thermalben

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.

Welcome gloom over Byron Bay this afternoon

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!

Comments

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Friday, 13 Dec 2019 at 6:20pm

Ben, you meant to say 3-4ft E @ 8s and all day offshores right? RIGHT!? RIGHTTTTTTTHADSUFJHBSUDBGFUWEF FUCKITALL

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Saturday, 14 Dec 2019 at 7:53am

Yes, that's correct. Got it wrong. My apologies.

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Sunday, 15 Dec 2019 at 6:46am

I'll try saying 'Coral Sea' 5 times to a mirror.
One positive I guess is heaps of sand is back.

nextswell's picture
nextswell's picture
nextswell commented Friday, 13 Dec 2019 at 6:45pm

Haha. Been a rough trot hey sprout?!

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Sunday, 15 Dec 2019 at 6:47am

Haha just brutal.

Mattysouth's picture
Mattysouth's picture
Mattysouth commented Friday, 13 Dec 2019 at 8:03pm

Y YOU DO DIZ HUEY

adsi's picture
adsi's picture
adsi commented Friday, 13 Dec 2019 at 9:50pm

Scored this evening, winds swung offshore, some easterly swell in the water set pushing 3ft and lots of hollow 2 footers was heaps of fun, out till dark

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Saturday, 14 Dec 2019 at 7:54am

Which coast mate? Checked a few Tweed beaches late afternoon and there were a few 2ft sets but I didn't see a single wave I could have ridden - looked really slow and gutless. Though, the lines were there.. seemed to be out of the NE or E/NE. 

adsi's picture
adsi's picture
adsi commented Saturday, 14 Dec 2019 at 9:55am

Just south of Byron mate. 4 people out, banks were super nice on the low.went back this morning and still pretty fun but more people into it. Still some hollow peaky waves to be had though, tides got it now

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Saturday, 14 Dec 2019 at 7:55am

Small grovelly lines at Byron this morning, but there are waves- and there's no wind too.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Saturday, 14 Dec 2019 at 7:57am

Snapshot from our Surfers cam suggests two swell trains (both very small) - a minor NE windswell and longer lines out of the E.
​​​​​​​

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Saturday, 14 Dec 2019 at 8:10am

Anyone getting any fish ?

Pelagics yet ?

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Saturday, 14 Dec 2019 at 8:34am

plenty of juvey big eye and GT's around.

some really big tailor too, which my pet theory are the returning fish from the Fraser Island spawning run.
they are skinny and extremely aggro.

heard there are some small mahi-mahi on the FAD

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Saturday, 14 Dec 2019 at 8:37am

Thanks for the report.

I like the tailor theory.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Saturday, 14 Dec 2019 at 10:41am

just a had a little join the dots surf on a mal.
water cold and full of cornflake weed despite the little ENE angle.

looks like we are shaping up for another summer like last one.

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM commented Saturday, 14 Dec 2019 at 10:47am

I kinda enjoyed that little surf, scooting along in clear water over a rock and cunji bottom.

alexsmith1's picture
alexsmith1's picture
alexsmith1 commented Saturday, 14 Dec 2019 at 11:00am

Had a fun surf down your way Ben until the tide seemed to kill it

riley.willemse's picture
riley.willemse's picture
riley.willemse commented Saturday, 14 Dec 2019 at 11:16am

Got some weird peaky 2fters tweed coast. Water still freezing, but ill take it.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Saturday, 14 Dec 2019 at 12:28pm

Yeah had a quick paddle myself, a little better than I expected - though very full and fat. Coupla 2ft sets, winds were light just before I went out then slowly picked up from the north. Was a little chilly on the inside then I found a warm pool out the back. Big pack of dolphins chasing fish up and down the beach too. 

Halfscousehalfcockneyfullaussie's picture
Halfscousehalfcockneyfullaussie's picture
Halfscousehalfc... commented Saturday, 14 Dec 2019 at 9:14pm

Waters pretty warm down central coast nsw. Over 20 degrees at least

Distracted's picture
Distracted's picture
Distracted commented Sunday, 15 Dec 2019 at 10:28am

Despite the southerly winds at end of last week there was still a lot of dirty water and weed mixed in with pockets of cleaner water on the MNC. Surprisingly a couple ok little waves yesterday morning.

dromodreamer's picture
dromodreamer's picture
dromodreamer commented Monday, 16 Dec 2019 at 4:48pm

Sprout will attest to it. No swell since july and even that swell the sunshine coast got half of it. There is not much more a man can take. six months proper without a wave over 1 foot. Move? where? Kirra?

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Monday, 16 Dec 2019 at 9:18pm

Iluka, they love visitors down there.