thermalben

Fun and clean for a few days, then solid and windy from the south

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 24th May)

Best Days: Sat: small clean beachies in SE Qld and Far Northern NSW. Sun/Mon: fun clean E'ly swell at most open beaches. Tues: brief punchy S'ly swell in Northern NSW, small in SE Qld with E'ly swells. Wed: small clean leftovers everywhere. Late Thurs onwards: large S'ly swell in Northern NSW, much smaller in SE Qld. 

Recap: Small easing S’ly swells in Northern NSW and small persistent E’ly swells in SE Qld and Far Northern NSW have maintained fun waves across most open beaches. 

Small lunchtime peelers at Snapper Rocks

Only small in Yamba, but perfect conditions

This weekend (May 25 - 26)

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

There’s no change to the weekend outlook. 

Conditions will be clean both days with light winds, but Saturday will remain very small across most of Northern NSW, especially the Mid North Coast. 

SE Qld and Far Northern NSW will continue to pick up small, slow peaky trade swells, somewhere between 2ft and almost 2-3ft at exposed beaches across the Sunshine Coast but slightly smaller from the Gold Coast south. Very little energy is expected south from about Yamba. It'll be a continuation of the current lacklustre surf so don't get too excited. 

On Sunday, we’ll see a new E’ly swell build throughout the day, reaching a peak late afternoon or perhaps early Monday morning. This swell was generated by a broad though ultimately moderate-strength trough/E'ly dip south of Fiji yesterday and today, and the large travel distance will ensure set waves are very inconsistent.

However, exposed beaches across most coasts should build from 2ft to 3ft throughout the day, maybe even one or two 3-4ft bombs in the last hour or two of the day, though expect smaller surf running along the points. With light variable winds on offer it’ll be well worth scoping out an empty beach break for a quiet peaky session.

Next week (May 27 onwards)

Sunday’s new E’ly swell should hold through Monday morning, but ease slowly throughout the day. Exposed beaches may see early 3-4ft sets but it’ll be down to 2-3ft by lunchtime and into the afternoon. A passing front to the south will perk up W’ly winds, so conditions will be clean (but chilly with the breeze!).

The weather system responsible for the Sun/Mon E’ly swell will persist over the weekend in our far swell window, though in a weakened state, which means we’ll see small, slow E’ly swell holding through Tuesday and Wednesday, mainly around 2ft at most open beaches. 

However, we’ll see a brief flush of south swell on Tuesday, originating from gale-force W/SW winds exiting eastern Bass Strait later Sunday and into Monday. This system will project through the western Tasman Sea and align more SW off Southern NSW, which should kick plenty of energy for exposed south facing beaches south of Byron. 

This is a better synoptic projection than Wednesday’s forecast was expecting (to be honest, it’s more inline with last Monday’s outlook!), and should reach 4ft+ at south facing beaches south of Byron on Tuesday, before easing rapidly into Wednesday. Beaches not open to the south will be much smaller, and north of the border, we’ll see much smaller south swell glancing the coast - just 1.5ft at most SE Qld locations (the E'ly swell will be bigger), up to 2-3ft at exposed northern ends for a brief period.

Conditions look pretty good both Tuesday and Wednesday with moderate offshore winds across the Mid North Coast, and light variable winds in Far Northern NSW and SE Qld. 

Looking further ahead, and a very significant node of the Long Wave Trough is expected to amplify into the Bight early next week, generating very large waves for SA, Vic and some Tasmanian coasts.

Although the mature phase of this event will generally occur inside the Tasmanian swell shadow (relative to NSW’s swell window), we’ll see a powerful secondary phase push through the lower Tasman Sea mid-week (see chart below), generating large southerly swells from Thursday afternoon onwards. The latest models are looking pretty good, with a much stronger, more favourable alignment compared to the last few days and subsequently wave heights have been revised upwards. In fact we could be looking at two or three days of very large surf south of Byron.

Thursday morning stands an outside chance at seeing a small increase in southerly swell spread across Northern NSW from westerly gales exiting eastern Bass Strait, but the afternoon and particularly Friday will see the most energy, with south facing beaches south of Byron likely to push upwards of 6-8ft or more at the height of the event on Friday. 

Whilst SE Qld will pick up some of this swell, most beaches and outer points will remain small at perhaps 2ft, maybe 2-3ft if we're very lucky (south swells are rarely worthwhile north of the border), with exposed northern ends more likely to see larger but more wind affected 3-5ft surf. 

Local conditions look pretty windy, with gusty W/SW winds Thursday tending SE then S/SW into Friday and then S’ly through Saturday. So, it'll mainly be suited to the points and other protected locations.

Further fronts trailing behind will maintain this active phase of strong south swell into the weekend too.

And as a side note, we'll see small E'ly swells persisting all of next week from modest, stationary trade activity in the South Pacific. A signifciant intensification is expected well south of Tahiti around Thursday next week (see below) which looks impressive on the synoptics, however the large travel distance will likely erode a considerable percentage of size. Still, it'll be worth keeping a close eye on.

Have a great weekend!

Comments

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Saturday, 25 May 2019 at 8:44am

Old mate flying through a lil' peeler at Snapper - I don't think he moved his body alignment the whole wave!

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dangerouskook2000's picture
dangerouskook2000's picture
dangerouskook2000 commented Saturday, 25 May 2019 at 6:58pm

Looking forward to getting back in the water tomorrow arve. I haven't surfed for 3 days

adsi's picture
adsi's picture
adsi commented Saturday, 25 May 2019 at 7:51pm

Do you reckon that swell will be in the water around byron tomorrow morning ben?
Or not until after lunch
Got a new stick in itching to try out

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Saturday, 25 May 2019 at 7:55pm

been really super fun waves around Byron last few days

adsi's picture
adsi's picture
adsi commented Saturday, 25 May 2019 at 9:48pm

Do you reckon that swell will be in the water around byron tomorrow morning ben?
Or not until after lunch
Got a new stick in itching to try out

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Sunday, 26 May 2019 at 8:15am

Sorry mate, wasn't online last night.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Sunday, 26 May 2019 at 8:15am

Stronger new lines starting to show across the Gold Coast.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Sunday, 26 May 2019 at 8:32am

Gold Coast buoy picked up the leading edge around 6:30am too (a whopping 11 seconds!).
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redmondo's picture
redmondo's picture
redmondo commented Sunday, 26 May 2019 at 9:21am

Ah the heart sings when I see such immense beauty!

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Sunday, 26 May 2019 at 12:54pm

Plenty of sets around the 3ft mark now (not even remotely breaking at Narrowneck either; 'tis mid-tide).



Redman's picture
Redman's picture
Redman commented Sunday, 26 May 2019 at 4:45pm

I know where im going tomorrow, whats the crowd like at that not so secret spot North end of GC..

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude commented Sunday, 26 May 2019 at 5:10pm

Swell’s pulsing this arvo, period making the beachies real straight though

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Sunday, 26 May 2019 at 6:45pm

Kinda funny how 11-12 seconds is considered relatively long period here (from the east). Southern states wouldn’t give the coast a second glance with these figures.

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude commented Sunday, 26 May 2019 at 7:53pm

yeah I know. Duck diving 4 foot white water at 15+ secs Indo / WA etc feels like 6-8 foot here!

adsi's picture
adsi's picture
adsi commented Sunday, 26 May 2019 at 7:14pm

90% + closeouts at tallows just after lunch
Few nice sized waves coming through but all shutting down.
Gotta find a pointbreak to handle the longer period or what?

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Sunday, 26 May 2019 at 7:50pm

It was kind of a classic emblematic day for the autumn we've had.

low tide and close to flat this morning , no sand on the Points so as the swell filled in, nothing to produce a peel off.
Too long and straight for the beachies, then the tide filled it in and the northerly came up.
Another weird day that was hard to find any kind of decent go out despite offshore winds and a nice swell running.

We'll see what these next cold fronts do.

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude commented Sunday, 26 May 2019 at 7:55pm

I had a much better run at clean 2 foot first light. Saw the swell jump up and was semi manageable about lunch only for the northerly to tear it a new one. Starting to look better on dark.

dangerouskook2000's picture
dangerouskook2000's picture
dangerouskook2000 commented Sunday, 26 May 2019 at 8:31pm

Thanks for the heads up Ben. Waited for the swell this arve and it paid off. It was pumping. If anything I got down there a bit late, but got some crackers. Looking forward to tomorrow morning if its going to be as good as today. Yeeeewwww

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 27 May 2019 at 9:05am

Size reference at Narrowneck; first image has a bloke up and riding on the right (note: that's the first wave I've seen cap at the reef in months), second image has a SUP at the base of the wave, about to be smashed. Third image - how's the shorey!


adsi's picture
adsi's picture
adsi commented Monday, 27 May 2019 at 10:40am

Very average around byron back beaches this morn. Checked few spots and all pretty rubbish. Beautiful day though.
Maybe on the incoming tide a bit later but prob not

redmondo's picture
redmondo's picture
redmondo commented Monday, 27 May 2019 at 10:46am

Not worth writing home about. Maybe higher tide will be worthy of a quick snapchat. Sadly the iconic Woof hit his head out at tea tree the other day and was air lifted to hospital and is in intensive care. Visiting him tomorrow.

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Monday, 27 May 2019 at 12:21pm

The abortion of the last couple of years is nothing if not consistent.
Shit Autumn: ✓
Shit Winter: (loading...)

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 27 May 2019 at 12:27pm

Eh? How about yesterday and today? Was fantastic down here.

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Monday, 27 May 2019 at 12:49pm

March - 1 ok day the 6th
April - a handful of ok 2-3ft days 6th/7th/8th
May - 1 actual beautiful Autumn offshore 2-3ft day the 5th (the kind Autumn should be full of - and bigger)

Yesterday: AM: Beautiful clean offshore - but small --- PM: Slow 2-3ft - but chopped Nly
Today: AM: Slower 2ft+ still bump from overnight Nly -- 10AM Check - airport wind reports light NW, actually onshore at beach. Stronger chopped Nly now.

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy commented Monday, 27 May 2019 at 12:49pm

Surfin clean waves on perfect sunny days in boardies in crystal clear water with dolphins, turtles, and tons of fish.
Life ain't so bad.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Monday, 27 May 2019 at 12:57pm

you did the smart thing staying put and surfing what was on offer there LD.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Monday, 27 May 2019 at 12:51pm

I filled the car up with fuel this morning and went searching, against my better judgements.
Thinking there had to be something better in a lazy, dying 2-3ft E swell than straight handers.

Searched every nook and cranny between Byron Ballina and 2 hours later ended up at the same semi-closed out corner I'd started at.

9 months after the banks got washed out in October I'll put bathymetry up the top of the list for surf quali8ty in this neck of the woods.

It's mind blowing how little sand has moved in the 3 months since TC Oma.

adsi's picture
adsi's picture
adsi commented Monday, 27 May 2019 at 4:06pm

Bloody glad you said that freeride, me and a buddy did the same. And ended up back where we started.
Rubbish, just went for another look down around 7mile and tiny. Clean as everywhere but what bloody good is that.
Im pretty positive normally (had plenty of surf days this autumn just not great ones) but today pissed me off.
Still haven't got to take the new stick out in good waves yet.
Maybe tomorrow morning will be on down ballina on the south swell...but prob not

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Monday, 27 May 2019 at 12:54pm

And the reference points have shifted.

B and C grade spots that used to be unattended have now become the go to spots.

Definitely the lamest, smallest most onshore Autumn I have ever seen.
Spoken to a few old timers and they say the same.

No surf, and no banks.

redmondo's picture
redmondo's picture
redmondo commented Monday, 27 May 2019 at 5:35pm

I had a great arvo surf by my self. Most appreciative.