Another week of easterly swell ahoy!
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 11th January)
Best Days: Fun waves most days. Biggest early Sat, then late Tues/Wed. Winds shouldn't be too much of a problem, though they will trend onshore at times.
Recap: E’ly swells persistent around 3ft+ across exposed coasts on Thursday, and winds remained typically light and variable tending onshore at times. A new pulse of E’ly swell from TC Mona has been very slow to arrive - some stronger sets were observed on Thursday afternoon, but it wasn’t really until lunchtime today that we’ve seen a definitive size increase. Wave heights are now around the 4ft mark, which is the mid-way point of forecast expectations (3-5ft), though there’s still scope for a smidge more size later today. Again, we’ve seen variable conditions with pockets of light variable winds in and amongst a moderate easterly airstream. It appears that there’s a late glass-off happening at some coasts too.
Nice sets showing at Burleigh just before noon
This weekend (Jan 12 - 13)
Based on model guidance, we’re yet to see the peak swell energy from TC Mona (see below, from our Gold Coast data point). And now that we’re seeing strong sets in the 4ft range, validating Wednesday’s forecast (though the timing was a little off) it’s hard to go against the data.
Additionally, a rebuilding ridge through the lower Coral Sea will contribute some mid-range E’ly swell over the weekend. It’ll be smaller in size but should fill in the gaps from what’s expected to otherwise be an inconsistent round of energy from TC Mona.
As such, I’ll hold steady with Wednesday’s expectations for wave heights to maintain into Saturday morning, occasionally somewhere between 3ft and 5ft at exposed beaches (smaller running down the points), easing into the 3-4ft range by Sunday. The upper end of this size range will be rather inconsistent, but the building mid-range E’ly swell should provide more consistent 2-3ft waves in the mix.
And the good news is that the models have pulled back the strength of the weekend’s E/SE flow across SE Qld. It will trend around to this direction at times but shouldn’t be enough to cause any major problems.
Elsewhere, expect light variable winds and sea breezes. The lower Mid North Coast may be temporarily affected by moderate to fresh N/NE winds at some point on Saturday too, though this will ease into Sunday.
Next week (Jan 14 onwards)
A stationary trade flow through the northern Tasman Sea/Lower Coral Sea and South Pacific will become slightly enhanced over the weekend with an easterly dip forming south of Fiji. However, max wind strengths at the core of the dip will be short in length so this means any swell eventuating from it will be inconsistent once it reaches the Australian mainland.
Monday will likely play out with similar conditions as per Saturday (steady trade swell in the 3ft+ range, smaller running down the points, possibly some bigger sets across exposed SE Qld / Far Nthn NSW beaches), ahead of new swell from the E’ly dip arriving at some time on Tuesday, holding through Wednesday then easing from Thursday. Max surf size will probably reach 3-4ft+ but you’ll be waiting quite a bit for these waves. For the most part, bog standard E'ly 2-3ft trade swell will occupy most open beaches.
Around the same time, a fresh S’ly swell will build across Northern NSW on Monday afternoon, originating from a strong front that’ll round the Tasmanian corner over the weekend.
Only south facing beaches south of Byron will pick up any size (inconsistent 2-3ft+ sets late Monday), and once again, this looks like being a flukey swell event so keep your expectations low if you only have a south friendly beach at your disposal.
The front and low responsible for this swell swell will move to a position near New Zealand overnight Sunday, developing a secondary S’ly fetch that’ll provide small but useful sideband S/SE swell through Tuesday and Wednesday, possibly up to 2-3ft+ at south friendly beaches south from Byron.
From Thursday onwards, we’re looking at freshening N’ly winds as a trough pushes up the coast. Long term suggests we may see a significant local system in the Southern Tasman Sea later next week and into the weekend (in the lee of this trough) but that’s still a very long time away.
However more importantly, our very long run of E’ly swell is expected to come to a close later next week as the swell window shuts down, so if you’ve been enjoying fun beaches, make the most of what you see right now.
Have a great weekend, see you Monday!