Wide range of waves and conditions on the way

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 1st September)

Best Days: Tues: fun clean beachies in Northern NSW (too small for SE Qld). Late Wed/Thurs: Small clean waves across the semi-exposed points in SE Qld. Very large sweepy surf at semi-exposed points in Northern NSW if you're very fit and confident. Fri: rapidly improving surf, best suited to semi-exposed points in Northern NSW. 

Recap: Strong S/SE swell occupied the coast on Saturday, with fresh W’ly winds early swinging gusty S/SW during the day. Surf size was however only small in SE Qld due to the swell direction. An easing trend then set in on Sunday with early W/SW winds tending fresh S’ly. A minor reinforcing E/SE swell has provided excellent waves across the open beaches across Northern NSW today, with offshore winds keeping conditions clean in the morning ahead of a fresh afternoon sea breeze.

This week (Sep 2-5)

The forecast is very dynamic this week, with a wide range of size and quality on the way. A strong frontal system is expected to cross the southern NSW coast on Tuesday, bringing S/SW gales to the southern half of the state by the afternoon. We’re not likely to see it reach the Mid North Coast until very late in the day, so most of Tuesday will see freshening NW winds and a small, residual SE swell at open beaches (really only favouring Northern NSW). Very small surf will prevail in SE Qld, only suitable for south swell magnets. 

On Tuesday afternoon, a small low pressure centre is expected form along the frontal boundary, offshore from about Sydney. This will rapidly strengthen SW winds about the Northern NSW coast on Wednesday, probably reaching gale force strength (or more), with wind speeds of 45-50kts expected around the core fetch of the low pressure system. 

Now, this system looks very impressive on the synoptic charts however the bulk fetch will be aimed parallel to the NSW coast - aimed towards the Solomon Islands, and then New Caledonia and Fiji - and this will create an acute south swell for Northern NSW with a wide range in wave heights between protected locations and exposed spots.

In fact, this could very well end up being one of the biggest swells we’ve seen in these water this year, not that anyone will be able to make use of the size due to the accompanying southerly gales. You’ll have to hunt down a super protected location in order to make the most of what could easily be 10-12ft+ surf at a handful of exposed south facing spots in Northern NSW (and more so, the Mid North Coast) by late Wednesday afternoon and/or early Thursday morning.

Semi-exposed points may be able to handle the swell and the wind, but the associated sweep is likely to be of freight-train proportions, so keep this in mind if you’re considering rocking off.

Conversely, the swell direction will shave off a significant portion of size north of the border. Semi-exposed points across the Gold Coast will see much smaller surf - model data is calling 4ft on Thursday but I’m always skeptical of south swells in SE Qld, not matter how strong the core winds are within the source.

As such I’m inclined to shave this down to about 3ft, and be pleasantly surprised if it exceeds expectations. Wednesday afternoon will see a late initial pulse of this new swell but I don’t think we’ll see much action until early-mid afternoon at the earliest, and even late in the day wave heights will probably fall short of Thursday’s peak. At least conditions will be good on the points with gusty W/SW tending SW on Wednesday, then S/SW on Thursday.

So in short for SE Qld surfers - expect a slowly building south swell on Wednesday, initially best suited to the open beaches before lunch (due to the size, and W/SW winds), with the possibly of some small late peelers on the semi-exposed points. Thursday should have the best waves of the week with a directional south swell and a fresh S/SW tending S’ly breeze offering clean runners at semi-exposed points in the 3ft range (don’t expect anything at all at very sheltered points like Noosa).

As for Friday - we’ll be on the backside of this swell event, so expect rapidly easing wave heights and moderate SW winds tending S'ly in the afternoon. It’ll probably be too big for exposed beaches in Northern NSW but the semi-exposed points should have great waves to finish the working week. Surf size will be smaller in SE Qld by this time compared to Thursday, so keep your expectations low.

This weekend (Sep 6-7)

Nothing of major interest on target for the weekend at this stage. Wave heights are expected to ease back however model data has a weak ridge of high pressure in southern NSW directing SE winds across the Northern Tasman Sea, which could marginalise surface conditions across most open stretches. Let's take a closer look at this on Wednesday.

Longer term (Sep 8 onwards)

A strong front is expected to push up towards the southern Tasman Sea on Sunday, and should generate a quality south swell for southern NSW early next week (probably arriving in Northern NSW on Tuesday). It’s still a long time away but early indications are for some great waves through the first half of next week. More on this in Wednesday’s update. 


freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Tuesday, 2 Sep 2014 at 6:35am

quality on Fri will depend upon how much of the already depleted sand gets washed out on Wed/Thurs.........if size, sweep and direction are even half of what is forecast I'd say there won't be much except bare rock left at the Points here.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 5:02pm

Strong lines starting to show at The Pass, despite the unfavourable southerly swell direction. Should be mackin' at exposed south swell magnets

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 5:09pm

D'Bah starting to show nicely too!

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 5:33pm

Looking sweet,shame about the crowd,around coffs its probably 6-8 ft maybe tad bigger at times.

Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 5:49pm

I'd also keep a watchful eye from next monday On that high moving near NZ, and the associated tropical muck over New cal..... Too early to call anything, but potential smallish east swell......

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 6:15pm

Yeah mentioned that in today's notes SD. 

wellymon's picture
wellymon's picture
wellymon Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 5:55pm

Yeah Sheepio seen that one,
It might be another one of DonW's best-loved favourites,
Fucking North Island :)

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 6:00pm

Hey, if NZ wasn't there, the whole last two weeks of swell wouldn't have been anywhere near as long lasting. That low was stalled in the Tasman Sea for a good week, nicely cradled by NZ.

wellymon's picture
wellymon's picture
wellymon Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 6:44pm

I know Craig just having a dig with Donny hehe.

Sorry I didn't get time to email you those swell parameters from the NW Cape, will next time ;)