James KC

Solid waves with better conditions before summery waves return

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by James Casey (issued Friday 19th February)

Best Days: Saturday, Sunday, and Monday with S/SW winds combined with a decent E/SE swell. Stereotypical summer conditions return from Tuesday onwards. 

Outlook:

  • S winds and E trade swell will deliver 4-6ft waves over the weekend, easing Monday
  • Low to form off QLD Coast and move south quickly, driving stronger SW winds and a final spike of E/SE swell up around 5-6ft but dropping quickly
  • Smaller summer like conditions from Tuesday onwards, light winds early with seabreezes later and waves 2ft occasional 3ft set

Recap:

It's been an uninspiring wet morning across the region with average winds for most spots and a bumpy 3-5ft swell, bigger along the Mid North Coast. Sunshine Coast and Coffs Harbour had the best waves but there are better conditions on the way for all locations.

Into the Weekend (and into Monday)

The question on everyone’s lips: when will these winds go offshore and clean this swell up? 

Well, are you ready for the good news? 

A coastal trough will bring S winds across the entire region tomorrow and at the same time a decent E trade swell will begin to fill in meaning both conditions and swell will get better. No more lumpy, bumpy E winds but you will have to head to a southern point, corner, bay, or cove to get cleaner conditions.  

The source of this swell is a trough pinching the ridge in the Tasman causing a series of pulses across the next few days for all locations. As mentioned already, the first pulse will fill in on Saturday afternoon delivering 4-6ft waves across the entire region, the Sunshine Coast seeing the least of it with waves around 4ft and Ballina seeing the most of it with waves around 6ft, everywhere else will be somewhere in between. 

There’ll be another reinforcing pulse of E trade swell on Sunday mid-morning delivering a bit more power than the previous pulse but in the same ball park. With winds becoming stronger out of the SW for all regions the points, coves and bays should be decent options, while there could even be a few beach options for beaches that face a bit more to the N. 

Meanwhile, further out to sea, probably while you’re enjoying waves on Saturday morning, a low will form off the QLD coast. This low will intensify and begin moving south pretty quickly ruining chances of decent swell generation for most parts. 

Now, since I first mentioned this low it has remained fairly consistent, for a low anyway, but it has sped up its movements south. Initially it looked to deliver a solid E swell to N NSW and the Mid North Coast but since then it has looked less and less likely. 

Most the region is now relying mainly on the E trade swell for waves, but on Monday an E/SE swell created by the SE flank of the low will arrive. For the Sunshine Coast it’ll be more SE, so it’ll have less of an impact, but the Gold Coast and N NSW will see a final spike of E/SE swell. This will ease quickly though so if you want the size get out there early. 

On the other hand, the Mid North Coast will see a bit more E/SE energy from the low with wave heights remaining around the 6ft mark for most the day. With winds remaining S/SW it’ll be another day of solid waves with clean conditions for the southern points and corners. 

Other than that this low will create better winds for southern ends as mentioned in Sunday’s quick summary in the paragraph above. Although it'll  be best to keep an eye on local weather stations observations throughout the day to see exactly what is going on as winds around a low are dicey at best in terms of forecasting. Lots can change.  

As the low pushes further south expect winds to change from SW and swing around to N/NE. This will essentially signal the end of the swell and the start of a new week. 

Start of the Week (Tuesday onwards)

I know I’ve changed the start of the working week but it makes it easier for me to describe the conditions. When looking at the swell and wind it’s a clear divide. Solid waves up until Monday and then from Tuesday onwards a more summery setup. 

Waves will basically be gone by Tuesday with the low speeding south and then east directing any decent swell too far south for us - and most of the East Coast for that matter. There will be a little bit of left over E swell with head high waves about early for N NSW and the Mid North Coast. You’ll need to get onto it early though as by mid-morning the swell will have eased to 2ft and will be accompanied by winds out of the E making it bumpy. 

Replacing the low in the Tasman, a ridge of high pressure will set up delivering a weak, localised E swell across the coast. There will also be a trade swell setup delivering the odd 3ft set but it’ll mainly be 2ft for most the week.

This trend continues into Wednesday and Thursday, 2ft of E swell, with the occasional 3 footer, although with NE seabreezes. Expect more stereotypical summery conditions, northern corners with higher volume boards, mornings with lighter winds, afternoons blown out. You know how it goes...

On Friday, winds will start off lighter and more variable ahead of a S change. This S change will move through the Mid North Coast in the afternoon and hitting N NSW early Saturday. SE QLD will see the change mid-morning Saturday allowing cleaner conditions along the points. There won’t be much swell associated with this change. 

That’s it for now, until Monday.

Comments

burleigh's picture
burleigh's picture
burleigh commented Friday, 19 Feb 2021 at 3:11pm

how good are these early reports. Great job swellnet team. Forecast looks fun too.

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Friday, 19 Feb 2021 at 4:43pm

Tuesday will be the start of my working week *cough cough*.

Rockethut's picture
Rockethut's picture
Rockethut commented Friday, 19 Feb 2021 at 5:09pm

Nice and early reports! Great job

adsi's picture
adsi's picture
adsi commented Friday, 19 Feb 2021 at 5:51pm

Loving the early reports, hopefully the next 3 days is pumping, im hanging for some quality waves

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Friday, 19 Feb 2021 at 6:47pm

yeah thank gawd Bens not doing them any more............................haha joking .......

simba

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Friday, 19 Feb 2021 at 7:10pm

Haha received 5 beers deep on a Friday Eve. 

kaiser's picture
kaiser's picture
kaiser commented Friday, 19 Feb 2021 at 7:11pm

... sat eve. You sure you’re not 6 deep?

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Friday, 19 Feb 2021 at 7:15pm

Well, eve - evening.

kaiser's picture
kaiser's picture
kaiser commented Friday, 19 Feb 2021 at 7:22pm

Apologies. Gotta learn not to shoot from the hip when also 5 beers deep

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Friday, 19 Feb 2021 at 7:36pm

Ha!

Robo's picture
Robo's picture
Robo commented Friday, 19 Feb 2021 at 7:17pm

Coffs had the best waves lol, nice try.

James KC's picture
James KC's picture
James KC commented Friday, 19 Feb 2021 at 9:13pm

Best conditions from what I saw around the grounds in the morning at least, everywhere else was onshore from dawn onwards

tomrnoir's picture
tomrnoir's picture
tomrnoir commented Friday, 19 Feb 2021 at 9:01pm

Maaaaaaan Swellnet, how much $$$$$ to take the Coolum Bays cam down? Place is becoming a circus, cheers for that.

KookDeVille's picture
KookDeVille's picture
KookDeVille commented Friday, 19 Feb 2021 at 9:27pm

Cam prob ain't helping but that joint has been a write off for years. Terrible wave anyway, let em have it.

tomrnoir's picture
tomrnoir's picture
tomrnoir commented Saturday, 20 Feb 2021 at 12:06pm

1st/2nd bay aren't terrible waves. On their day can rival anywhere on the SC bar Noosa. As you mentioned further down re Perry, I feel it's similar with 2nd bay on those days. Not a Coolum local but it was always an alternative option to the name points when the conditions were right. Used to get it to myself on the regular - I definitely believe the camera has contributed to all the unfamiliar faces I see out there whenever I head down that way. No issue with surf cameras in general, but Coolum should've just been left with the main beach.

Ben Harding's picture
Ben Harding's picture
Ben Harding commented Saturday, 20 Feb 2021 at 1:47pm

Unfamiliar faces...you'd be surprised how far sunny coast crew come down this way and also past the Goldy for a wave. I'm sure it happens with brissy crew who've got the time to go further than the Happy's to maroochy stretch on weekday/end. These are the times we live in. Always a wave on the sunny coast when there's swell tho, so easy to find multiple peaks to yourself.

tomrnoir's picture
tomrnoir's picture
tomrnoir commented Saturday, 20 Feb 2021 at 6:04pm

Yeah of course, it is what it is. Finding a solo peak of good quality can be a challenge though on most days.

Ben Harding's picture
Ben Harding's picture
Ben Harding commented Tuesday, 23 Feb 2021 at 5:13pm

Yep, agreed there, solo isnt happening and youve got a fair few clicks to cover to suss spots, the sprawl is real.

Troppo's picture
Troppo's picture
Troppo commented Friday, 19 Feb 2021 at 10:09pm

Would be interested to see correlation between cameras and crowd, cause I've been in this area of sunshine coast since early 1980's. Seen a steady crowd increase very consistent with population growth.
Lennox head doesn't have a surf camera, but has seen crowd growth exponential.
Let's open the can of worms. I don't think the cameras contribute to crowd numbers. What do you think?

nick.minor's picture
nick.minor's picture
nick.minor commented Saturday, 20 Feb 2021 at 7:17am

Between swellnet and one of its competitors there are not many beaches on the sunshine coast which don't have a camera.

I think the biggest culprit of some areas being crowded at certain times is a) live wind readings and b) Google maps. Get rid of those two should free things up

KookDeVille's picture
KookDeVille's picture
KookDeVille commented Saturday, 20 Feb 2021 at 7:47am

My theory with crowding places like Coolum pocket, Bays, Alex, etc is the simple fact that they can be checked from a main road at elevation while driving past. Even when it's dogshit those places always look heaps better from that elevated perspective. The Sunny Coast sheep mentality ensures that the Barneys driving past will inevitably stop and paddle out as soon as they see more than 3 heads in the water. Add good parking and it makes it an easy option for lazy people. The Point Perry cam is cooked though. Absolutely unnecessary and has destroyed the chance of low key sessions out there for the locals on the rare occasion she bares her teeth.

Tristan Goose's picture
Tristan Goose's picture
Tristan Goose commented Saturday, 20 Feb 2021 at 11:08am

agree with this theory 100%. Think a large amount of surfers on the coast are lazy and stick to what they know. Same reason Alex will be insanely crowded even when the beachies are firing

DaveGL's picture
DaveGL's picture
DaveGL commented Saturday, 20 Feb 2021 at 12:31pm

This theory definitely holds up with Cabarita.

juegasiempre's picture
juegasiempre's picture
juegasiempre commented Sunday, 21 Feb 2021 at 11:25am

I'm a big fan of the live wind readings and the historical wind. It's way more reliable than the reports for me.

Jono's picture
Jono's picture
Jono commented Saturday, 20 Feb 2021 at 1:21pm

Yep, I think the crowds are increasing simply because there are more surfers. And in regional areas it's the new housing developments that cause a huge influx of instant locals.

stan1972's picture
stan1972's picture
stan1972 commented Saturday, 20 Feb 2021 at 7:43am

The better half works in real estate and sales have been approx 75% to Brisbane/Syd/Melb families for 20 years. She reckons Covid would put it closer to 95%. So I think you've got the wrong target.

Ardy's picture
Ardy's picture
Ardy commented Saturday, 20 Feb 2021 at 12:52pm

The circus was in town long before that cam went up, as said people are just plum lazy, my local has been smashed also and i’m just down the road. The old coast is long goooone :(

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Saturday, 20 Feb 2021 at 1:36pm
JackStance's picture
JackStance's picture
JackStance commented Saturday, 20 Feb 2021 at 8:56pm

imagine being from a family thats lived in the area for literally 60,000 years.

Breathe. Murdoch's empire will one day fail to control our minds.

Rockethut's picture
Rockethut's picture
Rockethut commented Saturday, 20 Feb 2021 at 7:24am

Jeez this morning should have scored a 5/10. Not many options at all

richard187's picture
richard187's picture
richard187 commented Saturday, 20 Feb 2021 at 9:27pm

9/10 at some spots I would say. Better than the cyclone swell. Nice when it's groomed with no sweep.

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Saturday, 20 Feb 2021 at 5:27pm

just watching the pass cam and seems like guys carrying someone out on a [email protected]

simba

Tristan Goose's picture
Tristan Goose's picture
Tristan Goose commented Saturday, 20 Feb 2021 at 10:06pm

Question for the people who fish on here. Had some bloke on the beach at 5:30pm pulling fish guts through the water on the shoreline and seemed to be setting up for a night of shark fishing whilst there was still quite a few people out surfing. Told him it looked worrying, he told me to fuck off... Is him doing that as sketchy as it seemed? And is that something you do before shark fishing?

(I know nothing about fishing)

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Saturday, 20 Feb 2021 at 10:17pm

probably worming

simba

Tristan Goose's picture
Tristan Goose's picture
Tristan Goose commented Saturday, 20 Feb 2021 at 10:25pm

ah right good to know, just got spooked

Distracted's picture
Distracted's picture
Distracted commented Saturday, 20 Feb 2021 at 10:18pm

Sounds like he was trying to get a few beach worms for a night fish?

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Sunday, 21 Feb 2021 at 7:34am

One big closeout

juegasiempre's picture
juegasiempre's picture
juegasiempre commented Sunday, 21 Feb 2021 at 11:23am

Read report. Took my 6'6. Left after 40 minutes of surfing 2ft high, 150m wide closeouts. Wish i didn't get so pumped up from the report and wish i took my 5'8 instead.

Oh well. Hope someone got those 8/10 waves.

bruzzz's picture
bruzzz's picture
bruzzz commented Sunday, 21 Feb 2021 at 11:56am

Haha second that mate

Smol

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Sunday, 21 Feb 2021 at 12:33pm

You took a step-up in 4-5ft surf? Regular shorty would have been fine.

gingeryeti's picture
gingeryeti's picture
gingeryeti commented Sunday, 21 Feb 2021 at 12:43pm

Easy 8/10 on the SC this morning. Absolute bombs.

Tristan Goose's picture
Tristan Goose's picture
Tristan Goose commented Sunday, 21 Feb 2021 at 1:23pm

Can confirm. Surfed for 6 hours. Local beachie was maybe the best it’s been in a year. Everyone was getting shacked. Absolute trip being able to surf all morning with off shore winds on a 30 degree day

tomrnoir's picture
tomrnoir's picture
tomrnoir commented Sunday, 21 Feb 2021 at 3:39pm

Stoked you got some my brother. My postal & surrounds had brilliant conditions and quite sizeable - but just wasn't adding up. Not straight, but way too fast. Heard it was all-time in other areas though.

Missed out - it is what it is! Yewwww

_Bodhi_'s picture
_Bodhi_'s picture
_Bodhi_ commented Sunday, 21 Feb 2021 at 12:09pm

Yea the gc beaches were doing its thing this morn, definitely towards the upper end on the quality scale. Not too shabby...

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Sunday, 21 Feb 2021 at 12:31pm

Pumping this morning. Inconsistent but clean 4-5ft+ east swell, light offshore winds, no sweep. 

Tristan Goose's picture
Tristan Goose's picture
Tristan Goose commented Sunday, 21 Feb 2021 at 1:26pm

Photo evidence that the sunny coast was off its head today

https://www.instagram.com/p/CLiPxjDHMHM/?igshid=1nkwr3fufnqub

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Sunday, 21 Feb 2021 at 5:37pm

Wow. 

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Sunday, 21 Feb 2021 at 6:05pm

Smokin',

Looked like the SC was off to a bright start this morn...

210221sunnycoast

scrotina's picture
scrotina's picture
scrotina commented Sunday, 21 Feb 2021 at 6:25pm

interesting some people saying pumping while others saying great conditions but shit waves.

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Sunday, 21 Feb 2021 at 6:55pm

I was thinking that too...and I mean there is a big difference between 'great' and 'shit'...or is it just a matter of perspective?

freesurfer1977's picture
freesurfer1977's picture
freesurfer1977 commented Sunday, 21 Feb 2021 at 7:37pm

It all depends on where you went!

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Sunday, 21 Feb 2021 at 7:38pm

same as every swell.

freesurfer1977's picture
freesurfer1977's picture
freesurfer1977 commented Sunday, 21 Feb 2021 at 7:43pm

A reef offshore a bit helps to break up the swell to form perfect peaks. Then you have the open beaches without the offshore set up, and you have to rely on a good bank.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Sunday, 21 Feb 2021 at 7:44pm

same as it ever was.

freesurfer1977's picture
freesurfer1977's picture
freesurfer1977 commented Sunday, 21 Feb 2021 at 7:57pm

Yeah well pumping and shit waves on the same swell comes down to local knowledge, same as it was,is and will forever be

spidermonkey's picture
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spidermonkey commented Sunday, 21 Feb 2021 at 8:42pm

Sunny coast was was excellent not hard to figure out where to go on a day like this. One not to miss in these parts..

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Monday, 22 Feb 2021 at 10:42am

Me this morning when the wind finally went offshore...

https://www.instagram.com/p/CLj9UlMC2Dr/?igshid=k0fo45fl6nmp

I'm not cheap,
But I'm free.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Monday, 22 Feb 2021 at 10:48am

Haha!

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Monday, 22 Feb 2021 at 11:40am

Haha! "When males are immature they generally sing the song of females."

tomrnoir's picture
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tomrnoir commented Monday, 22 Feb 2021 at 12:33pm

Really fun this morning. What a year it has been thus far.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 22 Feb 2021 at 3:37pm

Two words to describe today.

Pump. Ing.

adsi's picture
adsi's picture
adsi commented Monday, 22 Feb 2021 at 5:12pm

Jesus 8/10 for ballina this morn, I checked every decent break between there and byron and wasn't too much happening, straighter than yesterday at good spots :(