Not a particularly inspiring period ahead
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 22nd January)
Best Days: Sat: chance for pockets of light winds in Northern NSW, mainly south from Ballina. Next decent period (i.e. not northerly affected) looks to be from next Wednesday onwards.
Recap: N/NE winds have been the dominant flow over the last few days. However, a northward-moving trough brought a weak S’ly change to the Mid North Coast during Tuesday, extending variable winds into the Northern Rivers overnight and persisting for a few hours this morning, before the synoptic breeze resumed from the north again for the rest of the day. As for surf, there’s been no shortage of E’ly energy with 2-3ft sets both days but in general it’s been hard to find quality out of the wind.
This week (Jan 23 - 24)
It’s hard to find enthusiasm when we’re looking at 48 hours of gusty N’ly winds across all coasts.
Sure, they’ll be a little lighter across SE Qld and Far Northern NSW but there’s simply not a lot of options with these conditions.
As for surf, there’ll be a continuation of peaky E’ly swell on Thursday morning with occasional 2-3ft sets at most exposed coasts. During the afternoon, new long period E/SE swell will make landfall, having been generated by the latter stages of ex-TC Toni, positioned well and truly in the swell shadow of New Zealand.
This swell is expected to peak on Friday, and because of the swell source and alignment, we’ll see a wide range in size across the coast (and a very long time between sets, owing to the large travel time).
There'll also be some other swell in the water on Friday - a small persistent E’ly trade swell across all coasts, and some N/NE windswell across Northern NSW (biggest across the Mid North Coast), but the long period E’ly swell should produce 4ft sets across the Sunshine Coast, with smaller surf from this source as you head south from the Gold Coast. It's a shame winds are unlikely to cooperate.
The only chance for slightly less-problematic winds are early Thursday, where a brief N/NW flow may occur in SE Qld around dawn, favouring the open beaches, and then on Friday where the Mid North Coast may see pockets of light winds thanks to a troughy incursion from the south. For reference, a shallow S’ly change should influence Sydney and maybe Newcastle on Friday, but Port Macquarie seems to be the northern-most limit of favourable influence.
So, don't get excited for the next few days.
This weekend (Jan 25 - 26)
Nothing great is expected this weekend either.
Though, there is one positive aspect - we’ll see much lighter winds on Saturday, ahead of a restrengthening N/NE trend on Sunday. Saturday’s winds will be out of the same direction but a persistent trough off Southern NSW should relax the pressure gradient up to about Ballina and may offer periods of variable conditions (moderate N’lies will persist north of here all weekend).
As for surf, trade swells should maintain standard residual summer levels (~2ft+) and the flukey E/NE swell from ex-TC Toni will gradually disappear too - maybe some lingering 3ft sets early morning at exposed northern ends in SE Qld, but not much elsewhere. This will produce a size range best suited to the wide open beaches.
As such, keep your expectations low this weekend, but there’ll be waves if you’re keen (mainly Northern NSW, south from Ballina).
Next week (Jan 27 onwards)
There’s still nothing of any great significance on the cards for next week, just a continuation of the persistent local N’ly flow on Monday and Tuesday ahead of period of lighter winds from Wednesday onwards - though there's still no sign of a synoptic southerly, which is what we really need for the outer points.
As for swell, we’ve got a broadening trade flow this weekend that’ll generate 2-3ft of E’ly swell for much of next week though it’s too early to have any confidence in quality. Let’s take a closer look on Friday.