thermalben

Lots of autumnal surf on the way

UNLESS YOU LIVE AT THE BEACH, PLEASE DON'T TRAVEL TO SURF

COVID-19 is changing the way we think about surfing. Travelling to the surf now means you're putting an unnecessary strain on the resources of small regional communities. So, please stay home. If you live near the beach and want to surf, please maintain a healthy spacing in the lineup, don't hang in the carpark, and keep your surf sessions shorter to allow others the opportunity to get wet. Above all, stay happy, healthy and look out for one another.

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 25th March)

Best Days: Most days should have plenty of swell at most coasts. Local winds will spoil conditions at some point Thursday (Mid North Coast) and Friday (remaining coasts) otherwise there'll be a broad range of options with variable winds most days. 

Recap: Short-range S/SE swell and minor lingering trade swells have provided small surf throughout SE Qld for the last few days. A series of solid southerly swells built across Northern NSW through Tuesday before easing slowly today, reaching 4-5ft+ at their peak (at south facing beaches, south of Byron). Winds were moderate to fresh out of the south thru’ south-east on Tuesday (mainly north from Yamba), though locations south from here saw light variable winds and this has spread across across most regions today. In fact the Mid North Coast has seen freshening NE winds this afternoon though the afternoon breeze has been only light in the north.

Small runners at Noosa Heads this afternoon, indicating the presence of minor trade swell

Wednesday afternoon south swell in Coffs

This week (Mar 26 - 27)

A southerly change moved across Southern NSW today, and will nose into the Lower Mid North Coast on Thursday, reaching Port Macquarie mid-morning and Coffs Harbour mid-afternoon. We’ll see light winds ahead of the change, and anywhere north of about Yamba or Ballina should see variable conditions for much of the day. 

As for surf, a weak ridge through the Northern Tasman Sea will maintain minor trade swells for SE Qld over the coming days. The ridge will rebuild across the lower Coral Sea into Friday, and we’re looking at a weekend of larger surf from this region, but no major size increase is expected on Friday (though, winds will slowly freshen from the SE through the day, deteriorating open beaches from about mid-morning onwards). Surf size should manage slow 2ft, peaky sets at most open beaches, smaller on the points. 

Otherwise, we have more southerly swell on the way - but mainly for Northern NSW. 

There’s a modest fetch trailing the southerly change pushing up along the NSW coast right now, but it’s loosely attached to a stronger low/front combo pushing through the lower Tasman Sea. The associated storm track isn’t perfect by any means, but we’ll see a decent S’ly groundswell build later Thursday and holding into Friday. 

However, there will be a few additional swell trains in the water too. 

Our existing south swell will ease slowly through Thursday, but the approaching S’ly change will concurrently build short range S/SE swell across the Mid North Coast, extending into remaining Northern NSW coasts on Friday, (nothing special, say 3ft+ at south facing beaches south of Byron).  

More interesting is a potential long period swell that was generated in an acute region of our distant swell window earlier in the week, below Western Australia. It’s not viewed as a particularly reliable source but nevertheless, with core winds up over 50kts, we may see some larger peak swell period values at the wave buoys (modeled estimating a steady climb from 12.5 seconds to 14.8 seconds throughout the day, as per Northern Beaches data below) and this may translate to larger sets glancing a handful of reliable south swell magnets and offshore bombies. 

So, ballpark size is around 3ft Thursday at south facing beaches, building to 3-4ft+ late (mainly Mid North Coast) and holding at this size range into Friday. Across SE Qld I'm not expecting any size away from exposed northern ends and south facing beaches (which may pick up occaisonal 2ft+ sets).

Additionally, Thursday’s southerly change will weaken into a broad trough across the central/northern Tasman Sea, and a building ridge of high pressure to the south will freshen a SE tending E’ly flow across its southern flank. So, on top of the various south swells on Friday, we’ll see a mid-range SE swell in the water (say, 3-4ft sets). This will be biggest across the Mid North Coast, smaller to the north.  

Friday’s winds will freshen from the SE across all coasts but quite a few regions should see an early slack period. So this will offer the best conditions. 

This weekend (Mar 28 - 29)

So, the broad trough developing in the central/northern Tasman Sea over the coming days will slowly move to the west, and envelop the greater East Coast into the weekend. This should allow local winds to ease on Saturday; still light to maybe moderate onshore at times, but with extended periods of variable conditions. 

A building ridge through the Northern Tasman Sea will eventually push back into the coast and this will bring about a freshening of onshore winds, probably on Sunday - though the morning should again see pockets of light winds in many areas. The afternoon winds will be NE across the Mid North Coast, E/NE across the Northern Rivers and more E’ly throughout SE Qld. 

As for surf, we’ll see a mix of swells on Saturday throughout Northern NSW. Easing S’ly swells (from Friday), steady SE swell (from the small trough) and a building E’ly trade swell will all combine to produce 3ft sets at most open beaches, building to 3-4ft on Sunday as the trade swell comes to the fore. 

Across SE Qld, we’ll see a similar trend, but with a little more size thanks to a closer proximity to the Northern Tasman/Coral Sea ridge. Size should be up to 3-5ft at open beaches by Sunday (smaller Saturday, say 3ft early and 3-4ft late) but it’ll be smaller running along the points.  

Next week (Mar 30 onwards)

The ridge through the Coral Sea/Northern Tasman Sea will weaken early next week, so wave heights will pull back a bit  but we should see Sunday’s size hold into early Monday before easing to 3-4ft Tuesday and then 3ft+ Wednesday and Thursday. Plenty of punchy options for the beaches and a wide variety of surf across the outer points. 

Additionally, a much larger but very distant system currently developing in the Far South Pacific, well to the E/NE of New Zealand, will maintain smaller but longer period background energy through the week. 

As a side note, model guidance has a late Sunday arrival (MNC) of small long period S’ly swell from a polar low below the continent this week (see below) but I’m not confident of any worthwhile size. Fleeting lows passing well south of Tasmania may also kick up minor southerly swells throughout next week but it’s not looking like we’ll see much size at this stage.

See you Wednesday!

Comments

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude commented Wednesday, 25 Mar 2020 at 8:53pm

NSW surfers not able to head north for a wave. Will there be much traffic the other way?
You’d imagine everyone would be staying very local.

Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous commented Thursday, 26 Mar 2020 at 1:24pm

paddle from dbah round froggies to snapper??

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 25 Mar 2020 at 8:57pm

lets hope so.

thats the biggest threat for spreading the virus: intra-state travel.

Rockethut's picture
Rockethut's picture
Rockethut commented Wednesday, 25 Mar 2020 at 9:47pm

Border closure should keep the qld bogans away from NNSW. Haha

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Wednesday, 25 Mar 2020 at 10:36pm

I don’t think anyone understands the border control. It’s to stop nsw people entering QLD. Qlders can enter nsw and easily go back to QLD.

Rockethut's picture
Rockethut's picture
Rockethut commented Wednesday, 25 Mar 2020 at 11:07pm

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the state's border would only remain open to freight and essential travel after announcing the restrictions on border crossings.

"Let me make it very clear, Queenslanders should stay in Queensland, people in New South Wales should stay in New South Wales and people in Victoria should stay in Victoria.

JackStance's picture
JackStance's picture
JackStance commented Thursday, 26 Mar 2020 at 11:50am

Whilst staying at home is the right thing to do, and putting the new laws that are passed, or about to be passed, any boarder closure between states, in a strict sense, contravenes the constitution, section 92: "... trade, commerce, and intercourse among the States, whether by means of internal carriage or ocean navigation, shall be absolutely free.". - Which, from what I understand, is to stop the states from acting in a protectionist manner. - WA was the last colony to support the Federation - and weren't actually in the preamble.. they were pretty much referenced as invited but undecided.

(I'm not a lawyer - merely studying law) if someone got charged, and challenged it to the High Court, although they'd prob have some sort of case, common sense would likely prevail IF restrictions on interstate travel were based on very reasonable grounds, the High Court would likely find a way to interpret "absolutely free" to also include, something like, "with exceptions in extreme cases" - though that would be 'absolute'.

just a thought.

Keep safe - as everyone knows: we're in a for a rough ride.

Breath. Murdoch's empire will one day fail to control our minds.

JackStance's picture
JackStance's picture
JackStance commented Thursday, 26 Mar 2020 at 11:52am

correction: (that would NOT be absolute).

Breath. Murdoch's empire will one day fail to control our minds.

nick.minor's picture
nick.minor's picture
nick.minor commented Thursday, 26 Mar 2020 at 9:39pm

I wish I'd done consti or admin more recently. It seems like some crazy excesses of executive power are happening now.

JackStance's picture
JackStance's picture
JackStance commented Thursday, 26 Mar 2020 at 11:13pm

Greg Barns is a Barrister from Tas, is one of Assange's rep's, is all over those excesses.

Usually there's basically no transparency, as the media is letting us down, but, what an incredible time - the rona has unmasked the power structure - which, as far as I can see, is the ultra wealthy ripping off everyone.. now it's in plain view with mass sackings happing days after huge bailouts. Bailouts that don't create public equity, or partially nationalise such entities.

It's socialism for the ultra wealthy, and rugged individualism for everyone else. The rebuttal to this notion is the expansion of social security. However the truth of the expansion of social security is it a) placates society, and b) is totally inadequate. .. and c) is, will be, totally visible for all to see.

Over the next 3 weeks we will see the true efficacy of privatisation.

Capitalism is a colonisation of our psyche, and this could inadvertently present an opportunity to break the spell, and that is what the powers-that-be are actually afraid of: not the virus - they massively fear us.
We can't talk this shit.
In all reasonableness, we should be able to stay at home for a few weeks, or months while this passes, without fear of our well being, our income, our access to a health care system that can handle an epidemic - is there anything unreasonable about that notion?

We have billions to bail out the ultra wealthy (while they lay off though of workers)

The next month - wow..

All in my view of course.

Peace to all.

Breath. Murdoch's empire will one day fail to control our minds.

JackStance's picture
JackStance's picture
JackStance commented Thursday, 26 Mar 2020 at 11:15pm

Correction 'We can't take this shit"

But 'We can't talk this shit.' works equally well - lets walk it.

Breath. Murdoch's empire will one day fail to control our minds.

SDW's picture
SDW's picture
SDW commented Friday, 27 Mar 2020 at 6:58pm

Interesting. A friend mentioned something like this but was unsure.

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Thursday, 26 Mar 2020 at 12:53pm

Read the Qld Gov website. Qld residents are exempt!!

riley.willemse's picture
riley.willemse's picture
riley.willemse commented Wednesday, 25 Mar 2020 at 11:30pm

I think Nth NSW crowds will drop significantly, i am in a unique position that i can walk to sth QLD beaches but live just in NSW. So i can get the best of both... I really hope they don't attempt to shut down rainbow/dbah. Close facilities and car parks, but don't stop surfing. Its all alot of us have left...

Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67 commented Thursday, 26 Mar 2020 at 11:19am

I'm in the same boat as you RW. All good this morning - no one around and all roads open except for the M1 and GCH near the airport. Happy days.

riley.willemse's picture
riley.willemse's picture
riley.willemse commented Thursday, 26 Mar 2020 at 11:35am

Surfed an absolute pumping beachy with 5 people out!!! Its like we have gone back in time. One positive out of all of this...

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM commented Thursday, 26 Mar 2020 at 1:17pm

Half your luck.

Around here, with people not working, kids not at school and backpackers fleeing Byron it's pretty busy for what it is.

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Thursday, 26 Mar 2020 at 1:22pm

This. It's actually more crowded here.

riley.willemse's picture
riley.willemse's picture
riley.willemse commented Thursday, 26 Mar 2020 at 5:06pm

I was at a spot thats normally fairly quiet maybe 20-30 people max weekedays, notably less crowded today. Sounds like people are still going to sheep to the popular spots, probably get beaches closed and ruin it for everyone....

Serendipity60's picture
Serendipity60's picture
Serendipity60 commented Thursday, 26 Mar 2020 at 8:18am

I surfed mid Sunshine Coast yesterday.
No visitors there was like going back in time 20 years.

toncie's picture
toncie's picture
toncie commented Friday, 27 Mar 2020 at 12:29pm

I surfed 2ft weak, peaky windswell between maroochy and alex clubs/ mid sunny coast this morning and it felt crowded like a Sunday with decent swell might be. Surely is mysterious how crowds work. Maybe people noticed that yesterday was not a bad day despite local swell data.

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Thursday, 26 Mar 2020 at 12:54pm

It was very average where I surfed today. Outer banks struggling on the smaller swell and incoming tide.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Thursday, 26 Mar 2020 at 1:03pm

yeah, I don't think the corona open is gunna miss much.

looks mostly weak 2-3ft surf to me.

nice and glassy though.

Rockethut's picture
Rockethut's picture
Rockethut commented Thursday, 26 Mar 2020 at 3:04pm

Surfed SS, was average and very very busy. Thought the brazzo's would have left by now...Hopefully their visa's expire soon!

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Thursday, 26 Mar 2020 at 3:39pm

So how does a tradie in tweed go doing a job in queensland with the border restrictions or are they exempt?

simba

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy commented Thursday, 26 Mar 2020 at 4:20pm
tiger's picture
tiger's picture
tiger commented Thursday, 26 Mar 2020 at 4:36pm

Yeah doesn't look like they'll be missing too much in regards to the snapper comp. A damn sight better than last year's conditions though, would've been plenty of small snapper days to run it in, and the bank appears to be in good nick. Pretty bummed about this covid shitshow happening at this time of year though, pretty much all of Australia's prime surf season. Springtime wouldn't have hurt so much.

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude commented Thursday, 26 Mar 2020 at 7:37pm

A massive tip of the cap to Swellnet for that public alert at the top of the forecast notes.

Please all surfers heed what is written above. Make the most of a quiet local session. If someone is sitting on a peak, leave them alone, they are likely there for a reason.

Most of all be sensible. Be safe. Hope you are all ok.

hamishbro's picture
hamishbro's picture
hamishbro commented Friday, 27 Mar 2020 at 6:51pm

I actually find the wording a little condescending to be honest.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 27 Mar 2020 at 7:26pm

What would you suggest?

hamishbro's picture
hamishbro's picture
hamishbro commented Friday, 27 Mar 2020 at 8:59pm

PLEASE BE AWARE OF SOCIAL DISTANCING IN AND OUT OF THE WATER

COVID-19 is changing the way we think about surfing. Now more than ever it’s worth finding an empty or less crowded surf spot, so we can still continue with this wonderful pastime without putting others at risk. Surfers already appreciate the need for space - so enjoy it! If you do choose to paddle out in a line up, please maintain a healthy spacing, don't hang in the carpark, and keep your surf sessions shorter to allow others the opportunity to get wet. Above all, stay happy, healthy and look out for one another.

linez's picture
linez's picture
linez commented Thursday, 26 Mar 2020 at 8:01pm

Actually had a really fun surf today in what were just average waves. I think the reason I enjoyed it so much was that I went with the thought that this could be it for a while. Whether it is or not we'll see, but if we heed the advice at the top of the page it will only help. All the best everyone, for you and your families.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Thursday, 26 Mar 2020 at 8:24pm

Thats good stuff.

adsi's picture
adsi's picture
adsi commented Thursday, 26 Mar 2020 at 8:25pm

Scored some fun lunchtime waves at a local magnet, only 4 people on it and was coming through real nice!

Ben Harding's picture
Ben Harding's picture
Ben Harding commented Thursday, 26 Mar 2020 at 9:40pm

How are they policing twin towns and the road into dbah? If the coppers get the shits with the sheer amount crew coming to surf dbah from Qld, wouldn't you think they'll shut the beach down as it would be a logistical nightmare checking every car or holding up traffic all thru that joint. What's the story there?

If one beach goes, it better not be a domino effect. There was an article in "surf stories" GC bulletin today, with the author almost spruiking a beach shutdown or passively talking about surfing getting shitcanned. Couldn't believe what I was reading. Smart money move would be to fly under the radar and try keep out of the news cycle as much as possible. We aren't that important to the outside world so why this clown did a two page spread on the very Backpage on how surfing could be banned, had me fucking beat. Really unnecessary article and no doubt read by some council pleb with a axe to grind or agenda to push. We can continue surfing if we make no noise about it and do the right thing.

It's almost like these media pricks want everything fucking banned so we rely solely on them for constant updates on whether or not we are allowed to grab something from the fridge or open the front door.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Friday, 27 Mar 2020 at 5:57am

I agree Ben, if it pops up on the radar too much like Bondi did, then some grandstanding pollie will take issue and shut it down.

Ben Harding's picture
Ben Harding's picture
Ben Harding commented Friday, 27 Mar 2020 at 7:36pm

You get it. Let's hope the penny drops and crew keep it really civil so that we can continue quietly enjoying some waves while we deal with what's ahead. It's pretty much all that's left considering what's been flicked.

Rockethut's picture
Rockethut's picture
Rockethut commented Friday, 27 Mar 2020 at 10:53am

Yip and then all the dbah clowns will find another break to overpopulate.

toncie's picture
toncie's picture
toncie commented Friday, 27 Mar 2020 at 12:47pm

Just dreaming, but it'd be nice if social distancing applied in the water, especially on better days, might learn/relearn some positive habits.
I can't bring myself to opt out when things get competitive, but also can't bring myself to staying friendly when people keep snaking around or across.
Social distancing: I'll give you 1.5 to 2 metres either side of me, I won't paddle around the back of you, or paddle across in front of you to take a wave, and you do the same.

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM commented Friday, 27 Mar 2020 at 1:01pm

Is "autumnal" one of the loveliest adjectives in the English language? :)

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Friday, 27 Mar 2020 at 6:24pm

PridLESS did it again hahaha.