Small sources of swell for some time
Southeast Queensland and Northern New South Wales Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 23rd June)
Best Days: Thurs/Fri: small peaky waves at open beaches in Northern NSW early (don't expect much in SE Qld). Sun: small E'ly swell for the Sunny Coast, maybe the Gold Coast.
Recap: Steady SE and S’ly swell across the North Coast Tuesday, with generally OK conditions. Smaller in SE Qld. A new S/SE swell built across the North Coast this morning (only small in SE Qld) with similar conditions.
This week (July 24-25)
Today’s S/SE swell should hold through into Thursday morning but is expected to trend downwards during the day. Set waves should push the 2-3ft range at open south facing beaches in Northern NSW, but as per the last few days it’ll be smaller north of the border in SE Qld, with only tiny surf on offer away from the regional swell magnets.
Conditions should be good early with light variable winds; they’ll tend northerly throughout the day pushing the best waves to northern corners in the afternoon.
Friday doesn’t look much chop at this stage. We’ll have a freshening N’ly breeze that’ll limit conditions away from protected northern corners, and a small combo of swells will produce just-rideable waves for keen surfers. NE facing beaches in Northern NSW may see a small local north-east windswell (of very low quality) and there’ll also be a small underlying S’ly groundswell in the mix.
Unfortunately ASCAT data didn’t show much spatial coverage of the polar low responsible for this incoming south swell (well south of Tasmania Tuesday) however winds were recorded in the 40kt range. As such I’m lowering my expectations to a couple of stray 1-2ft+ sets at the regional swell magnets, with very long breaks between 'em. Keep your expectations low.
This weekend (July 26-27)
Nothing great is expected this weekend surf-wise.
Let’s start with SE Qld: aside from the fact that it won’t pick up these southerly swells very well, the only new source of energy is a minor increase in E’ly swell on Sunday, generated by a brief dip in the trades across the southern Coral Sea on Friday and Saturday. The Sunshine Coast will pick up the most size from this source (say, an occasional 2ft set) but it’ll be a little smaller on the Gold Coast, and even smaller thereafter with increasing southerly latitude.
Elsewhere, the Northern NSW Coast will pick up small residual southerly swell all weekend but nothing to write home about. Winds will initially freshen from the north early Saturday before tending westerly then variable into the afternoon as a trough crosses the coast and into the Tasman Sea (note: N’ly winds may persist all day Saturday in SE Qld, with a resulting small local windswell but obviously poor local conditions).
Fresh SW winds are expected to develop in the wake of the trough into Sunday as it tracks further east, and this may kick up a small S’ly swell for exposed south facing beaches by the afternoon - but at this stage the models are quite divergent, and the primary swell source (if one eventuates) will probably be offshore from the South Coast - meaning we may not see an appreciable increase until Monday. Either way it'll hardly be worth a road trip. Let’s take a closer look in Friday’s notes.
Longer term (July 28 onwards)
No major changes for the long term forecast. An amplifying node of the Long Wave Trough SW of West Oz will slowly move below the continent over the coming week (generating a lengthy round of large windy waves for the southern states), but its position will essentially steer all major swell generating activity away from the East Coast’s southern swell window.
This suggests an extended period of small conditions for the region, interspersed by short lived events from flukey parts of our swell window.
Current thinking is that a vigorous frontal passage across Bass Strait mid-next week will spawn a short range south swell around Thursday or Friday, with followup south swells of a similar nature the following weekend - but it’s still very early days. I’ll take a closer look on Friday.