It’s Thursday morning or nuthin’

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 10th September)

Best Days: No great days, really. Thursday morning for a brief window of small clean leftover NE windswell and SW winds, but it'll be fading fast. Otherwise marginal surf for the rest of the period.

Recap: Small peaky waves in the Far North and SE Qld on Tuesday with early light winds (not much elsewhere though), and the afternoon northerlies wrecked conditions. Conditions were a write-off across much of SE Qld today (tiny and northerly) but these winds whipped up a peaky NE windswell that’s cleaned up quickly across the Mid North Coast with the arrival of a fresh westerly change. At the time these notes were being prepared, the changed had just pushed north of Yamba and reached Evans Head, but Byron Bay was still seeing gusty northerlies. Looks like it was a fun arvo at NE swell magnets. from Coffs southwards.

This week (Sep 11-12)

Early bird catches the worm. You’ll have to be quick Thursday morning to catch the dying leftovers of today’s NE windswell across the coast. The fetch responsible for today’s activity is already realigning itself away from our swell window, and weakening at the same time, so surf size will throttle back very quickly (both in size, and power). 

Winds should be south-west early (possibly W’ly on the Sunshine Coast at dawn) but they’ll tend southerly around mid-morning, which also points to an early paddle. So get in early for the best conditions and most size. Exposed NE facing beaches may see a few stray 2ft sets first off, but it’s likely to have halved in size by late morning and will probably be under a foot by the afternoon.

Friday looks pretty uninspiring right across the region. Most beaches will probably see tiny residual swells of a foot or less, and a moderate SE change is expected to envelop the coast as a ridge develops across the Coral Sea. 

A weak southerly change will track across the southern NSW coast overnight Thursday and approach the lower Mid North Coast early Friday morning - but it looks like it’ll stall near Seal Rocks. A small accompanying south swell may make its presence felt during the middle of the afternoon - but only at south facing beaches, and probably reaching no further north than Port Macquarie or (at a pinch) Coffs Harbour. In any case winds will be terrible for those locations lucky to be pulling in random 2ft sets, so don’t get your hopes up.

So the short story: it’s Thursday morning or nuthin’.

This weekend (Sep 13-14)

It’s really not a great weekend to get excited about surfing. We’ve got a couple of minor sources of low quality swell but exposed spots will be lucky to pull in much more than a couple of feet of peaky, average surf.

Saturday in particular will also be somewhat wind affected as the ridge across the Coral Sea maintains a robust south-east flow across the region. There'll be a small south swell on offer at swell magnets in Northern NSW, but winds really aren't looking too friendly for these beaches. 

Sunday morning looks to be the pick with a brief period of light winds at dawn, so this will be worth hitting up an exposed beach for a few peaky waves but in general it’s going to be very small at most locations; the biggest waves will be at exposed spots in Far Northern NSW and SE Qld. 

Longer term (Sep 15 onwards)

Unfortunately Monday’s progs for next week’s significant low in the south-western Tasman have been significantly downgraded. 

That being said, I think our automated surf forecast model is majorly undercalling things right now - the low/front combo is still expected to maintain some strength through the lower Tasman Sea on Sunday and Monday, and we should see a building south swell through Tuesday (easing Wednesday), with south facing beaches in Northern NSW likely to see some sets in the 3ft+ range. 

Unfortunastely, SE Qld doesn’t benefit from these swells so small conditions will persist during this time frame. 

Other than that, there are no significant swell sources on the cards for the longer term period. Let’s hope Friday’s update has more positive news.


thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 at 12:45pm

Interesting to compare the Byron spectral data against surfcam observations. Sure, it's very small and weak but the buoy is picking up zero energy from the north-east, whilst our surfcam at the Pass shows occasional 1.5ft sets (with around twenty in the water).

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 at 12:51pm

there's definitely a weak leftover NE windswell in the water

wellymon's picture
wellymon's picture
wellymon Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 at 1:04pm

Not a 3/10 on the Gold Coast report;)
0/10 in my eyes.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 at 2:15pm

GC report was a 2/10 Welly. We don't have a zero.. one is the bottom of the scale. 

wellymon's picture
wellymon's picture
wellymon Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 at 5:28pm

Fair call Ben.
Was just having a FR76 tease, if you know what I mean :0

kaiser's picture
kaiser's picture
kaiser Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 at 5:38pm

I see a lot of SUPs in the water in your screenshot Ben, but not a lot of paddlers. Hopefully recent events don't convert even more people into janitors. That could be the worst outcome of all...