigtzero....... An "across the board" peak in the afternoon of the 24th at Moreton..... and close to midday at mooloolabah.... I can understand if one of the 4 graph lines is out of whack, obviously an anomaly... But all 4 in sync? Also, the gold coast seems to have all 4 data lines match up around midday on the 24th as well.... Only hmax peaks on it's own early on the 24th.... An "artifact"? ;)
Your opinion, Mitch?
ps Oh, and Mitch... I didn't say that an 11 sec energy swell could "make it".... I just don't believe a 970h cyclone with a stronger fetch than that just seen, in nearly exactly the same position would produce 11sec... Had to 14+...... Plus I surfed that swell...... I'm sure it wasn't 11sec.... Go back and have a look at the map/article
.... Cheers, man....
SD, it's too difficult to put forward my case without pictures on this site. I'd like to draw little circles and arrows on the wavebuoy charts to show you what I mean.
Anyway, it appears we beg to differ on this one.
Cheers, Don....Btw, a certain place Mick free knows is absolutely off the planet today.... and tomorrow morning..... 8 to 10 feet +...... Called the last swell..... But thought I'd let this one slip through to the keeper....
No worries Sheepy. Yeah I skim read that bit, I'll re read.
"An "across the board" peak in the afternoon of the 24th at Moreton..... and close to midday at mooloolabah.... " - agreed. Although Tpeak seems a little harder to judge. definitely an arrival on the 23rd.
"I can understand if one of the 4 graph lines" - Hsig & Hmax, Tzero (or Tsig on MHL site) & Tpeak.
"is out of whack, obviously an anomaly... But all 4 in sync? Also, the gold coast seems to have all 4 data lines match up around midday on the 24th as well.... Only hmax peaks on it's own early on the 24th.... An "artifact"? ;)" - Did you mean the Hmax of the Southport buoy on the 25th? Maybe an artefact. But it looks to me like the high pressure ridge began to restrengthen, and as a result, the Cape Moreton winds starting amping up to 15kts + around the time the bouy peaked. So it could've been a sandcastle on a sand dune kinda situation, with windswell on top of the swell from Mike.
oh and Doggie, google "freeride surf journalist", a few things will start to add up ;)
I must say I was out there surfing BH's on the arvo of the 24th and for sure it was probably the most solid of that whole swell period, Light onzie's and fuck all people out, getting of the rocks was full on.
I reckon I copped that peak on the head around about lunch, the walk of shame......!
Welly I'm curious as to why you live on the GC? You seem to be well travelled...