Small Sunday beachies for SE Qld

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

Southeast Queensland and Northern New South Wales Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 25th June)

Best Days: Sun: small fun beachies in SE Qld. 

Recap: Small S'ly swell Thurs, easing today with mainly light winds, freshening from the north this afternoon.

This weekend (July 26-27)

No major changes for the weekend forecast. Saturday looks pretty quiet on both coasts, with generally small sources of swell at exposed beaches (minor NE windswell, and distant S'ly energy) with freshening N’ly winds tending NW, ahead of an overnight SW change as a trough crosses the coast into the Tasman Sea. 

Late Saturday, SE Qld will start to see a small increase in short range E’ly swell, generated by a brief dip in the trades across the southern Coral Sea over the previous twenty four hours. This should provide some small peaky waves on Sunday - possibly the odd 2ft+ set across the Sunshine Coast, but with smaller waves on the Gold Coast (1-2ft) and not very much else south of about Byron Bay. 

On the other hand, the Northern NSW coast will pick up a small building S’ly swell throughout Sunday, generated by a modest but broad S/SW fetch developing off the coast overnight Saturday in response to the passing trough. This may whip up some low quality surf at south facing beaches during the day, but I wouldn’t expect much more than a bumpy 2ft+ at exposed spots. Winds will be up from the S/SW at this time too, and there won’t be much size elsewhere.

So all in all, a rather forgettable weekend apart from the Sunny Coast and possibly the Gold Coast which looks fun for a quick Sunday splash on the beachies. Keep your expectations low.

Next week (July 28 - Aug 1)

We’re in the midst of an extended, broadscale spell of small waves, thanks to the presence of an amplifying long wave trough west of the country. This is expected to track slowly eastwards next week, and with our south and east swell windows remaining generally devoid of activity, we’re likely to see very small conditions through the first half of next week.

However it’s worth pointing out that the storm track below the continent during this time is expected to be quite significant, in fact we’re currently looking one of the biggest swells of the year for the SA/Vic/Tas coasts (next Wed/Thurs/Fri). Unfortunately the storm track is too north in latitude and will largely be positioned unfavourably for any significant East Coast action. There’s a chance that the sheer strength of these storms could override the directional problems, in fact we’d only need a minor adjustment in the alignment of the storm track to drastically change the surf forecast for next week. But right now the odds are stacked against us.

Still, that doesn’t rule out the prospects of small, but very long period (20sec) energy rounding the Tasmanian corner into south facing beaches along the Northern NSW coast later Thurs and Fri - so swell magnets are certainly on track for a some small, straight lines of groundswell during the latter part of the week - I’m just not confident on the likely size range. I’ll take a closer look at the specifics on Monday.

In any case it seems that the Long Wave Trough will finally pass into our swell window around Friday, so we’re likely to see a more prominent increase in short range energy to finish the working week (although the weekend is a safer bet for this new south swell).

Longer term (Aug 2 onwards)

As mentioned above, the Long Wave Trough is expected to finally push into a favourable part of our swell window later next week, so the following weekend is on target for a solid round of south swell from several sources (including an associated, broad polar fetch developing during the middle of the week).

Also, I’ll be watching some possible tropical developments in and around the Fijian region mid-late next week which could whip up a small to moderate E’ly groundswell for the first half of the following week. Let’s take another pass at the data on Monday.