thermalben

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.

Small leftovers today

OT: how was Margs this morning? (take a close look).. frame grab from our live surfcam

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!

Comments

Troppo's picture
Troppo's picture
Troppo commented Wednesday, 21 Oct 2020 at 8:50pm

The headline sounds optimistic, but the Sunshine Coast forecast shows northerly winds EVERY day and no swell bigger than two feet for the next two weeks. Time to get creative...

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 21 Oct 2020 at 8:54pm

Not quite. Model data for Mon/Tues/Wed is more light variable morning winds with a'noon sea breezes. Not epic, but reasonably good for this time of the year. 

But, as per the notes, things are tricky for next week and the situation will continue to evolve over the coming days.

Fluiddreams's picture
Fluiddreams's picture
Fluiddreams commented Thursday, 22 Oct 2020 at 8:07am

This is when a wave pool would come in handy.....

boogiefever's picture
boogiefever's picture
boogiefever commented Thursday, 22 Oct 2020 at 2:24pm

Theres one on melbourne..... Go visit it.

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Thursday, 22 Oct 2020 at 5:23pm

Right on.

Troppo's picture
Troppo's picture
Troppo commented Thursday, 22 Oct 2020 at 8:52pm

Agree. I would happily pay for a few waves after a period of northerly windslop.

groovie's picture
groovie's picture
groovie commented Thursday, 22 Oct 2020 at 6:32am

SUP on the lake & pushy for the nxt 3days hey Ben. Monday /Tuesday looks the goods!

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 12:05pm

Today was super fun and came in well above expectations.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 12:20pm

Which coast? How big was it?

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 12:54pm

Around your neck of the woods Ben. Inconsistent but the odd 2ft+ set. Pulsed for 15-20min at one stage with maybe the odd set close to 3ft.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 12:57pm

Interesting, didn't see anything remotely worthwhile this AM. I assume it's that flukey south swell?

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 1:12pm

Looked/felt more E'ly to me, but then again wave buoys looking more south swell, and the location I surfed def does pick up south swell.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 1:18pm

Ain't nothing happening on the Goldy so much have been S swell. Also, these (very) long period S swells do often look more E'ly in direction at the coast because they've swung in from such a long way offshore. It's the shorter period S swells that tend to move sideways up the beach (or down, from the N). 

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 1:33pm

Fair point although not much size difference between inshore and offshore Tweed Wave Buoys so swell must have some easterly component to it. (S/SE perhaps?)

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 1:43pm

Long period S'ly swell noted in Southern NSW FC Notes comments yesterday (including some pics from Newy) which adds further evidence to it being a south swell. Lack of size on Gold/Sunny Coast also an indicator.

Sure, there could be some stray E'ly sets in the water, but I'm doubtful it's the same small long period energy that arrived last Sunday and peaked Monday, sourced from below Tahiti (i.e. that wasn't a 5-6 day swell event).

I'm always reluctant to arribute any swell to a particular direction without a source. 

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 12:10pm

5 mornings this week with five offshores in a row.

small fun surf but for late October it's like a dream.

I noticed those sets yesterday evening rock fishing Don.

that background E swell won't quit.

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 12:56pm

I noticed the uptick in swell period on the boys yesterday arvo. Wasn’t sure if this morning would have some Nly scarring. It had some but for a brief window early-mid morning it disappeared and the swell pulsed so it started to really get fun then.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 1:24pm

it was clean as a whistle here, same as almost every other morning this week.

deffo background E/ESE swell.

the rock platform I fished yesterday is very exposed and a very good indicator of swell direction, even if long period S swell changes the "apparent" direction.

burleigh's picture
burleigh's picture
burleigh commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 1:54pm

100% E/ESE swell on the Goldy. occasional 2footers across the coast this morning.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 1:57pm

You sure? I've just scanned the Burleigh, Greenmount and Kirra replays and in addition to there being hardly anyone in the lineup, there's hardly any rideable waves. 

burzum's picture
burzum's picture
burzum commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 6:27pm

Can confirm. There were ridable waves this morning. Thanksfulyl the cams don't show everything!! Water was near empty.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 2:08pm

E'ly swell peaked Wed here.

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 2:45pm

I was at a Qld swell magnet from Mon arvo to Wed lunch time and that long period E'ly swell def peaked Tuesday there. Oh and BTW, I wasn't surfing at an east facing location, so def not that local south swell that Ben refers to below that i was surfing.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 2:24pm

The E'ly swell arrived Sun, peaked Mon, eased Tues.

Tues/Wed saw a building local swell from the charts below, and is reflected at the buoys by a peak in short period energy (Tweed inshore buoy says E/SE, though we've discussed the directional issues with this buoy before - Tweed offshore has S/SE direction).

Thurs/Fri also saw a small underlying S'ly swell from the Southern Ocean source.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 2:39pm

Tues and Wed were both under-called in the report by a fair margin.

I've got photos of set waves Wed morning to back this up, but I would prefer not to post them.
They clearly show straight E swell from distal sources. Overhead sets.

Anyhow, we've been down this road many times before.

You'll defend until you're blue in the face despite multiple eye-witness reports from experienced sources.

boogiefever's picture
boogiefever's picture
boogiefever commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 10:05pm

Photos or it didnt happen....

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 2:50pm

Wednesday surf report was 2-3ft Ballina, S/SE.

Wednesday surfcam replays from Burleigh show a dozen surfers in the lineup (including a few SUPs), with small surf, clean with light winds.

If it were 'overhead from the east', it would have been packed. 

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 3:43pm

Not if the swell was unexpected and very incon due to long range source.

ie if it went under the radar and there was no surf cam to broadcast it.

Just like the Easter Monday swell which came up unexpectedly in the afternoon and was thus uncrowded.
Just like the Feb 28 straight S groundswell which flew under the radar and was thus uncrowded.
AndyM will remember that one.

Anyway, this is pointless. I know what I saw and surfed and experienced while rock fishing.
And have photos to prove it.

burzum's picture
burzum's picture
burzum commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 6:29pm

It was smaller on the goldie. I surfed chest high waves on Wednesday morning. Was fun. Sounds like your neck of the woods was a bit bigger though. Interesting given the swell direction.

boogiefever's picture
boogiefever's picture
boogiefever commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 10:07pm

Photos or it didnt happen....

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 3:54pm

Eh?

Our surfcam replays allow users to scroll through every single minute of the day. It's a great tool to evaluate what the surf was like throughout the day.

In my experience, clean, overhead easterly swells on the Gold Coast - no matter how inconsistent - don't fly under the radar. 

Here's quick snapshots at 6am, 7am, 8am, 9am. There's only two or three blokes in the water by 8am, by 9am there's just a handful of crew surfing the shorey.



simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 5:14pm

years ago checked angas and it was flat...dead flat,drove up to ballina to see someone and ended up surfing trestles at 3-5ft beautiful waves,thought it must be cranking back at anga but when we got back it was still flat as.......fuknose

simba

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 5:38pm

Sounds like a flukey south swell!

wally's picture
wally's picture
wally commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 6:12pm

I was staying at a beachfront unit overlooking Rainbow Bay on Wednesday and had a surf. It was all very pleasant but I can’t recall a wave over waist high.

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 6:57pm

Refraction of south swells can happen a long way out and give the appearance of East swells, just like Ben said. You wouldn't see the swell changing direction from a land based observation point. Would happen way further out. Like stated above, it's the shorter period stuff you can see running on an angle from the south along the beaches. Having said that i'm only going by the photos, which pretty clearly show the Goldy missed out meaning the swell decayed somewhere around the corner out to sea....to the south.

boogiefever's picture
boogiefever's picture
boogiefever commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 10:11pm

6ft plus this arvo on the sets at boiling pot.....nor-west swell. saw it with my own eyes. I have the pics but dont want to show them..... Its a secret spot.
3m flattys on the chew from the rocks also.....