thermalben

Two weeks or more of northerly winds - yikes!

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 18th November)

Best Days: No great days ahead. South swell magnets in Northern NSW with protection from northerly winds will have small waves all week, biggest Thursday, but conditions really will be very tricky. 

Recap: Saturday didn’t offer much in the way of quality surf thanks to mainly onshore winds, but Sunday delivered some fun lines of S’ly swell around 3ft across Northern NSW with early light winds swinging N’ly ahead of some impressive afternoon thunderstorms and an overnight S’ly change. Today has seen the S’ly swell persist around 3ft at south facing beaches south of Byron, with problematic winds north form Yamba but light variable winds and sea breezes south from Coffs. Unfortunately, the entire period has been very small and lacklustre in SE Qld, though today did see some short range S’ly swell across south facing stretches. 

This week (Nov 19 - 22)

It’s a pretty depressing surf outlook if you consider just the winds on their own.

SE Qld and Far Northern NSW are staring down the barrel (or lack thereof, boom-tish) of more than two weeks of northerlies, thanks to an entrenched high pressure system in the Tasman Sea, and weak troughiness over Southern NSW. 

The Mid North Coast will see brief reprive in the form of a day here or there with light variable winds, but the flip side is that the northerly airstream will otherwise be stronger here than its northern counterpart. 

So yeah, not a great outlook ahead. 

In particular, we can almost write off the entire week for SE Qld. Aside from small local windswell over the next few days, the only real swell source is a slowly building trade swell from about Friday onwards that’ll be wrecked by northerly winds.  

We do have some southerly swell on the way though, so Northern NSW will have workable options this week for keen surfers. Just keep in mind the likely upwelling from this extended pattern: water temps could drop quite a few degrees by the weekend and early next week. 

From a swell source perspective, we’ve actually got a steady pattern of broad though poorly aligned fronts below Tasmania that will generate plenty of swell for the Tasman Sea this week, not dissimilar to recent swell events. At this stage we’re looking at three or four individual pulses, with very late Wednesday (Lower Mid North Coast) and Thursday (everywhere else) probably seeing the biggest and best surf from this pattern. 

An existing round of energy across Southern NSW today should hold into Tuesday across Northern NSW, up to 2-3ft across south facing beaches south of Byron. Wave heights will ease through the afternoon but another pulse is expected on Wednesday that’ll favour south swell magnets with a similar size range into the afternoon (wave heights may be undersized early morning, especially in the north). 

Thursday’s southerly swell should push 3-4ft at south facing beaches south of Byron, before easing during the day. This swell will have been generated by a broad (though poorly aligned) front south of Tasmania on Tuesday (see below), of which its parent low well to the south is expected to stall and then briefly slingshot through our far southern swells window (see below), generating another pulse of S’ly swell for Friday.

There’s a considerably larger travel distance for this last round of energy (compared to the southerly swells prior this week) but the periods should draw out a little longer and south facing beaches should pick up some 3ft+ sets - though it’ll be much less consistent than any other day this week. 

At this stage every day except Wednesday (which may see brief offshores) is expected to see fresh N’ly winds, in fact they’ll become strong Thurs/Fri and we’ll see some punchy local windswell at NE swell magnets to finish the working week. So, it’ll be hard going but there’ll be waves around.

But if you’ve got other things to do this week, they’re probably more worthy of your attention. 

This weekend (Nov 18 - 19)

The weekend looks pretty average at this stage.

Friday’s southerly swell will slowly ease through Saturday, and we’re looking at moderate N’ly winds both days in SE Qld (lighter in the mornings), fresh and gusty south from Yamba. 

We’ll see trade swell building to 2-3ft across SE Qld, mainly the Sunshine Coast, with smaller surf south from the Gold Coast. This swell will be generated by the northern flank of the Tasman high, but local winds will generally spoil conditions.

Local N’ly winds will otherwise maintain small peaky windswells across Northern NSW both days. 

There is one other system to keep an eye on in the updated forecasts this week - an intense low passing south of Tasmania around Thursday. Despite core wind speeds of 50kts+, it looks even less favourably aligned than anything else developing this week, so confidence is pretty low we’ll see any energy glance the NSW coast. 

But, it can’t be ruled out - so I’ll put an asterisk down for Sunday, and revise this in Wednesday’s notes.  

But really, it's not a weekend to get excited about.

Next week (Nov 20 onwards)

Nothing of interest showing on the long term outlook at this stage. 

Comments

Stef_Olly's picture
Stef_Olly's picture
Stef_Olly commented Monday, 18 Nov 2019 at 6:13pm

Geez i'm glad I've got the rest of the month off due to being between jobs. FFS!!!!!!!!

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 18 Nov 2019 at 6:32pm
P'tai's picture
P'tai's picture
P'tai commented Monday, 18 Nov 2019 at 6:39pm

I think I picked the right week to thank Blowin for that clip!!

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Monday, 18 Nov 2019 at 6:50pm

Looks like I'll have to put some K's in.

The flathead are up in fucking Lismore the river is so dry and salty.

riley.willemse's picture
riley.willemse's picture
riley.willemse commented Monday, 18 Nov 2019 at 7:10pm

Surely this is rock bottom for SEQ. Can only get better from this...

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Monday, 18 Nov 2019 at 7:33pm

we'll see, but in reality this might not be the getting towards the end of the Spring pattern but just getting to the start of it. It may easily go right through summer.

Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67 commented Monday, 18 Nov 2019 at 10:25pm

Geezuz FR - glass half empty or what?

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Monday, 18 Nov 2019 at 7:40pm

Now this is a weather report...........

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBrlqisHdYQ

simba

braudulio's picture
braudulio's picture
braudulio commented Tuesday, 19 Nov 2019 at 9:32am

And this one from when I lived on the Iberian Peninsula
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZMUAd7OJc8

‘IF YOU UNDERSTAND, things are just as they are;
if you do not understand, THINGS ARE JUST AS THEY ARE.’

Matb's picture
Matb's picture
Matb commented Monday, 18 Nov 2019 at 8:37pm

Flying high! One of the best!

Matb

andosbf's picture
andosbf's picture
andosbf commented Tuesday, 19 Nov 2019 at 9:08am

how hard would it be to revoke the name "surfers paradise"?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 19 Nov 2019 at 10:03am

Coupla small empty options in Coffs this morning.

mickseq's picture
mickseq's picture
mickseq commented Tuesday, 19 Nov 2019 at 5:57pm

hey, freeride have you surfed the Andamans?

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Tuesday, 19 Nov 2019 at 7:04pm

nah. seen some footage. looks nice, but you'd have a narrow swell window I reckon.

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Wednesday, 20 Nov 2019 at 2:31pm

Why do you say that Steve? Surely they get similar swells (albeit a touch smaller) to the top end of Sumatra etc?

I have heard post earthquake is not as good up there. Also a bitch to get to I believe.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 20 Nov 2019 at 2:34pm

The further you go west up the Indonesian archipelago towards the Bay of Bengal, the tighter the swell window.

Telos gets less swell than Mentawais, which gets less swell than Java/Bali etc etc

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Wednesday, 20 Nov 2019 at 2:37pm

Agreed but I don’t think I’d still call it a narrow swell window for the Andamans.

Certainly not compared to say the east facing atolls of the Maldives for instance.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 20 Nov 2019 at 2:39pm

yeah, wider than that, but those E facing atolls get Tradewinds swells too, don't they (you're the expert there)?

mickseq's picture
mickseq's picture
mickseq commented Wednesday, 20 Nov 2019 at 5:35pm

Thanks for the feedback, a friend of mine mentioned in passing some of southern Burma opening up and some islands in that area were mentioned. Some fascinating tribes around that way. Considering going next march