James KC

E swell keeps on coming

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by James Casey (issued Monday 3rd May)

Best Days: Thursday, Sunday

Outlook:

  • E trade swell to continue throughout the week
  • Pulse of mid period E swell for Tuesday around the 3-4ft mark 
  • Another pulse of larger E swell on Thursday into Friday up towards 3-5ft, bigger south of the border, 5-6ft+ for N NSW and 6-8ft for MNC
  • E Pulse on Saturday sustaining waves around that 3-5ft mark, bigger south of the border, easing into Sunday 
  • More E swell to start the next week

Recap

The E swell jumped up to the 3-4ft mark over the weekend, peaking on Sunday. Winds were out of the S, more SW in the morning and more SE in the afternoon. South of the border winds were a bit more E making most options pretty bumpy. The MNC was a touch smaller, more in the 2-3ft range. 

This morning waves are again in the 3-4ft range but a bit more defined and with more push. With winds light and offshore across the region there were decent waves to be had. 

This week

The E trade swell will continue throughout the week with the E swell pulsing and ebbing throughout. Generally speaking it will get a little less consistent as the swell source shifts further east but all in all it is looking like a decent run of waves. 

An easterly trough low will form on Wednesday creating an intensification of E winds from Thursday onwards as it pinches the ridge of high pressure meaning there should be a more solid pulse of E swell for the end of the week and into the start of the weekend, biggest for the MNC.

Let’s break down each of the days ahead. 

Tomorrow (Tuesday) will see a little pulse in the E swell, it’ll be a bit less consistent with the longer period but it should see waves up into the 3-4ft mark. Winds will be lighter and more SW across the coast, building out of the SE into the afternoon for SE QLD and more E/NE but lighter south of the border.

From Wednesday onwards we will see a more sustained pulse of mid period E swell keeping wave heights in that 3-4ft+ range into the weekend. Of more importance is the formation of the easterly trough low and its impact on winds and swell. 

Winds on Wednesday will remain light and variable mainly out of the W/NW in the morning but with a stronger W/NW breeze strengthening from mid morning for SE QLD with winds remaining lighter and more variable south of the border. This could mean it’ll be a better day along the beachies than the points for SE QLD. 

Thursday looks like there’ll be stronger W/SW winds for SE QLD but south of the border winds will be more out of the S/SW winds keeping things clean along the points and southern corners. 

Winds will intensify around the eastern flank of the easterly trough low as it pinches the ridge bringing yet another E pulse with waves building into a peak on Friday morning reaching 3-5ft for SE QLD, 5-6ft+ for N NSW and 6-8ft for the MNC.

Friday will start off with light W winds but tend more NW and strengthen as the day goes on, making it a little bumpy along the points, better for the beach breaks. 

Into the weekend and beyond

The start of the weekend will see wave heights remain around 3-5ft for SE QLD, 5-6ft+ for N NSW and 6-8ft for the MNC. Winds on Saturday morning look like they’ll be light and offshore in the morning with a bit of NW once again making the points a little ruffled. In the afternoon winds will strengthen out of the N to NE. South of the border winds look more W/NW early but tend light and E/NE in the afternoon. 

Sunday will see wave heights begin to ease towards the 3-4ft mark for SE QLD and towards the 4-6ft mark for south of the border. With winds light and variable in the morning there’ll be some waves on offer. Later in the day a weak onshore flow will pick up out of the E/SE, south of the border winds will pick out of the E/NE once again. 

Monday will see an increase in E trade swell for the afternoon as the ridge to the north of NZ continues to provide a decent fetch of strong E winds directed at our coast. Expect waves up around the 4ft mark to continue, this time biggest for SE QLD, a little smaller down towards the MNC. A S change looks to move through around the start of the week cleaning things up along the points and with the seemingly non stop E swell from the ridge above NZ there should be some decent waves to be had. 

Tune in on Wednesday for an update. 

Comments

Surfalot67's picture
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Surfalot67 Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 8:57am

Tricky winds again by the looks of things. Driving 20 km south last weekend meant a change from light SE to howling ENE. Yesterday was all time for the size at a certain NC point though, glassy 4 foot and 12 guys out. Happy days :)

tomrnoir's picture
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tomrnoir Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 10:39am

The water on the Gold Coast seems to clear up far more quickly than the Sunny after rain.

Really turbid here everywhere bar a few spots.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 11:27am

Great surf this morning, easy 4ft sets, light winds, warm water, peaks galore. 

Plasticspastic's picture
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Plasticspastic Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 12:00pm

absolutely pumping where I surfed on the GC. bugger all people, lots of peaks and barrels...
yesterday and today.. epic.. probably one of the best forecasts for beachies in a long time..
Ben - couple of 5ft sets came through I reckon.... period has definitely increased since yesterday..

Ben Harding's picture
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Ben Harding Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 12:28pm

+1 on the beachie front. Yesterdays shape unreal, but the size jump up today was solid and far straighter.

if yesterday was 3 to 4, today was 4/5 and 6 on the sets. easy. Paddle outs are fuarked at the minute.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 12:39pm

Interesting. Didn't see anything I'd feel comfortable calling a straight 5ft, but there were a few pushing north of 4ft. Certainly a strong swell though I feel the long period S'ly swell a week or so ago was 'stronger' (more water moving, more waves pitching top to bottom). 

As for swell period - data across the region shows it's up by about half to one second (Tp 9-9.5 seconds y'day, 10 seconds today).

I suspect there are other factors at play that are increasing the perceived 'strength' of the swell, including swell direction (slightly N of E), the low tides and the abundance of sand - making to hard to punch out. 

Plasticspastic's picture
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Plasticspastic Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 12:55pm

And it always feels bigger when you get 10 waves on the head paddling out. And yeah sand is packed in which is great. GC did not see much of the South swell last week (standard)... so harder to compare....

Ben Harding's picture
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Ben Harding Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 12:56pm

Interesting, central goldy beachies outshines tweed coast for size. Seen some footy from some mates up the sunny coast of some sets a jump up in size again. Noodle arms already and its two days into it.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 2:07pm

So, bigger than 6ft on the Sunny Coast? Really?

Tristan Goose's picture
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Tristan Goose Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 2:08pm

3-4 foot where I was on the sc this morning

Tristan Goose's picture
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Tristan Goose Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 2:09pm

Was also a noticeable jump in power and size from yesterday though

Ben Harding's picture
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Ben Harding Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 2:31pm

Ben – I said 4/5 and 6 on the sets GC, set waves can come every 10, 15 or half hour, but it was consistently well overhead... So, I would say from what I was shown re sunny coast, it was consistently bigger at a spot my mates surf than the beachie I was at on the GC. The evidence suggest that it was solid Why is it so unbelievable? If its 4 to 5 then 6 ft sets are in the water. There are also posts from amateur fotogs on a well known FB group on the sunny coast with crew standing tall in barrels with room to move.

Update: this is now semantics, the waves are good, as I said before, who cares? Its an age old debate where egos get in the way of the enjoyment of good waves via diminishing others persectives due to FOMO or some other factor which probably sucks. Always the same old crew who cant believe its good somewhere they are not.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 2:34pm

All good mate, just appreciate detailed size reports for verification purposes.

As per the wide range of reports posted here (between 3ft and 6ft), we can see just how fraught it is committing to an actual size range in the FC Notes. 

Let alone a rating out of ten.

Ben Harding's picture
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Ben Harding Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 2:44pm

Yep, would be hard. I dont think anyone I was surfing with this AM out front was expecting what was on offer. All good mate, its a pointless excercise for anyone else other than you forecasters, enjoy!

Plasticspastic's picture
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Plasticspastic Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 1:19pm

Ben, Couldn't help myself, but looking at the wave monitoring buoy off the GC Seaway for yesterday morning and this morning shows 1-2 second jump of period and an increase in swell height - we got a spike over 3m this morning... I reckon that's all we need on the goldie beachies to bump up swell,

https://www.qld.gov.au/environment/coasts-waterways/beach/monitoring/wav...

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 2:06pm

Don't use Tz in SE Qld, it's easily contaminated by local windswell (it's the average of ALL swell periods).

Tp is the most useful indicator for swell trends in this region. 

Don't look at Hmax either. Hsig - specifically the trend - is the best indicator for surf size trends (taking into account local winds and the potential for windswell contamination).

So, about a half to one second increase and under a foot of swell icnrease (which is now trending down, marginally). Definitely slightly up on y'day but not really that much of a difference. 

Plasticspastic's picture
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Plasticspastic Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 2:21pm

ok so now I have been schooled on correct Wave bouy readings.. ta :).. agreed with Hsig on trends, but Hmax is great (I think) for correlating/hindcasting back to larger sets seen/experienced in the water....

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 2:42pm

Each physical wave buoy is located at least many hundreds of metres, if not several kilometeres offshore. 

There's not always a direct correlation between a Hmax reading and "the bomb set that smashed everyone" (to put your suggestion into practise). 

Unless you're looking at a solitary, pure groundswell event - which is somewhat of a rare occurence - then more times often than not there'll be a mix of swell sources with different directions and periods, all overlapping at random.

The Hmax value is the largest 'vertical motion' - or 'wave' - recorded during the 26 min recording sample. Often it's the result of several swell trains all combining all at once, in essence a rogue wave.

Ben Harding's picture
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Ben Harding Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 1:29pm

shagga and dingo were down fingal way this morning doin their usual surf coaching, looks like a solid 4/5 going by his shots. But as usual its all subjective, and there will always be heros overcalling it and undercalling it haha. no one the exception. Either or, who cares? great waves about.

Plasticspastic's picture
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Plasticspastic Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 2:18pm

agreed pumping and more to come...

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 12:54pm

6ft?

where.

seems like a bog standard 3ft (HH) E swell to me.

nice fun waves, classic autumn conditions.

AndyM's picture
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AndyM Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 1:11pm

Nothing over 4ft down here.
More like 3+.

Sprout's picture
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Sprout Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 1:17pm

Same here Andy

Ben Harding's picture
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Ben Harding Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 1:45pm

Stand tall pits on the sunny coast this am Sprout, semi suprised you didnt find anything.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 2:15pm

Way over 3 foot here. Saw some ocean swells that would have been double that easily.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 2:37pm

Straight 3-4ft call on every surf report from Port to Sunshine coast this morning.

6ft is significantly bigger than that.

I'd have to see videos/photos to believe that.

Not an ego thing at all, it would be extremely unusual on a straight E swell like that to have somewhere significantly bigger and require recalibration of existing and observed reports/forecasts.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 2:44pm

Ocean swells don’t photograph real well.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 2:53pm

true dat.

If I saw 6ft ocean swells I'd be expecting 10ft plus surf at appropriate spots.

did you get eyes on the surf down there?

Blowin's picture
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Blowin Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 3:01pm

Only from the back. Didn’t look10 ft.

Ben Harding's picture
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Ben Harding Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 7:06pm

Plenty of footy out there though Freeride. Have you got Insta or Facebook. Wiggle those thumbs and utilise your journalistic talent (being serious) and find those sources that regularly provide reliable photographic imagery of swells when they hit so that the burden of proof has been fulfilled for you. The irony about you of all people defending the reports? Every other week you’re having a crack about under calls/over calls/ sneak swells going under the radar and you getting 4/5ft (unquestioned too may i add) point surf with only a couple out as a result, and what have you. Bit rich mate.

But to start you off, here is one in 4k no less, and on the points, which were far more manageable than the beachies and not where the size was today. FWIW Jaggar is probably around 6'2 :

karliosis's picture
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karliosis Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 7:32pm

Mate it was a solid 3ft

AndyM's picture
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AndyM Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 11:55pm

The size debate is a classic and I've noticed some younger crew are leaning towards calling face heights i.e. a wave just over head is somewhere around 6ft.
Out of curiosity, how big you calling that wave in the Insta link above Ben?
For mine, it's about 4ft on the takeoff.

Ben Harding's picture
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Ben Harding Wednesday, 5 May 2021 at 5:20am

@AndyM: The legs on this... Did you analyse that wave into the wee hours of the night haha? Yes the the size debate is classic. I've found its always only the crew online that talk it down, like no one wants to go out on a limb and say it sizey for fear of being pulled apart. Which is fair enough, exhausting work and takes the shine off the day. The conversation is largely pointless. Mean while all crew in the water call it as it is. No one I know (33) is calling wave heights by face. I reckon the take off is over four for sure but no bigger than five. And you're sitting on the fence Andy, what's about four? 8ft face? If 2ft is 60cm, when he takes off and extends at the end of his bottom turn, how many 60cm's goes above his head. I would say twice considering the height of Jaggar.

Sprout's picture
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Sprout Wednesday, 5 May 2021 at 8:40am

That's 3-4ft

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Wednesday, 5 May 2021 at 8:54am

Agreed.

Ben Harding, I find it very much the opposite. It's crew online who talk it up, because it's all anonymous.

I don't know anyone out of the people I surf with, AndyM is one, there are many other, who would call it bigger than that (3-4ft).

Not an ego or FOMO thing here, as Ben Matson said, it's just an issue of calibrating what fetch produces what waves.

seen a million of these tradewind fetches and one of the singular features is the even distribution of size across a very large swathe of coastline. It's 3-4ft from Port (even Seal Rocks) to Noosa.
If there was a glaring anomaly in that, it would need to be accounted for.

Not having a go or trying to be a hero, it's just information gathering.

Ben Harding's picture
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Ben Harding Wednesday, 5 May 2021 at 9:11am

Agree to disagree. I don't think we see eye to eye on many things it seems freeride. But that's the beauty of it.

I don't think you're having a go, as this isn't worth having a go over. But I made a point about the points having some size, and the size was at the beachies. Of course the wave tapers off to 3/4 as is the case most of time at that spot(and anywhere else really). But where he took off/peak iswell over that, and that's what AndyM and I were focused on which I really didn't think I'd have to spell out for anyone. Which reveals abit. If you don't see that then we see the world differently and that's ok too. Enjoy the day.

AndyM's picture
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AndyM Wednesday, 5 May 2021 at 9:19am

I think you're on your own there Ben, apart from a 15 year old that I work with, I don't know a single person who would call the start of that wave "well over" 3 or 4 foot.

Ben Harding's picture
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Ben Harding Wednesday, 5 May 2021 at 9:29am

I expected no less. Glad that's all cleared up then AndyM.

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Ben Harding Wednesday, 5 May 2021 at 9:18am

"Ben Harding, I find it very much the opposite. It's crew online who talk it up, because it's all anonymous"

Only three weeks ago you were telling me that it was the exact opposite? In the forum about facto getting booted and online anonymity. The long winded thread. That the anonymous crew talk it down and the crew who use their actual names talk it up.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Wednesday, 5 May 2021 at 11:34am

OK mate.

it's all good. I'll let all the passive-aggressive jibes and red herrings go straight through the keeper.

we found the solution to the anomaly, and I honestly mean no disrespect by that.

Ben Harding's picture
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Ben Harding Wednesday, 5 May 2021 at 4:04pm

We can keep going if you like? Let’s not digress here, that point was topical; no red herrings here freeride. I observe what you write and pay attention to the irony (debating surf reports) and hypocrisy (within the forums). Other may not, but I see through some of the fog mate.

I think your perception of reality is far too wrapped up within the consistent and very small number of people that actually comment on SEQ forecast notes compared to actual long time surfers in SEQ. Not an actual reflection of reality and nor can these commenters be representative of every nook and cranny from here to the sunny coast. So the anomaly you so speak of is not an accurate microcosm of the real world. Up until a couple years ago I never bothered with the comment section. Nor do any of my friends or people I still regularly surf with. Should I give you the five numbers of my friends who surfed at our local with me yesterday to satiate your curiosity? Ya got to be kidding. Or should I pass on the details of my mates on the sunny coast who got a particular point and beachie that was firing? No chance. Or should I keep sending links to insta or fb groups to prove something to someone that has a seemingly over-inflated sense of importance in this regions surfing realm. Again, buckleys.

You write some good articles from time to time on a passion of mine, but that doesn’t grant you any status over any other average punter.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Wednesday, 5 May 2021 at 5:00pm

jeezuz mate you go on.

for someone who said about five (long) posts ago it was no big deal to them.

don't be one of those people who starts waffling on with pages of psychobabble trying to divine other peoples perception of reality.

Please, lets just leave it at seeing surf heights a little differently.

Ben Harding's picture
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Ben Harding Wednesday, 5 May 2021 at 5:11pm

No, I said who cares for pulling peoples opinions apart and its an age old debate where egos get in the way. Bit of a difference mate. Pages of psychobabble. Nice. That'll do me. Happy to leave it there.

Ben Harding's picture
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Ben Harding Wednesday, 5 May 2021 at 8:56am

Sure is sprout. Especially for crew who naturally look at the shoulder and not the peak as the appropriate take off spot.

tomrnoir's picture
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tomrnoir Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 2:37pm

Absolute biggest I saw on the Sunny this am was slightly overhead.

nick.minor's picture
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nick.minor Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 7:27pm

Reckon 4 foot every 15 mins. Normally 2-3. But really good

tomrnoir's picture
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tomrnoir Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 8:04pm

I wasn't too impressed. Lines weren't groomed in my area, and a bit straight.

crg's picture
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crg Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 3:51pm

Autumn is good.

scrotina's picture
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scrotina Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 4:14pm

always interesting to hear where people scored. i checked most of the central to southern gc beachies this morning, looked fun with the odd barrel, but when i paddled out there was no consistent bank and mostly just fattish peaks. paddled in and went to one of the points thinking if its gonna be fat at least i'll get length of ride, only to find hollow pits and not much a crowd...

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stevehamilton_ Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 4:18pm

I checked carindale and couldnt find the ocean so just called it and went to work

Andrew P's picture
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Andrew P Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 6:10pm

Mate the Belmont and Carina banks are all time at the moment! Too many mals and SUPs up at Camp Hill but

scrotina's picture
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scrotina Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 4:19pm

hey ben / james, can i please get some clarification on the forecast for tomorrow on the gc - the forecast notes say a more sustained pulse of mid period E swell, but the surf forecast, and the other sites i look at suggest a drop in size for Wednesday. i need to plan where to go tomorrow early and this info would be real handy thanks.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 4:37pm

TBH I haven't looked at east coast charts in a while (flat out forecasting for southern states ATM), however you're kinda cherry picking James's notes: the 'more sustained pulse' references from Wed thru' the weekend (not just tomorrow).

Forecast models show a slight drop in size but an increase in the swell period. In my opinion - without hindcasting the source - it'll probably just keep on keeping on much in the same vein as what we've seen for the last few days - such is the way with well established, broad, stationary trade-flow setups.

Main thing to remember is that it's not a one-off swell event that will arrive, peak and then slowly subside - we're looking at an extended period of ebbing and pulsing over the coming days (as it has for quite a few days now). Will the swell ebb or pulse during the same 90 minutes that you hit the water? Impossible to know. But the banks are primed well almost everywhere, and with good winds expected there should be quality waves at most spots.

In short, if you found somewhere good today, it'll probably be good tomorrow too.

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scrotina Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 4:40pm

thanks, appreciate that. where i found today will not be great if swell drops and wind has north in it tomorrow.

Solitude's picture
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Solitude Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 5:59pm

Clean 3-4 foot in my opinion today. No sweep. Stuff dreams are made of. Rinse repeat tomorrow hopefully.

tubulargreen's picture
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tubulargreen Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 6:01pm

I was down on the sand, watching the swell,
Board in my hand I said what the hell,
Wax up my stick and I zip on my skin,
I find a good spot and I jump in...

Blowin's picture
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Blowin Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 6:15pm

Sea is a place where you can live like a king

kaiser's picture
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kaiser Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 6:28pm

I blame Seth Moniz. Nothing in my region will ever be 5ft again

adsi's picture
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adsi Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 8:26pm

Ballina beachies pretty meh today, found one beachy that was working good though and got some good ones.
Point surf yesterday further north was good fun too, but F that crowd of snakes.
Will go further north tomorrow

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cam.jw Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 8:29pm

A certain SC spot was the best it’s been all year, aside from that swell that hit one Sunday in February. There was a really good pulse between 9:30/10:30. Was definitely a consistent solid 3ft, with a few 4ft pulses (and slightly north). A few of us locals were surprised at the size coming through for a couple of hours. Much better than yesterday.

Redmond Clement's picture
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Redmond Clement Wednesday, 5 May 2021 at 10:58am

I gauge waves by white water energy. It looks solid on the cams. It looks like absolute love.

donweather's picture
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donweather Wednesday, 5 May 2021 at 11:11am

It was very average today where I surfed. Hoping these storms clean it up and can find a better bank later today/tomorrow.

Jono's picture
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Jono Wednesday, 5 May 2021 at 11:14am

It's fascinating that we've spent hundreds of years developing standard units of measurement, which everybody happily agrees on, and then surfers go and shit all over it, making the measurements completely ambiguous and confusing.

tomrnoir's picture
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tomrnoir Wednesday, 5 May 2021 at 11:23am

Yep.

Measuring from the back of the wave is utterly nonsensical, chest-beating bullshit.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Wednesday, 5 May 2021 at 11:36am

I don't know anyone who actually measures from the back of the wave. Because, it's impossible to see the back of the wave from shore. And if you're in the lineup, you're positioned on a moving datum.

However, most surfers I know refer to the face of the wave using a different scale other than standard metric or imperial units.

Robo's picture
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Robo Wednesday, 5 May 2021 at 6:07pm

Probs my best surf of the year today, good 3ft plus and just 2 of us, thanks to the webcam.