Small pulsey south swells for exposed beaches south of the border

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 12th June)

Best Days: Most days: keep an eye out for a sneaky south swell, biggest on Friday, and again later Sunday

Recap: Smaller S/SE swells still maintained 1-2ft waves through SE Qld on Tuesday, with larger waves south from Byron. Size eased throughout the day and conditions were clean with light offshore winds. Today started out very small at most beaches, but a new south swell built across Northern NSW during the day, pushing higher than forecast with solid 3ft sets across some south facing beaches in Northern NSW (see surfcam grabs from Coffs Harbour, below). However surf size is still tiny away from south facing beaches, and in SE Qld. 

New S'ly swell in Coffs Harbour this afternoon

This week (June 13 - 14)

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Thursday morning’s a tricky call.

Overall, we’re not expecting any new swell so most beaches will be tiny. But, south facing beaches south from Byron will probably still see the tail end of the current pulse pushing up the coast.

The difficulty here is assessing what will happen overnight. Southern NSW saw a fairly steady drop throughout today (though, starting from a small base), and this trend will kick in across Northern NSW at some point in the next little while.

However, we’ve got almost thirteen hours of darkness, and only sporadic buoy updates to check on, and I’ve gotta commit to a figure right now. We’ll definitely be on the backside of this pulse, but will there still be stray 2-3ft waves at reliable south swell magnets? Will it be down to 1-2ft? Or will the swell be gone completely? 

Your greatest chance for a wave will be in the Far North (Coffs to Byron) because the southerly energy will start drying up earlier in the south. I think there’s still likely to be some 2ft+ sets at exposed northern ends, but not a lot elsewhere. It’ll be clean with light NW winds though. 

Across SE Qld, exposed northern ends may pick up occasional 1ft, maybe 1-2ft sets for an hour or three but otherwise expect tiny surf at most beaches. 

Condition should be clean early with light NW winds, a little fresher south from Coffs. 

Late Thursday should see the leading edge of a new long period S’ly swell pushing into the Lower Mid North Coast, ahead of a peak in size through Friday morning across most regions. This swell has originated from an intense polar low that developed off the ice shelf on Monday, well south of Tasmania. 

Set waves will be very inconsistent, but we should see occasional 2-3ft+ sets at reliable south swell magnets south from Byron. However, the distant source of this swell will create long breaks between waves, and anywhere not completely exposed to the south will be much smaller in size (especially SE Qld, though exposed northern ends could see occasional 2ft+ sets). 

Also in the water on Friday will be a small mid-range S’ly swell extending from a poorly aligned front exiting eastern Bass Strait later Thursday. This should contribute smaller sets to 2ft for south facing beaches south of Byron, but its main benefit will be to improve the consistency in the surf zone - though probably not by very much. 

Early winds may be slightly iffy on the Mid North Coast on Friday (a SW change thanks to a passing trough) but it’ll clear during the day to become light and variable, as it will be elsewhere north from Yamba all day (light S’ly if anything). So, south facing beaches may not be perfect but they should be quite workable. 

This weekend (June 15 - 16)

Saturday looks small and nondescript, with clean, easing leftovers from Friday out of the south. Exposed swell magnets south of Byron should see early 2ft to maybe 2-3ft sets, easing to 1-2ft during the day, but it’ll be smaller elsewhere, and SE Qld will be tiny. 

Conditions should be OK with early light SW winds tending light to moderate S/SE throughout the day.

On Sunday, a small long period S’ly swell will push along the Northern NSW coast, generated by another poorly aligned low and front pushing south of Tasmania on Friday (see chart below).

Thanks to very strong core wind speeds, the resulting swell periods of around 15 seconds should help to boost surf size into the 2-3ft+ range at south swell magnets by late afternoon, though this is more likely across the Mid North Coast (a later arrival in the Far North will delay this increase).

Light winds will maintain clean conditions just about everywhere. 

Lastly, we may also see a small E’ly swell over the weekend from a tropical low SE of Fiji, however the models have moved this a little more quickly through our swell window than is ideal, and so I fear Monday’s 2ft+ estimate for the weekend was a little ambitious. Let’s knock a foot off it for now, and keep our expectations very low.

Next week (June 17 onwards)

Sunday’s S’ly swell will ease but hold steady through Monday, with some additional small energy filling in from the backside of the low. This should keep south facing beaches south of Byron flush with slow 2-3ft sets, but it’ll be tiny elsewhere with small inconsistent E’ly swells in the 1-2ft range at open beaches. 

The models have been moving the projections for a troughy pattern adjacent the coast for early next week. Current expectations are for a high in the eastern Tasman to strengthen an E’ly flow south of New Caledonia early next week, leading to a building E’ly swell mid-late week - though confidence is pretty low on this right now. 

There’s also a suggestion for a series of modest fronts to push across the SE corner of the country, delivering a spell of southerly winds for Northern NSW. Let’s take a closer look on Friday, as there’s still plenty of potential for a more significant weather system to form in the Tasman Sea next week.


Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 10:53am

Very pretty lake this morning.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 11:02am

wow, damn close to dead flat eh.

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 1:27pm

Time to take the boat out to Julian Rocks for shits and gigs.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 1:29pm

There’d have to be some good fish getting around out there ? Are you allowed to fish it ?

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 1:42pm

Marine reserve and as soon as you jump in the water you can see the result - big snapper sitting right under your boat.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 2:03pm

how are those snaps at Julians?

so tame.

see any grey nurse?

I waded the reef edge at low tide looking for flathead in the sand patches. No flathead but had fun on big tailor in very shallow water on light gear.

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 2:17pm

You could almost hand feed them.
Haven't seen any grey nurse but there'd be heaps out there I'm sure.
Hey FR, you ever been in the water down at Evans Reef?

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 2:24pm

sounds way too sharky.

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 2:29pm

Yeah I think it'd be a puckering experience.