thermalben

Extended run of tricky surf conditions, but there'll be waves

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 3rd April)

Best Days: Sat/Sun: flukey east swell prospects but there's a few pockets of workable winds. Mon onwards: small E'ly swells with ideal winds for the points. Fri onwards: solid S'ly swells for a few days.

Recap: Small surf has padded out most beaches for the last few days, and northerly winds have created problems on the surface today (yesterday saw light morning winds and afternoon sea breezes in most spots). A new long period E’ly swell arrived today with peak swell periods just north of 16 seconds, and although we’ve seen a slight increase in size throughout the day, set waves are only just starting to push north of 2ft and near 2-3ft (see below from Coolum, a few minutes ago).

New lines of E'ly groundswell showing at Coolum 

This weekend (Apr 4 - 5)

Northerlies winds will generally cause problems across many coasts on Saturday.

A few locations should see N/NW winds at times, and the Mid North Coast is likely to experience a relaxing of wind strength into the afternoon and a possible NW thru’ W’ly change, but otherwise expect bumpy conditions at open beaches and limited options at protected northern corners. 

The new long period E’ly swell its modeled to reach a theoretical peak tomorrow (poor timing with the wind, unfortunately) and although it’s not showing especially strong right now, I don’t have any reason to downgrade the size outlook - a handful of beaches could see occasional sets in the 3ft, almost 3-4ft range. However, expect up to twenty minutes between waves, and it’ll be much smaller at protected spots. 

If you had to hedge your bets I’d probably recommend not bothering, but if you’re in the area anyway it’ll be worth a periodic check on things. Winds are the main factor working against us on Saturday.

A front will cross Southern NSW late Saturday and push up along Northern NSW and SE Qld into Sunday, swinging early SW winds (very brief window south of Ballina) to the south. 

Only a small southerly windswell will trail the change - favouring Northern NSW’s south facing beaches - and they’ll be wind affected. Otherwise Sunday’s surf will consist of easing long range, extremely inconsistent E’ly groundswell (maybe some stray 2-3ft sets early, if you’re very patient) and the start of a new mid-range E’ly swell from the supporting ridge south of TC Harold, in the Coral Sea. 

Local winds will only favour protected spots throughout the middle to latter part of the day. Therefore, because these swells are considered low confidence events, don’t go out of your way looking for waves. 

Next week (Apr 6 onwards)

A high pressure ridge will anchor across the coast for much of next week, maintaining moderate to fresh S’ly through S/SE winds. Monday should see a temporary period of lighter winds, otherwise we’ll see similar conditions from day to day, only favouring protected points with a handful of regions experiencing early morning SW winds for a few hours. 

As for surf, with the long range E’ly groundswell all but gone, we’re looking at a steady supply of very inconsistent but otherwise surfable E’ly swell from the supporting ridge below TC Harold. No major size is likely with 2-3ft sets at open beaches, and smaller waves running down the outer points, but it’ll workable if you’re super keen.

The local ridge will also generate mid-range S/SE swells though they’ll only favour south facing beaches in Northern NSW (2-3ft+ sets), and exposed northern ends of the Gold and Sunshine Coasts (2-3ft), all of which will be horribly wind affected. 

TC Harold is expected to remain behind the New Caledonian swell shadow this weekend, and upon re-entering our swell window on Monday and Tuesday, will likely move too fast to the east, which is a poor storm track for our swell prospects anyway. Therefore, I’m not expecting much surf from it (even though it’s likely to reach Cat 3 status - creating all kinds of havoc for Vanuatu).

A broad, powerful low pressure system to the south of Tasmania this weekend will set up a decent southerly swell for later Tuesday (Mid North Coast) and Wednesday (all Northern NSW coasts), though with perhaps 4ft sets at south facing beaches south of Byron, you probably won’t find anything worthwhile under the accompanying fresh southerly breeze anyway.

Later next week may also see some flukey E’ly swell from a broad and strong though poorly located depression in the South Pacific over the weekend, to the east of New Zealand. Ordinarily I’d dismiss its initial stages as a proper swell source, but the last six months has delivered a couple of good swell events from similar systems - and the latter stages look a little better for swell prospects, though still partially shadowed - so I’m keeping my options open for this. I’ll have more details on Monday once we’ve got some scatterometer returns showing how good the fetch was (or wasn’t). Early stages suggest wave heights reaching around the 4ft mark around Thursday or Friday, through the weekend. It’ll be very inconsistent if we do infact see anything arrive.

And lastly, as mentioned on Wednesday, a series of powerful fronts through the Tasman Sea later next week will set up an extended period of large, powerful southerly groundswells across the East Coast from Good Friday through the easter weekend and into the start of the following week. This is likely to generate quite a bit of size for south facing beaches south of Byron - maybe 6ft to possibly 8ft - but I’ll firm up the specifics in more detail next week.

Have a great weekend, see you Monday!

Comments

dawnperiscope's picture
dawnperiscope's picture
dawnperiscope commented Friday, 3 Apr 2020 at 8:37pm

Sunshine cam was looking like it had consistent 2/3ft most of the day today. A lot bigger than the other sunny coast cams and far fewer people. Clean too.

Ride on

B.B.Blitz's picture
B.B.Blitz's picture
B.B.Blitz commented Saturday, 4 Apr 2020 at 1:30pm

Was good , the odd rouge 4 ft one wave set too.

boatie's picture
boatie's picture
boatie commented Sunday, 5 Apr 2020 at 5:32pm

those sneaky rouge waves...

adsi's picture
adsi's picture
adsi commented Friday, 3 Apr 2020 at 9:02pm

Damn bit of a crappy autumn

curly2alex's picture
curly2alex's picture
curly2alex commented Friday, 3 Apr 2020 at 9:26pm

That’s better...keeping it real

Rockethut's picture
Rockethut's picture
Rockethut commented Saturday, 4 Apr 2020 at 10:37am

Nothing but 2ft crap on offer today....

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Saturday, 4 Apr 2020 at 10:44am

3ft sets down here but nothing worthwhile.. too northerly.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Saturday, 4 Apr 2020 at 11:06am

it's been an OK March.

a flat C.

better than the previous two.

Upcoming period looks pretty dull......which is good from the perspective of removing temptations.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Saturday, 4 Apr 2020 at 11:29am

Unless the temptation comes in brown bottles with inviting beads of cold perspiration on its flanks.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Saturday, 4 Apr 2020 at 12:40pm

Ha!

linez's picture
linez's picture
linez commented Saturday, 4 Apr 2020 at 4:09pm

That ship has already sailed......

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Saturday, 4 Apr 2020 at 4:45pm

Winds dropped this arvo and cleaned up the surf. Extremely long breaks for the sets but they were head high, slightly overhead on one or two bombs. Nothing amazing but fun on my own for an hour (before eight people joined me! So I paddled in).

benjis babe's picture
benjis babe's picture
benjis babe commented Saturday, 4 Apr 2020 at 4:55pm

our bank has been pumping for a couple of weeks now..not many on it.. fri was so fun. very surfed out

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Saturday, 4 Apr 2020 at 5:00pm

you think that's a good idea to even remotely be saying that on the internet right now?

good for you but a little discretion isn't a bad idea, now more than ever.

Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67 commented Saturday, 4 Apr 2020 at 6:54pm

Fair point FR - but I have no idea where that is, and neither does anyone else apart from you maybe

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Saturday, 4 Apr 2020 at 10:15pm

I surfed a bank today too. There, I said it!

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Saturday, 4 Apr 2020 at 7:48pm

I can remember when I was living in Byron at the peak of the shark attack years I would drive from the Pass to North Wall on a perfect 3-4 ft day and you wouldn't see a soul in the lineup.
Interesting when people lived in fear of their own life, no one surfed.
Visit a coastal surf town now and place someone else's life at risk with a virus and it's a free for all.

I'm not cheap,
But I'm free.

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Saturday, 4 Apr 2020 at 8:20pm

Clearly no-one gives a fuck on the SC. People everywhere. Family of 4 nearby, 10 car party happening. Bogan scum will be the death of us all.

Troppo's picture
Troppo's picture
Troppo commented Saturday, 4 Apr 2020 at 8:56pm

Agree Sprout. Kawana this morning had crowds bigger than Australia Day. Groups of people standing in beach walkways talking and just generally hanging out. Waves were good though....

NoUseforaName's picture
NoUseforaName's picture
NoUseforaName commented Saturday, 4 Apr 2020 at 9:26pm

Yeah but generally observing minimum distancing regulations. Slept in till 8 but wow. What a great mid morning it ‘twas. Cracking morning of waves.

Rockethut's picture
Rockethut's picture
Rockethut commented Saturday, 4 Apr 2020 at 11:54pm

100 people out at my local beachie, spread over only 1.2km of sand.

Unemployment = more beach bums
Covid = nobody cares
Stay at home = no fukin way

Halfscousehalfcockneyfullaussie's picture
Halfscousehalfcockneyfullaussie's picture
Halfscousehalfc... commented Sunday, 5 Apr 2020 at 6:29am

Trying not to be captain obvious but kids and adult sport is suspended and the first weekend of April is usually the start Of the season. So all those kids, Dads and mums who are usually at the footy and the likes are out in the water.....

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy commented Sunday, 5 Apr 2020 at 9:28am

No sport to go play, no sport to watch, no cafe's to meet friends, bars, bands etc
No surprise people are surfing and even if it were locals only, most towns will still feel crowded.

mick-free's picture
mick-free's picture
mick-free commented Sunday, 5 Apr 2020 at 8:32am

Mid north pulling in 4 footers with occasional 5 in arvo sess. buoy reading 1.2m @ 15secs this morning

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

riley.willemse's picture
riley.willemse's picture
riley.willemse commented Sunday, 5 Apr 2020 at 12:54pm

The sheeping going on is unbelievable atm. I surfed a back beach yesterday 20 out on a shitty bank with a blatant head high right hander 100m down the beach, i paddled out on my own caught 4 waves in 15 min. Nek minnit all 20 people paddle down and sat within 5m of me. I abosolutely cracked it at everyone, paddled a bit further down and 0 people came near me after that, unfortunately it has come to having to go off at people to get them to stay the fuck away. It baffles me. Meanwhile theres 200 people out at 1fr greenie. Honestly...

Rockethut's picture
Rockethut's picture
Rockethut commented Sunday, 5 Apr 2020 at 1:49pm

Agreed bru

Robo's picture
Robo's picture
Robo commented Sunday, 5 Apr 2020 at 3:35pm

Crowds are nuts on MNC. Car parks full, red necks just driving around just looking not even surfers. One young pro and his mates just hanging around. No distancing.
Like boxing and new years day. Easter will be crazy.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Sunday, 5 Apr 2020 at 6:22pm

TC Harold expected to cross Vanuatu tomorrow as a Cat 5 system. Yikes.

Dmiller's picture
Dmiller's picture
Dmiller commented Sunday, 5 Apr 2020 at 8:22pm

Possible long period ENE swell tomorrow in SE Queensland??

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Monday, 6 Apr 2020 at 12:28pm

Looking at Noosa cam it's already in the water I'd say, but forecast to build slightly this arvo and die off after tomorrow morning. Nothing huge. I'd think inconsistent 2-3ft sets (with the upper end of this size range at the SC northern end north facing beaches.

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Sunday, 5 Apr 2020 at 8:25pm

Man those poor people :-(

juegasiempre's picture
juegasiempre's picture
juegasiempre commented Monday, 6 Apr 2020 at 8:34am

Nice waves this morning. Got a couple of good ones in spite of the max level crowds, but it's never as fun when you have to hassle for waves. Looks to be the new normal given the trend of the last couple of weeks.

As a side note, I spotted a lot more mals then usual. But it could've just been more surfers in general with the mals sticking out to me.

riley.willemse's picture
riley.willemse's picture
riley.willemse commented Monday, 6 Apr 2020 at 12:25pm

You aren't wrong on the mals and now GC beaches closed because of 1000 kooks sitting together in 1ft dribble. Well done. Now time for them to flock to nth NSW and ruin it for us aswell. About time for some old school localism in ny opinion...

linez's picture
linez's picture
linez commented Monday, 6 Apr 2020 at 11:11am

Greenmount..... kidding

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Monday, 6 Apr 2020 at 1:38pm

nsw needs to close the borders before easter....why are they waiting.....?

simba

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Monday, 6 Apr 2020 at 1:46pm

From what i've seen and heard, Vanuatu is getting smashed right now. It's heavy. Thoughts to all the locals on the ground there.

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Monday, 6 Apr 2020 at 1:50pm

Slow moving also which means much more devastation.

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Monday, 6 Apr 2020 at 1:59pm

Yeah exactly Dom. And straight over the top of those Northern Islands, so they'll get walloped by both sides of it. A close friend from there has her family all there and is pretty stressed. Hard to think of anything too positive to say to her at the moment. Definitely sending good energy to them all.