Might be a good time to turn your focus elsewhere
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 11th December)
Best Days: No great days... just small slow surf at the swell magnets at best.
Recap: Freshening N’ly tending N/NE winds across all coasts Tuesday, and SE Qld through Far Northern NSW today, have maintained below average conditions. These N/NE winds occupied the Mid North Coast on Tuesday but a S’ly change arrived in Coffs around dawn this morning, pushing a little further north than expected - reaching Evans Head around 9:30am though retreating into the afternoon (winds have remained N/NE all day at Byron bay). A small building NE windswell from yesterday’s local breeze, plus intermittent S’ly swells have provided occasional waves depending on your beaches exposure to the swell and protection from the wind.
This week (Dec 12 - 13)
There’s really not a lot of surf in store for the rest of the week.
Small S’ly swells will persist into Thursday - today was 3ft in Southern NSW, which is a useful barometer for south facing beaches south of Byron for Thursday morning. However sets will be very inconsistent, and size will slowly abate through the day.
We may see some minor S/SE swell late Thursday and into Friday from the bottom of the trough (responsible for the current southerly flow) though no major size is likely, just a few 1-2ft sets at south facing beaches south of Byron. Expect much smaller surf elsewhere.
Otherwise, a small but punchy front will clip Tasmania on Thursday morning, and two fetches - one pushing through eastern Bass Strait and another south-east of Hobart - will both generate some minor energy later Friday, but probably no more size than the pre-existing small S/SE swell.
Elsewhere, local NE windswell may perk up a handful of exposed beaches with slow 1-2ft waves both days - including some SE Qld locations - but again it’s looking to be pretty slow and weak.
As for conditions, a weak trough will linger off the coast for the next few days, with southerly winds to its south (i.e. North NSW, mainly Mid North Coast) and northerly winds to its north (i.e. SE Qld, mainly Sunshine Coast). Between the two, variable winds are likely at times (i.e. Gold Coast, Far Northern NSW) but the S’ly change may just sneak over the border into Friday.
So your best options will probably be on Thursday at south facing beaches in Far Northern NSW, which should at least be able to capitalise on the small S'ly swell with variable winds. Elsewhere, keep your expectations low.
This weekend (Dec 14 - 15)
The weekend looks pretty lacklustre.
The latest model guidance has eased back on Monday’s suggestion for a strengthening frontal passage later this week and into the weekend, so wave heights have subsequently been downgraded a little. This was only going to favour Northern NSW’s south swell magnets anyway.
Most beaches are looking at tiny waves, south facing beaches may see intermittent, rare 1-2ft sets on the more favourable parts of the tide, both days. But it’s really not a good weekend to be looking for anything amazing in the surf department. SE Qld may also pick up some minor NE windswell from a modest local fetch off the coast over the preceding days, but I can think of a thousand better things to do than hunt down rainbows and unicorns.
Wind wise, we’re looking at light breezes in the morning and afternoon onshores. No major strength is likely either day, but once again - with such an average surf outlook it’s really not worth worrying too much about the wind specifics.
Next week (Dec 16 onwards)
Although the swell charts look a little lacklustre for next week, the models are showing a lot of instability across the Tasman Sea, with a couple of swell generating regions to keep an eye on.
A weak surface trough off the Northern NSW coast Sun/Mon has low surf potential, but an associated S’ly change in Southern NSW on Monday may create a local windswell in Northern NSW on Tuesday.
Additionally, a possible mid-latitude low in the south-eastern Tasman around Monday may generate a stronger S/SE swell later Tues/Wed/Thurs. It's a little off-axis for the coast, but pretty strong in the latest guidance and could be a nice little earner at some Northern NSW spots - local winds pending.
Otherwise, a broad trade flow is expected to ebb and flow NE from New Zealand from now through next week. The current incarnation may generate a small E’ly swell for early next week (very inconsistent 2ft+ sets), but a stronger development around Tuesday next week is showing a little more promise for slightly larger waves later next week - though still on the small side.
Anyway, the short version for the long term is that there’s nothing of any great significance showing up right now, but we do have a few regions to keep a watch on. Tune back in on Friday for a more comprehensive long term outlook.