thermalben

Endless easterly swells on the boil

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 25th January)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Steady trade swell all week
  • Problematic winds in Northern NSW on Tues, not too bad in SE Qld
  • Improving conditions from Wed, OK conditions Thurs onwards though periods of onshores most regions, most days
  • Stronger trade swell into the weekend
  • Even stronger E'ly swells for most of next week, possible with some tropical cyclone influence

Recap: We’ve seen a wide range of swells over the last few days. Saturday saw easing S/SE groundswell from Friday, from 4ft to 2-3ft across south facing beaches south of Byron, with smaller surf elsewhere though a small trade swell built to 1-2ft across SE Qld. This trade swell increased a little more into Sunday (2-3ft) and has pushed 3-4ft at some locations today. Additionally, further southerly swells have pushed across Northern NSW late Sunday (MNC) and today (everywhere else) with inconsistent 3-4ft sets at south facing beaches south of Byron.

Decent E'ly set at Narrowneck today

Fun south swell in Coffs this morning

Small and weak at Noosa this arvo

Next week (Jan 26 - 29)

Before we get into the expected easterly swell regime, it’s worth mentioning that we’ve seen continuing southerly swells across Southern NSW today, and they should persist into Tuesday across Northern NSW. Sets all be inconsistent but should manage 3ft at times at south swell magnets south of Byron. This swell will then ease through Wednesday.

Right now the main synoptic features are a strong ridge across the Northern Tasman and South Pacific, and a coastal ridge bringing northerly winds across much of the East Coast.

A trough will push up along Southern NSW later Tuesday and overnight into early Wednesday, and should nose into the Mid North Coast during Wednesday morning - but will probably stall just north of this region through the afternoon. The end result will be a southerly wind change south of Coffs by Wednesday afternoon (mid-morning south from Port Mac) but an easing of the northerly flow across northern regions to become light and variable by mid-late afternoon.

Prior to this, expect freshening N’ly winds on Tuesday with generally poor conditions across most of Northern NSW. Wednesday morning is also at risk of N'ly winds throughout Northern NSW, ahead of the change. 

SE Qld is a little different though, as we'll see a weaker pressure gradient and thus lighter winds, especially though the mornings. Tuesday afternoon will pick up a moderate to fresh NE breeze, but Wednesday could very well see light variable winds all day. 

Note: ‘variable’ means ‘from any direction’, which could be onshore. But for the most part SE Qld looks to be spared any significant, prolonged deterioration in surf conditions as a result of the winds. 

As for surf, there’s been a slight downgrade from Friday’s estimates, but we’re still looking at a steady period of trade swell across all coasts, generally holding 3-4ft+ from Tuesday through Friday at exposed beaches (smaller on the points), with perhaps a little less size on Thursday, but a few bigger sets Wednesday and Friday. Expect smaller surf as you head south from about Ballina or Yamba - though not by much.

A new ridge will build through the Coral Sea on Thursday, freshening SE winds for the rest of the week though there’ll be pockets of early light SW winds.

A second ridge to the south of our mid-week trough/southerly change (on the Mid North Coast) will maintain moderate to fresh E/SE winds about the southern part of this region, though it looks like it may be focused south of Coffs. This leads open the possibility that we’ll see lighter winds - more variable in nature - across a small region, perhaps encompassing Coffs through Yamba, maybe Ballina. It’s a low confident characteristic but worth keeping an eye out for.

The ridge south of the Mid North Coast will also contribute 3-4ft of peaky ‘trade’ swell for the MNC, so it’s feasible the combination of easterly swell trains may produce bigger waves across this region.

All in all: plenty of swell, just gotta work the winds.

This weekend (Jan 30 - 31)

Later this week, the majority of the Tasman Sea will be under the influence of some form of ridge, and thus some form of easterly flow, holding through the weekend. This means we’ll see plenty of easterly swell all weekend, though of no major quality as it’ll be a mixture of overlapping mid-range swell trains. 

In fact we’ll probably see the central-Tasman ridge merge with a broadening Northern-Tasman-Sea-cum-Coral Sea ridge around Friday, but the end result will be the same. Stacks of E’ly swell all weekend, around 4-5ft at exposed beaches, smaller on the points. 

Winds look to be some form of moderate E’ly - more E/NE on the Mid North Coast, straight E’ly in Northern NSW and E/SE in SE Qld - but there’;ll be lengthy pockets of light variable winds through the mornings. 

Pretty typical summer pattern, to be honest. Very bluebottle friendly, mind.

Next week (Feb 1 onwards)

The tropics are about to fire up under the passage of an MJO phase, and we’ve got no end in sight for the easterly swell machine. 

This pattern is expected supercharge the trade flow across the Northern Tasman Sea and South Pacific from this weekend onwards (see below), and there’s a distinct possibility that one or two Tropical Cyclones may drop south from the Fijian region, adding even more energy into the mix. 

It’s too early to plan specifics, but right now we’re looking at a whole week of solid E/NE swell, in particular becoming sizeable (i.e. 5-6ft) sometime around Tuesday, peaking Wednesday, potentially a little higher, and maintaining strong energy through the rest of the week. 

Let’s see how Wednesday’s model runs are looking. But.. get ready for a decent run of tropical-sourced swell. 

Comments

Troppo's picture
Troppo's picture
Troppo commented Monday, 25 Jan 2021 at 8:28pm

Our great start to 2021 continues!!
Promising forecast. Get those paddling arms primed people!

Thanks Ben!

SDW's picture
SDW's picture
SDW commented Monday, 25 Jan 2021 at 9:06pm

Excellent

Bob Sacamano's picture
Bob Sacamano's picture
Bob Sacamano commented Monday, 25 Jan 2021 at 9:12pm

Glad I've got the week off

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 26 Jan 2021 at 12:03pm

Pumping beachies this morning, glassy with no wind and peaky 3-4ft A-frames. Remained very good as the northerly slowly freshened.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Tuesday, 26 Jan 2021 at 1:09pm

Did some light breast stroke without a wrist brace this morning.* Such a liberating feeling. Not long now till I rejoin you wax head surfy losers and back to wasting days shooting the curl. ( Touch wood )

Those Easterly swells sound oh so sweet.

* Swimming you filthy animal

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Tuesday, 26 Jan 2021 at 1:30pm

How gd do those sets look at the Pass - Byron cam

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Tuesday, 26 Jan 2021 at 1:34pm

I can say it now, last 2 days have been like a pre-autumn autumn.

just dead slack or zephyr light land breezes and super warm water with 4ft E swell.

yesterday after work me and young fella went to the Pass.

I expected on the Aus day long weekend it would be a complete zoo.

there were about 10-20 people out. 3 outside of us, not one of whom could make the drop.
sheet glass over head point surf with every set for the taking.
it was mind blowing.

today was appropriately packed as compensation.

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude commented Tuesday, 26 Jan 2021 at 3:14pm

Today is one of those surfs you remember in a year wishing you could have a day like that again.

A-grade conditions grooming super playful head high east peaks. Very special.

nick.minor's picture
nick.minor's picture
nick.minor commented Tuesday, 26 Jan 2021 at 3:43pm

And good weather. Reckon today was the best day of summer

Jono's picture
Jono's picture
Jono commented Tuesday, 26 Jan 2021 at 4:46pm

With a possible repeat tomorrrow, so good.

Steve Johnson's picture
Steve Johnson's picture
Steve Johnson commented Tuesday, 26 Jan 2021 at 3:47pm

I love it when the crew on the next bank don't care that your getting shackled off ya nut cause their bank is equally as good

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Tuesday, 26 Jan 2021 at 4:56pm

Wow, that's the dream!

Rockethut's picture
Rockethut's picture
Rockethut commented Tuesday, 26 Jan 2021 at 5:22pm

Worst day ever on the northern goldie. Overcrowding and shit banks

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 26 Jan 2021 at 5:51pm

'Twas funny this morning. Bought a second hand tandem kayak for the kids, so we headed down to the creek this morning, and I spend an hour or so helping them out, a.k.a racking up brownie points for a surf. I made mental notes of the wind the whole time, willing it to stay light. Wasn't quite sure what the surf would be like by the time I could get in the water, so I purposefully kept my expectations low.

Then, when my allocated time kicked in mid-morning, I sauntered over the road with my board - gentle walk from the camp so as to not arouse suspicion, mild jog across the road, sprint through the sand dunes, and.. FUCK ME IT'S ALL TIME WTF! Perfect glassy waves, well overhead on the bombs, hardly anyone out. Australia Day Long Weekend, carparks are full-to-the-brim, but not with surfers it seems. 

And so began one of those try-not-to-hyperventilate-paddle-outs because it's off the fucken hook. Managed to pick up a couple of super fun peaks before the wind slowly started to freshen, and although it got up to 10kts by the end of the session, wasn't too detrimental to the surf. Ended up with enough water up my nose to confirm a satisfactory session.

Gonna sneak down for a late one, though the wind is up a lil' bit now.

Ben Harding's picture
Ben Harding's picture
Ben Harding commented Tuesday, 26 Jan 2021 at 6:19pm

Nice one! Came super close to coming down that way but braved the masses along the Tugun stretch. So damn good really early on, straightened up as the morning went on but dream like conditions overall. Every morning for the past week or even more as it's all a blur now, has been pretty magic for that matter. Look forward to what tomorrow dishes up.

SDW's picture
SDW's picture
SDW commented Tuesday, 26 Jan 2021 at 5:56pm

Today was the best surf of the summer thus far on the Sunshine Coast.

Troppo's picture
Troppo's picture
Troppo commented Tuesday, 26 Jan 2021 at 9:32pm

Agree. So good.

spookypt's picture
spookypt's picture
spookypt commented Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 10:29am

Better today! :-)

Rusty Forest's picture
Rusty Forest's picture
Rusty Forest commented Tuesday, 26 Jan 2021 at 7:07pm

You Lucky buggers, thats what dreams are made of. Wind here has been so strong, even those little nooks that can handle north winds and south swell were blown out. I will have to savour your descriptions, thanks for sharing!

Rusty

Distracted's picture
Distracted's picture
Distracted commented Tuesday, 26 Jan 2021 at 9:48pm

So hard to imagine the epic conditions described above, the nor’easter on the MNC has been relentless, blowing night and day. Some spots have been surfable in the cross shore in the mornings but not for long.

Bit of red weed starting to show up in the green water plus a few of those big lion mane type jellyfish. Quick swim in the white wash this morning with my youngest and both of us got linear welts which I think must have been broken tentacle fragments from the jelly fish.

Mcface's picture
Mcface's picture
Mcface commented Tuesday, 26 Jan 2021 at 10:24pm

Yep can say that my reccy to the MNC was ill-fated with howling NE winds getting into the most protected of corners and pea green water, difficult to think the above commenters had a best of the season day of waves - sounds like an absolute cracker lads, those sort of days that you think back to when you're sitting in the green slop!

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink commented Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 9:34am

Distracted and Mcface, that pea green water has been down to north ends of central coast for a few weeks. There has also been a bit of red tide here and there, plus a few jelly blubber welts. Interesting that it’s up there too, somewhere there’s been a large algae bloom.

The conditions described by others sounds dreamy. Be further up the coast again next week so hopefully can score some good ones.

Agitator's picture
Agitator's picture
Agitator commented Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 6:47am

Relentless NE winds on MNC....surf has been craaaaaptacular at best in my area....hanging out for some westerlies to start kicking in.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 7:02am

Apologies mate . My fault . I actually hoped for these conditions in order to resist temptation and not jeopardise injury recovery . Just chill for another week and a bit and then I’ll reverse the process and White Magik some glorious February sessions.

Hang tough brother. Relax and let the NKOTB guide you to the other side.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 7:57am

Feb is an interesting month.

can be an absolute banger with cyclone swells, Bluewater, slack morning winds with punchy trade swells etc etc

or it can be a total chore with that relentless deep E'ly wind, the so-called jellyfish shitt wind.
Rain and floods can happen.

Even a NE flow that can make it seem like October.

This one seems to be shaping up as good 'un. Jinx.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 7:59am

It seems like good for you = shit for us and vice versa.

May Huey smile upon us all. In a little over a week thanks.

Andrew P's picture
Andrew P's picture
Andrew P commented Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 8:54am

Been fishing lately FR? How does Feb rate for you? should be some pelagics showing up down your way

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 9:06am

Feb is good. but no, too much surfing.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 8:02am

I think that has just been a by-product of where the sub-tropical high was positioned.
looks like a more s'ly located high going forwards.

MNC was right in the apex of the peak for that NE flow.

you got more back beaches anyhow.

If we are on the whinge all this surf has been fcuking with my rockfishing program.

one parcel of jewie fillets left in the freezer.

juegasiempre's picture
juegasiempre's picture
juegasiempre commented Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 8:09am

Way, way worse this morning compared to yesterday. Yesterday surfed 90 minutes and went in only to save the arms, this morning went in after 30 minutes because it was pretty bad. Not sure where the 7/10 waves were but i hope others got them.

South GC beaches.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 9:07am

Similar sized swell this morning (as yesterday), and the Tweed's split between no wind across one half, and light/mod N'lies across the other half. Surf looked patchy compared to yesterday but I feel it was probably a tide issue. 

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 10:03am

bout the same here, with a bit of green water gurgle running through it.

sets seem a bit more stretched out.

bruzzz's picture
bruzzz's picture
bruzzz commented Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 10:05am

Much bigger here but too straight - central GC.

Smol

scrotina's picture
scrotina's picture
scrotina commented Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 10:26am

whoever wrote the dawn surf report for the gc this morning is a fcukwit. 7/10 is total bullshit. just because the wind is offshore and there is a decent swell does not mean the surf is pumping. for 7/10, there should be plenty of barrels around, or nice long rippable walls. reality was fat beachies with yesterdays northerly wobble, and tide too high for points. whoever wrote it obviously did it without looking. interestingly it was near word for word the same as the ballina one. i'm a premium subscriber, and theres only a few cams that are close enough to actually tell how good a spot is, and none of those spots have good sand anymore. i did a lot of driving this morning and nothing beyond a 3/10. even non sand-bottomed breaks were shit

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 10:38am

Here's the written report. What part is inaccurate?

"Next to no wind and that swell looks like it's picked up a little. Some lumpiness due to NE winds yesterday afternoon but it's more than clean enough. 3-4ft and well worth a paddle just about everywhere out there at the moment."

BTW, ratings are subjective - of course - everyone has different expectations of what constitutes good quality surf.

juegasiempre's picture
juegasiempre's picture
juegasiempre commented Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 10:57am

Not the commenter, I was more...measured with my report but.....

"Some lumpiness" - It was so lumpy that every 3-4ft drop I pretended I was at a mini-Shipsterns and I was negotiating steps all the way down on the 4 drops I made before I bailed due to it being so bad.

"but it's more than clean enough" - I'm not fussy and will happily surf average condtions, but it was so lumpy I couldn't do turns on the face.

" 3-4ft" - fair enough, more like 2-4ft and the sets weren't at all good like yesterday. Yesterday I would get a 3 turn banger out of a smaller set wave or was pulling into barrels(didn't make them), this morning was just about trying to stick the drop and then wondering why you even paddled for it. It was also more punchy yesterday, with a similar tide.

"well worth a paddle just about everywhere out there at the moment" - Not where I was at all. Worth it in that it was good to do exercise in the sun. but not worth it like it was yesterday. It wasn't even half as good as yesterday

I also rely on the report like old matey for all the same reasons he said above. 7/10 works if it was 4 washing machines + 2 unsealed NT roads + 1 jackhammer / 10. I got a laugh cause there was someone filming, they musta read the report as well! Would be 'interesting' footage.

TOS's picture
TOS's picture
TOS commented Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 8:25pm

Whinge, whinge, fucken whinge! U can't expect the commenter to know/ sum up, what every single break is doing. The report is there to give us a general idea of what conditions are doing. I thought this mornings report was spot on. Northern GC.

scrotina's picture
scrotina's picture
scrotina commented Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 10:37pm

if you read my comment you'll see i'm not asking for someone to tell us what each break is doing. saying its a 7/10 and most spots worth a paddle was far from correct imo.

TOS's picture
TOS's picture
TOS commented Thursday, 28 Jan 2021 at 1:21am

TBH i think they should just stop giving it a rating out of ten. As Ben says its very subjective. Im actually very surprised by the amount of people that look at that. I know I don't....

scrotina's picture
scrotina's picture
scrotina commented Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 3:45pm

well worth a paddle just about everywhere - no way. closeouts most of the gc. points fat on the high tide and most of them have no sand anyway. dbah banks junk. i checked a few spots on the tweed coast, all the way down to hasto, and saw nothing inspiring. i know we all rate surf differently, and some people might have found a rare bank that was good this morning, but to say just about everywhere worth a paddle is crap. if we had just gone through a 2 week flat spell, then sure, it would have been worth a paddle, but 7/10 was exaggerated bullshit or a wildly inaccurate guess. the gc report is normally based on dbah / cooly, and they were both shit this morning. as was currumbin beachies which is where the daily photos are normally taken.

Radshoab's picture
Radshoab's picture
Radshoab commented Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 9:23pm

Why don’t you inbreeds watch the wind and tides during the night so you know what your in for in the morning. Does your mum still wipe your arse fuck sake and from what I understand it’s not that much to take up subscription (I don’t I just read the content on this site I’m sorry I know what wind and swell direction my area likes) just use your brains you special fucks. But when useless pricks like you make comments like this makes me wonder how you get through life

scrotina's picture
scrotina's picture
scrotina commented Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 10:39pm

i do watch wind, tide, swell period and direction. your mum wipes my ass.

tomrnoir's picture
tomrnoir's picture
tomrnoir commented Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 10:53am

Empty, glassy head-high peaks on the Sunny. 2021 keeps on delivering up my end. Booyakasha

Tristan Goose's picture
Tristan Goose's picture
Tristan Goose commented Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 11:08am

Great morning on the SC, feel like my local bank is slowly coming back to form but still can't handle the high tides

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 11:48am

Strange currents running here. Must be a North current in real close and a south current a few hundred metres offshore. It’s so the Northely wind pushing against the opposing current in close makes it choppy with white caps but no so out wider.

Perhaps a little vortex off the main stream bending back into shore cause the water is nice and warm with plenty of bait.

Surf looks average accordingly.

It’d be a good time for Jew fishing I reckon.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 12:02pm

EAC was screaming here the other day.

big eddy came into where we where surfing (n facing point) and scooped us up and dropped us a hundred yards out to sea.

never had that happen before.

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM commented Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 2:26pm

That sounds different, unusual.

Rusty Forest's picture
Rusty Forest's picture
Rusty Forest commented Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 2:45pm

Thank you southerly change, Spaghetti arms prevail! Fun little peaks along the beach was able to find one to my self for a few hours. Fun Fun Fun.

Rusty