Easing south swell, plus bonus Qld windswell

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 5th September)

Best Days: No great days, really. Some small clean peelers on the Southern Queensland and protected Northern NSW points over the weekend, but winds are looking dicey for most spots. We've also got a new short range E/SE swell for Mon/Tues on the Gold/Sunny Coast, but again - with dicey winds.

Recap: What a week of waves. And diversity! Huge surf was reported across much of the exposed Northern NSW coast - overpowering many regions, but conversely, my fears of very little swell refracting into Southern Qld came true (if anything, my conservative estimate was still a slight overcall). Nevertheless there have been fantastic waves at a bunch of locations that enjoy these swell/wind combos but elsewhere it’s been either too big or too small.

This weekend (Sep 6-7)

The Tasman Low responsible for this fine event is weakening and moving slowly to the east. However it’s still reasonably active in the central Tasman Sea, albeit with lighter winds than what we saw a few days ago. 

Model data for this afternoon still has a 25-30kt S/SE fetch aimed up into the North Coast region, and it’ll supply plenty of swell for Saturday ahead of an easing trend into Sunday. The slight swing in the swell direction to the S/SE will start to open up options in SE Qld but wave heights are still expected to be rather small at those locations that’ll consequently benefit from the accompanying southerly winds (i.e. the semi-exposed points). 

So, expect small, clean but inconsistent peelers on Saturday in the 2ft+ range across most Gold and Sunshine Coast points and beaches, becoming smaller on Sunday. South facing beaches will be bigger but bumpy and wind affected.

In Northern NSW, local winds are going to ruin the weekend’s surf prospects. A strengthening high pressure system in the south of the state will drive a fresh S’ly tending SE airstream across the region, so only sheltered points will offer anything worthwhile. There’s a slim chance for an early sou’wester in a few spots but I’m not holding my breath. Size will be anything from 4-6ft at exposed south facing beaches on Saturday, down to 3ft+ across semi-exposed points. Expect smaller surf on Sunday, in the order of a foot or two.

Next week (Sep 8-12)

Earlier this week the models had a strong front pushing through the lower Tasman Sea later in the weekend, giving us a southerly groundswell sometime around next Tuesday.

The latest model data now has this system developing much further to the east - just outside of our swell window, and ironically as an absolutely beast of a polar low (with New Zealand’s South and East Coast expected to see an incredible, very large swell on Monday). 

So, that’s a very long winded way of saying that next week’s south swell has been downgraded to almost nothing. We’ll see a tiny south swell filter through to the south swell magnets in Northern NSW on Tuesday but there won’t be much in it at all.

Elsewhere, a strengthening ridge across the southern Coral Sea later Sunday will generate a short range SE swell for the Gold and Sunshine Coasts on Monday and possibly Tuesday - probably 2-3ft+ across the southern Goldy points, with 3-4ft+ waves at exposed parts of the Sunshine Coast. However winds are looking pretty dicey, mainly fresh E/SE at times so don’t expect a lot of quality (and there may not be enough size or strength in the swell for anything amazing at Noosa). Lighter winds are possible during Tuesday. 

Unfortunately this pattern really won’t influence anywhere south of about Ballina, so expect small residual energy across the Mid North Coast early next week.

Otherwise, there’s nothing major on the radar for the second half of the week. So get your surf fill in the next few days in case the Tasman Sea and South Pacific doesn’t cooperate in the longer term.

Longer term (Sep 13 onwards)

Part of the reason for the small spell next week is that the Long Wave Trough is expected to be transitioning below Australia during this period. Current model guidance has it slipping into the Tasman Sea late in the week or early in the weekend, which may give rise to a solid, windy south swell for Northern NSW either next weekend of early in the following week (note: these patterns rarely favour SE Qld). 

However, the models are also progging a few troughy features south of Fiji next week that may open up some opportunities within our eastern swell window, offering some potential for next weekend. It’s way to early to speculate on what kind of surf might eventuate, but for now I’ll quietly put a note in the diary to discuss this in more detail on Monday.


thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Saturday, 6 Sep 2014 at 1:14pm

Hardly epic but looks like a few fun lil' fat peelers on the Sunny Coast this arvo.

Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog Monday, 8 Sep 2014 at 6:34pm

Hmmm. Small meandering east swell later in the week, Ben.... Surprised at current ascat... Lots of south in it....