Period of small surf, next week has potential

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 14th January)

Best Days: Fri: (Northern NSW): building S'ly swell for south facing beaches. Sun: (Mid North Coast): building S'ly swell for south facing beaches. Mon onwards: lots of potential for a strong period of activity for SE Qld and Northern NSW.

Recap: Pumping trade swell for the last little while (with a strong peak through Monday as expected), winds have been a little dodgy at times (especially on the Mid North Coast) but semi-exposed points in SE Qld and Northern NSW have had the goods. 

This week (Jan 15 - 16)

*sorry about Monday’s forecast outage - I got struck down by a 24 hour gastro virus*

We’re now on the backside of what’s been a great run of trade swell for most regions.

And unfortunately, despite many lengthy analyses and considered outlooks over the last week and a half, we can now safely write off the prospects of a decent groundswell from any future cyclone activity originating in the Coral Sea in the short term.

In brief, these systems have become absorbed into an unfavourable monsoon trough, through a corridor of activity extending SE from the Northern Coral Sea down to about Tonga. Despite there being a lot of surface wind associated with each system, it’s all pointed away from Australia and therefore has no swell potential for us.

The only system of any interest is a small low NE of New Zealand but the fetch length is only short and core winds aren’t terribly strong so we’re unlikely to see much more than a couple of feet of peaky easterly swell holding through the end of this week.

Elsewhere, we’ve got some small southerly swell on the way for Friday - but it’ll only favour exposed south facing beaches in Northern NSW. This will originate from the opposite side of a trough that’s clearing to the east off the Southern NSW coast right now (and delivered some beautiful waves down here for the last few days). 

In actual fact there are two south swells on the way, but the first won’t really make much of an impact north of Seal Rocks. The second is of more interest, originating from a deepening low just off the South-east coast of Tasmania (later today) which will then track rapidly SE.

This swell should build all day Friday across the Northern NSW coast - into the Mid North Coast early morning and the Far North Coast by lunchtime - with 3ft+ sets at south facing beaches through the afternoon. Winds should be light and variable in the morning with NE sea breezes developing after lunch. 

This weekend (Jan 17 - 19)

Looks like a generally small weekend of surf ahead, especially in SE Qld - a lack of activity in the Northern Tasman Sea will be the main factor responsible for this.

A weak coastal synoptic pattern should also create mainly light winds with afternoon sea breezes but you’ll have sniff out the swell magnets for something rideable.

The Northern NSW coast (in particular, south of Coffs) should pick up a new southerly groundswell on Sunday though, originating from a strong frontal passage through the southern Tasman Sea on Saturday. I’m not confident that we’ll see a lot of size before lunchtime, so it could end up being an exclusive afternoon session at south swell magnets on the Mid North Coast with sets in the 3ft range - but I’ll fine tune the details more specifically on Friday. 

But on the whole, expect to get good usage out of your grovel board this weekend.

Next week (Jan 20 onwards)

Long range forecasts! Don’t we all love the anticipation? 

Righto, there’s a couple of things standing out in the long term projections:

1) building ridge across southern Qld coast from late Sunday onwards (extending a fair way north too, I might add)

2) a suggestion for some cyclonic developments in the Coral Sea early-mid next week

Without getting bogged down in the specifics, what this pattern will probably lead to is an extended period of - as a minimum - strong short range trade swell for SE Qld and Far Northern NSW, starting early next week. With probably a lot of local wind and stream showers too, and the chance for a large groundswell in the mix mid-late next week.

It’s still early days but there’s a lot of quality potential on the horizon. See you Friday!


Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog Wednesday, 14 Jan 2015 at 7:35pm

"Without getting bogged down" hehehehe......Good to see you aint got the shits anymore.... Nothing worse than high pressure down low..... It's great to throw a bit of spray, but hey..... Wipeout!!!! ;)

Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog Wednesday, 14 Jan 2015 at 7:36pm

"With probably a lot of local wind and stream showers too"
Ohh man...... I'm in tears....

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 14 Jan 2015 at 10:16pm


rrobb's picture
rrobb's picture
rrobb Thursday, 15 Jan 2015 at 9:59am

My father always said, "Don't mock the afflicted".

Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog Thursday, 15 Jan 2015 at 10:32am

rrob... Mate, with us blokes, there are 2 exceptions.... 1 - getting hit in the balls - eg -backyard cricket,....... And 2 - shitting through the eye of a needle...... Both are horrid to experience, but for some reason when it happens to someone else, we roll around laughing... Hard to work out, but that's the way it is...

alsurf's picture
alsurf's picture
alsurf Thursday, 15 Jan 2015 at 11:48am

Thermalben any chance of any East swell for Northern nsw as mentioned in Craig's small summary or has that dissipated now.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Thursday, 15 Jan 2015 at 7:38pm

Jeez Doggie all that cyclonic action you predicted came to absolute naught.

Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog Friday, 16 Jan 2015 at 12:56pm

Yeah free ride.... I didn't predict it's movement, swell wise... I just pointed out the 2 potential spawning areas, both of which were pretty close..... IMO, Predicting the "birthplace of a low" is a bit easier than predicting it's future movements, as we saw with gfs and accesg all week....... But anyway, I don't think the east coast NZ boys are complaining .... Nice little merger of the "solomons low" and a low above kiwi land...

Next spawning area will be when some junk below the gulf over inland Qld moves off the coast late in the weekend.... Next week looks interesting...