South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales Surf Forecast (issued Wednesday 16th April)

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thermalben started the topic in Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 at 5:18pm

South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 16th April)

Best Days: SE Qld: Thurs/Fri: small peelers on the points. Sat: small/mod but quality SE groundswell. Northern NSW: Thurs/Fri: moderate pulsey SE swell with good winds Thurs AM and most of Fri. Easter Sat/Sun: strong, quality SE groundswell (biggest in the south) with good winds.

Recap: Solid SE swell in the 4-5ft range at exposed south facong beaches, with smaller waves at protected spotsd and (more particularly) throughout SE Qld. Early W/SW thru’ SW winds in many areas, tending fresh S’ly during the days.

This week (Apr 16-19 onwards)

There’s been no shortage of SE swell over the last few days, and the good news is that the pattern is expected hang around for the rest of the week. 

The low pressure system responsible for the current episode is still moving only slowly through the central Tasman Sea; it temporarily weakened yesterday before restrengthening a stronger but slightly smaller fetch just off the SW tip of New Zealand this morning.  

However a secondary fetch (more S’ly in alignment) will also redevelop in the central Tasman Sea this evening and into Thursday. As such, the combination of new and residual swells will maintain plenty of waves across Northern NSW and SE Qld into the end of the week. Size wise we’re looking at lully 3-5ft surf at exposed south facing beaches in Northern NSW, with smaller waves at protected locations. 

SE Qld will also see smaller surf due to the swell direction, around 2ft at the open points with 3-4ft surf at exposed south facing beaches - but it's likely to somewhat slow and inconsistent at times. Protected locations such as Noosa will see very small conditions due to the strong southerly component in the swell direction.

As for local winds, Thursday should see similar conditions as per today - mainly early SW’ers ahead of a fresh S’ly breeze developing from mid-late morning onwards. On Friday, a ridge of high pressure will push across the region, leading to early light variable winds (probably offshore) ahead of an afternoon sea breeze - more likely in the SE Qld and Far Northern NSW regions, rather than the Mid North Coast. 

Either way, Friday will be hard to pass up for a surf - there should be great waves just about everywhere. 

This weekend (Apr 20-21)

What a great weekend we’ve got ahead. I’ve been discussing this Easter Saturday swell since last Friday (where I mentioned “solid 6ft+ surf is very likely” in Northern NSW), and the good news is that we’re still on track for some excellent waves. In fact the models have slightly ramped up the data over the last few days, which is very encouraging.

Ex-TC Ita will tomorrow morning merge with the fabulous Tasman low that’s generating our existing swell, forming an incredible storm force fetch of E/SE winds immediately west of Cook Strait by Thursday afternoon. This will generate a long period E/SE groundswell for Southern NSW, but the swell direction will be more SE across Northern NSW and into SE Qld. The leading edge is expected to arrive overnight on Friday, ahead of a peak in size around lunchtime on Saturday

Size wise, the biggest surf probably occur across the Mid North Coast (somewhere around 6ft at exposed spots), with slightly smaller surf around 4-6ft across Northern NSW (smaller again at protected spots). 

Across SE Qld, wave heights will taper off in size due to the swell direction, however beaches with a high degree of southerly exposure should see occasional 3-5ft waves but it’ll be much smaller on the points, somewhere between 2ft and maybe 3ft. Also, this swell will be noticeably inconsistent at times, so keep this in mind if you’re planning on surfing a heavily populated location as your wave count may not end up being very high.

One other point to consider - due to various local bathymetry/shoaling effects, not every location will pull in the upper end of this size range. For example, during the large E/NE groundswell from TC Lusi, we observed that some regions in Southern NSW saw only half of the size compared to nearby regions (and this may very well happen in other areas during Saturday's swell). So just keep in mind that you may need to drive around to maximise the size potential, if you're not already familiar with breaks that prefer SE swells in the 15-16 second range.

Conditions are looking great on Saturday with moderate W’ly tending SW winds. We may even see an early W/NW wind in the Far North and throughout SE Qld, but it probably won’t last long (if at all).

Saturday’s E/SE swell will then ease steadily throughout Sunday, and conditions should remain excellent with light variable winds and sea breezes. There’s a chance for a punchy south swell on Sunday - mainly across south facing beaches in the Mid North - courtesy of a low moving through the southern Tasman Sea overnight on Friday, but the models are a little mixed on the strength and timing of this right now. Let’s take a closer look on Friday.

Next week (Apr 22 onwards)

Nothing of major interest standing out in the long range charts at this stage. The weekend’s front through the southern Tasman Sea should kick up a fresh S’ly swell for late Sun/Mon, and another Southern Ocean front/low combo behind this could potentially give rise to a moderate S’ly groundswell around Wednesday of next week (give or take). However with a dynamic short term forecast period ahead let’s worry about that in Friday’s update.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 at 12:55pm

ASCAT looking awesome.

donweather's picture
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donweather commented Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 at 12:59pm

Literally just beat me to it Steve. Was just typing ex Ita looking the goods as you posted!!!

http://manati.star.nesdis.noaa.gov/ascat_images/cur_25km_TEST/zooms/WMBd...

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 at 1:33pm

Wow. That's a little broader/stronger than the models had. Will have to slightly upgrade in tomorrow's notes.

donweather's picture
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donweather commented Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 at 3:05pm

Stronger? Most models were forecasting 50-60knts....that's about what the ASCAT pass is indicating.....broader perhaps.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 at 3:10pm

Actually EC had a very thin area of 50kt+ winds. GFS got the strength very close overall, but up until this morning had a slightly smaller fetch size (the 18Z analysis looks pretty good though).

Interestingly, our wave model has slightly downgraded projected wave heights on the current model run but I reckon this is an aberation and we'll see it kick back up again with the updated data this afternoon.

Craig's picture
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Craig commented Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 at 3:15pm

Looks spot on forecast by GFS yesterday. Here's a diagram I created for the Tassie East Coast..

And the satellite pass..

donweather's picture
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donweather commented Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 at 5:03pm

Ben/Craig....any chance you guys can put Lat/long's on your WAMS. Would make this comparison above soo much better!!!!

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donweather commented Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 at 5:03pm

And as posted in the other thread. Your WAM results appear to be combining the S/SE and E'ly swells.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 at 5:13pm

donweather wrote: Ben/Craig....any chance you guys can put Lat/long's on your WAMS. Would make this comparison above soo much better!!!!
Actually we're building something a little more comprehensive (our forecast portal v.2) that'll allow for you to discern this information in a much easier way. Not sure when it'll be ready but hopefully by the end of winter.
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donweather commented Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 at 7:24pm

Winter 2014? ;)

wellymon's picture
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wellymon commented Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 at 9:41pm

You there Mickfree,
Waira.......ka Ka.........piti............?

Our brains are too small at the moment to comprehend the reality of what's happening in our forests . We're only just waking up so to speak . The big problem is we think we know everything, we are specks of dust on a timeline and we know nothing .

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mick-free commented Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 at 10:20pm

Not sure about that NW flank Wellymon......
Ben any NW swell being generated off that system for the Kapiti coast, Wellington?

geez if you turn up anywhere that has a surf beach in Southern Hemisphere you will get a wave. Its looking that good this Easter.

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

wellymon's picture
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wellymon commented Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 at 10:49pm

"Flank " love that word Mickfree, it makes me hungry, the side or ribs of a wild boar caught by the dogs and given a good stick with the knife right under the arm pit....

Our brains are too small at the moment to comprehend the reality of what's happening in our forests . We're only just waking up so to speak . The big problem is we think we know everything, we are specks of dust on a timeline and we know nothing .