South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales Surf Forecast (issued Monday 24th February)

thermalben's picture
thermalben started the topic in Monday, 24 Feb 2014 at 4:46pm

South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 24th February)

Best Days: Entire period - fun waves at the open points across the North Coast and SE Qld region.

Recap: The weekend’s building trade swell didn’t perform quite as well as was hoped. After a slow start on Saturday morning we saw an increase throughout the day that persisted through Sunday and this morning, with wave heights generally holding in around 2-3ft (a foot or so below forecast expectations).

Also in the water over the last 36 hours has been a southerly groundswell, which produced fun waves at south facing beaches along the Northern NSW coast south of about Coffs (mainly in association with early morning SW winds). As expected, fresh S thru’ SE winds north of Coffs limited surface conditions at exposed locations.

This week (Feb 25-28)

The next week or so is probably a good time to keep the forecast outlook nice and broad, especially in SE Queensland where we’re (finally) seeing a more typical summer pattern of winds and waves. The trade flow up into the Coral Sea will remain steady all week so expect a steady supply of short range E/SE swell from Tuesday right through up until later Thursday or early Friday in the 2-3ft range.

Also in the water this week will be a series of southerly groundswells, the first of which is expected to push through across the region later this afternoon and into tomorrow (we’re still waiting on some size confirmation from this swell in southern NSW). It’ll mainly influence exposed south swell magnets in NSW, with less influence being felt across the Gold and Sunshine Coast - in any case, those exposed beaches picking up the size will also be wind affected. However set waves in the 3-5ft range are certainly possible. 

These south swells will influence the region through Tuesday and early Wednesday before trending downwards quickly through the second half of the week. 

This weekend (Mar 1-2)

Trade swell is expected to persist through the weekend so we can expect a similar pattern of pulsing E/SE swell in the 2-3ft+ range across the SE Qld and Northern NSW region. A building ridge to the south (developing in southern/central NSW on Thursday) should ensure a similar supply of short range E/SE energy for the Mid North and North Coasts too, albeit with moderate onshore winds. So, keep your expectations low for the weekend in Northern NSW, but there’ll be small fun waves on the open points of the North Coast and SE Qld.

Long term (Mar 1 onwards) 

One feature on the long term synoptic charts that’s worth keeping a close eye on is a deepening tropical depression (TD14F) which is currently tracking south-east towards Fiji. 

In fact if current model guidance is correct, the Fijian region is going to cop a hiding mid-week as the system reaches Tropical Cyclone strength, stalls very close to the islands and ratchets up the intensity scale. Fingers crossed this doesn’t eventuate, because the consequences of a slow moving system of this size and strength will be considerable.

As for swell prospects, this depression/cyclone is not forecast to push inside our swell window until at least Thursday (at the earliest) and if we see any resulting swell it’ll take at least two or three days to make landfall, that is if the system organises itself and behaves correctly. 

As it is, there is considerable model disagreement right now and the (currently modeled) poor alignment of the supporting ridge to the southwest means that the resulting solitary system - no matter what strength this TC might reach - will have limited size potential for the Australian East Coast, unless it tracks westward (which is unlikely). So, confidence isn't high that we'll see a major groundswell event from this source. 

Right now, we’re looking at an increase in E/NE groundswell early Monday morning but it’s too far out to have any confidence on size or conditions. Check back on Wednesday for more details.

mitchvg's picture
mitchvg's picture
mitchvg commented Monday, 24 Feb 2014 at 5:06pm

thermalben wrote: (we’re still waiting on some size confirmation from this swell in southern NSW).

Appreciate the update when it comes...I'm gonna try and cash in on a sunny coast sesh with this one :O considering the relatively massive interval
freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Monday, 24 Feb 2014 at 6:51pm

Nice boost in size this arvo.

And I think it's a misnomer to call these surges in local SE/ESE windswell from the QLD ridge trade swells.

Trade swells form from slow moving flat topped highs that generate winds in the New Cal/North Island corridor.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 24 Feb 2014 at 8:14pm

mitchvg wrote: Appreciate the update when it comes...
MHL data finally showing the kick in 16 second swell period across Sydney. Been watching some surfcams and it seems to be a little bigger than this morning, but much stronger and well defined. Probably 3-5ft. Would love to get some feedback from anyone who surfed an exposed swell magnet late today (with NE winds for the last few hours of the day there would have been a couple of good options!).

freeride76 wrote: And I think it's a misnomer to call these surges in local SE/ESE windswell from the QLD ridge trade swells.Trade swells form from slow moving flat topped highs that generate winds in the New Cal/North Island corridor.
Well, technically SE winds through the Coral Sea are trade winds. So, I don't think the user of the term 'trade swell' in this case is a misnomer.

However there is merit in the use of a second descriptive term to identify different sources of (trade) swells. This can be applied just about any swell originating from any ocean basin too - for example two westerly swells generated in the Southern Ocean can have a different effect on the same stretch of coastline, depending on which latitude they were generated. Or my favourite - cyclone swells, and how the term really doesn't necessarily mean a great deal about the quality of the swell, despite the suggestive tone of its origin.

mitchvg's picture
mitchvg's picture
mitchvg commented Monday, 24 Feb 2014 at 8:53pm

thermalben wrote: Or my favourite - cyclone swells

In case you aren't already across this guy and have the time...
http://gosurf.co.nz/special-forecast-southwest-pacific-tropical-cyclone-...
mitchvg's picture
mitchvg's picture
mitchvg commented Tuesday, 25 Feb 2014 at 10:59pm

With the tide turning just before dawn, I waited for the arvo. But the signal to noise was just too much. Couldn't distinguish any wrappers from round Moreton. Anyway, had a good bash as it was chunky enough on the sets.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Wednesday, 26 Feb 2014 at 11:27am

Ben I surfed Long Reef from about 5 until 7 or so on Monday. There were 6ft plus sets out on the third bommie but it was too inconsistent and windy for anyone to surf. It seemed to really kick for an hour or so from about 5.30 but the sets were variable in direction with the biggest ones at pretty long intervals from way to the south but sizeable sets in between with a bit more east. In general the conditions were difficult with considerable variation in the size and direction making for really shifty conditions. There were good waves but they were pretty hard to find. It dropped off substanially from 6.30 to 7 with none of the very south sets but looked like it might have been kicking again by the time I got home.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 26 Feb 2014 at 11:40am

Thanks BB.. that's unreal verification, and matches my observations on the cams too on Monday evening. Overall, the Monday forecast (which I wrote the Friday prior) seems to have been on target at many spots in southern NSW but as a whole it was a little patchy - some usually reliable spots didn't pick up much size whilst others raked in the energy.

Certainly a good event to keep me on my toes anyway!

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Wednesday, 26 Feb 2014 at 12:34pm

I looked around early and didn't bother. If there were sizeable sets they must have been very inconsistent. At dawn I didn't see anything more than 3-4 ft and without the long sweeping lines that arrived later in the day. It was a bit disappointing but I didn't have time to pick the best of it so I can't complain.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 26 Feb 2014 at 1:08pm

Yeah the morning was only 3-4ft but the forecast was 3-5ft (so not too far off), and we had a few reports up and down the coast in this size range (even bigger at a few spots).

Was definitely a frustrating event though. Even the Shippies fellas said the swell (the same one, which hit there on the Sunday, as per yesterday's gallery) was very inconsistent as well.