Bit o' wind and swell on the way, with plenty of good surf days

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

Best Days: Thurs: large S'ly swell in Northern NSW, though with gusty S'ly winds. Good a'noon options on SE Qld outer points. Fri: easing swells tending S/SE, with S'ly winds, ideal for outer points everywhere. Sat/Sun: really nice SE swell (smaller in SE Qld) with light winds. Biggest early Sat, sasing Sun.

Recap: Unfortunately, Tuesday’s expected small E/SE swell was essentially a no-show. Most beaches struggled to reach much more than a lazy 1ft, though conditions were clean with offshore winds. Today has seen tiny conditions in SE Qld to begin with, and small S’ly swells in Northern NSW around 2ft+, building to 3-4ft through the day. Winds have been offshore so conditions have been smooth, but anywhere not open to the south has been a lot smaller. Most SE Qld beaches were very small but south facing beaches (like D'Bah) saw 3ft sets through the afternoon (see below).

Wednesday afternoon sets at D’bah

This week (June 4 - 5)

We’re at the cusp of the next phase of south swell, which will dominate the next few days. Sourced primarily from a strong front that pushed through the lower Tasman Sea today (originating from polar latitudes), we’ll then see secondary energy from a developing Tasman Low off New Zealand’s West Coast. 

The upshot of this is a peak in S’ly swell throughout Thursday morning (unruly 6ft, maybe 6-8ft south facing beaches south of Byron), though it’ll be much smaller at anywhere not open to the south. Winds will be fresh southerly for the most part so protected corners/points will be your only option for a wave. 

SE Qld will pick up a reasonable percentage of size from this south swell, building to 3ft+ across the outer Gold Coast points during the day (possibly undersized early) with much bigger though very wind affected waves at exposed northern ends and south facing beaches. The Sunny Coast will likely come in a little smaller. 

There’s a slim chance for early SW winds across one or two locations, but the broader synoptic flow looks to be fresh southerly all day so it’s really only worth aiming for sheltered locations. 

On Friday, we’ll see the S’ly swell ease back but the surf will be reinforced by a new S/SE swell from the latter stages of the front and the early stages of a developing Tasman Low, off the West Coast of New Zealand (ahead of a peak on Saturday). This slight swing in the swell direction should do improve size prospects a little more for SE Qld (compared to Thursday) though with persistent S’ly winds it’ll still be outer-points only. 

If anything, we may see a little more size north of the border on Friday with 3-4ft sets at outer SE Qld points (bigger but wind affected northern ends, much smaller inner points). Northern NSW will ease back from Thursday but south facing beaches are likely to remain in the 5-6ft+ range (smaller elsewhere, of course). 

Winds will ease through the day, and anywhere south from Yamba should be under a light SW breeze for the most part so there’ll be plenty of quality options right up and down the coast. 

This weekend (June 6-7)

The whole weekend’s looking very good for waves. 

Initially, we’ll see one final push of energy from this weather sequence, it’s due to arrive from late Friday into Saturday, sourced from the core of the Tasman Low off New Zealand’s West Coast.

The low is expected to reach peak intensity on Thursday morning (see below), and although not perfectly aimed towards our region, will generate a useful spread of SE swell that should maintain 4-5ft, maybe 4-6ft sets at exposed south facing beaches south of Byron (smaller elsewhere) and 3-4ft sets across the outer Gold Coast points, a little smaller on the Sunshine Coast around 3ft+, with smaller waves across the inner points but the odd bigger set across exposed northern ends. 

Conditions look great with generally light variable winds all days across all coasts. 

This SE swell will ease a little into Sunday, so most locations will see a slow drop in size but there should still be workable options across most coasts. Additionally, south swell magnets in Northern NSW will pick up a brand new long period S’ly groundswell, having been generated by a deep though poorly aligned polar low/front well below the continent on Thursday.

There’s been a downgrade in the strength, duration and northern-extent of this system so I’m pulling back my size estimates for this swell as it reaches a peak across most coasts throughout Sunday (peaking into the afternoon). South facing beaches south of Byron should see very inconsistent 3-4ft sets, with smaller waves elsewhere. 

As for conditions, at this stage it’s looking like a weak pressure gradient will remain across the coast, keeping us with light winds and therefore it’ll be nice and clean.

Get out and amongst it!

Next week (June 8 onwards)

A developing surface low off Southern NSW on Sunday will bring gusty Southerly winds to Northern NSW throughout Monday and a decent increase in new swell, though it’ll be short lived. I'm not expecting much quality from this system.

However, we’re looking at a strong ridge building through the Coral Sea in the wake of the change and this will keep most locations (north of Yamba) under fresh SE winds for most of next week. The upside is that there’ll be plenty of small summeresque trade swell for SE Qld’s outer points but it won’t be of any great quality. 

Lighter winds south of Yamba next week should be able to be capitalise on with a series of new long period S’ly swells generated by migrating polar lows below Tasmania (over the weekend). No great size is expected, but the combination of this south swell and the trade swell should provide workable beachies.

More on this in Friday’s update.


thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Thursday, 4 Jun 2020 at 9:44am

Decent sized roll-throughs at D'Bah, and some tide bowls in the corner too.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Thursday, 4 Jun 2020 at 12:45pm

That's a lotta sand at Rainbow.

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout Thursday, 4 Jun 2020 at 12:53pm

Jeez Snapper looks fun on a lid right now.

surfiebum's picture
surfiebum's picture
surfiebum Thursday, 4 Jun 2020 at 2:06pm

Shame the early high tide is going to swallow everything up tomorrow morning... Stupid work getting in the way of the important things...

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude Thursday, 4 Jun 2020 at 5:07pm

Buoys appear to be on the down already.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Thursday, 4 Jun 2020 at 5:09pm

yeah swell dropped off pretty quickly through the afternoon.

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude Thursday, 4 Jun 2020 at 5:38pm

Was expecting things to hold firm this arvo and overnight. Guess not.
See what tomorrow brings

Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67 Thursday, 4 Jun 2020 at 5:15pm

Looked okay at dawn, gone by 10. Hopefully a bit more east in it tomorrow.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Friday, 5 Jun 2020 at 9:29am

wow, that was a real nothing burger of a swell.

I won't even look at the Ballina report.

adsi's picture
adsi's picture
adsi Friday, 5 Jun 2020 at 10:33am

Yeh don't, whole coast looks garbage and I wasted my time looking cos of a good report. Dunno where the ballina report guy was looking.
Would love to know why 2 weeks back we had epic 6ft south swell and this one is rubbish?

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg Friday, 5 Jun 2020 at 9:37am

Not sure if it's a new phase of swell, but much better down here this morning. Cleaner and more organised, size about the same but definitely feathering more on the outer banks today.

tiger's picture
tiger's picture
tiger Friday, 5 Jun 2020 at 10:42am

Yes. Solid and clean where I was, and that was at a non exposed to the south beach. Lot of closeouts, but the odd section. Based on what's happening here I thought the Le-Ba zone would've been on the cook!

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Friday, 5 Jun 2020 at 12:41pm

yesterday was that bog standard pushy, windy 5-6ft S swell, and the arse dropped out of in the afternoon.
wind swell look by dark. sweepy.

this morning was still ratty, lumpy, bumpy 4ft.....sort of a swell buried in the mess.

And fucking ridiculously crowded. It was Open Day for Euros and tourists after the corona shutdown.
carparks full of vans.

The corona crowds have been voluminous but mostly local, skilled crowds. Tough but fair.
It was back to that kooky, clueless, confounding crowd.

South wind came up again just as the tide was dropping and ripped it up, but there wasn't much to rip up anyway.

Crowd kept building even as the surf turned to shitt.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Friday, 5 Jun 2020 at 12:43pm

and the high tide last night and pushy wind swell took what was a ruler edged bank and smeared it out everywhere like a kid with a crayon.

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout Friday, 5 Jun 2020 at 1:32pm