Plenty more south swell on the way

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

Southeast Queensland and Northern New South Wales Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 2nd June)

Best Days: Thurs: strong S'ly groundswell with genrally good winds (only small in SE Qld). Fri: fun south swell with offshore winds (only small in SE Qld). Sat/Sun: small mix of south swells with good winds for the open beaches (very small in SE Qld). Mid/late next week: possibly some good SE tending E'ly swell that may get solid later in the week.

Recap: Plenty of south swell over the last two days although it’s been a little patchy in places (and very small in SE Qld away from the swell magnets). Mainly W/SW thru’ SW winds in most places however fresh S’ly winds were reported across the North Coast this afternoon.

This week (July 3-4)

The rest of the week will continue the southerly swell theme, and conditions should be good with generally light winds. Although wave heights will slowly trend downwards, there are a couple of new sources of energy that will maintain plenty of size across exposed locations.

First up is the final front in the series from earlier this week, currently pushing through the central/eastern Tasman Sea right now. It’s not very well aligned for the East Coast but it is working on top of a pre-existing sea state and this will assist swell/period growth. This swell is due to glance the southern NSW coast later this afternoon and will push through Northern NSW on Thursday morning. We should see good 4-5ft waves at exposed south facing beaches early morning (smaller elsewhere) before an easing trend sets in mid-afternoon, and conditions will be reasonable with light SW winds that’ll tend variable in the afternoon (they should be variable all day in the south). 

However, once again the swell direction won’t favour SE Qld very well so expect very small waves across much of the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, away from the swell magnets (which may otherwise pick up occasional, and inconsistent 3ft sets).

It’s also worth pointing out that a small easterly groundswell is also modelled to make landfall across the northern region on Thursday, originating from a brief but broad and deep low pressure system that developed south of Tahiti mid-late last week (and was detailed in last Friday’s notes). Unfortunately the enormous travel distance will restrict set waves to maybe 1-2ft, and there’ll be very long breaks between ‘em.

On Friday another southerly swell - slightly smaller than Thursday’s - is expected to glance the coast, generated by a front entering the Tasman Sea today. This system is even less favourably aligned towards the East Coast and will transition to NZ longitudes pretty quickly, but we should still see occasional 3-4ft sets at south facing beaches in Northern NSW throughout the day (smaller elsewhere). Early light variable winds will probably tend NW during the day. And again, expect very small surf in SE Qld away from the south swell magnets. 

This weekend (July 5-6)

We’re mainly looking at a small mix of southerly swells for the weekend. However there’ll be a few new sources in the water. 

A small cut off low is forming well south of New Zealand right now, and has merged with the trailing fronts responsible for our current (and incoming) south swells. This low has recently formed a tight but short-lived fetch of S/SE winds that’ll provide a small but long period S/SE swell for the region. This swell will probably arrive overnight Friday and hold through Saturday with very inconsistent 2ft+ sets at south facing beaches. Expect smaller waves at remaining beaches and very small surf through SE Qld.

Another south swell will arrive late Saturday (probably too late to be of any use), and hold through much of Sunday, originating from a small but intense Southern Ocean low that’s expected to track up towards southern NZ on Friday. This low is expected to be quite strong but with a short fetch length, so I’m not getting too excited about swell prospects - maybe some 2-3ft sets at south facing beaches in Northern NSW if we’re lucky (smaller elsewhere). 

As for local winds - we’re looking at a freshening NW trend on Saturday tending W’ly then possibly SW through Sunday. So, open beaches in Northern NSW will be nice and clean but exposed south swell magnets may be wind affected if strengths get above 10-15kts. And if you're in SE Qld I'd highly recommend a road trip south of the border. Anyway, I’ll take a look at this in more detail on Friday.

Long term (July 7 onwards)

Model guidance is quite divergent on the specifics beyond the weekend. But the good news is that they’re all pointing towards some interesting developments in the southern Tasman Sea next week.

A broad low is expected to form well east of Bass Strait over the weekend, strengthening an E’ly fetch (initially outside of our swell window) that’ll probably generate some good surf for the southern half of the state early next week. This system looks like it may develop a more favourable fetch for the Mid North Coast (and possibly the North Coast) in the eastern Tasman Sea early next week (with a resulting swell mid-week) however confidence is only low on this right now. 

Of much greater interest is the suggestion that we’ll see some tropical developments south of New Caledonia early next week that could merge with a stalled trough/low off NZ’s West Coast during the middle of the week, which has potential for a solid E’ly groundswell later next week (centred around Thursday, holding for a day or two). And at the same time, yet another strong front/low combo is expected to barrel its way across Victoria and Tasmania mid-late next week, with a fresh south swell due in southern NSW later next week or the following weekend. 

Anyway, it’s all very exciting - and way more positive for SE Qld surfers for the long term than what we've seen in recent weeks - so I’ll refine the long range outlook in more detail on Friday. 


mitchvg's picture
mitchvg's picture
mitchvg Thursday, 3 Jul 2014 at 8:44am

Ayyyyyyyyeeee, Fr 76. You havin a cuppa with Levi the Ballina photog reporter? The last shot looks like it's from your joint, or your fave spot check anyway.