Next week looking pretty fun
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 23rd October)
Best Days: Mon: building swells in Northern NSW (only small SE Qld) with gusty S/SW winds, reasonable potential for waves at semi-protected points, especially across southern regions. Tues: strong SE swells, biggest in Northern NSW, smaller in SE Qld, though tricky winds. Wed: light winds, strong though easing SE swells.
Recap: Small weak surf has padded out most open beaches over the last two days, especially throughout SE Qld, though a couple of south swell magnets in Northern NSW have picked up stray 2ft+ sets from a flukey south swell. Morning winds have been light ahead of afternoon sea breezes.
This weekend (Oct 24 - 25)
No change to the weekend forecast.
We’ve got freshening northerly for Saturday that’ll wipe out surface conditions just about everywhere. With no significant new swell sources on the radar, it’s not worth getting excited about.
On Saturday evening, a low pressure trough currently over SA and moving east will push into the south-western Tasman Sea, driving a vigorous southerly change across the Southern NSW coast before dawn, reaching the lower Mid North Coast around sunrise.
It’s timing across Northern NSW still isn’t confident, but it’s very likely that we’ll see northerly winds persist across SE Qld all of Sunday, possibly much of the Northern Rivers too (though model guidance is split, some models have the change pushing up into Far Northern NSW during the late afternoon).
What there is more confidence of is a pocket of light winds ahead of the trough, and a southerly breeze in its wake, which should reach Port Macquarie by mid-morning and then Coffs Harbour by early afternoon. Though, with very little surf on offer - perhaps a couple of feet of low quality N’ly windswell at exposed beaches - it’s really not worth worrying about.
Strong to gale force S’ly winds in the lee of the trough will initially sit inside the shadow of the Hunter curve on Sunday morning, so southerly swell prospects are slim for Sunday - at best, south swell magnets south from Coffs might pick up some 3ft sets but these locations are more likely to be wind affected from accompanying southerly breezes.
Overall, keep your expectations low all weekend.
Next week (Oct 26 onwards)
We’ve got an extended run of strong SE swell for Northern NSW, and SE Qld should also pick up some fun waves next week.
Northern NSW will also pick up some S’ly groundswell from an impressive polar low under Tasmania this weekend, but it’ll be the less dominant swell of the two. And a modest trade flow around New Zealand longitudes (and further east) will supply a small undercurrent of (impossible to detect) E’ly swell too.
As for the local synoptics, Sunday’s change will stall off the Northern NSW coast on Monday, extending southerly winds into the Gold Coast during the morning though maybe not until the afternoon across the Sunshine Coast (again, the timing on this is unclear).
A stationary SE fetch on the southern flank of the trough - extending all the way back to New Zealand - will be best aimed into Southern NSW, but we’ll see a spread of SE swell up across Northern NSW. This fetch will slowly strengthen into Tuesday (see chart below) before gradually easing from Wednesday, though its strongest phase will be aimed just south of our region, before gently rotating counter-clockside out of our swell window.
As such we’re looking at smaller wave heights with increasing northerly latitude. Fortunately, this will be a relatively long-lived swell event, and with local winds easing steadily through Tuesday, to become light and variable by Wednesday, there’ll be plenty of fun waves at many coasts.
Size should build through Monday (with windy conditions), peaking Tues/Wed, reaching 5-6ft+ across the Lower Mid North Coast, then 4-5ft through to the Northern Rivers, with 3-4ft surf across far Northern NSW. SE Qld will see smaller surf thanks to the coastal alignment swinging away to the northwest, so expect 3ft+ surf at exposed northern ends of the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, and 2ft+ surf on the outer points. Protected locations will be very small.
The upwards phase through Monday and Tuesday across Northern NSW will be accompanied by gusty S/SW winds so protected spots and sheltered points will be your best option, and they'll be smaller in size than exposed northern ends.
Wave heights will ease everywhere from Wednesday afternoon onwards, and at this stage northerlies are scheduled to make an appearance on Thursday.
The long term outlook maintains a small supply of east swell for our region later next week and into the weekend, as the SE energy continue to steadily ease.
Have a great weekend, see you Monday!