One halfway decent swell on the horizon
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 13th December)
Best Days: Later Tues: building S/SE swell with fun waves at sheltered locations, smaller in SE Qld but workable. Wed: early light winds and a punchy S/SE swell, best in Northern NSW, small in SE Qld.
Recap: Surf size has been small and winds have quite mixed over the last few days. Whilst yesterday saw a general pattern of NE winds on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, and light variable winds across Northern NSW tending S’ly in the south, we’ve got quite a mixed bag across the region today. The Sunshine Coast is still under a NE flow, but a gusty S’ly change crossed the Gold Coast around lunchtime today (with 70mm recorded at the Seaway in two hours!). The change went through Byron Bay a few hours before dawn, but winds have already swung back to the N/NE there and it’s now E/SE in Cooly too. Even more complex, as we track further south along the coast - Evans Head is light and variable, Yamba is fresh S’ly and Coffs is moderate S/SW - all the byproduct of a complex, unstable trough of low pressure adjacent the coastal fringe. I hope your locale is receiving some well overdue precipitation.
This weekend (Dec 14 - 15)
Not sure if I’m willing to put lipstick on a pig.
We’ve got very little surf on the way for the next few days, and average conditions under a continuing unstable troughy pattern.
With no major new swells on the cards, we’ll be scrapping around the exposed beaches for small 1-2ft waves at best (biggest options at south facing beaches south of Byron). The general airstream is expected to be easterly Saturday and then northerly on Sunday, and we’ll see periods of light variable winds at times - but it’s really not worth getting terribly excited about.
Next week (Dec 16 onwards)
Freshening N’ly winds off the SE Qld Coast late Sunday may generate some small N’ly swell for the Gold and Tweed Coast’s north swell magnets early Monday, though no major size is likely - just a couple of feet absolute tops, and pretty small and slow to boot.
A gusty S’ly change will rocket up the coast during the day, and south facing beaches south of Byron (specifically, south of Coffs) should pick up a late increase in choppy local windswell to 3ft+.
Although we’ll see some trailing mid-range S/SE swell into Tuesday morning of a similar size (though without much at protected locations and only small surf throughout SE Qld), a better quality groundswell is expected to fill in behind, generated by the parent low in the lower Tasman Sea on Monday afternoon (see below), which is expected to develop quite rapidly as it moves towards a position off the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island.
We’re looking at some strong S/SE swell building late Tuesday to 4-5ft+ at south facing beaches south of Byron, with smaller surf reaching 3ft elsewhere south of the border. SE Qld won’t really enjoy this swell direction but the southern Gold Coast points should pick up some late 2-3ft sets (bigger at exposed northern ends) though the Sunshine Coast will be a little smaller, as always (sorry, fellas!).
Tuesday’s winds will remain fresh from the S/SE for much of the day - easing across the Mid North Coast relatively quickly - so Wednesday morning is probably looking to deliver the best waves with localised morning SW winds across many spots tending moderate SE throughout the day, and easing S/SE swells from 4-5ft+ at south facing beaches south of Byron down to 3-4ft through the day.
Elsewhere, expect smaller surf though the SE Qld outer points may still see some 2ft, almost 2-3ft sets for the dawn patrol ahead of the easing trend. Exposed northern ends and south facing beaches should be bigger and quite fun with the early light winds (less chance of this favourable wind pattern on the Sunshine Coast though).
Long term still doesn’t have anything major on the cards - there’s a suggestion for some strong Southern Ocean lows to develop within our swell window later next week through the weekend, but it’s too far away to have any confidence. The broader South Pacific and Coral Seas will see a gradual increase trade flow activity but again, there’s nothing concrete to pin down just now.
Have a great weekend, see you Monday!