thermalben

More energy from the east, then the synoptics get weird

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

Best Days: Fun waves all week across the open beaches. Plenty of surf from the weekend onwards but with tricky winds. 

Recap: Punchy E’ly swells maintained excellent 3-5ft surf across exposed coasts all weekend, with a strong S/SE groundswell from a Tasman Low peaking later than expected, building through Saturday and holding steadily through Sunday in the 5-6ft range south of the border. Wave heights have eased back to 3-4ft today, mainly E’ly. Winds were S’ly on Saturday but became light across most coasts yesterday and today. 

Snapper looking amazing Saturday morning

This week (Aug 4 - 7)

I’m still expecting a renewal of E/NE swell overnight, tending E'ly in the north, from a broadening E/NE fetch north of New Zealand over the weekend in conjunction with a large trough (and indeed the remnants of the Tasman Low responsible for the weekend’s S/SE energy), which is now retreating and abating. 

With this fetch best aimed towards Southern NSW, we’ll see the most size across the Mid North Coast in the 3-5ft range, grading to 3-4ft across the Northern Rivers and then an inconsistent 3ft into SE Qld. Conditions should be clean across most coasts with light to moderate W/NW tending NW winds but this may affect the points (quality-wise) if it gets up up over 10kts (which is quite possible).

Further pulses of reinforcing E’ly swell are then expected through Wednesday, Thursday and Friday - the former from the final stages of the existing trough north of New Zealand, and the latter from a broad though distant sub-tropical low well east of New Zealand. This should maintain inconsistent 3-4ft sets across most open beaches in Northern NSW mid-late week, with slightly smaller surf in SE Qld. 

Conditions should be clean with light winds Thursday, but Friday is at risk of developing onshores with a coastal trough, mainly SE Qld and Far Northern NSW (Mid North Coast may be spared these winds until Saturday). 

To our south-west, and a significant cold outbreak is approaching Tasmania and Victoria. The associated cut-off low will push into our acute south swell window late Tuesday, and form a thin fetch of gale to storm force winds off the East Coast of Tasmania into Wednesday morning, before the low slowly moves east, weakens slightly but broadens more prominently as a secondary front races up from polar latitudes. 

Initially, this low will be positioned too close to the mainland - up inside the Hunter curve - to properly benefit Northern NSW with any significant south swell. As such, whilst Thursday could see some solid surf in Southern NSW, only a few reliable south swell magnets south of Coffs will probably pick up any energy.

Friday is a little different though, as by this time the low will have broadened, and should be more efficiently generating southerly swell across the basin. An increase to 3-5ft at south swell magnets (morning Mid North Coast, late afternoon Northern Rivers) is on the cards but it’s not worth getting overly excited about at this stage, as it's a bit of a flukey system.

This weekend (Aug 8 - 9)

The secondary front mentioned above (merging with the low in the southern Tasman Sea) should maintain fun south swell all weekend across Northern NSW in the 3-4ft+ range at south facing beaches. We'll see smaller surf north of the border, up to 2ft+ at outer points and open beaches though a little bigger at exposed northern ends (smaller on the Sunny Coast). An undercurrent of residual E'ly swell should be present across all coasts too.

However, the big risk on Saturday will be developing northerly winds winds as a coastal trough envelops the region. The good news is that these northerlies will probably be brief - if they affect anywhere at all - and will clear to a moderate westerly on Sunday as Southern NSW experiences wet, windy onshore conditions under a developing East Coast Low. 

Of course, we’ll see a swell increase from this system but the main size probably won’t happen until early next week, and may be confined to southern locations. However a NE infeed into the developing trough (and eventual ECL) should provide some punchy NE tending E/NE swell on Saturday. At this stage the afternoon will be for best chance for a wave as winds should become more favourable by then. Sunday also looks fun at this stage, but we need a few more days for the models to align.

I’ll fine tune things on Wednesday. 

Next week (Aug 10 onwards)

Not only will this East Coast low deliver another region of large, wet and windy waves across the region early next week (most size across the Mid North Coast - see below - smaller as you head north), we’re also looking at another strong frontal sequence into the lower Tasman Sea around the same time, which should supply a strong secondary southerly groundswell for Northern NSW through the middle to latter part of next week.

More on this in Wednesday’s notes. 

Comments

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Monday, 3 Aug 2020 at 6:56pm

And it continues...

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

Mckenny's picture
Mckenny's picture
Mckenny commented Monday, 3 Aug 2020 at 6:59pm

Hard to pick out any se queensland forecast from those notes. Must be tiny.

Jama16's picture
Jama16's picture
Jama16 commented Tuesday, 4 Aug 2020 at 5:59am

I agree, we need more forecast about SE QLD Sunshine Coast in particular.

James Mailey

Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67 commented Tuesday, 4 Aug 2020 at 9:33am

That's easy for the Sunshine Coast. Here's the forecast, April to January - flat.

hawk's picture
hawk's picture
hawk commented Tuesday, 4 Aug 2020 at 12:36pm

Slightly smaller in south east Qld.
Winds are good waves are over 1ft. Out there.

Y

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 4 Aug 2020 at 6:12am

Really? I've just re-read the notes, and most sentences mentioning surf size/quality lists the Mid North Coast, the Northern Rivers and SE Qld with specific references. 

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Wednesday, 5 Aug 2020 at 8:41am

Good Vibes

rees0's picture
rees0's picture
rees0 commented Tuesday, 4 Aug 2020 at 8:13am

How much more specific do you blokes want it? Maybe a special forecast for each individual break.

Pretty clear from the notes the swells are better aimed at the southern end of the forecast region.

dandob's picture
dandob's picture
dandob commented Monday, 3 Aug 2020 at 7:05pm

Anyone surfing in the Yamba / Brooms Head area be aware that a dead baby humpback whale has washed up on the beach in the Yuragir national park over the weekend. In light of the recent shark activity, best to be vigilant.

_Bodhi_'s picture
_Bodhi_'s picture
_Bodhi_ commented Monday, 3 Aug 2020 at 8:16pm

sweeeeeeeet keep it coming benny!!!

dangerouskook2000's picture
dangerouskook2000's picture
dangerouskook2000 commented Monday, 3 Aug 2020 at 8:57pm

there's been a disturbing trend of excellent waves aligning with the weekends when all the wannabes and warriors can come out

Mr Underhill's picture
Mr Underhill's picture
Mr Underhill commented Tuesday, 4 Aug 2020 at 1:51am

You obviously don’t live around Ballina/Byron. It’s warriors and wannabes Monday to Sunday around here. And worse since covid. Bring on a vaccine and get all these fuckers back to work I reckon.

Redman's picture
Redman's picture
Redman commented Tuesday, 4 Aug 2020 at 5:52pm

Yeh f*ck all the kooks that cant get wet through the week,

big wave dave's picture
big wave dave's picture
big wave dave commented Monday, 3 Aug 2020 at 9:02pm

hey Ben - do you think these unseasonable swell patterns suggests a La Nina event? I know the BoM have mentioned it as a possibility in their seasonal forecasts, but I was wondering if you think there's a connection between NSWs active E/NE swell window and la Nina?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 4 Aug 2020 at 6:13am

Certainly feels like there's a correlation at the moment, though I don't have any data to verify.

tomrnoir's picture
tomrnoir's picture
tomrnoir commented Wednesday, 5 Aug 2020 at 10:21am

Had an absolute ball this morning on the Sunshine Coast. Incredibly clear water as well. Chur for that, Huey

Tristan Goose's picture
Tristan Goose's picture
Tristan Goose commented Wednesday, 5 Aug 2020 at 4:49pm

shame was 1 foot and buried by the high where I was on the SC this morning

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 5 Aug 2020 at 12:37pm

Still a reasonable size across the northern end of the Goldy.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 5 Aug 2020 at 6:23pm

Unbelievable how this swell has hung in there.