The slow decline resumes; then large from the south from Sunday
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 10th July)
Best Days: Thurs: clean, easing E'ly and S/SE swells at open beaches, becoming much less consistent. Fri: small, clean open beaches. Sun/Mon/Tues: large, windy S'ly swells. Only small in SE Qld though Tues should have fun options across the outer points.
Recap: Another couple of great days across the region, with 4ft of E’ly swell Tuesday across Northern NSW and SE Qld, easing to 3ft today, but bolstered by a long period S/SE groundswell today that offered strong though inconsistent 3-4ft sets across Northern NSW (much smaller in SE Qld). Winds have been offshore both days, resulting in clean conditions.
This week (July 11 - 12)
Surface conditions will remain excellent for the rest of the week as a series of fronts to the south freshen westerly winds across the East Coast. However, wave heights will ease from the E/NE and the S/SE.
Open beaches in SE Qld and Far Northern NSW may see a few stray 2-3ft sets out of the east hroughout Thursday, but they’ll become a lot less consistent than what we’ve seen over the last few days. The S/SE swell from today is easing across Southern NSW so this trend will become prevalent across Northern NSW tomorrow, though occasional 3ft sets are possible at south swell magnets (south from Byron, more likely earlier rather than later).
Friday morning will see a further small, slow drop in size from Thursday, with extremely inconsistent 2ft sets at exposed beaches at best, easing to 1-2ft throughout the day (and long periods of tiny conditions between waves). Swell magnets will be your best option.
This weekend (July 13 - 14)
Very small leftovers and strengthening W’ly winds will precede a late SW change as a vigorous front crosses the SE corner of the country. The front won’t properly round the Tasman corner until Saturday morning, so it’s unlikely we’ll see much of an increase (across Northern NSW) until overnight.
Some exposed locations may see lingering SW winds early Sunday, but overall the front will clear to the east, allowing winds to ease from the west throughout the day. A fresh pulse of S’ly swell will push up to 4-6ft at south swell magnets south of Byron, with much smaller surf at beaches with less southerly exposure (southern corners will be tiny).
Across SE Qld, we’ll see much smaller surf than Northern NSW, and with a wide range in size between regular beaches/outer points (slow 1-2ft sets) and exposed northern ends/south facing beaches (3ft+).
With light winds expected through the afternoon, these south swell magnets north of the border should offer some good options after lunch, but expect very small surf at most other beaches, especially on the Sunshine Coast which will be slightly smaller than the Gold Coast.
Next week (July 15 onwards)
A stronger cold front will push into the lower Tasman Sea later Sunday, and a long fetch trailing behind will generate an extended period of large S’ly groundswell for the East Coast from Monday through Tuesday.
At this stage we should see a peak later Monday, with wave heights likely to push north of 6ft, maybe 6-8ft at a handful of reliable south swell magnets south of Byron (in fact, the squeeze pushing east of Bass Strait overnight Sunday is very impressive - see below - there's a chance for bigger bombs at times).
However, the models are still suggesting more SW (than S) in the broader storm track alignment than is ideal, and this will cap surf size - the fetch is very impressive; had it been a straight S’ly flow we’d have been looking at easy 12-15ft surf.
Conditions look favourable though blustery on Monday with early W’ly winds tending gusty SW across the Mid North Coast late in the day, persisting overnight across Northern NSW though easing rapidly through Tuesday and becoming lighter from the west.
We’ll see much less wind north from about Yamba, in fact SE Qld and Far Northern NSW should see mainly light to moderate offshore winds both days. Size will peak on Tuesday in the north so safely assuming exposed spots will be overpowered, you’ll have to hunt around the sheltered points and other protected locations for anything rideable.
SE Qld will pick up disproportionately smaller surf from this system, owing to the poor southerly angle, but there should still be fun waves at the outer points (late Mon, more likely early Tues) with occasional 3ft sets. Exposed northern ends/south facing beaches should be bigger near 4-5ft but it’ll be heavy going with strong sweeps and the like.
So, the swell and wind outlook looks promising at first glance - but I see a lot of potential for disappointment across vast swathes of SE Qld and Northern NSW, because of the size and direction. There’ll be great waves in some locations (sand pending) but keep your expectations in check for this event.
The rest of the week maintains a steady progression of fronts below Tasmania and intermittent, moderate S’ly swells for the rest of the week and into next weekend across Northern NSW (only small in SE Qld) - very typical for this time of the year.
More on this in Friday’s update.