South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 10th March)
Best Days: Most days: plenty of quality trade swell. Sat/Sun: strong building E'ly swell becoming large at exposed spots, but with difficult winds (most likely Sun). Mon: solid, easing E'ly swell but with improving conditions as a change works up the coast.
Recap: Slowly building trade swell from Sat thru' Sun and into today, with mainly moderate to fresh winds from the SE thru' E.
This week (Mar 11-14)
The synoptic chart is quite complex at the moment, but in surfing terms it's actually much more straightforward.
Right now we've got two Tropical Cyclones way up north (TC Gillian in the Gulf of Carpentaria, and TC Hadi in the Northern Coral Sea), plus the recently formed TC Lusi near Vanuatu. And a broad, strong tradewind flow stretching from well east of the dateline through to the Qld coast.
As has always been anticipated, the two TCs up north won't generate any swell for SE Qld or Northern NSW. So, with just two swell sources in the water - the trade belt, and TC Lusi - we can discuss each event separately.
The trade flow is quite impressive, both in strength, structure and longevity (if we combine both the hindcast and forecast). And one of the good things about these trade swells is that they tend to increase and decrease slowly over time, which draws out each swell event correspondingly.
Right now the waters of the southern Coral Sea are close to what's known as a 'fully developed sea state', which is due to the sustained duration of the trade belt. This means that wave heights are somewhere close to the theoretical upper limit of the swell sizeable to be generated by a fetch of this strength.
Due to the position of the trade belt, the Sunshine Coast will see the largest wave heights from this current source (4-5ft+), with slowly decreasing size as you head south to the Gold Coast (3-5ft) and then southwards along the Northern NSW (3-4ft) and Mid North Coasts (3ft).
Consequently, we're looking at a peak in size later today and into Tuesday, ahead of a very slow easing trend from later Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday and maybe early Thursday. This easing trend won't be much - open beaches along the Sunshine Coast are very unlikely to drop below 3-4ft - but it's important to note this phase of the trade swell, relative to the overall forecast period.
A secondary intensification of the trades over the coming days (related to TC Lusi) will then provide a renewal in slightly longer period trade swell through Thursday afternoon and into Friday. In fact I think our surf forecast model isn't picking this up very well - it's showing surf heights bottoming out through Thursday and early Friday (ahead of an increase Friday afternoon), when I think we'll actually see this occur 24 hours prior. In any case, expect a kick in size back up into a similar size range as per what we're expecting on Tuesday morning.
Wind wise, along the SE Qld and Northern NSW Coasts we're not expecting much change from the usual E/SE thru' SE trade flow for much of this period. Isolated pockets of lighter S'ly winds are possible but in general only the protected potions will offer clean conditions.
Along the Mid North Coast, winds will be more E/NE but may tend variable through parts of Wednesday and Thursday as a weak southerly change pushes along the southern NSW coast and stalls in and around the Sydney region. E/NE winds will then resume through Friday as another high sets up camp in the Tasman Sea.
This weekend (Mar 15-16)
The biggest feature on the forecast charts is the developing cyclone near Vanuatu. And the good news is that there's been no major changes since Friday's notes, apart form a minor size upgrade.
We're looking at a rapidly intensifying system over the coming days that's expected to track southwards through the trade belt, with core E'ly wind speeds reaching 70-80kts. Although the supporting ridge and location of the cyclone are very good for Australia's East Coast swell prospects, the only negative (re: surf potential) is the slightly-faster-than-optimal southward track.
Still, most model guidance has the cyclone undergoing extra-tropical transition during the latter half of this week and tracking to a position west of New Zealand - meaning we'll see only a moderate reduction in its swell generating capacity into the weekend (compared to a complete reduction, if the ex-TC tracked east of New Zealand, as is the more common route).
So what can we expect surfing wise? The peak of the groundswell is due Sunday however we'll see the early stages of new swell fill in on Saturday (that developed just ahead of the cyclone). This should kick up wave heights into the 5-6ft range across most open coasts throughout Saturday.
On Sunday, the bulk groundswell from (ex)-TC Lusi will kick in and we're looking at some pretty hefty sets at exposed stretches, upwards of 6ft and possibly closer to 8ft at times (in fact I wouldn't be surprised if a few swell magnets see bomb sets upwards of this too). Although model data is reasonably evenly split across most coasts (size wise), I have a feeling we'll see the largest surf from this pulse in Northern NSW, with slightly smaller waves in SE Qld and along the Mid North Coast.
But - it looks like local winds may spoil the party on Sunday. A ridge of high pressure in the Tasman Sea will work with an approaching front from the southwest to direct freshening northerly winds about the coast, mainly in the Mid North and Northern NSW regions. The SE Qld region will probably see light variable winds early morning but northerly breezes are quite likely into the afternoon. Let's re-evaluate in Wednesday's update.
Next week (Mar 17 onwards)
Monday is a mixed bag across the entire region but ultimately we'll see excellent waves in many locations. Sunday's large E'ly groundswell will have peaked and will be slowly easing, but we're still on track for inconsistent 4-6ft waves early Monday morning (maybe a little smaller in SE Qld). However the approaching W/SW change is likely to impact the Mid North Coast by the morning, creating clean condiitons, with a S'ly change spreading northwards during the day. This means early NW winds in SE Qld and Northern NSW ahead of the change - aim for an afternoon paddle at this stage.
Beyond Monday, we're looking at a smaller E/SE swell through Tuesday and maybe early Wednesday from the remnants of (ex)-TC Lusi, originating from its weekend position west of New Zealand. And there's some south swell on the cards for the middle of the week too, stemming from a strong fetch entering the southern Tasman Sea in the wake of Sunday night's front. I'll update these thoughts in more detail on Wednesday.
Hang on Doggie isn't even in the equation to paddle-out is he?
and what Ben said is right. Sometimes they come early, sometimes late.
Ouch!!!! Bitchslapped byfreeride "Statler", or is it Freeride "Waldorf" :) Put your reputation on the line, FR, and either deny the swell for post 19th march, or put your own opinion in on size, arrival etc.
And yeah, I might be in tassie now. You can take the boy outa' the sunny coast, but you can never take the sunny coast outa the boy..... I'm allowed to keep an eye on my old home aren't I, Free ride?
BTW, the initial conversation re' this potential swell event was with Mitch, Don and southey. Again, if you are interested, go back and read it. I stand by my comments.
You're ok, free ride hehehe.
OK, I will.
I'll re-read the thread and see the call and make one.
Like Ben, I haven't had the time to delve into the specifics but I've been keeping an eye on the charts and like the looks of the broadscale.
Initial thoughts: love the retrograding of the low but to me the strongest part of the fetch doesn't quite align with the main swell window. It's a bit too far north and in the swell shadow of New Cal/Vanuatu/Fiji due to a slight northward movement in the low/TC. If it retrograded WSW or SW at any point then it would be game on. I love those long range E swells. I'll have a closer look tomoz.
typical pattern of a developing Nino or modoki pattern though with the focus of cyclogenesis way further E in the SPCZ.
Nerd off, for sure, I absolutely love it.
keep it coming fellas.
Hey no disrespect here I like the different opinions , it is what makes Swell Net :)
Shut up wellymon!!! ;)
You shut up sheepie
I like it doggie
Bring it on
The wank on the bank is overnow lets talk weather.
This is live right now
Weather or not :)
Wow, just got through all of that.
Sorry SD, I don't think that was a testing of Don's knowledge but a stuff up in your swell travel times and I would of let it slip if you admitted it, but to play it down as a test, cummon mate, we all make mistakes ;)
Snoop! there was a very nearly glass off late this arv on the sunny coast, was a slightly sheltered spot but wind definitely decreased to a trickle then nowt. Can't remember the details of lesson 1 and 2 but did you see that coming?
Sheepdog, you still calling 4ft+ 15 sec E'ly groundswell on 25th March? Models appear to have pushed the fetch further west again and downgraded her somewhat?
BTW - The further westwards location of the fetch will certainly assist with your travel time predictions.
Alright I may as well throw my 2 bob in...
Based on just looking at ACCESS, GFS & EC MSLP maps.
22nd & 23rd: very inconsistent 4-5ft at the most exposed locations.
MV, were talking about the 25th. That's what SD has forecast for sometime now. So what's your call for 25th March?
Gday, Craig, Donny, uppy.
Firstly , Uppy. Did you say "nearly" a glass off?, in a "slightly sheltered spot"?.... :) ..... And yeah I did. Find my convo' with Braithy..... Just look for "no jelly fish shitwind uber alles".
Craig.... You boys stick pretty tight, aye? Nice to see so much love in the house ;) I find it great that 1/2 way through a conversation with don, i wont get an answer from him, instead I get Ben(6.47pm).... Then I get free ride( 7.31pm)..... Now I get you....Wrestlemania... tag team of 4 versus one.... Cool I can handle that ;)
Nah, shit stirring aside, Craig, It's great that people are interested... Honestly.
Mate, after putting yourself through reading all of that engrossing conversation , If the only point is you have is on one jibe out of 600+ words... well......;) Don and I have been trying to suckerpunch eachother since 11.45am on the wed'. It's been great.... Craig, I'll cop it on the chin, because I believe this area of wave forecasting (swell arrivals) honestly needs to be taken further. And throwing ideas, arguments, curve balls etc is how things morph' into knowledge.
Craig, Not Don, not free ride, not you, have touched the "essence" of my post....
The essence ; - 15secondish' groundswell 24th,25th, 26th, 5 to 6 days travel time, swell scource beginning 19thish'......... 4foot I'm calling it... closer range swell 19th/20th onwards, 12 secondish' from trade fetch closer to Australia..... Ben Matson has spotted it, too, in forecast notes, 12/3/14, 1301pm. He wants to have another look friday.
Now, Donny..... back to your 2.35pm post yesterday, re' swell arrival; Did you measure the distance from the scource of the swell to it's destination? 170w to SE QLD? Did you then use "the old 15 seconds = 41.67kmh" and divide that into lets say 4500km? That equates to 4 1/2 days... Correct?
Well...... There's a slight problem..... Think about it..... A very slight problem that would blow out travel time.....
That system at about 170W, and it's cousins from ACCESS and EC.
I'm biased towards ACCESS. And the weekend cos that's probably when I'll surf.
The peak of it, maybe Sun 23rd/Mon 24th.
25th, 4ft. Straight edged. Fading fast.
Ahhhh, SD, I've finally worked you out....you talk soooo much in riddles and code that you can easily then re-translate your words at some point later in the future into anything you then want to change your story too. Love it....keep up the good work old son!!!
Oh, and I can't wait to hear why the travel time of a 15 sec period swell from 170W will take longer than 4-4.5 days to reach our shores.
And one final question if I may SD. Please tell us when this TC Lusi swell will arrive and peak, given your theory of 12 hrs behind.
Are we sure you guys have your open ocean swell speeds right . This was discussed at length in another thread .
As for the time lag , are we sure that both or all people are looking at the right time zones .....
Most models and perhaps SN 's WAMS , run on Zulu time . Are you saying that Swellnets written forecasts are out by 11 -12 hours or are you refering to the WAM / model swell period change ( new swell arrival ) ......
Really like to see Elizabeth or Middleton reef over the 3 days.
Swellnet now forecasting the peak of the swell on the morning of the 25th in line with sheepdog.....though period and winds wrong.
OK, who wants to make the call. A lot of sites and forecasts are showing different and I know how difficult tropical lows are to predict, but the WAMS are showing ex TC Hadi going to re-invent herself and have a proper go this time, coming in close to home. I'm not that interested about the surf at the moment as I can find waves anywhere, but am interested on the general accuracy so as I can make my decision on where to run and hide the boat (and quite possibly the family if it comes to fruition!)
Yep, and I've worked you out, Don. You haven't given one straight answer, never will.... ever... Won't even take a punt.
Now... DONWEATHER.... I'll admit when I'm wrong. I wont answer a question with more questions like you do.... Fantastic tactic, my friend..... :)
I was wrong today, Don...... Ask Braithy. I took it right on the chin ( in Uber alles)... I bowed to the Braithmeister and said "touche"...... It's there in black and white buddy.... A couple of weeks ago, I was wrong to wes in "Tassie set to pump"..... I said "sorry"...... A few weeks ago I said sorry to Ben re' Mark Visser video (Ben didn't post it). I'm wrong in my call for this sunday morning being "sheet glass" with a mid morning sea breeze.. Looks more like a light offshore wnw, swinging to a ne sea breeze.. We'll see...
No riddles mate.... Only the ones you want to make up....
But here's the deal, Donny...... Sheepdog writes "Tassie set to pump" in wax on. Craig initially disagrees. Then comes on board. Tassie did pump.... End of story. No riddle... 1 from 1.
Sheepdog writes "OMG, could it be?" in wax on... A call on a stretch of coast you don't report on. Same swell as "pedra". Fellow unnamed blogger here scores epic waves, and a memory for a lifetime.............. 2 from 2
You, Coastalwatch, and nearly every other forecaster called last week, that the swell will drop out in SEQ, tuesday/today.... You guys did say it wouldn't drop much, but it would drop.... Well.....
Here's what I wrote, on the 7th; " DUNNO IF IT'LL "DROP OUT" TOO MUCH MID WEEK.... Those trades are pretty deep, getting sucked into the remnants of the "cyclone", and also being squeezed below New Cal... 1012 to 1024 new Cal to Northland......I'll stand by my call in our "jellyfish shitwind" chat 2 days ago, Braithy."
That aint no f*ckn riddle, Donny..... I doubted the "drop out call", stated why, was proven right - 4 from 4.
Sheepdog wrote about the crap easterly backing off, and that the Quicky pro should hold it yesterday/ today to coincide with the swell that DIDNT BACK OFF , increase comp window to accommodate (link in "uber alles" article). No riddle there, buddy.... 5 from 5.....
I have more than likely got the winds wrong for sunday by a whisker.... 5 from 6....
Now we'll see about the ( no riddle here, read it, don...) long.... period..... groundswell....for.... 25th.... give or take 24 hrs...... first called...... on 12/3/14, 11.35am..... in forecast notes SEQ, 10/3/14....
How you can get a riddle out of a clean call like that has got me beat.....
I'm not going to ask you again re' your theory on swell arrivals, because I have now asked 3 times..... No answer.....
Sheepdog, the surf has absolutely eased a little over the last few days in SE Qld. I've been at first point Noosa since Saturday and have been monitoring this event meticulously.
In any case, calm down will ya? It's not the Spanish Inquisition.
Haha, not ganging up on you SheepDog, just a lot of us are thinking along the same lines.
Re Tassie set to pump, I was referring to the points pumping. The movement of that mid-latitude low was west and out of the prime swell window, hence disagreeing with it and the points didn't pump. There was a bit of swell around but not classic point swell, as it would of been if the low was parked further east.
In any case there's swell coming, there's swell today and I've been getting my fair share up around the Noosa Points :)
Mate, I am calm. No dramas. Don's a big boy. I'm sure he can handle himself.. If he can start to get catty and call me a riddler that changes his story (at 4.45pm), I should be allowed a "right of reply" to that ...
Swellnets call at snapper this morning - "strong" 3 to 5 foot", "lots of water moving", "there is some power in the waves".
Noosa was smaller due to a very slight touch of south in it.... Coolum - 3 to 5 foot, solid...
Craig, Thanks man. Yeah I just re read that thread. The points were just not quite doing it, but a couple of spots we "sort of named" were quite outstanding. And there's no need to name them now, but one wasn't too far from swellnets "base" on south arm...
Plus that swell also had this soft fathander breaking ;) http://www.swellnet.com/photos/swellnet-sessions/shippies-sunday
That's the wrong weekend for Shippies link you posted SD, that was in February. Marti was at a break 400 kms the other way and the rest of the crew were at Pedra.
Sheepdog on the rack? (http://history.howstuffworks.com/historical-figures/spanish-inquisition3...)
While there were waves at Shippies (2nd March) there was a slight onshore SW blowing as forecasted making both Shippies and Pedra pretty evil as evidenced and a local trough (where I was) producing southerly winds did blow out the peak of the swell when I was there.
Enjoying the insights though on the forum, I find the best surfs in Queensland are after 1-2 weeks of pumping waves and everybody is surfed out. Looking forward to getting up there - watching the 25th for a pineapple mission. WInds still look suss though.
Nah Mick, SD is right, we're not talking the Pedra weekend, but a week or two before (can't remember which). Nobody surfed Shippes that Pedra weekend that I know of.
rodger that. We need to start naming swells like Weather Channel and Hercules!!
I got it! Earth will start spinning backwards, therefore elongated travel time :P
I think the Doggie has won this Rnd pretty convincingly.
No drop in size here in Northern NSW.....and I think Dog has nailed the very slight directional shift in the swell that saw the Noosa points drop.
So its still pumping?? How the banks up there Northern NSW? Go Sheepdog!
Mick free -you dug a rail last night.. ;)
Yeah, and somewhere here I said it would kick friday, but I couldn't be bothered diggin' it up. Sorta over it....... Aint "cyclone swell" yet.... Cyclone swell has a certain animalistic charm. You'll see that sunday.
Few of the sunny coast boys rallied around me last night. Got sent a photo this morning.... Photo taken yesterday at dawn by me old mate, Timmy B... "Secret" Sunshine coast reef somewhere between Noosa and Caloundra. ESE swell, solid 4foot+. While the mal riders are hangin', the locals are fangin'..
Don't be over it Sheepdog.. love your enthusiasm. Just trying to keep the house in order.
As he waves his wooden Gavel ?!!
BTW SD ,
Are you taking into account the storms circumference , and its wind speed to see how long it takes for the entire system to spin upon itself and create the stalled / retrograded " captured fetch ???? ( is this your 12 hour delay ) ??
Which is when you say that the real " cyclone " swell hits .... ?? Or the baulk of the swells consistency ... Personally down here I pretty much take 2-3 secs off the forerunners interval to work out when the peak of the swell height will arrive ... It's more a percentage than actually time drop . And will depend the length of the fetch as opposed to strength of the maximum wind / and resultant energy / wavelength .
I'm done southy.... Got my sulk on..... :p But can I ask you a question?
... is it possible because the models are a fair bit under this morning tomorrow will be undercooked, also? Or is today & tomorrow not related as far as size goes? I'm thinking of buying a new board & taking a 4 hour drive and camping o'night, is all.
This morning was all kinds of thick 4-5 footers. The two guys I was with, called it solid 5. Yesterday I'd have called it 3-5ft but today, bigger again.
I'm with sheepdog, if noosa was smaller there must have been a subtle shift in direction. I had a noon session with Trev hendy & louie egan, and they both confirmed some 5ft sets too.
Hey, Braithy... Cheers, Man.... Worked on the prawn trawlers in the early 80s. 1st mate... My job, to read the charts... A bad call, and death is a possibility, but usually just sea sickness and a clip round the ears from the skipper :).... No physics training... Just "old style willie nelson stuff". Having your life on the line really makes you look at a mslp map a bit differently... I know one thing.. I'd get a clip for not calling the norwester this sunday.....
Braithy, they're two seperate swells. I see what your saying and normally there is some merit in this if the source is the same (ie persistent trade swell) but we have to treat this incoming groundswell on its own merits.
In any case, model data and manual forecasts are two seperate things. The model data is very good - in my opinion, the most accurate computer generated forecast available - however it doesn't always pick up the subtelties from complex forecasting systems, such as we're experiencing now.
To that effect, in my original Monday notes (back on page 1), I wrote this:
"A secondary intensification of the trades over the coming days (related to TC Lusi) will then provide a renewal in slightly longer period trade swell through Thursday afternoon and into Friday. In fact I think our surf forecast model isn't picking this up very well - it's showing surf heights bottoming out through Thursday and early Friday (ahead of an increase Friday afternoon), when I think we'll actually see this occur 24 hours prior. In any case, expect a kick in size back up into a similar size range as per what we're expecting on Tuesday morning."
So, the Thurs/Fri tradeswell kick had always been anticipated in some shape, regardless of what the automated forecast data was showing.
- You mentioned 4500km and 170W. 3600km is at about 170W.
I assume your 4500km comes from about 27'S 160'W. Lattitundinally straight from SEQ to the back of the fetch. 170W must refer to centre when you first saw it on the charts. So your +12 isn't an add on which forecasts from the back of the fetch, cos you're already there with your 4500km figure.
- I'm gonna guess that you add 12hrs because the earth isn't flat, like your charts.
Hey Cheers Ben! I had a gut feeling this system y'day & today was not at all related to what's happening tomorrow.
Where I want to go tomorrow needs 6-8' E swell ... So I was kinda hoping if the swell comes in bigger, than the 5-6 forecast, my once a year pilgrimage might be on the cards! In a window where I have no work on to boot!!
As always Ben, cheers for the forecast!
Certainly a chance for 6-8ft sets Braithy, more so in Northern NSW than anywhere else though (IMO). For the most part I think most coasts will be in the 4-6ft range. Doing the forecast notes right now.. will have a more comprehensive update available shortly.
btw Southey cheers for your opinion on the MJO. Do you like AR because in comparison to what you've seen forecast, or simply because it's a "simple autoregressive model", a safe bet with so much uncertainty?
Mitchvg... You're a funny guy :) I said roughly... Hmmm, everyone wanting to audit the red tape :). No one wanting to answer my question...... I'm done, Mitchy......Doubters will doubt.... Just fix your dings next week, mate ;) ....ps - Was I meant to say 164w23s to Snapper rocks, or Coolum, or DI? What's that... 4000? 4500? Would you consider that in the roughly 170/25 zone. The whole area is within the predicted storm. She's a big one.... Wouldn't wanna be fishing in either of those co ordinates...
Yeah i know, that's why I didn't accuse you of not being able to count haha! I don't have any coherent theory, so I just took a punt. But I really am miffed by your +12. Early forecasts stick in the mind, and good forecasts are easy to forget. Anyway, I'm going to your fave spot on Sunday :D Tell me if you think I'm a Wally for planning on doing run arounds there...? I know/where I'll do it, just not sure if it'll be worth the hassel... and not even several run arounds probably. Maybe just to give the arms a rest and scope it all out.
SD, I wasn't going to comment, but I feel I have to again. Why is it whenever you're questioned about something you seem to change your story to say "Oh I actually meant this...." Above you quote you roughly meant 4500km from SE Qld to 170/25. It's nowhere near roughly mate. The actual distance from SE Qld to 170/25 (Great Circle) is of the order of 3600km.....that's "roughly" 900km less than your rough estimate.....or to put that into perspective, your "rough" estimate was 25% further.....so again for 15 sec swell period that's an additional 23hrs of travel time that you would be estimating more of (86hrs versus 109hrs). That's a BIG "ROUGH" estimate mate.
Don't get me wrong, you're obviously a very experienced weather man and as you say, learnt pre-internet days but FFS mate, if you're gonna go onto a forum and throw out wild claims and then say "roughly" or I didn't actually mean the swell would arrive exactly on 25th, more somewhere between 23-26th, then your credibility appears (well to me anyway) to become rather watered down.
Looking at the latest charts (particularly Access G and EC), you may well actually be pretty damn spot on for the 25th if those charts come to fruition, so I commend you now for having the foresight to somehow see the current charts a few days ago when those current charts looked very very different. I think Huey is on your side with this one mate!!!
And if out of all of this discussion it means SE Qld gets swell, then fecking bring it on I say!!!
Yep, ok don.... You're right. Your spot on. No doubt about it. My credibilty is in absolute tatters... 170w is not 4500 kn away. I am totally wrong. 164w is no where near it. I am a sham, a wannabee. I have no idea. You are way more skilled than me. You always will be...
Even though you never answered my question re' travel time, nor did southey, nor did mitch, I have no doubt you would have the correct answer....
Geezus SD. Get off your feckin high horse will ya. Cop some criticism on the chin and move on. Take the good with the bad FFS. I actually complimented you also in my post above but clearly you skimmed over that part!!!
SD, I'll be upfront and honest here. My whole discussion was prompted by your exact call of "a 15 second interval long distant present on the way for 25 march..... What it will lack in consistency, it will make up for in quality. 4 foot + perfection......". I was blown away by how exact this call was. Through discussion, you have now intimated that some form of E'ly groundswell will arrive between 23-26 March.
My advice to you next time you're making a call is to perhaps be more along the lines of "some form of E'ly groundswell (3-5ft) (12-15 sec) will arrive between 23-26 March" if that's what you really meant, rather than your precise words in your first comment above.
And I'll answer your question if you answer mine......"Please tell us when this TC Lusi swell will arrive and peak, given your theory of 12 hrs behind."