South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales Surf Forecast Surf Forecast (issued Monday 3rd March)

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thermalben started the topic in Monday, 3 Mar 2014 at 5:50pm

South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales Surf Forecast Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 3rd March)

Best Days: Tues/Wed: small peaky trade swell, best suited to the open points in SE Qld and Northern NSW.  

Recap:  Peaky trade swell in the 2-3ft+ range across most regions over the last three days. A south swell provided occasional sets in the mix at south facing beaches on Saturday as well.

This week (Mar 4-7)

We’ve got a rather steady pattern ahead for the short term period, courtesy of a slow moving high pressure system in the Tasman Sea and a broad belt of tradewinds that have provided fun peaky waves for the last few days.  

The Tasman high is expected to weaken mid-week, and as a result we’ll see the trades temporarily relax in strength - of which the flow on effects will be a slight drop in trade swell through the back half of the week.

Elsewhere, we have no other major sources of new swell on the cards besides a faint long range southerly groundswell that is currently glancing the southern NSW coast (peak swell periods of 17.5 seconds).  A secondary pulse of swell related to the same system may produce inconsistent 2ft waves at south swell magnets throughout Tuesday but I wouldn’t get your hopes up for anything worthwhile. 

Overall, for the entire period we’re looking at 2-3ft surf in SE Qld and Northern NSW on Tuesday, with a very slow easing trend expected from Wednesday thruFriday. Smaller surf will be found south of about Yamba.

Just one other area of interest for the notes - a small S’ly fetch currently developing off the SW tip of New Zealand’s South Island may also kick up a small SE swell for Friday, however the small fetch length, unfavourable alignment and only moderate wind strengths doesn’t suggest much more than a foot or two for exposed beaches in Northern NSW.  I’ll revise this outlook in Wednesday’s notes with the availability of satellite data.

This weekend (Mar 8-9) 

Looks like we’ll be seeing a slow upswing in trade swell on the weekend, ahead of a peak in size early next week. The main contributor to this is a slowly developing Tropical Cyclone that’s expected to form in the Northern Coral Sea during the middle of this week, which is modelled to track slowly SW, tightening the pressure gradient between it and a broad high in the Tasman Sea.

However, model guidance is quite divergent at the moment with regards to where this cyclone will track, and just how strong it’ll be - best estimates place it close to the Tropical Qld Coast (well north of the SE Qld swell window) over the weekend with a possible land crossing.

However, the European solution (which is usually my preferred model whenever there’s a cyclone in the synoptic vicinity) is now suggesting we may see a slow southerly track through the Coral Sea with some potential for primary swell production for the Gold and Sunshine Coasts. I’m not confident enough to make a call right now so let’s reevaluate in Wednesday’s notes. 

Either way (and regardless of how this cyclone develops) the weekend will probably see just a slow building trade swell in SE Qld and Northern NSW, with smaller sideband energy pushing across the Mid North Coast. Any cyclone swell - if it eventuates (and let me reiterate my low confidence on this scenario right now) would be unlikely to reach SE Qld until early next week.

Long term (Mar 10 onwards)

Regardless of how this Coral Sea cyclone pans out, it looks like we’ve got a steady supply of both trade swell and potential cyclone swell into the longer term as the monsoon trough remains a dominant feature across the Coral Sea and South-West Pacific Ocean, and a broad, slow moving area of high pressure system occupies the Tasman Sea.

There’s no way of being any more specific than that right now, however with our southern swell window expected to remain quiet, the overall trend looks favourable for an extended run of modest east swell throughout SE Qld and Northern NSW through much of next week and the following weekend. More on this in Wednesday's forecast.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 4 Mar 2014 at 8:21am

Yep, sure will be interesting to see how this active phase of the MT resolves. Latest runs look better.

On a side note it's hard to see how the Gold Coast reporter could give clean head high Point surf a 4/10 considering the summer we've had. Hard marker.

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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 4 Mar 2014 at 8:47am

Actually, fair call. it's pretty fucking gurgly.

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Craig commented Tuesday, 4 Mar 2014 at 9:47am

Also, it's a regional rating, not a location or break rating. Sometimes the reporters actually go into more detail in their report as such "More 3/10 on the beaches, but the points are looking better and would be a 6/10."

Some great surfing going down again this morning though!

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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 4 Mar 2014 at 12:39pm

True. Hard to look at head high clean peelrs and say it's less than a 5/10 but at least he's leaving plenty of head room.

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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 4 Mar 2014 at 12:53pm

Also goes to show how remarkable the multiplier effect is of Snapper Rocks during these weak tradewind swells......it's fair bit more substantial than 2-3ft right now.

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mitchvg commented Tuesday, 4 Mar 2014 at 3:38pm

More so than Dbah you reckon? Seems solid there just from the distribution of surfers seen on the cam

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mitchvg commented Tuesday, 4 Mar 2014 at 6:52pm

Any good updates from the Sunny Coast photogs Benski? I haven't seen too much on facebook, must've been some decent sessions go down since the last run of photos though. Last wed morn for example was fairly smooth, a few ft and not totally disorganised on the sthn end...

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dellabeach commented Thursday, 6 Mar 2014 at 11:20am

Where are last night's forecast notes? Trying to plan my appointments for early next week, will there be waves Mon-Tues ?

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Thursday, 6 Mar 2014 at 4:15pm

Sorry guys... been flat out in (unexpectedly extended) meetings and also on the road for the last 48 hours. Will add a few comments to this thread tonight and will have a comprehensive forecast available tomorrow.

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dellabeach commented Thursday, 6 Mar 2014 at 5:59pm

No need to stress over this. Just trying to work out which days they may run the Quiky Pro and planning my week accordingly.

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thermalben commented Thursday, 6 Mar 2014 at 6:25pm

Well, at this stage the general concensus is that Sunday will probably be the more likely day for competition to resume (it'll be small and gutless 'till then, bar Saturday which should see a slow building trend but still undersized for the comp), and they'll then run straight through proceedings.

All up there are 3 heats of the Roxy Pro left and 27 heats of the Quik Pro remaining. That's 30 heats plus extra time between the Semis and Final. With 30 min heats this equates to around 16 hours, give or take. Add in the liklihood of some possible downtime around the high tides, and they need two very long days or more likely three days to finish the event.

So when will they run? It's hard for a contest director to turn down any chance of running on a weekend, so Sunday will probably get the nod (Saturday is less of a chance, but it'll probably be undersized - gut feel is they'll punch out an expression session or something else to justify their presence).

This means we're looking at a Tuesday finish in my books - with good surf expected thru' Wed, there's no need to rush - and they'll be unwilling to run long days and tire everyone out.

Also, the media cycle (for Australia) works best if the Final is around lunchtime. That's late enough to get lots of punters to the beach, it offer better filming conditions than the morning glare, and it's also early enough to allow plenty of time for the media feeds to be distributed to all and sundry for the nightly news.

Wed is a backup in case something funky happens in the interim but I'd be banking on a Tues finish sometime early afternoon. Just my 2c anyway!