Make the most of Tuesday morning

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 22nd September)

Best DaysTues AM: get in early before it all disappears! Thurs AM: maybe a small peaky NE windswell across the Mid North Coast.

Recap: Strong south swell all weekend, mainly in the 3-5ft range at south facing beaches in Northern NSW, smaller on the Tweed Coast and very small indeed across the Gold and Sunshine Coasts. Winds were pretty average in many regions too - lots of southerlies and south-easterlies (even easterly today in Byron!), with a few isolated areas of brief early morning offshores. Still, a few fun small waves at protected spots. The SE Queensland region also picked up a small short range SE swell today, but only of low quality.

This week (Sep 23-26)

The current S/SE swell is expected to trend downwards steadily from Tuesday onwards, so make the most of what’s on offer now. 

Early Tuesday morning should offer a period of light variable winds across the Mid North Coast, however the ridge across the southern Coral Sea will maintain a general SE flow across the Far North Coast and into SE Queensland. Brief, isolated areas of early morning SW winds are possible in a few areas (i.e. southern Gold Coast) but in general there’ll still be some lumpiness on the surface even if this eventuates. 

We’ll also see a small signal of short range SE swell in the water on Tuesday, but this will be mainly confined to the SE Qld region. Unfortunately, the Coral Sea ridge really doesn’t have much strength south of Fraser Island (i.e. inside our swell window) so most of the swell energy being generated is aimed towards locations north of there.  

Wave heights should hold 3-4ft at south facing beaches in Northern NSW early Tuesday (ahead of the easing trend), with peaky 2ft+ surf at open beaches north of Byron and into SE Queensland; a touch smaller on the semi-exposed points. Diminishing surf is expected though the afternoon.

Wednesday will see small residual swells at open beaches and early light winds tending NE as a high sets up camp in the Tasman Sea and a trough approaches from the west. Exposed beaches - mainly in Northern NSW - should have a few early options if you're keen.

These freshening winds will whip up a small NE windswell for Thursday morning that could be OK across the Mid North Coast in conjunction with a light NW wind change (as a southerly change approaches southern NSW, due in the early hours of Friday morning). Don’t expect anything amazing but NE swell magnets south of Coffs Harbour may pull in a few average 2ft to nearly 3ft waves if we’re super lucky. 

However for surfers in other regions, wave heights will be smaller north from Coffs to the border (and tiny in SE Qld), of which local winds may linger from the north in these regions a little longer than would otherwise be useful. So keep your expectations very low.

It's also worth pointing out a small long period south swell that's due later Wednesday and into Thursday, generated by an intense polar low that tracked below the continent yesterday (displaying core wind speeds of 50kts). The low's poor alignment within our swell window and the enormous travel distance will limit size from this source, however exposed south facing beaches may pick up a very occasional 1-2ft wave from time to time.

Friday’s early southerly change will probably whip up a useless, low quality windswell for the afternoon session in Northern NSW (and nothing in SE Queensland) but current model data doesn’t look very inspiring, especially with the accompanying southerly winds. 

So the short version: make the most of Tuesday morning. Maybe also early Wednesday at a pinch if you've got a reliable swell magnet up your sleeve.

This weekend (Sep 27-28)

No major swells on the radar for the weekend. A small front slipping into the southern Tasman Sea on Friday will generate some small sideband southerly energy for south facing beaches on Sunday, but we’ll be lucky to see much more than a couple of inconsistent feet. Conditions should be generally clean across the Mid North Coast with light winds and sea breezes, however a ridge across the Coral Sea will create moderate to fresh SE winds and consequently bumpy conditions at exposed beaches from Yamba to the Tweed Coast and then north into SE Queensland.

This ridge is also likely to generate a small, low quality short range SE swell for SE Queensland and possibly the Far North NSW Coast over the weekend, but nothing special is likely at all -  the only places offering protection from the wind will be very small, and crowded. Could be a good weekend to do something away from the ocean.

As a side note, I’ll be keeping an eye on the computer models through the rest of the week, as the European and US solutions are tipping a small low to form in the central Tasman Sea early in the weekend which (if the models move around) could end up producing a better outlook for the SE Qld region (mainly with a size increase - the outlook for Northern NSW would probably remain average under this scenario due to the accompanying winds). 

Right now chances are pretty slim as the models whisk the low away to the east, but in the absence of any notable surf, it’s worth reassessing this in more detail on Wednesday. 

Long term (Sep 29 onwards)

Nothing of any major interest on the long term charts at this stage. Hopefully Wednesday will have some better news!


Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog Tuesday, 23 Sep 2014 at 9:51am

Something also to keep note of is the current instability thanks to interaction of tropical disturbance and weak trough that has moved offshore qld...... In feed of warm moist air east of New Cal...... Possible new interaction next week with Ben's "tasman low" and trough behind New Cal...... Things should become clearer late Sunday..... At this stage, predicted fetch favours Tas' and south NSW, but things can rapidly change......

peter kelaher's picture
peter kelaher's picture
peter kelaher Wednesday, 24 Sep 2014 at 2:33pm

hi sheepdog going to snapper on goldie this sat for a week will i get any swell while i am there and what days and how big cheers mate

Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog Wednesday, 24 Sep 2014 at 8:09am

That tropical activity is looking more promising now.......

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Wednesday, 24 Sep 2014 at 8:14am


peter kelaher's picture
peter kelaher's picture
peter kelaher Wednesday, 24 Sep 2014 at 2:32pm

going to snapper rocks goldie this sat for a week am i going to get any swell and when on those days cheers guys

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Wednesday, 24 Sep 2014 at 2:43pm

Looks pretty small for the most part Peter. You'll see a small average south swell over the weekend, then possibly some small SE swell through the first half of next week but unlikely to be much action on the points (at this stage). The system SD mentioned above has potential for a long range east swell towards the end of the week but it's a long way out and things are likely to change over the coming days. I'll have more detail in this afternoon's updated notes.

peter kelaher's picture
peter kelaher's picture
peter kelaher Wednesday, 24 Sep 2014 at 3:10pm

cheers mate

Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog Wednesday, 24 Sep 2014 at 8:36pm

Peter, Ben has pretty well nailed it here -

To get bens updates, just click on "surf report and forecasts" at the top of the page, then click on your desired region, and go to "forecast notes".....

Ben and Craig have the whole country wired, man..... You can't go wrong.... Good luck....