thermalben

Small lacklustre swells for the foreseeable future

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 18th January)

Best Days: No great days. If you're desperate, Sun/Mon/Tues in SE Qld with a small trade swell across the exposed beaches (biggest on Sunny Coast) but that's about it.

Recap: Thursday morning saw a brief period of light N’ly winds across Far Northern NSW and SE Qld, and inconsistent 3ft sets of E’ly swell, which faded through the day as the NE breeze picked up. Today we’ve seen much smaller, weaker surf and similar winds. The E’ly swell event is over! In my hood (Tweed Coast) it’s been very productive since about Xmas Day, which is just over three weeks. 

This weekend (Jan 19 - 20)

Today’s Forecaster Notes are brought to you by Rip Curl

The forecast charts don’t show much, but SE Qld will see a small increase in mid range E/NE swell over the coming days, from a strengthening trade flow through the Coral Sea. It’s not well aligned within our swell window, and we’ll see the largest waves across the Sunshine Coast, with smaller surf as you track south from the Gold Coast. 

There won’t be a lot of size on offer, and because the swell source won’t be consistent, we’ll see pulse, episodic wave heights. The Sunshine Coast may pulse somewhere between 2ft and maybe 2-3ft (more likely Sunday than Saturday), with 2ft waves on the Gold and Tweed Coasts, and 1-2ft surf south from Ballina. Expect periods of smaller surf at times too, especially Saturday.

Winds look like they’ll again straddle the user-friendly threshold of about 10-12kts. Sunday looks to be the best day as we’ll see freshening N’ly winds across all region (strongest in the south) as a front pushes up the coast, then stalls around Coffs Harbour into Sunday.

Winds should become light and variable on Sunday north from Yamba but we’ll see moderate S’ly winds across the Mid North Coast. The Sunshine Coast also has risk of a moderate E’ly breeze as it’ll be closest to the Coral Sea ridge.

A small south swell associated with Saturday’s change may also provide some occasional 2ft+ sets to south swell magnets in Northern NSW on Sunday (mainly south from Coffs) but local winds don’t look great.

Next week (Jan 21 onwards)

The ridge through the Coral Sea is expected to hold through until late Tuesday, so we should see similar wave heights (as mentioned above) ebb and flow from this direction from Monday thru’ Wednesday. 

Monday and early Tuesday look like being the only workable days with light winds though - we’ll see freshening N/NE winds on Tuesday afternoon and possibly Wednesday as a troughy pattern envelops the western Tasman Sea. So make the most of the start of the week if you're that way inclined.

As for other swell sources, it doesn’t look promising - while there’s always a chance that we’ll see the inclusion of one vital ingredient tip the troughy balance in favour of something significant, right now it’s hard to get excited. 

A series of poorly aligned though strong fronts passing south of Tasmania throughout the forecast period will drive small intermittent S’ly swells along the Northern NSW, but their sideband nature won’t contribute much size. Late Tuesday and Wednesday are showing the most potential right now with an outside chance for stray 2-3ft sets at south swell magnets south of Byron Bay but there won’t be much elsewhere. I wouldn’t count on this as a reliable swell source.

Another burst of fronts in the south-eastern corner of the Tasman Sea around Wednesday may kick up some small S/SE swell around Friday but I can’t see much in it. 

Otherwise the tropics look generally uninteresting. A small but tight tropical low will develop SE of Fiji around Monday, and linger for much of the week, but without a supporting high pressure system to the south, the associated fetch length will be short and so the large travel distance will erode the vast majority of its swell potential. I’ll keep an eye on it anyway, as this has a chance at supplying a small easterly swell later next week and into the weekend. With some luck the models will broaden the ridge of high pressure to the south in future updates, which will improve the surf outlook.

Have a great weekend! See you Monday. 

Comments

johnnygreebs's picture
johnnygreebs's picture
johnnygreebs commented Friday, 18 Jan 2019 at 11:40pm

Spring was bound to kick in eventually...

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude commented Sunday, 20 Jan 2019 at 2:14pm

Amazing how you get to the end of a 3 week swell and are hoping for a break only for two days of small northerly slop to be amping for the next swell. Looking forward to a change in pattern soon

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Saturday, 19 Jan 2019 at 1:27pm

Totally. I’ve finally found some rhythm and now I’m worried I’ll lose it!

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude commented Saturday, 19 Jan 2019 at 1:40pm

Yeah its nice to feel the old aches and pains begin to fade into the background as you get stronger and more paddle fit. Swimming, running, pushups etc just doesn't compare. Bring on the next swell eh. Might have to pull something with a bit of foam out for a tiny clean sesh next couple of days

redmondo's picture
redmondo's picture
redmondo commented Saturday, 19 Jan 2019 at 8:13pm

Sunshine was OK today not big but nice shape and fun slots on low tide. Only one blue bottle sting.

Victory!

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude commented Sunday, 20 Jan 2019 at 2:06pm

Magic clean conditions this morning. Dusted off the mal. Bit of fun.

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude commented Sunday, 20 Jan 2019 at 2:14pm

This week looking scarily dour

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Sunday, 20 Jan 2019 at 3:43pm

Took the little fella down to the beach fishing this morning. Super glassy and occ 1-2ft sets bit too much water over the bank, so not really breaking. Can’t bring myself to grovel after the last few weeks either.

alsurf's picture
alsurf's picture
alsurf commented Sunday, 20 Jan 2019 at 4:35pm

any fish?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Sunday, 20 Jan 2019 at 5:31pm

Maintained my usual batting average, of none.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Sunday, 20 Jan 2019 at 5:38pm

Best fish so far ?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Sunday, 20 Jan 2019 at 6:54pm

Caught a GT in PNG a few years ago. 

Best I’ve had around here are some sand whiting and bream. Fortunately my five year old enjoys the simple act of hanging out and throwing a line, and doesn’t yet know how much of a kook fisher his Dad is. Won’t take much more than another year and the gig will be up though.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Sunday, 20 Jan 2019 at 6:10pm

waters too cold.

hellomoon's picture
hellomoon's picture
hellomoon commented Sunday, 20 Jan 2019 at 9:35pm

cant be bothered getting up early and taking a gamble every day with N/E chop.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Sunday, 20 Jan 2019 at 9:36pm

Whiting is delicious.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Monday, 21 Jan 2019 at 7:20pm

To be honest this genuine babyfood is a whole lot more fun than the weeks of head-high onshore close-outs.
Had my son and his mate out the back last couple of days having a ball.
And I can rockfish now too.

I just see more of the same in the near future.

Passage of the MJO into our phases. More tropical depressions, more weak E swell due to weak high pressure, northerly winds and generally pissant pressure gradients.

These unending northerly patterns through summer, what I call "toxic" summers, seem to becoming more and more of a new normal.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 21 Jan 2019 at 8:05pm

Planned to harvest the high seas from the fair bow of the Seawok this morning. Woke up and the Northerly was gone !

Replaced by a seasick looking chopped out Southerly throwing more white horses than it’s velocity alone could account for. The second clue that a new North current had filled in overnight was the offshore blue hiding under the monochromatic sky.

Final confirmation soon after when a boat a couple of hundred metres off shore started fighting a marlin.

The Seawok does not do white horses , so other commitments were fulfilled.....spewing.

Felt colder again at this arvo’s low tide.

Surf = microwaves.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Monday, 21 Jan 2019 at 7:58pm

yeah, the inshore current where I fished was raging downhill.

cold water yesterday, warm today.

bonito were thick, which means pelagics close behind.
I love eating bonito.....I was a bit slow getting them chilled which means no sashimi but they'll be fine seared on a barbie.