James KC

Weekend of solid S swell ahead

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by James Casey (issued Friday 5th March)

Best days: Sunday early with solid swell and light offshore winds. Monday early for N NSW and Mid N Coast with NW winds and swell beginning downward trend. 

Outlook

  • Saturday solid swell with fresh S/SE winds, best in southern corners and along the points
  • Sunday will see the peak of the swell combined with lighter offshore winds early, swinging around to NE by late arvo
  • Monday light NW winds early with plenty of size still around. Stronger N/NE winds by the afternoon
  • Tuesday N/NW early and downward trend for swell 
  • Swell gone by Wednesday and weak, troughy S change moving up the coast

Recap: 2-3ft of S and E swells across the region the last few days. Onshore across a large portion of the coast yesterday morning. This morning better with light winds ahead of S change creating nice conditions for most surf spots. Little N/NE breeze ahead of change made it a little bumpy for SE QLD.

Into The Weekend

Well well well, there are going to be some solid waves about for N NSW and the Mid N Coast this weekend, while SE QLD will still see some decent wave heights it’ll need to be at S swell magnets. The swell for the weekend and into the start of the week will be generated by a prolonged, active and elongated polar front is set to provide multiple S pulses, arriving overnight and keeping plenty of energy in the water until at least Tuesday. 

Let’s dive on into it.

There are plenty of synoptic features associated with this system, strong winds with the initial trough moving up the coast, followed by the front and finally a ridge squeezing up against the low whipping up persistent gales and making the swell last into the start of the new week. 

The winds have been blowing for a while already, with the winds breaching the tip of Tasmania last night. This pulse will provide the biggest waves for our coastline but it is a tricky one to forecast, being such an active and elongated front. 

Add into the mix TC Niran and you’ve got a dynamic weekend along the coast to say the least. While I don’t expect Niran to provide much energy to the coast compared to the S swell, there could be some 2-3ft N swell arriving along the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast this afternoon and tomorrow morning, mainly seen at the exposed southern points. Basically winds are aimed too far offshore and without a supporting ridge Niran just didn’t quite line up right for a solid cyclone swell. 

Back to the S swell that’ll create more of an impact for all coasts. At this stage it’s tricky to discern each pulse and the models are mixing swells but this is how I see it playing out. 

I wouldn’t expect much new energy from the S to be identified this afternoon, maybe just some mid period stuff for the Mid N Coast.

The bulk of S swell will arrive after dark and overnight, filling in and building across the entire coastline tomorrow as the day goes on. It'll reach 6ft for the Mid N Coast by the middle of the day and N NSW by the afternoon, bigger at S facing beaches. It’ll be smaller for SE QLD as most of the S swell goes straight past.

Winds will be S/SW for the Mid N Coast early while elsewhere is S/SE. Either way the winds and solid swell will be keeping you in southern corners for most of Saturday.

Sunday morning will be a different day. We will see the swell peak and winds become light and offshore early before swinging through the SE to the NE by the late afternoon. 

The Mid N Coast will see an 8ft peak in the morning. For N NSW it’ll be a similar 8ft peak but it’ll occur around the middle of the day. 

SE QLD will see the peak more into the afternoon with 4-6ft waves at S swell magnets like Duranbah but only about 2-3ft along the points. Open beaches that pick up most of the S swell along the Sunshine Coast could see the occasional 3-4ft set but it’ll mainly be 1-2ft as most the swell marches on by. 

The New Week

On Monday the swell will still be solid, up around the 5-6ft mark for N NSW and the Mid N Coast. SE QLD will remain a fair bit smaller. With light NW winds early you’ll be able to make the most of the S swell that hangs around.  

By Tuesday morning you will notice the downward trend with the Mid N Coast and N NSW hovering around the 3ft mark early but easing into the afternoon. Meanwhile, SE QLD will only really see the remains at S swell magnets, hitting that 3ft mark on the sets. 

Across the region winds will be light and N/NW early, tending NE and building ahead of a weak S change making its way into the Mid N Coast by the middle of the day. 

This S change will be a fair bit weaker than the previous one but we will dissect it on Monday. 

Comments

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 3:13pm

Hmmmm, me thinks your timing on the N/NE Niran swell is a little out.

bruzzz's picture
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bruzzz Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 3:52pm

What ya reckon Don?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 3:56pm

Models have it firmly in by midnight tonight, peaking Sat lunchtime. 

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 4:17pm

It only went Cat 4 earlier today and moved out past the GBR.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 4:36pm

Sure, but the monsoon has been developing since Monday (albeit out of the swell window for the first few days), so even though the cyclone came into effect a little later, I suppose it's similar to a Tasman Low developing in the lee of a frontal passage sliding under Tasmania.

Anyway it'll likely be the mirror version of one of those super flukey south swells that sometimes glance three beaches in Northern NSW, and half a beach in SE Qld. Except this time, coming down from the north. And at the same time as a mackin' south swell is moving up from the other direction!

donweather's picture
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donweather Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 5:02pm

Let's see what it's in the water at north facing beaches late this afternoon and Saturday morning and compare this to Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. And I'm talking true north facing beaches that will pick up zero of the S'ly swell.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 6:16pm

So.. what's your prediction?

donweather's picture
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donweather Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 6:57pm

On arrival time? Isn’t it obvious from my response above? Sat arvo and Sun morning. Don’t get me wrong. There could be a long period show up late tonight and tomorrow morning but the better swell will arrive late Sat arvo and Sunday.

AndyM's picture
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AndyM Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 7:25pm

What about size Don?
Surely with it sprinting away to the ESE, any swell arriving on the coast has to be negligible.
Maybe a tiny bit at say Point Lookout and the like but of no real note.

donweather's picture
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donweather Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 10:23pm

I can’t see anything more than 2-3ft at north facing beaches.

Ben Harding's picture
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Ben Harding Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 7:30pm

Surfed the Kawana and Sunshine stretch pretty much all day. Lots of sets felt like they were either straight out of the East or ENE. Definitely not SSE as was suppose to be in the water. Then again, I'm not sure if south swells refract /bend into these particular stretch of beaches. If anyone else surfed those stretches be interesting to read your take. Went right once, I'm goofy so have leftitis, but for me that's always an indication of North over south.

Edit: as can't delete this comment, disregard most of my comment as just read in the notes there was East swell up in the mix where as I thought it was only South.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 5:36pm

I say fuk all

Surfalot67's picture
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Surfalot67 Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 5:49pm

Sounds sweepy on the points...Hope the arms are in good nick

vbaaccess's picture
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vbaaccess Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 7:14pm

Oh yeah! (Chi chicka chickaaa) - YELLO

crg's picture
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crg Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 8:35pm

Very happy with my camping position for the next three days :)

donweather's picture
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donweather Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 6:50am

Noosa still looking like a lake this morning. Wave buoys also correlating that.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 7:17am

Yeah not much showing right now. 

Actually as much as I think the Qld wave buoy plots are the best in the country, the one thing they don't offer is a time series directional spectra plot (MHL's NSW buoys do, but for some reason their data processing is terrible, which renders it useless).

This would help enormously at identifying faint swells from unusual sources that otherwise aren't displayed by the more common parameters.

davetherave's picture
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davetherave Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 7:03am

Ben, have you noticed that in our neck of the woods the weather conditions are different then what the BOM readings are at Byron and Coolangatta? Yesterday the wind direction was definetely different especially when both stations had northerly winds, but when i was down the creek looking south and the breeze was definetely blowing in my face from over chincogan way. Noticed a few anomalies around here actually! Any thoughts would be appreciated.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 7:12am

Yep, agree. I can't always use Cooly or Byron weather stations with confidence for the Tweed Coast. If anything - and this is a little crazy - the Seaway and Evans Head sometimes are of better value to me.

dawnperiscope's picture
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dawnperiscope Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 12:56pm

I've had that feeling about the seaway winds too.
Just had a late morning surf at tweed back beach, got in at 10:15 and got lucky as the wind dropped out for a bit before puffing lightly from the east.
Was SSE early this morning when I was walking the dog.
Just looking at the seaway obs now and they are spot on!

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 9:23am

Tiny gurgle here.

Last week was a classic example of below the hype radar swell.

Mon-Fri that long range E swell lasted, with two bluebird days: Tues and Fri that featured A grade wave quality.

NickT's picture
NickT's picture
NickT Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 9:55am

Yep Monday was epic on a gd coast beach. Tuesday was slightly too long period and strong but there were some epic waves alright. It's great to see some quality banks around again since those two huge swells that nailed the banks everywhere

davetherave's picture
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davetherave Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 9:36am

Thanks Ben, good to know.

Serendipity60's picture
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Serendipity60 Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 11:35am

Hard to beat 3 ft of East groundswell and light winds for spreading the crowds.

Mckenny's picture
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Mckenny Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 11:41am

Just for interest sake. Can anyone explain why the forecast model for gold Coast tomorrow goes from 6am 2.8m to 12pm 0.3m ENE then back to the 2.8m southerly swell. I don't understand the science behind the model prediction. Interested if someone could explain what the model is seeing not seeing. Models normally seem pretty accurate so close to the event.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 1:54pm

Very weak 2-3 ft here post lunch.

Not much energy in the ocean at all.

Surfalot67's picture
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Surfalot67 Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 2:03pm

Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Cooly is a lake, Dbah barely 1.5'. What a hoax so far.

donweather's picture
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donweather Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 4:49pm

It's an impending southerly groundswell and you're complaining about a hoax on the gold coast, including a north facing point!!!!

And with the models doubling up on the south swells, it wasn't actually meant to arrive north of the border until very late today, more so tomorrow.

Surfalot67's picture
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Surfalot67 Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 10:02pm

Jam your four exclamation marks tiger. Still dead flat on dark and zero from the northerly pulse all the experts talked up either, hence the mention of the north facing point.. BTW I didn’t specifically mention the whole Goldie, just Cooly and the most reliable south swell magnet. Happy to see some action tomorrow but fuck me you guys only ever want to hear how accurate you are. Today, you’re not.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 7:27am

Niran was never going to produce anything of size, if anything at all, just an outside chance of a flukey 2-3ft wave at a few selected breaks. And the forecast brushed over it accordingly.

donweather's picture
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donweather Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 8:54am

Noosa has a little more energy this morning. And me still thinks it’s still to fill in throughout this morning (Nirsn swell I’m talking about).

donweather's picture
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donweather Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 11:13am

Byron buoy supporting the visual obs also.

https://www.mhl.nsw.gov.au/Station-BYRBOW

donweather's picture
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donweather Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 12:30pm

And there's a faint signal just showing on the coffs buoy also, which notes that it's coming down the coast from the north.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 12:32pm

That spectra has been so unreliable for over 5 years now. Since they tried to upgrade it. I don't use it and wouldn't use it to verify the N'ly swell.

Benda's picture
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Benda Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 3:12pm

Allways a 24hr lag for me re sth swells wrapping under oz.Has served me well with snow bc missions in the range.Acute sth swell doesn't help either.

scrotina's picture
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scrotina Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 4:34pm

anyone seeing any south swell anywhere? even the coffs cam showing nothing.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 4:56pm

Give it time guys. Tomorrow is the day and for the most size in Qld arvo/evening. 

tomrnoir's picture
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tomrnoir Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 7:01pm

Dribbly 1fters just now at Sunshine. A heck of a lot of ground to cover overnight.

camdoge's picture
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camdoge Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 7:13pm

Rubbish and tiny on the Sunny Coast this arvo regardless of where. I doubt we’ll see more than 2ft with maybe a bigger one except certain spots that love the Seth swell which might get 4.

And hey donweather you old kook!! ;)

Craig's picture
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Craig Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 7:17pm

Swell for SC isn't due until tomorrow arvo..

Distracted's picture
Distracted's picture
Distracted Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 7:23pm

6ft stormy surf on the open beaches on the MNC late this arvo. More swell on the wave buoy but most of it is heading towards fiji.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 9:20am

classic case of over-frothing on a hoax south swell?

trap for young players.

bout 3ft here.

tomorrow a write-off with northerlies.

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 11:49am

Anyone know if you can still get the last 48 hours of multi-spectral bouy plots for the MHL bouys? You used to be able to get it before they upgraded their website.

AndyM's picture
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AndyM Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 12:12pm

It’s ridiculous out there, slow 2-3 footers and a cast of thousands, including every long-haired flailing Brazilian from the Goldie.
Local stalwart shaper reckons it’s the most overhyped swell he can remember.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 1:25pm

On the other hand there's a few spots in NSW pushing 15ft.

These swells are very hard to have confidence in hyper-local expectations.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 12:26pm

Another long period south goes missing. Two this year.

donweather's picture
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donweather Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 12:31pm

It's still coming IMO for Nth NSW and SE Qld.

dangerouskook2000's picture
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dangerouskook2000 Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 2:42pm

Are you saying don't take the big board out of the car just yet?

Benda's picture
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Benda Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 1:15pm

2 spots working,Raglan and Clowdy .lol

bluediamond's picture
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bluediamond Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 5:26pm

haha. Yep! Nailed it.

Distracted's picture
Distracted's picture
Distracted Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 1:34pm

Hasn’t really gone missing, it’s just on the wrong direction and not refracting in?

dangerouskook2000's picture
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dangerouskook2000 Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 2:45pm

Water was nice this morning. Thats all I'm saying about the swell

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 3:12pm

Too late then Don. Winds onshore. Window has shut.
Super super slow. 3-4ft.

Not even bog standard winter S swell size.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 3:23pm

You'd have to be a very brave man to have forecast only 3-4ft off such a system. I always keep my expectations low with these long period numbers, nowhere near as reliable as they should otherwise be.

I'd say tomorrow morning you'll likely see more size across the region as the period drops and the swell angles in a tuch better.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 7:43pm

it's gone mate.

nor-easter is on it.

it'll be onshore gurgley leftovers in the morning. Unrideable.

swell peaked between 9-11am.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 5:32pm

I agree but experience dictates keeping error margins pegged at appropriate levels for swell sources that are so historically flukes.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 7:15pm

Had a late surf on the Tweed, inconsistent but strong 4-5ft+ sets. Lotta water moving through when the sets arrived.

dawnperiscope's picture
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dawnperiscope Monday, 8 Mar 2021 at 8:42am

Solid at tweed back beach this morning, I didn't see it yesdy arvo, but definitely fits your report Ben of 5ft+. Be interesting to see how much keeps coming over the next couple of days.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Monday, 8 Mar 2021 at 8:54am

Looked smaller this morning to me (same spot I was at y'day), though super straight, well defined groundswell lines, prob 3-4ft. Didn't spend a lot of time watching though.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 8:11pm

Tweed buoy clearly shows main swell front arriving around 2pm this arvo with Tp jumping to almost 17 seconds. NSW buoy array suggests plenty of size tomorrow morning, shame about the expected northerly.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 8:21pm

NSW buoy data looks much less convincing to me.

I can see a spike on the (recovered) Byron buoy which correlates with the 9-11 pulse, which clearly seemed the peak of the swell here. That was the only time I saw sets with multiple waves. By lunch it was slow as fcuk, single wave sets.

There's higher period through the afternoon which didn't translate into size in the water- maybe period drag?- the whole swell was weak sauce. Tormented by the onshore after lunch anyhow.

Coffs and crowdy look to already be on the way down.

I expect windy, ravaged super inconsistent leftovers in the morning. Hard to find a rideable wave.

Rockethut's picture
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Rockethut Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 8:23pm

Shit sakes don't bet your last dollar on the predicated forecast. What happens happens and what doesn't doesn't. If you expected great waves today you got caught, shame on you. And If you expect anything tomorrow, you're a fool.
In this stupid shit piss coast, you take what's available and you don't expect anything! Never anything worth getting excited about. In fact it's the days you expect shit and get shit coated in sprinkles that make your sessions fun here.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 8:23pm

Swell got stronger here in Sydney into the arvo, plenty more to come..

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 8:30pm

I guess we will see.

Spatchcock's picture
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Spatchcock Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 8:42pm

Surfed a few back beaches over the weekend. First surf Saturday morning after scoping out the options was a 6ft plus right hander breaking off a rock formation. Four or five guys out and a few heart starting gems, but the large wide sets tended to shut down with the rawness of the south swell. Jumped in at a little more protected right hander a few hours later with racey 3ft waves, high line speed runs but few turns available.

This morning brought light offshore winds and long lines with a new energy in the water. Skipped the rock formation beach with the reasoning that it would be too heavy with the increase in swell and grabbed 3 to 4ft clean waves back at the protected right hander. It required a bit of wave discretion to pick the ones that hugged the bank instead of shutting down in 30 metre sections. Lots of others had the same idea and the consensus from the crew was that there weren't many available options handling the swell. All up though a pretty satisfying weekend swell.

mick-free's picture
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mick-free Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 8:43pm

For reference using MHL Crowdy the swell of Thursday 22nd Jan had 3.7m at 15 sec 158 degrees and this swell had exact same specs. Both came in at the main break mid north coast 8-10 foot. Both days had same tides and blew up with NEr in morning. Jan swell epic with top to bottom waves and left hand point break grinding 6-8 further south. Today same spot 3-4 and Mid North a burgery 8-10 capping swell. From what I saw this swell was focused around south coast and mid coast and missed Sydney and Far North. I'm not sure if you remember how those days where for you Steve / Don but Friday was also cooking.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 8:56pm

I think that swell also missed here.

Lots we still don't understand about south swells.

This morning was deadset 2ft here. it was tiny. there were 6 year old kids out ruling it.

Troppo's picture
Troppo's picture
Troppo Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 9:02pm

Sunny Coast completely missed it (no surprise). A few bumps on the horizon as the swell moved north past us was the closest we got.
Happy to see proof from anyone who did score up this way over the weekend, but I reckon it was slim pickings!!

scott.kempton's picture
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scott.kempton Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 9:13pm

Can't remember a forecast being out , guess that's a first for everything

Craig's picture
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Craig Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 9:13pm

Don, that ain't cyclone swell out of the NNE with that intensity down Crowdy..

scott.kempton's picture
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scott.kempton Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 9:18pm

Can't remember a forecast being out , guess that's a first for everything . Checked the wave bouys late and slept in yeww

Plasticspastic's picture
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Plasticspastic Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 9:22pm

Agreed, I think swellnets forecasts are fantastic and happily subscribed awhile back.. I think the swell was just the wrong direction to really filter in everywhere....

burleigh's picture
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burleigh Monday, 8 Mar 2021 at 9:22am

a lot of back n forths for a southerly swell, we should all know NEVER to get excited for these on the Gold Coast.
Whats with this week though, very spring like with north winds and predicted storms.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Monday, 8 Mar 2021 at 9:27am

That’s what I thought.

Feels so spring like this morning.

Solid lines shame it’s unsurfable.

richard187's picture
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richard187 Monday, 8 Mar 2021 at 10:17am

Dbar is a piece of shit at mo, things never remain the same

tomrnoir's picture
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tomrnoir Monday, 8 Mar 2021 at 10:22am

Some sizeable walls on the Sunny this am. Felt undergunned actually.

Craig's picture
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Craig Monday, 8 Mar 2021 at 10:43am

Really, how big?

tomrnoir's picture
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tomrnoir Monday, 8 Mar 2021 at 12:13pm

On the set waves I caught, was easily overhead. I'm 6'1.

Craig's picture
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Craig Monday, 8 Mar 2021 at 12:15pm

Nice!

tomrnoir's picture
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tomrnoir Monday, 8 Mar 2021 at 12:17pm

Shape-wise, was nothing to write home about. Not a hoax swell after all, though.

spookypt's picture
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spookypt Monday, 8 Mar 2021 at 10:54am

For a midget! Small puss at PITA. NW didnt kick till 2.30am so it was junk.

tomrnoir's picture
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tomrnoir Monday, 8 Mar 2021 at 12:15pm

Heard it was pretty gutless there.

donweather's picture
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donweather Monday, 8 Mar 2021 at 11:33am

I did say the swell was still to come for SE Qld.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Monday, 8 Mar 2021 at 10:52am

Some decent sets on the SC..