Week or more of mediocrity coming up
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 28th July)
SE Qld Forecast Summary (tl;dr)
- Tiny for the next four days
- Best potential is Fri AM or Sat PM at exposed northern ends, but it'll only be small
- Very small surf all weekend with N/NW winds
- Fun tho' small and very inco E'ly swell building next week, peaking Tues/Wed
- Also in the mix some N'ly windswell
Northern NSW Forecast Summary (tl;dr)
- Small flush of S'ly swell across Northern NSW on Fri, easing Sat, with generally good winds
- Small surf all weekend, nothing overly special
- Small, long range E'ly swell building next week, peaking Tues/Wed but not worth too much effort
- New S'ly swells later next week
Persistent S’ly swells maintained 2-3ft sets at south facing beaches south of Byron on Tuesday (see surfcam grab from Coffs below), easing to 2ft this morning and 1-2ft this afternoon. One or two south swell magnets in SE Qld picked up 2ft sets on Tuesday but it faded through the day. Elsewhere, there’s been a tiny level of E’ly swell. Winds have generally been out of the northern quadrant, lighter and more NW through the mornings.
This week (July 29 - 30)
A vigorous front will push east of Bass Strait tonight, and strong to gale force W/SW winds in its wake will generate a flukey south swell for Northern NSW.
The leading edge of this swell should reach Southern NSW late Thursday afternoon and evening, and we’ll see a gradual arrival across Northern NSW on Friday - early morning on the Mid North Coast, perhaps not until lunchtime across the Northern Rivers. And I’m doubtful we’ll see much, if any energy pushing north of the border after lunch, though there is a chance for an afternoon session at a handful of exposed spots.
At its peak on Friday, south facing beaches south of Byron should push an inconsistent 3ft+ or so, though most other beaches will be a lot smaller, and SE Qld will remain very small at most spots, perhaps some 1-2ft sets at exposed northern ends and south swell magnets if we’re lucky.
Elsewhere, expect a small undercurrent of minor E’ly swell in the 1ft range. Thursday may also see a small short range S’ly windswell build across Northern NSW in the wake of the front, but it’ll be wind affected and low quality.
Thursday’s winds will be early NW in the north and W/SW in the south, tending SW then S’ly in the wake of the change, though with the most strength south of Yamba and lighter winds north from Ballina. Light morning SW winds and moderate afternoon sea breeze are expected on Friday.
All in all, if you’ve got a south swell magnet up your sleeve you’ll do OK but its not worth getting excited about.
This weekend (Aug 1 - 2)
Friday’s south swell will ease into Saturday, persisting best across the Far North Coast in the morning and abating more rapidly across the Mid North Coast. Rare 2-3ft sets are possible at south facing beaches south from Byron to Coffs, but expect smaller surf elsewhere and a steady easing trend through the day.
Otherwise, chances for a small flukey SE swell this weekend have vanished, thanks to the models pushing the stalled Tasman Low (in the wake of the current front) a little further east, essentially too far north and east of our swell window. It was only a fleeting opportunity at best in Monday's notes anyway.
A small long range E’ly swell is expected this weekend, originating from a stationary tropical depression near Tahiti last weekend, but I’ll be very inconsistent with rare 1-2ft sets at some of the swell magnets. Again, this isn't worth getting excited about.
Freshening N/NW winds are forecast both days (with a window of light NW winds early Saturday) and this will confine the best conditions to protected northern corners. These winds should generate some local N’ly windswell for exposed coasts, but jeez aren’t we clutching at straws here.
Keep your expectations very low for the whole weekend. It’s Saturday morning at the south swell magnets, or nothing, I reckon.
Next week (Aug 3 onwards)
The first half of next week is looking similarly small.
The storm track is still aligned away from our Southern Ocean swell window, and although we’ll see an impressive E/NE fetch develop around the southern flank of the Tasman Low near New Zealand from Friday or Saturday onwards (see below), it’ll be tracking unfavourably eastwards at the same time which greatly diminishes its swell potential.
So, ignore the single-snapshot synoptics, as it’s a misleading swell source.
However, the tropical depression near Tahiti did hang around for a few days this week and should deliver a peak in inconsistent, long range E’ly swell to 2ft+, probably by Tuesday and Wednesday (smaller either side). Though with breaks of up to fifteen minutes between sets, will it really be worthwhile?
Freshening N/NW winds early next week will maintain minor windswells for exposed coasts - possibly in the 2ft+ range across the southern Gold Coast by Tuesday - but we’ll be waiting for a SW wind change associated with a frontal progression to the south. This may not arrive until Wednesday.
Overall, there's certainly a chance that a confluence of distant E'ly and local N'ly swells plus a W'ly or SW wind change some time later Tuesday or Wednesday may provide a window of fun beachies but it's too far out to have a lot of confidence in right now.
Otherwise, the fronts mentioned above should kick up a small south swell for later Wednesday or Thursday, but only south of the border.
A stronger front of polar origins will round the Tasmanian corner around Wednesday, setting up much better potential for a strong south swell later next week (Thurs/Fri), but this is still quite some time away and will again mainly favour Northern NSW. However this remains the most optimistic timeframe for a return to more typical winter swell pattern.
More on that in Friday’s update.