When The Wind Blows
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 20th November)
Best Days: No great days. Take up lawn bowls.
Recap: N’ly winds and small S’ly swells really haven’t offered much surfing opportunities across SE Qld and Far Northern NSW over the last few days. A trough pushed along the Mid North Coast this morning, swinging overnight N’lies to the W/SW for a few hours early on, ahead of moderate too fresh S’lies for the rest of the day. The change seems to have reached as far north as Evans Head (11:30am), but stopped just short of Byron Bay, where it’s remained NE all day.
This week (Nov 19 - 22)
We’re back to freshening northerly winds for the next few days, and a continuation of intermittent S’ly swells, originating from the same broad frontal pattern that’s occupied the Southern Ocean south of Tasmania over the last week or so.
Although confidence isn’t especially high because of the flukey swells source and acute southerly direction, south facing beaches south of Byron should pick up slow 2-3ft sets at times, though it’ll be very inconsistent and only workable at locations with very good protection from the northerly winds. Elsewhere, it'll be tiny.
N’ly windswells will also build across the Mid North Coast later Thursday and into Friday, though with 20-30kts of wind on top it won’t be pleasant in the water. Expect a drop in sea surface temps over the next few days too.
We’ll see much less southerly swell, northerly wind and northerly windswell across SE Qld, but there’ll be one other swell source in the water - a building trade swell into Friday, generated by a developing ridge south of New Caledonia. No major size is expected and the local N’lies, although only moderate strength, will put a dent in surface conditions, but the Sunshine Coast should build to 2-3ft by the afternoon with slightly smaller surf from this source south of the Gold Coast.
Keep your expectations low though - this synoptic pattern ain’t a good look for anywhere local.
This weekend (Nov 18 - 19)
Persistent N’ly winds will maintain poor conditions across most coasts this weekend. There won’t be much swell around either, just some minor S’ly swell from Friday (into Saturday) south of Byron, plus some N’ly windswell across the Mid North Coast and then the aforementioned trade swell for SE Qld, which should hold 2-3ft across the Gold and Sunshine Coast both days.
If you had to pick a day, Sunday will see a little less strength in the wind but it’s still looking pretty craptacular. Honestly, there are much better things to be doing this weekend than grovelling around in this muck.
Next week (Nov 20 onwards)
I’m keeping my eye on a small trough/low that’s appeared on the models north of NZ later this week. It’s poorly aligned for our region but could evolve into something a little more useful for the early to middle part of next week.
Otherwise, small residual swells and northerly winds will kick start the week, with a persistent ridge near New Caledonia keeping SE Qld beaches from becoming completely flat, under a steady trade swell regime around the 2ft+ mark. Elsewhere (i.e. south from Byron) it’ll be much smaller though most locations will be hard to find enthusiasm about thanks to the northerlies.
Early indications are for this (northerly) pattern to hold through until next weekend. General troughiness will remain a feature of the Southern NSW coast for the long term outlook so although there are no significant swells showing on the charts, there’ll be plenty of ingredients in the western Tasman Sea waiting to be activated.
Hopefully Friday’s update will have a little more info on some long term swell events to look forward to.