thermalben

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.

Solid S'ly swell in Coffs Harbour this morning

Peaky D'Bah this morning 

Minor S'ly swell lines at Surfers Paradise this afternoon

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. 

Comments

adsi's picture
adsi's picture
adsi commented Monday, 11 Nov 2019 at 5:50pm

Good to have some waves back again, was pretty over the 1-2ft onshore gutless rubbish we've had for a while.
Picking up my new gary mcneil twinny tomorrow arvo, cant wait to rip into it!!

waxyfeet's picture
waxyfeet's picture
waxyfeet commented Tuesday, 12 Nov 2019 at 1:17pm

That was quick! See my update on surfer forums how mine's going :)

(spoiler alert, you've made a very good choice)

adsi's picture
adsi's picture
adsi commented Tuesday, 12 Nov 2019 at 9:18pm

Haha yeah mate I was gonna throw a picture up for ya haha I should so sick hey. Channel is mental!

andosbf's picture
andosbf's picture
andosbf commented Tuesday, 12 Nov 2019 at 3:41pm

Hi @ben, if you don't mind, could you please explain why the forecast is "fun" for SE QLD for Wednesday, please don't take me wrong, I'm just trying to learn here, but I can't see much surf on Wednesday data, based on the forecast tab.

I appreciate your help in advance.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 12 Nov 2019 at 4:21pm

Do the FC notes not explain it enough?

B.B.Blitz's picture
B.B.Blitz's picture
B.B.Blitz commented Tuesday, 12 Nov 2019 at 4:00pm

Fun and buttery...hopefully these terms will be replaced with something new, geez we are a bunch of sheep sometimes...

mickseq's picture
mickseq's picture
mickseq commented Tuesday, 12 Nov 2019 at 4:39pm

off tomorrow, cant wait

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Tuesday, 12 Nov 2019 at 5:22pm

Last time this happened it was that cocktease size that's juuust not surfable. I can't remember the wind strength for that one though. Is a 25 knot Northerly strong enough to produce a surfable size once the wind turns helpful?

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Tuesday, 12 Nov 2019 at 6:13pm

depends how close you are to the tail of the fetch.

I'm not expecting any surf-able nor-east windswell here.

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Tuesday, 12 Nov 2019 at 6:58pm

Cheers FR. Won't be holding my breath either.

nick.minor's picture
nick.minor's picture
nick.minor commented Tuesday, 12 Nov 2019 at 8:42pm

Definitely some northerly swell in the water based off windsurfing at cotton tree

mugofsunshine's picture
mugofsunshine's picture
mugofsunshine commented Tuesday, 12 Nov 2019 at 9:13pm

Easy Nick, you've still got Vic plates on your Ute, keep spilling the beans and Qld transport might hear about it ;)

nick.minor's picture
nick.minor's picture
nick.minor commented Tuesday, 12 Nov 2019 at 9:36pm

Haha. I live in constant fear. Definitely need annother one of those ute nets everyone has up here also

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 13 Nov 2019 at 6:19am

S'ly change was into Evans Head around 4am NSW (3am Qld) - over two hours ago. Seems to have stalled though as it hasn't reached Cape Byron yet. 

Winds were W/NW at the Seaway at dawn, but it's fresh N/NW tending NW on the southern Goldy, so we have to wait for the S'ly to hit. But sets are easily 3ft, maybe a touch bigger. 

Still reckon there'll be some fun waves around today. Just gotta work around the winds. 




thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 13 Nov 2019 at 6:58am

Jeez, this is gotta be near 3-4ft?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 13 Nov 2019 at 7:01am

So the S'ly change reached Evans at 5am, and Cape Byron at 6:30am. That's 90mins to travel about 50km. Assuming the change doesn't speed up or slow down, we should see an arrival at Cooly around 8am NSW (7am Qld), reaching the Seaway about 35-45 mins later.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 13 Nov 2019 at 11:56am

Winds went variable at Cooly around 6:30am local but the S'ly change (actually SE) hit around 7:30am. It then reached the Seaway around 8:23am local.

Both were slower than the rough speed calcs between Evans/Byron, so anecdotally would suggest the change is slowing down (which is not unexpected given the trough will stall across the Sunny Coast this afternoon).

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 13 Nov 2019 at 7:32am

Bit hard to see with the camera lens salted up (will have it cleaned today) but The Pass ain't looking too shabby (three frames from the same wave, just a few mins ago).


thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 13 Nov 2019 at 9:15am

Starting to clean up nicely at Snapper though the full tide ain't helping much.

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Wednesday, 13 Nov 2019 at 9:38am

1ft junk, Spring continues...

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 13 Nov 2019 at 9:46am

2ft sideshore gurgle here.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 13 Nov 2019 at 10:00am

Radical how sideways these swells are adjacent the coast. Sunshine:

Plenty of swell getting into the Coolum stretch.
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Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Wednesday, 13 Nov 2019 at 12:01pm

Wow that first one!

JackStance's picture
JackStance's picture
JackStance commented Wednesday, 13 Nov 2019 at 2:59pm

Is that a north swell in the first pic?
- as in running parallel to the beach north to south?

Breath. Murdoch's empire will one day fail to control our minds.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 13 Nov 2019 at 3:44pm

Yep, N/NE windswell. 

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 13 Nov 2019 at 12:52pm

Dropping like a hot potato.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 13 Nov 2019 at 3:44pm

Still looking pretty tasty at The Pass. This is slightly overhead? Lines are super straight, a little close together but hitting the bank much more square on.
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thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 13 Nov 2019 at 3:47pm

How's the drop at the Tweed buoy (slightly more than halved since just before midnight). Still surprising there are consistent sets in Byron.

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crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Wednesday, 13 Nov 2019 at 3:57pm

2ft of swell left here this morning. Clean little fun ones for the groms who had another day off from school from the fires - they were frothing!
Nice to get some clean smoke free air.

I'm not cheap,
But I'm free.