A few more days of southerly energy, then a dynamic outlook for next week
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 6th July)
Best Days: Tues/Wed/Thurs: plenty of S'ly swell with good winds for protected locations. Looking best for SE Qld on Thurs, though stil generally small. Fri: light winds, easing swells. Sat/Sun: small surf, good conditions. Next week: possible ECL off Southern NSW.
Recap: Saturday delivered tiny residual leftovers across the coast, maxing out at 1-1.5ft at exposed spots south of the border. Two new S’ly swells built on Sunday; the first originated from a S/SE fetch off the Mid North Coast on Saturday, and provided 2-3ft waves to Far Northern NSW and SE Qld’s exposed northern ends, whilst a second S’ly swell from a front in the lower Tasman Sea increased south facing beaches on the Mid North Coast from 3ft in the morning to 4-5ft during the afternoon. This second swell peaked across remaining Northern NSW and SE Qld coasts early today, though the S’ly swell direction created a wide range in wave heights. Some south swell magnets in SE Qld (i.e. D’Bah, see below) were well overhead at dawn, but the outer points came in much smaller with slow 2ft+ sets tops, and long flat spells. Elsewhere, Northern NSW saw 4-5ft sets with a slight easing trend into the afternoon. Following on from all-day westerlies Saturday, winds have been up from the south over the last two days, with early mornings offering periods of SW winds.
This week (July 7 - 10)
A ridge across the East Coast will maintain southerly quadrant winds for the next three days (two, south from Yamba). We’ll see periods of SW winds early mornings, even a few isolated pockets out of the west, but for the most part expect moderate southerlies.
As for surf, today’s S’ly swell will ease a fraction into Tuesday but should still remain strong south from Byron with 3-4ft+ sets at south facing beaches, smaller elsewhere. Don’t expect much size in SE Qld away from south facing beaches and exposed northern ends (occasional 2ft, nearly 2-3ft sets, tho’ wind affected throughout the days); the outer points and most open beaches will be smaller and very inconsistent.
On Wednesday, we’ll see the arrival of two overlapping south swells throughout the day, generated by a deep polar low that pushed up underneath Tasmania today and will tonight project a strong front through the lower Tasman Sea. The two swells will probably arrive through the morning across the Mid North Coast, but won’t reach the Far North Coast and SE Qld until the afternoon. So, expect a lag on the building trend in these locations through the morning.
The models have slightly weakened the core fetch from this system so I’m pulling back wave heights a smidge from Friday's projected size, and estimate we’ll see a peak at south facing beaches (south of Byron) in the 4-5ft+ range. Of course, beaches not directly open to the south will be much smaller, and we’ll see smaller surf again throughout SE Qld.
However, as the developing storm track will be through the eastern Tasman Sea over the coming days, we’ll see a little more S/SE in the swell direction and this should favour some nice waves across the outer points. Thursday looks to be the biggest beneficiary, with size likely to hold 2-3ft; it’ll be larger at south facing beaches and exposed northern ends, though if anything expect a little less size on the Sunny Coast compared to the Gold Coast.
Winds will start to ease back by Thursday south of Yamba so expect really nice conditions across the Mid North Coast, though lingering S’lies are likely north for Ballina, favouring the points.
Wave heights will probably ease into Thursday afternoon and then continue the downwards trend into Friday, still just enough to keep SE Qld busy with small waves but best suited to Northern NSW with occasional 3ft+ sets at south swell magnets.
This weekend (July 11 - 12)
Our south swell window will become quiet through the middle to patter part of this week, which means small surf from this direction for the weekend.
Small long period S’ly swells generated on the periphery of our far swell window may generate small waves for south facing beaches south of Byron - perhaps 1-2ft sets - but nothing amazing is expected.
In actual fact, a building ridge through the Coral Sea and a second, weaker ridge through the Northern Tasman Sea should generate some peaky E’ly swell for SE Qld and Far Northern NSW this weekend, that may end up being quite OK. No major size is likely but occasional 2ft sets are possible at the wide open beaches.
Conditions should be clean with light winds both days, though there is a northerly risk for parts of Northern NSW on Saturday.
Next week (July 13 onwards)
We’ve got some dynamic weather on the way for next week, with an approaching upper cold pool expected to deepen a surface trough along the NSW coast early next week, probably bringing about an East Coast Low from around late Monday or Tuesday.
Initially suggestions are for a building E/NE swell on Monday thanks to a tropical infeed from the Coral Sea (into the developing low), ahead of an explosive short range S’ly swell for Tuesday and/or Wednesday - though the largest surf is likely to be found in Southern NSW from this system, with much smaller surf north from here (and especially throughout SE Qld).
Model guidance suggests the eastern flank of the low will remain very active through this period so E’ly swells are still a possibility through the middle of next week - though it’s very early days. And in any case, we’re likely to cop some pretty wild weather too. So, don't go planning anything just yet.
The main reason this system is being discussed at such long range is because the models have been confident on the broader setup of this pattern for quite a few days now, so confidence is becoming stronger that we’ve got a significant weather/swell event on the way.
More on this in Wednesday’s update.