thermalben

Easing surf, but still a decent summer run ahead

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 22nd January)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Good morning conditions north from Byron this weekend, though becoming wind affected to the south
  • Today's S/SE swell continue to ease through Saturday, almost all gone by Sunday arvo
  • Building S'ly groundswell across Northern NSW late Sun thru' Mon/Tues
  • Slowly building trade swell from Sun, biggest across SE Qld, peaking Wed/Thurs with strong surf across the points
  • Extended run of E'ly swell beyond this

Recap: The last two days have delivered strong, sizeable S/SE groundswell across the region with some fantastic surf reported at many coasts. Both Thursday and Friday managed 5-6ft+ sets across many exposed south facing regions of Northern NSW (smaller elsewhere). Some regions - mainly the Mid North Coast - reported even bigger surf at times on Thursday. However, we saw much much smaller surf in SE Qld, with slow 2ft+ waves across the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, occasionally up to 4ft at exposed northern ends. Early light winds preceded freshening SE winds on Thursday (eventually swinging NE on the MNC), with similar conditions this morning ahead of an afternoon NE breeze.

Coffs still looking very nice early Friday

Fun small lines at Burleigh this morning

Friday afternoon sets on the Tweed

Nice Friday lines at Sunshine Beach

This weekend (Jan 23 - 24)

No change to the weekend forecast.

Light morning winds and moderate afternoon sea breezes are expected north from Byron both days, but south from Yamba we’ll see freshening NE winds creating a few issues through the days, with a narrower window of opportunity in the early morning. 

As for surf, the currently S/SE swell has eased across Southern NSW today (and also Northern NSW) so we’ll see a similar trend play out through into Saturday. South facing beaches in Northern NSW (south of Byron) should see early 3-4ft sets but it’ll abate to 2-3ft through the day. Expect long waits for the bigger waves.

North of the border, most beaches will dry up to a slow 1-1.5ft though there’ll be a small undercurrent of E’ly trade swell in the mix near 1-2ft, from a developing ridge through the lower Coral Sea. 

Sunday will see even smaller leftover S/SE swell across Northern NSW, however a new long period S’ly groundswell is expected to nose into the Mid North Coast after lunch, generated by a strong progression of Southern Ocean lows below the continent over the last few days. I’m not sure whether we’ll see much action north of Coffs, but south swell magnets to the south should pick up 3-4ft sets (expect a very late arrival in the Far North).

SE Qld should see a minor lift in the E’ly trade swell from 1-2ft to 2-3ft though the biggest surf will generally be found across the Sunshine Coast, with smaller surf as you head south from the Gold Coast. Don't expect a great deal of action on the points either.

Next week (Jan 25 onwards)

The Southern Ocean storm track responsible for Sunday’s late arrival of long period S’ly swell will remain slow moving south of the Tasman Sea over the weekend, and will consequently maintain intermittent long period S’ly swells across Northern NSW through Monday. Only reliable south facing beaches will pick up this energy, with inconsistent sets around 3-4ft. Expect a gradual easing from late Tuesday through Wednesday.

At the same time, the trade swell will slowly build across SE Qld, with slightly smaller surf from this source south from Yamba. Open beaches should build from 2-3ft early Monday to 4ft through Tuesday, and a developing E’ly dip to the W/SW of New Caledonia early in the week has the potential to boost Wednesday and Thursday into the 4-5ft+ range. 

Winds look to be generally quite OK north from Byron (i.e. across SE Qld) for Monday and Tuesday, with a weak pressure pattern providing light to moderate onshores through the day, but with periods of light variable winds at times (mainly the mornings). 

However, south from Byron we’ll see a persistent NE airstream - strongest on the lower Mid North Coast - create adverse conditions at exposed locations. We should see lighter N’ly winds through the morning but you’ll need to work around local conditions a little more so than locations further north. 

On Wednesday, a small low is expected to develop across the SW Coral Sea, closer to the SE Qld coast. This should bring about a period of freshening SE winds to Far Northern NSW and SE Qld, and with wave heights remaining elevated (thanks to the associated fetch stretching east of the low), we’ll see fun conditions for the regional points.

Northern NSW will see secondary swells through next week from a few sources (aside from local NE windswell on Mon/Tues): a cut-off low in the Southern Ocean below Tasmania early next week should generate a mid-week S’ly swell for south swell magnets, and a ridge pushing in below Tuesday’s South Coast trough should generally some SE swell mid-late next week too. But, the trade swell and the energy from the E’ly dip will probably be the dominant sources..

Long term maintains a whole stack of near-stationary swell sources in the Northern Tasman Sea, lower Coral Sea and South Pacific, so it looks like we’ll be back to the easterly swell machine for quite a few weeks. 

See you Monday!

Comments

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 22 Jan 2021 at 7:36pm

Sore muscles today.

Queef Jerky's picture
Queef Jerky's picture
Queef Jerky commented Friday, 22 Jan 2021 at 7:56pm

From surfing?
Or putting together all these fun swell sources for us?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 22 Jan 2021 at 8:08pm

Actually, both come to think of it.

But yeah, lotsa paddling this morning. Got a sore back, feels like a pinched nerve too. 

Jiiimmy's picture
Jiiimmy's picture
Jiiimmy commented Friday, 22 Jan 2021 at 9:43pm

Shame that the banks are rooted now.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2021 at 7:43am

Still plenty of leftover S/SE swell in Coffs this AM (bloke duckdiving on the inside).

Got a sequence too where he picked up the tail end of a smaller one that rolled through from outside (just before the camera panned). Looked about head high at take-off.




freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2021 at 10:00am

surprised how much swell energy was leftover this morning.
easy OH sets and more waves in a set than there has been all swell.

way, way too long and straight for the beachies still.
mile long closeouts.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2021 at 10:20am

Got to love Saturday morning this time of year - changeover day .

The day when the campers and holiday makers pack up and ship out so they traveled today and dad gets Sunday to unpack and unwind before work again on Monday. It’s also the day that it fills back up with the next salvo of fun seekers.

But Saturday morning is a brief window of quiet. Beaches are empty ( maybe not surf spots ! ) so if you just want a chilled morning before the onslaught it’s tailor made.

Today was no exception. Not going to risk the hand on an open ocean wave so a blissful and blissfully empty bay swim it was in preparation for a few days af hardcore crowds and summer heat.

The ocean looked greenish , smallish and a bit sea sick anyway.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2021 at 10:23am

beautiful blue water here, full of bait and dolphins and a small shark where I was.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2021 at 11:19am

Still strong groundswell lines late yesterday on the NSW South Coast. 4-6ft. Back to a peaky, weaker 2-3ft today. 

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2021 at 11:43am

Loving the idea of a decent run of Northerly winds over the next few days. It’s tempting to get over confident with a still dodgy injury and I’m not sure I’ve got the minerals to resist warm blue water waves or a becalmed sea state ripe for fishing.

Looks like Huey , in all his magnificence , has chosen to wrap a metaphorical arm around my sloping, unpaddleworthy shoulders and usher me through this last testing time with his deft application of Mega Crowds , onshore winds and green water slop.

He might even find it in his heart to throw in a few rogue blue bottles to round out the concept.

Best of luck to those who can get amongst it.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2021 at 11:58am

Super fun peaky 2-3ft sets this morning, with a handful of 3ft+ lines stretching right across the coast, thumping through as the tide dropped. Warm, crystal clear water with plenty of fish swimming through the lineup. Wind was slowly starting to come up from the north but wasn't an issue at all.

Three surfers in the water as far as my eye could see north and south.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2021 at 12:11pm

What board you riding in those conditions Ben ?

You’re a natural footer hey ?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2021 at 1:40pm

Yep, I'm a natural footer. Riding one of Steve Powell's 'Fat Pandas', not sure on the dims (he doesn't leave any data on the stringer, either) but I'll upload a photo shortly. Goes really well.

Ben Harding's picture
Ben Harding's picture
Ben Harding commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2021 at 8:20pm

Exact same setup I and two friends found ourselves on a tweed coast beachie this morn apart from the three surfers in the water part. Crazy good fun all the same, just got better and better as the tide dropped, then the swell eased right off. Good times!

Purchase's picture
Purchase's picture
Purchase commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2021 at 10:26pm

Nice to have a couple of heads in the water.

Ben Harding's picture
Ben Harding's picture
Ben Harding commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2021 at 6:02am

Yep, sure is down that way.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 25 Jan 2021 at 3:19pm

Ha! Nice to meet you out there mate. 'Twas fun.

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2021 at 12:09pm

Beautiful clear emerald green ocean, winteresque. Plenty of fish, birds and dolphins too.

adsi's picture
adsi's picture
adsi commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2021 at 12:16pm

Beaches here all closing out, ballina/Byron always pretty crap on these big long period south swells. Shame im really hanging for good waves, been plenty of small average days this summer, bugger all good ones

Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67 commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2021 at 4:32pm

Byron Ballina beachies were garbage. Straight handers everywhere and northerlies by 8. Back to Tweed - still glassy till 10 but banks are rubbish. Nice swim at Kirra for lunch though, so clear and warm and dead flat

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2021 at 5:30pm

I had two really fun surfs. second one just me and my son.
yes, it was way too straight for the beachies, as S swells almost always are, with rare exceptions.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2021 at 5:50pm

Took my son down for a surf this afternoon, we played on the inside but there were still decent 3ft sets coming through out the back. Winds were under 10kts too so conditions remained clean. Wish I could have paddled out myself!

dangerouskook2000's picture
dangerouskook2000's picture
dangerouskook2000 commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2021 at 6:44pm

That swell exceeded my expectations. I'm gonna go as far as to say it was epic. Thursday I surfed with only a few out (mainly sups, and they were pretty cruisy to surf with not hogs at all). Friday however was pretty funny. A similar size swell but because of the long waits the gumbys could get out and clog the lineup. Then they didn't know what was happening so when the sets came it was carnage. I couldn't stop laughing coz it left me out the back primed to get the next set wave. Til the fucken jet ski turned up. anyway all in all it was a fun swell and bring on more of these long period swells.
Surfed a spot by myself this morning. Was shit but fun. I thought "no one will surf this shit", I had to eat my words. About 20 wannabes came out with me. There wasn't that many waves. Cut my surf short but I had fun. Some sizey ones still hanging around

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2021 at 6:43pm

Awesome!

hawk's picture
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hawk commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2021 at 7:31pm

Looks like it got Big Ben. No pun intended. https://www.instagram.com/p/CKXNAiDsoaV/?igshid=xqaxgavi8vvm

Y

Ben Harding's picture
Ben Harding's picture
Ben Harding commented Saturday, 23 Jan 2021 at 8:23pm

Jeezus

Distracted's picture
Distracted's picture
Distracted commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2021 at 7:58am

Blowin, while Huey has wrapped his metaphorical arm around you, he has flipped me the bird with his other arm. Crowded back beaches and green water here we come for the next few days camping.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2021 at 3:40pm

Classic.

What general location are you camping ?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2021 at 3:35pm

Trade swell built a little today, some 2ft+ sets on the Tweed this arvo, onshores only light so conditions were OK. Not very good quality though, just a junky peaky low period swell.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2021 at 4:16pm

Trade swell built in over the top of the last of the SSE swell. Nice lunchtime teepees.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2021 at 4:32pm

Teepees are for losers. Lunchtime beers at the pub are where it’s at. Nine out of ten orthopaedic specialists claim that a $5 chips with mushroom gravy pub feed knits bones faster than a Country Women’s Association knits baby booties for charity.

Get on board for the big win Freeride. Ditch that surfboard and let your freak flag fly.

I’m determined that for the next few days at least this site is a broad church for those currently surf adjacent.*

* Kudos to Chas Smith for this routine.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2021 at 5:38pm

hahaha went to west Ballina and watched the UFC fights and had a couple shandys.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2021 at 5:49pm

Yeah I saw those UFC fights. Not pretty .

No decent punches or kicks . I’m off it . All seemed a bit Greco Roman and latent homosexual.

I miss no teles at the pub. Take away the TVs and the phones and get back to human interaction. Hard to concentrate on a conversation when there’s two gimps wrassling on 80 inch screens over every shoulder.

Found a cool little bar / live band set up in a corner of an oft dismissed roadside / riverside town which looks like it’ll be the centrepiece of the town’s revival as a place to be for the hip sea / tree changer set in the next few years. Get in early and enjoy that shit before it’s blown out I reckon.

Go Rob the Barber !

braudulio's picture
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braudulio commented Monday, 25 Jan 2021 at 10:00am

The Star?!

‘IF YOU UNDERSTAND, things are just as they are;
if you do not understand, THINGS ARE JUST AS THEY ARE.’

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 25 Jan 2021 at 11:49am

Close.

Over the road on the corner of the street going to Bowraville for the live music setup.

Sipping beers at the Nambucca hotel.

cam.jw's picture
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cam.jw commented Monday, 25 Jan 2021 at 2:33pm

Valla Beach Tav will be the next up and comer. TED on tap, nothing else needed.

Cjw

braudulio's picture
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braudulio commented Monday, 25 Jan 2021 at 4:20pm

Have to say glad to hear it. Never struck me as 'cool'. Sadly haven't been up that way in an age but would like to think The Star is same as it ever was. Please don't tell me any different.

BTW don't know why but always thought that town was the subject of Flame Trees.

‘IF YOU UNDERSTAND, things are just as they are;
if you do not understand, THINGS ARE JUST AS THEY ARE.’

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Monday, 25 Jan 2021 at 4:53pm

The cool joint is actually a barber shop who’s setting up a place for gigs out the back. Looks like a sweet little joint already. He also sells a few boards and guitars , LP’s , coffees. Worth a look if they’re having an open mic session.

“Flame trees “ is Grafton.

braudulio's picture
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braudulio commented Monday, 25 Jan 2021 at 5:00pm

Grafton only has two hotels??

‘IF YOU UNDERSTAND, things are just as they are;
if you do not understand, THINGS ARE JUST AS THEY ARE.’

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 25 Jan 2021 at 5:18pm
braudulio's picture
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braudulio commented Tuesday, 26 Jan 2021 at 10:03am

I suppose next ya gunna tell me there's no Rodiles style left at the mouth of Bow River. :(

‘IF YOU UNDERSTAND, things are just as they are;
if you do not understand, THINGS ARE JUST AS THEY ARE.’

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2021 at 6:09pm

"Greco Roman and latent homosexual"

Oh my gawd you fucking casual! ;)

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2021 at 6:14pm

What about Poirier outstriking McGregor, surely that'd satisfy you?

And I suspected Chandler might overwhelm Hooker, Hooker is a little slow and Chandler is a beast.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2021 at 6:32pm

Chandler’s most Potent weapon was always sarcasm .

Wait .....are we talking about Chandler from Friends or someone altogether different ?

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2021 at 6:37pm

Stop it.
Not clever, not funny.

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2021 at 6:48pm

Although sarcasm has been known to cut very deep.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2021 at 6:50pm

Why do I get the feeling that you’re a good cnt AndyM ?

AndyM's picture
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AndyM commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2021 at 7:09pm

You know what I reckon is a deeply philosophical movie?

Groundhog Day.

Every day you wake up as you, and every day you have the ability and the self-awareness to choose how to approach people and situations.

AndyM's picture
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AndyM commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2021 at 7:10pm

Jeez, too deep for this time of day.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Sunday, 24 Jan 2021 at 7:23pm

No mate. That is completely true for every Australian .

Sometimes the problem lies in the fact that you’re not always the same person day by day or even hour by hour ....unless you’re a lucky bugger.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Monday, 25 Jan 2021 at 6:51am

Fresh south swell looking good in Coffs.
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Rusty Forest's picture
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Rusty Forest commented Monday, 25 Jan 2021 at 7:57am

Absolutely wind blown dribble on the Lower MNC. Has been for the last few days. Clean at Newy, Clean at Coffs!!!!! GRRR
why is that damn pressure gradient always aimed at us????
Though last Thursday was epic I must say

Rusty

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Monday, 25 Jan 2021 at 7:59am

Plenty of options down your way for south swell/north wind.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Monday, 25 Jan 2021 at 8:59am

My kinda southerly groundswell line for a beach break: straight, with a cross-angle trade swell kink.
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Solitude's picture
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Solitude commented Monday, 25 Jan 2021 at 9:14am

Didn't realise there was much south in the water. Kinda just felt like that new E/NE stuff. Was fun and clean.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Monday, 25 Jan 2021 at 10:23am

Surfcam panned away just as the set stood up.. but this looks easy 3ft, pushing close to 4ft.


Reference shots from earlier:

tomrnoir's picture
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tomrnoir commented Monday, 25 Jan 2021 at 12:34pm

Punchy beachies on the Sunny this am if you found a good high tide bank. Head high sets where I was, with few discernible channels making for tough paddling. Buggered I am, but appreciative for Huey's blessings.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Monday, 25 Jan 2021 at 12:55pm

This set at Narrowneck - breaking very wide of the reef - has gotta be an easy 3-4ft. Looks E/NE in direction too. Blokes are surfing the inside shorey (see first frame - that's around head high).



cam.jw's picture
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cam.jw commented Monday, 25 Jan 2021 at 2:36pm

Surprised at the size this morning in the sunny coast...first decent swell this year. My arms are poked.

Cjw

mickseq's picture
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mickseq commented Monday, 25 Jan 2021 at 3:15pm

looks like it's been downgraded for tomorrow?

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Monday, 25 Jan 2021 at 3:22pm

Prob best to ignore the model output for the short term. We had some problems with our automated surf model over the weekend, caused by an unexpectedly long data outage at NOAA.

See this thread for more details: https://www.swellnet.com/forums/website-troubleshooting/510281

As a result, the automated forecast for the next few is likely to be out (though not as bad in SE Qld compared to southern/western states), as the model missing three days of data. However, the FC Notes remain unaffected.

mickseq's picture
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mickseq commented Monday, 25 Jan 2021 at 3:27pm

no worries mate

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Monday, 25 Jan 2021 at 4:11pm

Northerlies I wanted and northerlies I got. Even got the first bluebottles I’ve seen in a while. Be careful what you wish for folks.

dangerouskook2000's picture
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dangerouskook2000 commented Monday, 25 Jan 2021 at 5:16pm

Hey Ben. Just wondering if you could explain how to read/interpret the wave spectrum. The colours are very pretty, and one day I will make a tie dyed wave spectrum T-shirt, but for now it has me baffled. Could you please explain it to us gumbies (I’m probably not the only one)? Especially the logarithmic scale down the bottom that says PSD m2S
Thanks in advance

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 25 Jan 2021 at 5:17pm

We'll do an article for ya.

dangerouskook2000's picture
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dangerouskook2000 commented Tuesday, 26 Jan 2021 at 9:04am

That'd be sweet as. Thanks