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.
- 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
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.