Tiny surf for the next five days; better prospects next week

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 13th June)

Best Days: Thurs/Fri: very small but clean open beaches. Sun/Mon: chance for some stray south swell across south swell magnets (south of Byron). Tues thru' Thurs: bigger S'ly tending SE swells. 

Recap: Easing SE swells on Tuesday still managed 3-5ft sets south from Byron, though wave heights were much smaller north of the border due to the swell direction. A further decrease occurred this morning with only small peaky leftovers out of the east around 2ft+ across Northern NSW, smaller in SE Qld. Winds have been up from the north both days though there have been periods out of the NW, allowing for clean conditions across the open beaches. 

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This week (June 12 - 15)

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Not much surf is expected for the rest of the week. We’ll see light variable winds in the north, and moderate westerlies in the south, so conditions will be clean right across the region. 

Unfortunately, our swell windows have been devoid of activity for the last few days so the only swell we’ll see will be very inconsistent leftover energy from the east (from the tropical low that developed near Fiji on the weekend) plus a small E/SE swell from a fetch exiting eastern Cook Strait on Monday. 

Overall, most beaches will be tiny to flat but every so often a stray 2ft set is possible at exposed spots in Northern NSW, with slightly smaller waves in SE Qld (only suited to exposed northern ends). 

This weekend (June 15 - 16)

In Monday’s notes I detailed an amplifying node of the Long Wave Trough that’s expected to impact the south-eastern corner of the country later this week, bringing about a significant cold snap into the weekend along with freshening offshore winds across much of the East Coast.

By and large, this event is still expected to occur, except for one crucial factor - the low is now expected to stall a little further to the west, and a broad associated fetch of southerly gales are now expected to develop west of Tasmania, rather than east (see below). 

This has had a dramatic effect on our surf outlook - well, for Northern NSW anyway - SE Qld was always expected to see much smaller surf from this event.

Saturday is still expected to be tiny across all coasts, however the swell increase expected Sunday and (more prominently) into Monday will be sourced from westerly gales exiting eastern Bass Strait. As such, the surf forecast for the second half of the weekend is much, much smaller, and more acute too - only reliable south swell magnets south of Byron will pick up any energy, in fact most beaches will remain tiny to flat all weekend. 

I always enjoy forecasting these kinds of flukey swell sources, because it’s difficult to be confident on how they’ll respond across the coast - and we learning something new every time they pop up.

This particular system looks even more tricky than usual as models are suggesting a straight W’ly flow (i.e. little to no south component) out of Bass Strait, so we may only see a few places in Southern NSW light up with swell. But, I can’t rule out occasional 3ft sets glancing some of the more reliable south swell locations in Northern NSW on Sunday, with smaller surf elsewhere. I can’t see much happening in SE Qld all weekend though.

At least it’ll be clean with westerlies all weekend. Let’s fine tune the specifics on Friday. 

Next week (June 17 onwards)

The Tasman Low looks like it’ll finally move into our swell window properly early next week, which should build S’ly tending SE swells across the region from around Tuesday onwards, mainly Northern NSW with smaller potential for SE Qld. 

The models are consistent with the broad trend, but divergent on the strength, so it’s too early to have any confidence in the likely surf outlook. However it’s fair to say that most of next week will be dominant out of the south, and I reckon we’ll see a couple of good days of waves. A more confident, specific outlook is expected by Friday!


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thermalben commented Thursday, 14 Jun 2018 at 1:49pm

Coupla small clean peaks at Sunshine.

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thermalben commented Friday, 15 Jun 2018 at 6:59am

Still a few small clean waves on the Tweed.

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thermalben commented Friday, 15 Jun 2018 at 7:21am

Lines, lines, lines at Currumbin. Shame it's only one foot.

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thermalben commented Friday, 15 Jun 2018 at 9:08am

Still a few little peaks in Coffs.

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thermalben commented Friday, 15 Jun 2018 at 10:22am

Nice lines at Burleigh, though only small.