Hang in there.. relief's not far away
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 21st October)
Best Days: Mon onwards: plenty of S/SE swell and probably good condiitons for quite a few spots.
Recap: Surf conditions were quite patchy across the region on Tuesday. The Gold and Sunshine Coasts picked up hardly any surf away from exposed south facing beaches (which were wind affected), Far Northern NSW was also wind affected but saw short range S/SE swells build to 3ft+ at exposed spots, with much smaller surf running down the points. The Mid North Coast picked up similar level of S/SE swell but had much lighter winds and therefore better conditions. Small easing E'ly groundswells were also present. Today has seen surf size fall away but conditions improve as the winds eased back.
This week (Oct 22 - 23)
Looks like a couple of days of very average conditions ahead.
The synoptics are dominated by a complex pattern of low pressure troughs from the Tasman Sea all the way across the eastern states and out into South Australia.
This is expected to produce a dynamic period of weather for NSW and SE Qld, though initially not a lot of swell.
Thursday should be clean across most beaches with early light wind and afternoon sea breezes, but there’s really no worthwhile new swells on the way.
To quickly recap, we’ve still got the potential for small long period S’ly swells to grace the coastline over the coming days. The WA, SA, Vic and Tasmania buoys have all picked up peak periods around the 20 second mark over the last few days, though this was from a swell that was aimed well and truly outside of our swell window (and is traversing the Tasman Sea through to the South Pacific right now). I’m not expecting much from it over the coming 24 hours.
A second, similarly long period groundswell is due to reach Victoria overnight and it has a little more potential for Northern NSW, though its’s still a very flukey, low percentage event. Keep your eyes out for anything notable at the wave buoys through Friday and Saturday, but I doubt we’ll pick up any great surf.
On Friday, early light winds will start to ratchet up from the north as the inland trough moves closer to the coast. So, conditions are expected to become blown out across all regions into the afternoon. We’ll see a building windswell but it won’t be worth the effort.
Overall, keep your expectations low - there’s really not much surf on the way.
This weekend (Oct 24 - 25)
Overall, the weekend looks terrible at most coasts with strengthening northerly winds both days.
Again, there’s no major swell sources on the cards though we’ll see a couple of feet of peaky short range N’ly windswell at exposed spots. Model guidance does suggest a chance for an early N/NW wind across some regions early Sunday but I wouldn’t bank on there being anything worthwhile.
The only region that has any real potential this weekend is the Mid North Coast and southern parts of the Northern Rivers, on Sunday.
The main inland trough will push off the Southern NSW Coast into Saturday afternoon, driving a thin fetch of southerly gales along the Southern NSW coast overnight, reaching Sydney in the early hours of Sunday morning and then nosing into the lower Mid North Coast around dawn. This will as a minimum disrupt the northerly airstream, probably up to Coffs Harbour and maybe Yamba or Ballina if we’re super lucky. Southerly winds may also develop across the more southern regions (i.e. south from Coffs). It’s a tricky outlook so I’ll have more details on Friday.
As for surf, there’s some good south swell potential in the lee of this trough, but not until Monday.
Therefore, the best we can hope for on Sunday is a more favourable wind regime, and some peaky leftover N’ly windswell at exposed beaches across the more southern parts of the Northern NSW coast.
Elsewhere, it’s a grim outlook indeed.
Next week (Oct 26 onwards)
An impressive trailing fetch behind Sunday’s trough will become established across the lower Tasman Sea from Sunday into Monday. However, the surf and wind potential for Northern NSW - and especially SE Qld - is not yet clear.
Although the fetch is expected to stretch from Southern NSW to New Zealand (see below), the trough looks to stall near the lower Mid North Coast. Beyond this the guidance is unclear.
The US model pushes the trough to the south, maintaining a decent fetch but slowly pushing it out of our swell window. On the other hand, the European solution forms a small ECL along the trough line on Monday, driving a more prominent southerly change along the Northern NSW coast and then establishing strong primary Tasman Low midway between the South Coast and New Zealand.
Either options has plenty of strong surf for Northern NSW, but the US solution has a short burst of energy whilst the EU solution looks much more dynamic. As such there’s still a fair bit of uncertainty as to wave heights, swell duration and local winds for all regions next week.
Also in the water early next week (across Northern NSW) will be a fresh southerly groundswell, sourced from a deep polar low and front pushing under Tasmania around the same time the trough crosses into the Tasman Sea (into Sunday.
We’ll also see a building ridge through the South Pacific over the weekend generate some background E’ly swell for our region next week, however these most recent upgrades for the Tasman Sea has diverted some of the atmospheric strength from the tropics to the sub-tropics, so all of our attention is now focused towards our near swell window. That's a good thing, despite the uncertainty.
Anyway, the main point ids that we’ve got plenty of swell from the S/SE quadrant next week, and the pesky northerlies will be gone. So even if we don’t see much size north from the border, conditions will be favourable.
See you Friday!