Wide range of fun surf options all week
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 11th November)
Best Days: Tues: small leftover S'ly swell early morning, only in Northern NSW. Wed: fun N'ly swell across exposed SE Qld/Far Northern NSW locations early morning. Thurs/Fri: stacks of S'ly swell, good morning winds.
Recap: Saturday was a little more blustery than expected, but we saw building S’ly swells to 4ft across Northern NSW’s south facing beaches into the afternoon, as winds gradually eased. Surf size remained very small in SE Qld (though there was a small N'ly windswell at first light). Sunday delivered nice lines of S'ly swell around 4ft at south facing beaches in Northern NSW, with light offshore winds and afternoon sea breezes, and surf size eased a touch into the afternoon. Again, SE Qld remain very small away from south swell magnets. A large S’ly swell built across the region overnight, and some south swell magnets south of the border managed 4-5ft+ sets early this morning, before easing slightly through the day. Most beaches and points in SE Qld didn’t see much size but south facing beaches and northern ends picked up occasional 2-3ft sets. Conditions were clean early but the afternoon sea breeze is now in.
This week (Nov 12 - 15)
Todays south swell will continue to ease into Tuesday morning. Only south swell magnets south form Byron will pick up any appreciable size, maybe an inconsistent 3ft early but down to 2ft throughout the day, and smaller elsewhere.
However Tuesday’s limiting factor will be strengthening pre-frontal N’ly winds (an early window of lighter N/NW winds will allow for clean options inside northern corners).
Across SE Qld, the surf will be very small though the freshening N’ly breeze should generate 2-3ft windswells at exposed spots by late in the day.
Also, please keep updated on the local bushfire situation on Tuesday, as it's shaping up to be very dangerous across large swathes of the entire East Coast.
Wednesday morning looks potentially very fun in SE Qld and Far Northern NSW.
A vigorous S’ly change will push up the NSW Coast overnight, and it’s expected to be somewhere between Yamba and Ballina around dawn. Strong overnight N’ly winds upstream from here will maintain peaky N’ly windswells that should offer peaky 3ft sets across some exposed coasts early morning - mainly north facing swell magnets the southern Gold Coast, Tweed Coast and Northern Rivers (smaller elsewhere).
Winds should trend W/NW (though initially N/NW on the Sunny Coast) which will clean up conditions. Punchy N’ly windswells are rare so it’ll be well worth looking around for some peaky sidewinders running down the open beaches.
The S’ly change itself will pack a punch and clean up the southern Gold Coast and Far Northern NSW points - it’s due to cross the border mid-morning, though may stall just prior to reaching the Sunny Coast and some model guidance indicates this region could see anything from fresh SE winds (just behind the trough, i.e. southern end), persistent N’ly winds (north of the trough, i.e. north from Noosa), or light and variable (i.e. somewhere between the two).
Everywhere else will see a combination of easing N’ly swell, building short range S’ly swells and gusty S’ly winds. So Wednesday looks pretty tricky across the Mid North Coast and Northern Rivers, though we should see 4ft+ surf at south facing beaches by lunchtime. Winds should start to abate after lunch but it’ll take a while for exposed beaches to clean up.
Tuesday’s southerly change will be at the the head of an amplifying long wave trough, that will dominate our surf outlook for quite a few days, slingshoting a series of strong fronts through the lower Tasman Sea through into Sunday or Monday.
At this stage, the front end of the storm sequence will be the most active and also the best aligned within our swell window, relative to Northern NSW’s swell prospects. Trailing fronts later this week will steer more zonally (west-east) and will consequently result in smaller surf throughout the region into the weekend.
Thursday and Friday will then see a series of overlapping S’ly swells from several sources: W/SW gales exiting eastern Bass Strait, and a decent fetch parent low traversing the waters south of Tasmania on Tuesday.
Additionally, a strong secondary front swapping around the primary low just south of Tasmania (late Tues, into Wed) should provide a short lived pulse of slightly larger surf on Friday.
South facing beaches south of Byron should maintain 3-4ft+ surf both days at south swell magnets (smaller elsewhere) but Friday’s embedded pulse has the potential to whack another foot or two on top for a brief period of time.
Across SE Qld, we’ll see very small surf at most beaches and outer points, but exposed northern ends should see occasional 2ft+ sets at times. Fridays pulse could generate the odd bigger set but it’s a flukey swell source so I’d keep your expectations low.
As for conditions, Thursday looks good with light winds and sea breezes, and Friday morning should be clean but we’ll see freshening N’ly winds into the afternoon. So aim for an early paddle.
This weekend (Nov 16 - 17)
A weak southerly change is on the cards for sometime Saturday, probably just the Mid North Coast. It’ll be shallow and short lived so won’t be too detrimental but needs to be closely monitored.
Elsewhere, both days should see light winds and sea breezes across most coasts.
As for surf, Friday’s steadily easing S'ly swell will be down to about 2-3ft+ at south swell magnets (south of Byron) for Saturday, before easing further during the day. Expect smaller surf elsewhere, including SE Qld which will remain very small all weekend. A minor N’ly fetch overnight Friday may kick up some small windswell energy for Saturday but there won’t be much in it.
There’s also a suggestion for a trough to develop somewhere around the Mid North Coast which may lead to freshening onshore winds during Sunday afternoon. I’ll have more info on this in Wednesday’s update.
Next week (Nov 18 onwards)
The Southern Ocean storm track will lineup marginally better on Saturday which means Monday has a slightly bigger pulse of southerly swell for Northern NSW on the cards (than the weekend), but not by much. Again, only south swell magnets south of Byron are likely to benefit.
Another reasonable front is also expected to pass below Tasmania on Sunday, which suggests a second, modest bump in southerly swell may arrive across Northern NSW on Tuesday. Again, it’s not that promising.
Otherwise, the long term trend hints at coastal troughiness which could be the precursor to a significant local generating system in the western Tasman Sea some time next week.
Elsewhere, and the trades look a little dull long term but there are a few ingredients starting to take shape (broad scale troughiness south/east of Fiji) that will be closely monitored in Wednesday’s update.