thermalben

Nought for SE Qld; funky south swells for Northern NSW

South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 13th July)

Best DaysTues/Wed/Thurs, maybe Fri: fun pulsey south swell in Northern NSW with good winds (nothing in SE Qld away from south swell magnets). Sat/Sun: small surf at the semi-exposed points in SE Qld. Sun/Mon: great waves at exposed beaches south of Yamba under light winds and a building S'ly groundswell.

Recap: Tiny leftover swell early Saturday morning, becoming flat Sunday and Monday. 

This week (July 14 - 17)

Let’s preface these forecast notes by stating up front that the entire working week still looks tiny for SE Qld. If you don’t have access to a reliable south swell magnet, you’re unlikely to get wet all week.

So, looking at the synoptics, and a low pressure system developed off the South Coast of NSW this morning, of which winds have been very strong (up to 61kts at Gabo Island). 

However, this low has, and will continue to display a strong SW component in the wind field within Northern NSW’s (acute) south swell window, thanks to a broad upper low and an approaching secondary surface low to the SW of Tasmania. This will cap wave heights at the coast compared to a straight southerly or south-easterly fetch.

South facing beaches in Southern NSW saw an increase late today and it’ll fill in across Northern NSW overnight and into Tuesday morning (note: there may be a lag on this new swell in the Far North). But, due to the complex fetch structure around this multi-centered low pressure system, it’s hard to pin down the exact swell phases over the next few days. Additionally, there’ll be a significant range in wave heights across the coast, compared to most south swells, so many beaches will miss out on waves. 

I’ve also gotta say that I’m not confident on how much size we’ll see. Core wind speeds are very strong within the fetch but the poor alignment really reduces my confidence for this event. 

Anyway, the swell energy expected into Tuesday will have been generated by SW gales extending NE from eastern Bass Strait. But another front approaching Tasmania today will provide a secondary source as it pushes east of Tasmania tonight. So, after an initial peak Tuesday morning we’ll probably see a downwards trend throughout the day ahead of the secondary pulse arriving on Wednesday. This secondary pulse won’t provide any more size but should arrest the otherwise easing trend.

How big? South facing beaches in Northern NSW should see anywhere between 3ft and occasionally (at super reliable south swell magnets) 5ft sets on Tuesday morning, with much smaller surf at most open beaches (2ft+) and tiny conditions inside sheltered southern corners. Conditions should be clean with moderate W’ly winds, and surf size will trend down into the afternoon. And just a reminder: the Far North may not see much energy first thing.

Wednesday’s secondary pulse should keep exposed south swell magnets humming with inconsistent 3-4ft sets, again much smaller at beaches not open to the south. And conditions will remain clean with W’ly winds.

As for the rest of the week, we have another swell due Thursday from another low pressure centre that’s expected to develop SW of New Zealand’s South Island on Tuesday, forming another southerly fetch aimed into our swell window. It’s expected to reach the Mid North Coast in the morning and the Far North Coast in the afternoon (so, expect smaller surf ahead of it). Most open south facing beaches should see occasional 3ft+ sets as it fills in, and again conditions are looking great with W’ly winds. However our surf model isn’t picking this system up very well just yet so we’ll have to wait and see how it performs over the coming days. 

Also on Thursday, a low pressure system is expected to form off the Southern NSW Coast. In fact, this next system looks like a possible contender for an East Coast Low - but right now it’s too early to pin down any specifics (we may only see a swell increase on Friday across the Southern NSW coast). The most likely scenario for Friday is easing S/SE swell from Thursday and freshening W’ly tending SW winds. I’ll take a closer look at this in Wednesday’s notes.

This weekend (July 18 - 19)

Right now, the broader surf trend for the weekend hinges somewhat on the developing low off the coast on Friday. 

Whilst the models are in general agreement that this synoptic event will occur, we’re still not sure how much size it’ll generate Friday, and therefore how much size will be leftover Saturday as it departs our region.

But there is some good news for SE Qld surfers, as this low should kick up a small S/SE swell for the region with possibly a few reasonable waves at semi-exposed points. Conditions will be quite gusty though with fresh winds from the southern quadrant.

Also, just to throw in a curveball - we’re also looking at a steady building trend in new long range southerly groundswell over the weekend too (only for south facing beaches in Northern NSW), culminating in a peak around Monday. A series of intense polar lows (three of ‘em) are expected to push off the ice shelf into our far southern swell window from Thursday through Sunday; the first new swell will only be small but should arrive sometime Saturday ahead of a bigger round of energy due Sunday.

As such, the overall trend is for an easing combo of southerly and south-east swell on Saturday fresh S’ly winds, possibly a few pockets of light SW winds here and there. Most SE Qld beaches will probably see 1-2ft surf but semi-exposed points may see occasional 2ft+ sets and south facing beaches will be bigger, albeit very wind affected.

Sunday looks to be the pick of the weekend with the building southerly groundswell replacing the fading SE windswell, and winds tending light and variable across the Mid North and North Coasts as a broad high pressure ridge envelops the region. There may however be a lingering S/SE flow across the Far North, and SE Qld regions (surf size will be small anyway north of Cape Byron, similar to Saturday, so no great loss). 

At this stage, we’re looking at great waves to finish the weekend south of about Yamba, and south facing beaches could be seeing anywhere between 3ft and occasionally 5ft of quality long period energy (note: the upper end of this size range will be contingent on core wind speeds reaching 45-50kts and peak swell periods touching 16-18 seconds). Let’s see how Wednesday’s model runs are looking. 

Next week (July 19 onwards)

If the current model runs hold true, next Monday will see the final day in this series of building south swells, with great waves likely at many exposed beaches in Northern NSW and light winds just about everywhere. 

After this there’s nothing significant on the radar except a continuation of poor lows through the Southern Ocean that should maintain small to moderate south swell through the middle part of next week

The models also have a moderate ridge through the Coral Sea from Sunday onwards so a small SE swell is expected across the Gold and (especially) Sunshine Coasts for the first half of next week. More on this on Wednesday.

Comments

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Tuesday, 14 Jul 2015 at 7:35am

Strong sets showing on the Coffs cam.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 14 Jul 2015 at 7:43am

Yeah looks pretty solid. Will be interesting to see how everywhere fares today.

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy commented Tuesday, 14 Jul 2015 at 8:24am

Was tiny (but surf able) in Ballina at dawn, started gaining energy about 1/2 hour after first light. Fun little waves.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Tuesday, 14 Jul 2015 at 12:16pm

wow at the swell rise through the morning.....way, way above expectation.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 14 Jul 2015 at 1:44pm

Just surfed on the Tweed, strong 3ft+ sets here, really powerful stuff. 

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Wednesday, 15 Jul 2015 at 9:58am

Same again this morning. Some seriously solid sets ... but lully. Winds smashed it all now.

And the paddle. Lots of sweep, hard work.

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 14 Jul 2015 at 1:48pm

Yet.. there's nothing happening on the Gold Coast. These south swells really are quite amazing.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Tuesday, 14 Jul 2015 at 1:48pm

semi-exposed points in the 3-5ft range by mid-late morning. Dropped back again now.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 14 Jul 2015 at 3:26pm

Looks like I was wrong about SE Qld. Burleigh is picking up a few small ruler-edge lines in the 2ft range. Looks quite fun on the right kind of board! I don't think it'll last too long though, and it's really inconsistent so wouldn't handle much of a crowd either.

palmymick's picture
palmymick's picture
palmymick commented Tuesday, 14 Jul 2015 at 4:07pm

Some cracking head high + runners at Surfers
Dont know how to whack the photos on here though being a luddite and all

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 14 Jul 2015 at 4:30pm

Mick, upload the images to imgur.com and then post the "Direct Link" URL inside a pair of image tags (that is, within this: [img] and then this [/img], with no spaces etc). Make sure the URL has an extension like .jpg or .png 

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 14 Jul 2015 at 4:29pm

This was around midday. Saw a couple of bigger bombs too.

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Wednesday, 15 Jul 2015 at 9:57am

Shhhhhh ... keep it dark Ben ;)

I know those trees :)

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 15 Jul 2015 at 9:59am

Oh c'mon.. this could be anywhere between Fingal and Belongil.

palmymick's picture
palmymick's picture
palmymick commented Tuesday, 14 Jul 2015 at 4:38pm





thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 14 Jul 2015 at 5:01pm

I fixed 'em up for ya Mick, needed to look like this:

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 14 Jul 2015 at 5:02pm

But bloody hell.. wow! Pumping. I really didn't think this swell would refract so well back into SE Qld.. this is quite out of the box.

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Wednesday, 15 Jul 2015 at 9:58am

Yes, looks awesome ... get out there!

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Tuesday, 14 Jul 2015 at 5:29pm

Byron Buoy showing red , Coffs cam showing another pulse , swell seemed to ease mid arvo.

palmymick's picture
palmymick's picture
palmymick commented Tuesday, 14 Jul 2015 at 6:37pm

Thanks Ben. I was like a man in a 44 gallon drum trying to piss in a corner with the photo transfer. Will know better now.
Yep, there were some beauties coming through. Plenty of push too.

Jerry's picture
Jerry's picture
Jerry commented Tuesday, 14 Jul 2015 at 7:19pm

Turned on about 2pm at Burleigh, big lulls but scored a few really nice head high+ waves.

plasm's picture
plasm's picture
plasm commented Tuesday, 14 Jul 2015 at 7:36pm

This bank was resembling Kirra late arvo. Fast but very makable on the right one.

Cylinders85's picture
Cylinders85's picture
Cylinders85 commented Tuesday, 14 Jul 2015 at 10:17pm

Impressed with the pictures didn't even think it was worth a look in. Its been flat haven't surfed in week's

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 15 Jul 2015 at 10:00am

Doing a small article on this swell, will be up soon.

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Wednesday, 15 Jul 2015 at 10:01am

Another great forecast Ben, you're getting it dialed in ... must be all the time your spending up this way ;)

Let us know if you down this way, catch up for a beer, coffee or brekky :)

You've got my e-mail addy from my login here ;)

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Wednesday, 15 Jul 2015 at 10:31am

Dead flat yesterday. Nice surprise to wake up to a very slow, but super clean and glassy 1-2ft this morning south end Sunny Coast.

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Wednesday, 15 Jul 2015 at 11:21am

Unfortunately conditions weren't as good this morning as it appeared to look yesterday arvo. Swell had a funky wobble to it this morning which is a little odd considering it's been blowing offshore for the last 3 days. Two swell periods may have had something to do with it perhaps?

Felt like I was walking on snow on the sand this morning!!!