More incoming strong swell

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 25th August)

Best Days: Tues/Wed AM: solid E'ly tending E/SE swell becoming large thru' Wed, best suited to the protected points. Thurs/Fri: Solid E/SE tending SE swell, but windy from the S/SE - best suited to the points. Sat/Sun: pulsey SE swell, likely to be best suited to the points again.

Recap: Building E’ly swell all weekend with pumping waves across the points of Southern Queensland and Far Northern NSW, holding strong into today with another kick in energy. 

This week (Aug 26-29)

Can’t see too many people complaining about the current off-season weather pattern occupying the waters of the southern Coral Sea. The good news is that we’ve got a lot more swell on the way over the coming days.

In short, the trough that developed over the weekend and is producing the current swell is now less likely to develop into an full blown East Coast Low - model guidance is suggesting we'll probably see the formation of a closed low of some description in the Northern Tasman but it’ll be much broader in scope, and positioned further east than that which is required of a true ECL.

However, the week will be split in half conditions-wise. Tuesday and early Wednesday are likely to see a moderate SE synoptic flow in most areas (with periods of SW winds early morning, persisting into the early afternoon across SE Qld) ahead of a strengthening S/SE flow into Wednesday afternoon, Thursday and Friday as the trough slips into the southern Tasman Sea and a new ridge of high pressure builds across the NSW coast.

So apart from southern Queensland, you’ll have to make the most of the next day and a morning south of the border before options become somewhat limited.

Right now the pressure gradient is strengthening between the trough (in the lower Coral Sea) and a high pressure system in the southern Tasman Sea, and is expected to reach maturity overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday. Wave heights are expected to throttle back a touch into Tuesday morning ahead of a strong increase late afternoon that’s due to peak on Wednesday and Thursday (depending on latitude). 

Most open beaches in southern Queensland are likely to push 6-8ft on Wednesday - probably overpowering many locations, other than the most protected points - but an easing trend is expected from Thursday onwards as the swell direction swings more SE in conjunction with the southward tracking trough.

In Northern NSW, we’ll see a more prolonged peak and it’ll be a little bigger too, probably upwards of 8-10ft at exposed locations through Wednesday and Thursday (smaller on the points, obviously), with the swell direction also swinging from the east to the south-east. However strengthening winds will limit options from Wednesday lunchtime onwards.

I’ll also add in a caveat here that there is some disagreement between the models as to when we’ll see the peak of the swell (due to a differing opinion the proximity of the fetch to the mainland) however all days are expected to be quite sizeable - and it’s more than likely that your personal preferences probably won’t change much from day to day anyway no matter where the peak is (you’re either gonna surf through the peak of the swell, or you’re not - wind or no wind, protected location or otherwise).

One of the most interesting features of this weather system is its (forecast) longevity. As the swell direction swings SE on Friday wave heights will taper off, more so in SE Qld than anywhere else (and especially on the points, where it’ll probably be down to 3ft+). But with gusty S/SE winds on hand they’ll probably be the best place to consider surfing (exposed North Coast beaches should still be in the 5-6ft range to finish the working week). 

This weekend (Aug 30-31)

Lotsa swell expected for the weekend. Again, as mentioned earlier there is some disagreement between the models but there is a loose consensus for a secondary fetch within the southern extend of the trough on Friday (by this time positioned in the southern Tasman Sea) to push westward back towards the southern NSW coast.

Such a scenario would result in a temporary downwards trend Saturday ahead of a fresh pulse of SE swell either Saturday afternoon or Sunday. Even though this scenario isn’t great for SE Qld, there should still be plenty of fun small pearlers across the points both days, as a minimum. It’s still quite some time away so let’s review the model data in more detail on Wednesday.

Longer term (Sep 1 onwards)

The Tasman Sea is expected to finish with this system sometime over the weekend which suggests a steady downwards trend early next week. At this stage there’s nothing else on the long term forecast charts but in the meantime we’ve got a lot of swell to digest locally, so I’ll update these notes on Wednesday to see where we’re at.


Hirsty's picture
Hirsty's picture
Hirsty Monday, 25 Aug 2014 at 6:22pm

YEEEEEEEEEEEES MAAAAAAAAAAATE! Bout time the only place that isn't excluded from getting swell is Southern Queensland.
Thankyou Huey

JackStance's picture
JackStance's picture
JackStance Monday, 25 Aug 2014 at 6:29pm

Hi Ben, appreciating that it's a while off, what do you think the winds will be like around forster/tuncurry on the weekend? Many thanks in advance.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Monday, 25 Aug 2014 at 6:43pm

unbelievable event, great reading forecast.

Bob's 2 Bob's's picture
Bob's 2 Bob's's picture
Bob's 2 Bob's Tuesday, 26 Aug 2014 at 12:59am

What I'd give for an RDO hey?

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Tuesday, 26 Aug 2014 at 8:24am

Don;t worry about it mate, it's only a 4/10 according to the report.

Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog Wednesday, 27 Aug 2014 at 9:21am

Freeride - All hail the snail trail ;)
BTW, the other day I was referring to a "coldwater classic spot".....

Mick free - a certain region got over 100mm of rain in 48 hours 9 days ago..... Good for flushing out....... maybe good for banks, aye ;)