It's not a good week ahead

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 26th September)

Best Days: No great days. Saturday morning in Nothern NSW (if we're lucky to see an early sou'wester). Next Friday may see a small long range E'ly swell in the Far North and SE Qld. 

Recap: Small peaky NE windswell on Thursday, with a building short range S’ly swell today. Nothing of major value around. Very small surf in SE Qld too.

This weekend (Sep 27-28)

Not much to get excited about this weekend. We’re looking at an easing south swell across Northern NSW on Saturday, with very little size expected to make its way north of Byron and into SE Qld. 

Additionally, fresh southerly winds will accompany Saturday’s waves, so (apart from a possible brief window of SW winds at dawn) conditions will be bumpy at those beaches picking up the bulk of the south swell. Which is only expected to be in the 3ft range anyway.

Winds will be lighter in the Far North and across SE Qld however only exposed south swell magnets will be picking up anything remotely rideable.

Sunday will then see a smaller version of Saturday with better winds in the south as a high pressure ridge moves across the region. A small long period south swell is expected to glance the coast (generated by a front slipping south of the lower Tasman Sea today), but it won’t offer much more than a foot or two of inconsistent surf at south facing beaches in Northern NSW.

SE Qld may see a small short range SE swell build into Sunday afternoon courtesy of a strengthening ridge across the coast but it’s not expected to have much size, strength or quality, especially with accompanying SE winds. So, keep your expectations low all weekend.

Long term (Sep 29 onwards)

Next week has really fizzed across the East Coast, surf outlook wise. 

In Wednesday’s notes, I detailed the possibility for a developing Tasman low (today) to form a short lived but worthwhile fetch off the west coast of New Zealand over the weekend. Unfortunately, the latest model guidance has completely scuttled these plans and consequently the small anticipated SE swell is pretty much off the cards for Tuesday. We’ll see small residual swell at exposed beaches with light morning winds freshening from the NE during the day. 

Wednesday has a gusty S’ly change on the cards for the southern NSW coast but current model guidance only has a a small percentage of this system tracking across the North Coast. A late increase in windswell is possible at south facing beaches in Northern NSW, but as per usual the accompanying southerly winds will wreck surf prospects anyway. 

In similarity to the models wiping away Tuesday’s small SE swell, they’ve also thrown a spanner in the works for Thursday’s projected E'ly swell (also originating from the merged remnants of the developing Tasman low) that was mentioned in Wednesday's notes. This weather system is still expected to form, but it’s now much more likely that it’ll show strongest as it slips southward into the swell shadow of New Zealand’s North Island. 

For what its worth, the low still looks pretty good on the synoptic charts, and I think we’ll still see an OK long range east swell at exposed beaches - but now a day later (Friday), and probably only benefiting locations north of Yamba. Set waves could still reach 3ft from this source but I think it’ll be extremely inconsistent at times, and there’s a chance that we may have a more meaningful swell of closer origin in the water anyway.

Surf size is likely to taper off south of about Yamba so if you’ve got any inclination to capitalise on a surf later next week, your best options will be in SE Qld and Far Northern NSW. Let’s see how the models are playing this system out on Monday.

Elsewhere, and a strong frontal progression is expected through the Tasman Sea from Thursday onwards, which suggests a sustained period of southerly groundswell from Friday through into most of the weekend (for Northern NSW obviously.. these swells rarely benefit SE Qld). I’ll detail that more comprehensively on Monday.


peter kelaher's picture
peter kelaher's picture
peter kelaher Monday, 29 Sep 2014 at 5:33pm

Hi when will update be ben

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Monday, 29 Sep 2014 at 5:40pm

'Bout 45 mins Peter.

peter kelaher's picture
peter kelaher's picture
peter kelaher Monday, 29 Sep 2014 at 6:06pm

Thx funny swells going on at present cloud break will get about 15 ft plus swell