Plenty of swell, but gotta work around the winds
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 5th June)
Best Days: Sat/Sun: light winds and a fun mix of SE then S'ly swells. Biggest in Northern NSW, smaller in SE Qld. Wed/Thurs: fun waves across the outer SE Qld points.
Recap: Surf size came up strong from the south on Thursday, reaching a windy 6-8ft at south facing beaches south of Byron though much smaller elsewhere, around 3ft across SE Qld outer points and bigger at south swell magnets north of the border. Winds remained out of the south so the points were the best option. Today has come in smaller than expected north of the border, with 2-3ft surf in SE Qld and slow options across the points though Northern NSW has still managed 5-6ft+ surf at south swell magnets, albeit under average conditions (again, best suited to protected locations).
This weekend (June 6-7)
Today’s under-performance in SE Qld is most likely related to a persistent southerly direction (instead of a gradual swing to the S/SE and then SE, as forecast). Peak swell periods jumped to 14 seconds just before midnight Thursday, but this wasn’t enough to counter the directional influence north of the border.
In any case, we’ve got another pulse of SE swell due to fill in from anytime about now onwards, which should provide a great morning of waves on Saturday with light variable winds keeping conditions clean.
This energy has originated from a broad strengthening of S’ly winds off the West Coast of New Zealand on Thursday, in association with a Tasman Low that formed in the lee to our mid-week southerly change. This swell direction will certainly favour Northern NSW more than SE Qld but there should be enough size and period to allow for some good waves at most coasts.
South facing beaches south of Byron should pick up 4-5ft, maybe 4-6ft sets (though they’l be pretty inconsistent) however anywhere not exposed to the south will be proportionally smaller. North of the border, outer Gold Coast points should pick up occasional 3ft sets, with bigger surf at exposed northern ends and south facing beaches. Expect a little less size across the Sunshine Coast. And again, it’ll be very inconsistent here too, so expect a log of waiting around for the best waves. Though with light winds there'll be great options across the wide open beaches anyway, so spread out and find a peak to yourself.
Wave heights will ease steadily from this source into Sunday, but a new long period S’ly groundswell will push up the Northern NSW coast during the day, generated by a polar low well below the continent over the last few days. We’ll see a building trend through the morning across the Mid North Coast but it probably won’t reach the Far North Coast until after lunch.
South facing beaches (south of Byron) should see 3-4ft sets from this south swell, which is probably a comparable size to the easing SE swell - in the morning at least, anyway. I can’t see this long period south swell making much of a dent in proceedings throughout SE Qld so expect small peaky beachies in the 2ft range on Sunday (occasional bigger waves at south swell magnets, exposed northern ends).
Next week (June 8 onwards)
A small low will develop off the Southern NSW coast on Sunday, and then move across Northern NSW on Monday. This low has been successively downgraded over the last few model runs, and therefore early next week isn’t looking terribly large in the size department. And with freshening S’ly tending SE winds, conditions won’t be great either (and it’ll be small on the points).
Low quality local southerly windswells will build across Northern NSW on Monday, and there’s a suggestion in the European model that an easterly fetch may develop on the low’s southern flank during the day, delivering a short range swell for Northern NSW on Tuesday. But model consensus is low so it’s not a confident swell right now.
The rest of the week has a couple of interesting swell sources on tap.
First, a strengthening ridge through the Coral Sea will building E/SE swells for SE Qld and Far Northern NSW from Tuesday onwards, reaching a peak later Wednesday or Thursday in the 3ft+ range. Locally fresh SE winds will however confine the only rideable options to the sheltered points.
Northern NSW will concurrently pick up a couple of pulses of small long period southerly swells, from migrating polar lows. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are all best positioned for the most size (peaking around 3-4ft), but I’ll firm up the specifics in Monday’s notes. Winds will be average for the first half of next week but from Wednesday onwards should improve as a high pressure ridge influences the region. So, flag Monday and Tuesday and aim for a surf later in the week.
We’ll also see some small long range E’ly swell from a distant system (currently in the Tahitian region) arriving around Thursday but no major size is expected due to the large travel distance. This swell will probably blend in with the mix of S’ly and E/SE swells mentioned above.
Have a great weekend!