Small east swell Saturday, easing Sunday; strong south swell from Tuesday

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 24th July)

Best Days: Sat/Sun: small clean east swell at open beaches. Tues/Wed: buidling strong south swell in Northern NSW but wind affected, so best on the points etc. Only small in SE Qld. Late Wed/Thurs/Fri: small trade swell across SE Qld. 

Recap: We’ve seen plenty of fun beachies across SE Qld and Far Northern NSW over the last two days, although conditions have been tricky under a light variable wind that’s sometimes cropped up from the northern quadrant. Conditions were nice and clean this morning with westerlies. Surf size has been smaller south of about Yamba.

This weekend (July 25 - 26)

All of our swell windows are devoid of any major activity so we’re having to look towards fluky swell sources for the weekend. And it doesn’t look promising for anything overly strong or sizeable.

Right now a large Tasman high is drifting east across New Zealand, and moderate easterly winds have occupied its northern flank for much of the week, which has supplied the region with a short period east swell. 

It’s not an especially reliable fetch though, as it’s been somewhat disjointed all week. This is resulting in mixed conditions across much of the coast, and long lully periods at times. 

We should see this swell continue into Saturday much in the same vein as the last few days (inconsistent 2-3ft sets across SE Qld and Far Northern NSW, smaller south of about Yamba) but an easing trend is likely through Sunday, where I suspect it’ll be even less consistent in the 2ft range at exposed beaches, and smaller again south of about Yamba.

As for conditions, it’s shaping up to be a great day for the exposed beaches with freshening north-west winds on Saturday tending westerly on Sunday. Just keep in mind that the swell will be small, inconsistent and rather slow and lacklustre, and you’ll do well.

Next week (July 27 - 28)

Monday looks pretty small. The weekend’s east swell is expected to ease back another notch and winds should remain from the western quadrant, keeping conditions clean across the beach breaks. I can’t see exposed spots having any more than a very inconsistent foot, maybe two at the more reliable swell magnets. 

A deep low pressure system will pass east of Tasmania on Sunday afternoon, setting up south-westerly gales within Northern NSW’s south swell window on Monday morning, that’ll generate a strong southerly groundswell for the entire NSW Coast. 

The models have pulled back the timing of this system a little, so much so that we’re not likely to see an increase until Tuesday, ahead of a peak on Wednesday.

Tuesday’s building south swell will be accompanied by strengthening W/SW tending S/SW winds as a front pushes through the Southern Tasman Sea, so exposed south facing beaches will generally be a write off. The biggest waves will fill in after lunch (very late in the Far North) and should reach 4-6ft at swell magnets, but due to the acute southerly swell direction it’ll be much smaller at most beaches, around the 3ft mark late afternoon at best, and tiny inside sheltered southern corners. 

I don’t think we’ll see much surf from this system on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts on Tuesday, so expect tiny conditions to prevail here for much of the day with just a minor lingering east swell in the 1-1.5ft range. South facing beaches should however see a small increase after lunch and may reach 2-3ft in the few hours before dark (most will be somewhat wind affected though).

A building ridge across the Coral Sea from Wednesday will maintain moderate fresh SE winds through SE Qld and Far Northern NSW, which will limit options here due to the low size potential originating from the southerly swell. We should however see a small building trade swell with some fun runners across the semi-exposed points by the afternoon.

These SE winds winds are likely to affect the North Coast down to about Yamba; south of here we should see much improved conditions under a light variable wind on Wednesday and wave heights should hold out in the 4-6ft range at south facing beaches. These locations will probably still see some wobble and bump, so semi-exposed points and protected corners are looking to be the best mid-week option with smaller but cleaner surf.  

As for the second half of the week, it’s looking quite productive for SE Qld and Far northern NSW thanks to an establishing trade flow through the Northern Tasman Sea that should maintain fun 2-3ft surf right up into next weekend. Elsewhere, we’ll see the mid-week south swell slowly ease in size from Thursday onwards. More on this in Monday’s update. 


wellymon's picture
wellymon's picture
wellymon Friday, 24 Jul 2015 at 8:13pm

Gezz that 4-6ft East swell predicted yesterday for the second half of next week got cut in half:(
Good ol 'Pro"

Cylinders85's picture
Cylinders85's picture
Cylinders85 Friday, 24 Jul 2015 at 9:24pm

can't catch a break lately.