South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 10th February)
Best Days: No great days.
Recap: Wasn’t a great weekend for South East Queensland, but Northern NSW picked up some fun waves on Saturday as Friday’s SE groundswell eased in size. A new E’ly swell delivered good waves again on Sunday morning but this swell was mainly aimed towards the southern half of the state, so locations north of Byron generally dipped out. We’re back to the small stuff again this morning with mainly small residual swells and early light winds across most coasts.
This week (Feb 11-14)
Not a good week for surf prospects. We’ll see small levels of trade swell all week, generated by broad but otherwise unimpressive ridge across the southern Coral Sea. The ridge is expected to weaken late Tuesday and into Wednesday, but will rebuild from Thursday onwards. Nevertheless it’ll provide mainly small incidental swell to the region at best throughout the forecast period.
A small long period S’ly swell will push along the southern NSW coast on Tuesday and into Northern NSW on Wednesday, but it won’t have much size and will really only benefit the truly exposed south swell magnets.
A minor SE swell may arrive later Thursday, generated by a deep low pressure system (actually responsible for Wednesday’s south swell too) that’s expected to slow in its easterly track south of the Tasman Sea, and potentially push up a small flush of swell that’s modelled to hold into Friday morning. However, it is very unlikely to do anything north of Byron Bay (if it makes landfall on the Northern NSW coast anyway). Even if we do see a small pulse of energy, only swell magnets will see anything rideable and they’ll be lucky to pick up a foot or two. Keep your expectations low.
A building ridge along the East Coast on Thursday will swing winds around to the north across the Mid North Coast, eventually speeding to the North Coast and SE Qld Coast during the afternoon. This will wipe out surf prospects art most location, even if the aforementioned SE swell does show up.
This weekend (Feb 15-16)
Lots of divergence between the models on the weekend’s wind and weather outlook right now. GFS maintains a ridge across the coast but ECMWF develops a surface low off the Far South Coast later Friday, driving a gusty S’ly change into southern NSW throughout Saturday morning (in fact, GFS has a similar solution but not until Sunday night).
Right now I’m leaning towards the EC solution, as it’s performed well over the last few weeks and seems to be resolving the forward trajectory of the cut off low below Tasmania the best. Such a scenario would create gusty N’ly winds across the Northern NSW and SE Queensland coasts on Saturday before the southerly reaches the North Coast on Sunday. But just how far north it’ll penetrate (and the timing to which it’ll adhere) is unknown at this point in time.
Either way, it’s not looking especially good for surfers. Let’s take a closer look on Wednesday.
Long term (Feb 17 onwards)
Nothing of major interest at this stage. The developing system off the NSW South Coast (either early or late in the weekend, depending on your model preference) probably won’t do much for the Northern NSW coast and almost certainly won’t be in any way beneficial for the SE Qld region unless we see a major about-face in the model output.
One area worth watching closely over the coming days is the tropical South Pacific below Fiji, which is expected to see a tropical depression develop over the weekend, along with a possible slow westward track. Although it’s not showing any significant features right now, this part of the world could offer the early genesis of a decent swell generating system for the Qld and Northern NSW coasts early next week, with an arrival time during the middle to latter part of next week. More on this in Wednesday’s update.