Weekend o' south swell at the magnets
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 8th November)
Best Days: Sat/Sun/Mon: fun S'ly swell in Northern NSW (only small in SE Qld). Wed: small N'ly windswell. Thurs/Fri: more S'ly swell, best suited to Northern NSW.
Recap: Easing S’ly swell Thursday offered early 2ft, almost 2-3ft sets at south facing beaches south of the border, but it was tiny elsewhere and early NW winds quickly swung N’ly and freshened as size continued to ease. Today has been tiny with very little surfing opportunities under a fresh N’ly breeze. There is some minor long period (20 second) energy showing on the buoys which could (should!) be the long range E/SE swell from the subtropical low well east of New Zealand earlier this week, but it’s too hard to tell (there ain’t much action on the cams).
This weekend (Nov 9 - 10)
No major changes to the weekend outlook.
First up: the faint long period E'ly swell showing on the buoys today really doesn't look especially promising, and there's not a lot of new surf showing on the cams right now. But we still can't rule out stray 2ft+ sets from the east on Saturday, mainly across locations north from about Yamba or thereabouts. It's a low percentage event so don't get your hopes up.
Elsewhere, and a series of fronts will rocket into the Tasman Sea overnight, building a series of overlapping short range S’ly swells from Saturday into Sunday, ahead of a peak early Monday. However these swells will only favour Northern NSW - we won’t see much action north of the border, away from exposed northern ends and reliable south swell magnets.
The fetches trailing each front will be considerably off-axis (aligned SW-NE) but they’ll generate some decent size, initially building through Saturday, peaking late afternoon or early Sunday and then temporarily easing into Sunday afternoon. At its peak, wave heights should reach 3-4ft+ across south facing beaches south of Byron, though it’ll be smaller early Saturday and later Sunday.
Away from reliable south swell magnets, expect much smaller surf - including much of SE Qld. The biggest surf we’ll see north of the border will be stray 2ft sets at exposed northern ends and south swell magnets (more so the Gold Coast than the Sunny Coast) late Saturday or early Sunday. I can't see much action anywhere else unless that long range E'ly swell makes an impression.
Winds look generally OK all weekend, with a broad fresh SW flow across Northern NSW early Saturday easing through the day trending into an afternoon sea breeze. A similar though slightly weaker pattern is expected Sunday. And, locations north from the border will see even less wind: Sunday morning should be light and variable for quite a few hours.
Next week (Nov 11 onwards)
The final pulse of southerly swell from this sequence will push through on Monday, providing 3-5ft sets at south facing beaches south of Byron, but smaller elsewhere and really not a lot of action again in SE Qld. We may see occasional 2-3ft waves at the exposed northern end of the Gold Coast, but it’ll be very small elsewhere and overall there’ll be a little less size on the Sunshine Coast.
Conditions should be really good through the morning with light variable winds ahead of afternoon sea breezes.
Surf size will ease rapidly into Tuesday and freshening pre-frontal northerly winds will confine the best waves to protected northern ends in Northern NSW (without much surf on offer in SE Qld).
These winds look pretty robust and should kick up a small punchy N’ly windswell for Wednesday across exposed spots, with winds veering NW during the day. It doesn’t look amazing but there should be surfable options up and down exposed beaches.
Long term looks pretty interesting. A small trough may form off the SE Qld coast on Thursday, and there’s some potential for a local short range swell as a result (nothing major showing now, let’s keep an eye on it).
Otherwise, another series of fronts will pass across Tasmanian latitudes early in the week. Late Wednesday should see an initial building S’ly swell from W/SW gales exiting eastern Bass Strait later Tuesday, but only across the Mid North Coast (extending to Far Northern NSW on Thursday). This should perk up south facing beaches into the 2-3ft range, but as per the last Forecaster Notes, I’m much more interested in an associated series of much stronger fronts and lows south of Tasmania, which should generate better quality southerly groundswell for Thursday and Friday.
Local winds are unclear at this stage, but at this stage we should see solid S’ly swell in the 3-5ft range across south facing beaches south of Byron for the last few days of the week.
Let’s take a closer look on Monday.
Have a great weekend!