thermalben

Nothing of interest short term, though long term has options

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 20th November)

Best Days: Sat/Sun: small morning beachies in SE Qld and Far Northern NSW. 

Recap: Easing S/SE swells managed small waves across the outer SE Qld points on Thursday, though open beaches were a mess and there wasn’t anything worthwhile in Northern NSW. Small residual surf has persisted today with light winds through the morning, and freshening NE breezes this afternoon. 

This weekend (Nov 21 - 22)

Saturday looks OK on the surface in a few regions with light variable winds, but we’ll see northerlies elsewhere. The Mid North Coast (well, at least the lower part) should see some influence from a stalled trough moving across Southern NSW today, that should allow the existing NE flow to become light and variable. And we’ll see the same slack synoptics across SE Qld, but between Byron and Coffs there’s a risk for northerlies at some point.

Not that it matters much anyway, as there won’t be much surf around. A weak ridge through the northern Tasman Sea will supply slow, weak surf in the 1-2ft range across SE Qld and Far Northern NSW with not much energy reaching anywhere south from here. Small residual swells are expected elsewhere. 

On Sunday, the synoptic northerly will start to freshen again (though quite delayed across SE Qld) and this will destroy conditions south from Yamba, without any notable new swell in the water either. SE Qld and Far Northern NSW should see a window of opportunity through the early morning, with small persistent E’ly swells again in the 1-2ft range. Expect northerlies to crop up through the afternoon. 

Either way, keep your expectations very low both days. 

Next week (Nov 23 onwards)

Well, Sunday’s troughy pattern is still expected to develop into an impressive Tasman Low on Monday, but it’s expected to be whisked quickly to the east (see below). This will reduce its size potential for the East Coast though we should see a couple of days of waves from it. 

Monday looks terrible everywhere with small residual surf and freshening northerly winds, and a southerly change will extend along the coast on Tuesday, building local windswells in its wake. There’s a chance for a brief window of small N’ly windswell and favourable winds (for southern ends) across some regions on Tuesday but I’m not confident on the specifics right now. I’ll have a better idea in Monday’s updated notes.

Tuesday’s southerly change will be associated with the developing Tasman Low, and it will generate some local windswell but ultimately the quality won’t be high thanks to the acute southerly direction and low period. As such, sheltered spots will be very small through the afternoon and into Wednesday, including the outer SE Qld points (who enjoy this wind the best). So again, keep your expectations very low through this period.

As the S’ly windswell eases through Wednesday, it’ll be replaced with a SE swell originating from a seperate fetch on the southern flank of the (eastward-tracking) Tasman Low. Ordinarily, a stationary low with these characteristics would be worthy of 6ft sets somewhere in NSW, but the fact that it’ll track away from the mainland significantly dilutes its potential, so I think sets in and around the 3ft mark are likely across Northern NSW sometime late Wednesday and into Thursday. I'll firm up size/timing on Monday. Winds look OK across the Mid North Coast but could be an issue north from Yamba under a freshening SE breeze.

SE Qld won’t do as well from this (size wise), so expect small surf on the outer points under a moderate to fresh SE breeze (thanks to an unrelated ridge developing through the Coral Sea). 

Elsewhere, and there’s an interesting Southern Ocean low passing underneath Tasmania on Monday that has the potential for a decent (though acute) south swell around Wed/Thurs too, in Northern NSW. I’ll take a closer look at this in Monday’s notes. 

Later next week is showing broad troughy signs for the Coral Sea and there is good easterly swell potential for next weekend and the following week. Additionally, the long range has a strong, active frontal sequence through the Tasman Sea during the following week, suggesting a sustained run of decent southerly groundswell for Northern NSW. 

So, hang in there, and have a great weekend!

Comments

_benno's picture
_benno's picture
_benno commented Friday, 20 Nov 2020 at 6:52pm

Thanks as always Ben. Easterly swell on the horizon is always welcome reading for me.

Troppo's picture
Troppo's picture
Troppo commented Friday, 20 Nov 2020 at 9:05pm

Cheers for the forecast Ben!

I'm ever the optimist, but appreciating your healthy dose of reality in the forecasts lately.
Hoping for a few fun sessions ahead.

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Friday, 20 Nov 2020 at 10:23pm

How good was Autumn/Winter this year, faaaaark.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Saturday, 21 Nov 2020 at 6:16am

autumn/winter/spring

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude commented Saturday, 21 Nov 2020 at 7:58pm

Such a treat to be surfing so much in spring. Conditions have been sublime and such mild ambient temps.

Here’s hoping it’s one of those Decembers where the small-fun sized tradeswell train kicks into gear and continues for weeks as they can do.

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Saturday, 21 Nov 2020 at 9:33am

Spring has only just sprung. Summer won’t be here until Late Jan early Feb IMO.

Interesting super long period 20sec + showed on the multi spectral yesterday arvo/evening. Presume it’s from something way around to the SW of the continent earlier in the week?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Saturday, 21 Nov 2020 at 9:42am

From Monday’s notes:

“Also worth mentioning that a small flukey long period south swell may glance exposed south swell magnets (south of Byron) on Friday, originating from a powerful albeit poorly aligned cut-off low well south of the continent over the coming days. Very strong winds around the low are likely to generate swell periods in excess of 19-20 seconds, but most of the swell generation will occur inside the Tasmanian swell shadow and will also be off-axis from our swell window. So I’m not really expecting anything from it, but it’s worth keeping an eye on the buoys for signs of life.”

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Saturday, 21 Nov 2020 at 4:27pm

Good call Ben. But they missed Wed notes?

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Saturday, 21 Nov 2020 at 10:01am

nothing showed on the beaches from it.

brevil's picture
brevil's picture
brevil commented Saturday, 21 Nov 2020 at 10:10am

water temp down today , some fun ones at dawn

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Saturday, 21 Nov 2020 at 6:27pm

was actually some stray sets today that seemed a little suspiciously too long period for the prevailing weak surf.

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Sunday, 22 Nov 2020 at 6:47am

Agreed Steve. I thought the exact same thing looking at the ocean a few times yesterday morning.