Flag the weekend; maintain a flexible schedule next week
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 14th June)
Best Days: Sun: late S'ly pulse of small S'ly swell on the Mid North Coast. Next week: multitude of swell sources from the east and south (best potential likely later in the week). Tricky conditions though.
Recap: Thursday saw easing S’ly swells from Wednesday’s pulse, with early 2-3ft sets at a handful of reliable south swell magnets south of Byron, easing through the day. Wave heights were very small elsewhere, including the whole SE Qld region. Today saw very small surf for the most part, with a small long period S’ly groundswell failing to deliver any notable size, despite peak swell periods of 16-17 seconds recorded across the Northern NSW wave buoys, and 2-3ft surf reported across Southern NSW.
No surf from Snapper to Greenmount, but how's that bank at Rainbow Bay?
This weekend (June 15 - 16)
I’m not expecting much surf anywhere this weekend.
With today’s small southerly swell coming in under budget, the outlook for early Saturday isn’t particularly good with small residual swells expected across most beaches - perhaps some stray 1-2ft sets at south facing beaches south of Byron through the morning, but very slow, inconsistent and lacklustre. There'll be very little action elsewhere. Light variable winds and sea breezes will however keep conditions clean.
A minor E’ly swell may be present both days, originating from a tropical system SE of Fiji mid-week. However it wasn’t very well placed and tracked away form the coast, so I’m not expecting much size or energy.
Sunday morning will be similarly small, but a new long period S’ly swell will fill in across Southern NSW during the day and should nose into the Mid North Coast in the afternoon.
This swell is being generated by an intense cut-off low currently tracking below Tasmania. It’s poorly aligned and not travelling in an ideal trajectory (relative to our swell window), but the fetch is reasonably broad and core winds are very strong, so we should see a decent spread up the coast.
Timing is the key here though. I am doubtful anywhere north of Coffs will see an appreciable increase before close of business, and it’ll be touch and go across the Mid North Coast too. Additionally, only reliable south swell magnets will pick up any size, with the biggest sets expected to be 3ft+ towards dusk (I fear most of the peak will occur overnight Sunday, under the cover of darkness).
On the plus side, conditions will be clean with generally light winds. Just keep your expectations low. I’ll update in the comments below as to any new information on this swell, as we’ll be able to track its movements along the Southern NSW coast in the morning (allowing a partial ‘heads up’ on the day's developments).
Next week (June 17 onwards)
Sunday's S'ly swell will ease back through Monday, offering early 2-3ft+ sets at south facing baches south of Byron in the morning, but very little elsewhere. Winds could be iffy though, out of the SW thru' S, thanks to a developing coastal trough.
This system is expected to form a decent E’ly fetch off the Mid North Coast throughout Monday, but it’ll be best aimed towards localtions south of about Coffs Harbour.
We’ll see building E’ly swell through Tuesday, holding early Wednesday, easing from the afternoon into Thursday. Wave heights should reach 3-5ft at the height of the event across the Lower Mid North Coast - but size will taper off as you head north, and I don’t know whether we’ll see much more than a couple of feet north of the border.
In any case, there’s been a lot of revisions in the last few model runs regarding this synoptic situation so I’ll update over the weekend as we see some consolidation in the outlook (it's not a high confidence event).
An approaching cold front from the south is then expected to merge with the trough mid-week, intensifying the trough (possibly resulting in a closed low), and creating a much more significant swell generating system by the end of the week. We'll probably see a one-day, windy short range S'ly swell in Northern NSW on around Wednesday as the change pushes through the western Tasman.
However, there’s quite a few possible outcomes surf-wise from the merged system, because - at least with one current solution - it's expected to form close to Far South Coast of NSW - outside of our swell window. Otherwise, the breadth of model guidance is sufficiently varied to place little confidence in the long term outlook.
Regardless, the northern extend of this trough/low through the Tasman Sea should at least kick up some fresh easterly swell for Northern NSW and SE Qld later next week and into the weekend (as a minimum), so whilst it’s impossible to commit to an actual size/timing beyond Wednesday, there is certainly a very good chance that we’ll see some action somewhere the East Coast later next week and into the weekend.
More on this in Monday’s outlook.