Fun beachie days for exposed spots short term
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 25th November)
Best Days: Thurs/Fri: fun though inconsistent SE swells (biggest Northern NSW, small in SE Qld). Good winds through the mornings.
Recap: Tuesday delivered a fun N/NE windswell across some exposed regions, with early light winds becoming fresh southerly through the day. Exposed parts of the Gold and Tweed Coast picked up 2-3ft sets but it was smaller elsewhere, and size eased through the day. Today has seen modest southerly swells from the fetch trailing Tuesday’s S’ly change, up to 3ft+ at south facing beaches south of Byron, though much smaller in SE Qld, just 1-1.5ft at most locations and occasional 2ft+ at south swell magnets. Size has eased through the day at most locations. Winds have been generally light through the morning with moderate afternoon sea breezes, though the Sunny Coast saw moderate to fresh S/SE winds lingering all day. Southern NSW saw a decent increase in new SE swell today however it’s not really showing across Northern NSW as yet.
This week (Nov 26 - 27)
Today’s new SE swell throughout Southern NSW saw solid, well defined sets in the 3ft range into the afternoon, which bodes well for Northern NSW tomorrow, as the fetch was aimed pretty well towards all regions.
Model guidance actually strengthens the swell periods from Thursday into the whole of Friday - suggesting the last day of the working week will see the most size, which is plausible given the slow evolution of the responsible Tasman Low, though I suspect we’ll probably see a slight easing trend through the day.
Anyway, we’re probably looking at a peak somewhere in the 3ft+ range at exposed beaches south of Byron (both days) though expect long breaks between waves. Southern ends and protected spots will be smaller. Surf size in SE Qld won’t be as high as Northern NSW, probably 1-2ft across the outer points and 2-3ft at exposed northern ends and south swell magnets.
As it stands, Friday looks to be the best day of the short term period, wind-wise. Both mornings will see light variable winds but we’re looking at freshening NE breezes from late Thursday morning/lunchtime across most regions, and it’ll become moderate to fresh at times south of about Ballina (not as bad north of the border, though). Friday morning should see a longer spell of light variable winds, and the afternoon breeze should be marginally weaker than Thursday.
This weekend (Nov 28 - 29)
It’s still looking to be a mostly northerly-wind affected weekend for Northern NSW, affecting SE Qld on Sunday.
Swell sources look patchy too. Our Thurs/Fri SE swell will be easing by Saturday so I’m not expecting much size in SE Qld, and only small 2ft+ leftovers in Northern NSW early morning, becoming tiny by lunchtime.
Model guidance is still showing a sharp, defined southerly swell front nosing into the lower Tasman Sea on Friday, associated with the early stages of a deep low below the continent, when it was tucked in behind the Tasmanian swell shadow.
Our surf model is picking up a foot of S/SW groundswell at 15 seconds (Coffs Harbour, Saturday AM), but I’m not really confident it’ll translate to much, away from one or two reliable exposed south swell magnets along the Mid North Coast, where we might see stray 2ft sets by the afternoon. As such, keep your expectations low from this source, but definitely keep an eye out for signs of life.
Another small south swell is then due Sunday, originating from the primary section of the Southern Ocean frontal progression underneath Tasmania on Thursday. Again, this is a fleeting, low confidence event and I’ll be surprised if we see much more than a couple of feet at south swell magnets south of the border.
And lastly, thanks to the eagle eye of dawnperiscope in Monday’s FC Notes comments (thanks mate!), there’s one last swell source showing up for the weekend, which previously slipped through the net. It’s a tiny long period E’ly swell generated by a deep sub-tropical low well south-east of Tahiti last weekend. The enormous travel distance - almost seven and half thousand kilometres over seven or eight days - will probably negate any chance of rideable surf, but it’ll be worth keeping an eye out for stray 1ft, maybe 1-2ft waves at exposed beaches.
Anyway, SE Qld and perhaps the very Far Northern NSW region should be spared any strength in the northerly on Saturday (until late in the day, anyway), so there’ll be small slow waves at the open beaches I don’t think it’ll be anything special. Most of Northern NSW should see a brief window of light N/NW winds but it’ll quickly pick up from the north and write off conditions at open beaches.
Sunday looks pretty average just about everywhere, and the local N’ly wind will probably generate some low quality windswell for all coasts.
The only feature to keep an eye on in the synoptic is a fast-northward traveling trough across Southern NSW, that’s recently appears in the models for Sunday afternoon (and has been upgraded a few times). If it’s sped up over the coming days, Sunday afternoon could see a window of light variable winds south of Coffs. But I’m not holding my breath.
Next week (Nov 30 onwards)
Given the recent model developments regarding Sunday’s late S’ly change, I’m a little cautious on Monday’s outlook - but we may possibly see a repeat of Tuesday’s N/NE windswell, S’ly wind change combo.
The trailing fetch behind the S'ly change is forecast to stretch right back to polar latitudes, and should generate a small to moderate southerly short to mid period swell for Northern NSW on Monday and Tuesday. It will however be wind affected on Monday, and probably not that great on Tuesday.
A similar synoptic frontal progression through the lower Tasman Sea mid-week looks looks like it’ll kick up a slightly bigger south swell for Northern NSW later Wednesday and Thursday. Though, no great size is expected at this stage.
Long term suggests a broad trough through the northern Tasman Sea for much of next week, and a couple of E’ly fetches - the most promising mid-late week - slowly building E’ly swells across most coasts from Tuesday onwards, with the biggest and the best energy showing towards the end of the week, holding into the following weekend. It's certainly a little more ambiguous right now than I'd prefer, but the signs are promising for some fun E'ly swells. More on that in Friday’s update.