Just for a change, we've got plenty of E'ly swell ahead
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 9th January)
Best Days: Entire period: plenty of trade swell, biggest late Thurs/Fri, but also holding over the weekend. Generally good winds.
Recap: We’ve seen steady E’ly swells for the last few days, with size up around 3ft+ across SE Qld and Far Northern NSW, smaller to the south. Winds have been mainly light and variable, occasionally moderate onshore at times acrss some coasts, though with no discernible pattern (the Mid North Coast has been under a moderate NE breeze). A long period S’ly groundswell glanced the Northern NSW coast today though it was very patchy in coverage, only favouring a handful of south swell magnets south of Byron (and many regularly reliable south facing beaches came in undersized). The reasons for this were details in the comments section in Monday’s FC Notes for the Sydney region, but ultimately, it’s not unexpected: Monday’s SE Qld / Far Northern NSW notes detailed that “these kinds of flukey long range south swells often don't light up every beach (even those facing south)”. In short, the reasoning is that it was a classic case of 'magic numbers' - where the particulars of this swell (period, direction) have been well aligned for some coasts' bathymetry, and poorly aligned for others.
Not a great deal of south swell today at Coffs Harbour's reliable south swell magnet, Gallows
This week (Jan 10 - 11)
No major changes for the rest of the week with mainly light variable tending onshore winds winds expected across all coasts both days.
With the south swell not really doing much now, and expected to ease into Thursday, our attention will remain focused to the east. And, we have an increase in store for later Thursday and Friday, courtesy TC Mona, which has been lingering near Fiji all week.
Initially, Thursday morning will likely begin undersized, but at some point throughout the day we’re expecting a boost in swell periods and thus wave heights. And because of the position of the swell source, we should see a reasonably broad coverage of size (compared to systems in the lower Coral Sea), though surf size will still be biggest in the north.
Surf size should increase back up to 3-5ft across Far Northern NSW and the SE Qld, with smaller surf running down the SE Qld points. Expect slightly smaller surf as you head south from about Yamba. The bigger set waves will be pretty inconsistent too.
There’s no distinct trend expected in the size department, with the swell likely to pulse intermittently each day. So, with the light wind outlook it’ll be worth slotting into a quiet beachies session through the middle of the day if you can move your diary around.
This weekend (Jan 12 - 13)
We’ve had a few changes to the weekend outlook since Monday’s notes were prepared, mainly around local winds.
They’re still expected to be from the same direction, but will be much lighter across the Mid North Coast, whilst we’ll see freshening SE tending E/SE winds across SE Qld as a ridge pushes into the coast from the Coral Sea.
Fortunately, there won’t be any shortage of swell. The remnants of TC Mona will drift westward, enhancing the trades and maintaining E’ly swells over the weekend that may hold a similar size to what’s expected later Thursday and Friday, though with a little less push and definition.
Even with a slight deterioration of the wind outlook for SE Qld, we’ll still see pockets of light winds in the morning (mainly southern Gold Coast) and the points should offer plenty of good options.
South from Ballina, we’ll see light variable winds and sea breezes both days.
Next week (Jan 14 onwards)
The models have eased back the lingering troughiness near Fiji, so we don’t have much new energy on the long term radar from this neck of the woods any more. There’ll be small persistent trade swell for much of the week though no major size is likely.
The first half of next week will be dominated by freshening N/NE winds across the Mid North Coast, though it’ll remain much lighter north from Byron Bay. We may also see a small southerly swell across Northern NSW generated by a front passing south of Tasmania over the weekend. Nothing significant is expected though.
This will then be followed by a small spread of long period S/SE groundswell across northern NSW mid-late week, originating from the merging of several Southern Ocean lows, that’ll momentarily stall on the eastern periphery of our southern swell window, on the approach to New Zealand. This won’t provide much size but south swell magnets south of Byron may pick up some stray 2-3ft sets Thursday or Friday.
See you on Friday!