Non stop action from the East as another tropical depression enters the swell window

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Wed Jan26)

SEQLD/NENSW Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • Long range E/SE swell Wed/Thurs, lully and inconsistent with light winds.
  • Fun E swell hangs into Fri
  • Rebuild in fun tradewind swell this weekend with light SE winds
  • New E swell builds in Mon with SSE to SE winds
  • Much more muscular E swell from tropical depression (possible cyclone) Tues, holds Wed AM before easing. Mod S to SSE winds expected
  • S/SE to SE swell fills in late next week as another strong high moves into Tasman
  • Tropics remaining active, stay tuned for updates


Swell from the E/SE generated by a low pressure system drifting south through the Tasman, punched at the upper end of the f/cast range through yesterday with surf in the 3-4ft range and generally light winds. Morning land breezes tended to light E’ly sea breezes. Lots of fun surf was recorded on Beachbreaks and Points. Size has eased back a notch today from that source, with longer range E swell filling and inconsistent sets in the 3ft range with light winds providing more glassy conditions. With the slight drop in size and period , surf has become more peaky and suited to a bigger range of beaches. Winds are now tending to light E’ly breezes.

Attractive bluewater peaks

Small lines on the Points

This week (Jan 26-28)

Summer blocking pattern has proven to be a favourable pattern for surf and that looks to continue. At the moment a reinforcing high pressure system is sliding into the Tasman Sea below Tasmania. It’s weak at present (1019 hPa) but expected to strengthen over the coming days and it will have the pressure gradient tightened on two fronts. First, from the west as a trough/low tied to the Southern and Indian Oceans moves through WA and SA and then from the East as a tropical low drifts into the slot from behind New Caledonia this weekend. That spells a lot of surf ahead.

In the short run the approaching trough system will be too far south for the sub-tropics with ridge re-establishing and  winds maintaining from the SE to E. Long range E swell eases through tomorrow. Expect sets in the 2-3ft range but they will be very Lully and slow at times. Light morning winds will tend to SE to E breezes, freshening in the a’noon.

The working week ends more of the same E’ly swell, a mix of leftover long range and peakier, close range source, with size in the 2-3ft range. Light morning winds should see Beachbreaks options open up, with light ESE to E winds in the a’noon.

This weekend (Jan 29 - 30)

Few tweaks for the weekend f/cast. E’ly winds perk up in a wide band from the North Island back in towards the Tasman Sea from Thurs, as result of a large band of high pressure beginning to be squeezed by tropical low pressure. There are retrograding areas of strong breezes also pushing back into the Northern Tasman, well aimed at the sub-tropics.

This will see a perk up in size Sat, into the 3ft+ range. More of the same SE/ESE wind flow is expected, lighter inshore early. Should be plenty of fun options on Points and beachies.

Size holds at similar levels Sun with similar winds. It’s a rinse and repeat day from Sat, so if you found fun waves Sat, hit the replay button for Sunday.

Next week (Jan 31 onwards)

Local winds look similar to start the new week. The high pressure ridge maintains a regime of light/mod S/SE to SE winds, likely SW inshore early.

E swell will be on a slow build, initially from the cradling fetch of E’ly winds extending from the North Island into the South Pacific and back into the Tasman Sea. A classic looking summer fetch.

Pushing down onto that cradling high will be a tropical depression (possible cyclone). See below.

Tropical depression drops perfectly in the slot

Swell on Mon will push up from the 3ft+ range into the 3-4ft range during the day. Possibly 3-5ft at the more exposed E swell magnets in the later a’noon, as longer period swell trains make landfall. The trend will be upwards after lunch with SE winds.

There’s still some question marks over the wind outlook from next Tues onwards.

For sure though, strong E swell will be in the water, at least in the 5-6ft range and likely bigger 6ft+ in NENSW. GFS does have a stronger system approach the coast before a slight Northwards movement, while EC has a weaker system track slowly southwards through the Tasman. Based on that, we’ll leave some room for fine-tuning the f/cast on Fri.  S’ly winds are likely to increase as the tropical low approaches the coast. Pencil in Tues for a potential great day once we dial in these wind shifts.

The rest of next week is likely to see swell slowly decline from a peak on Wed morning in the 5-6ft range, with plenty of E swell lasting the week.

S swell from a cold front and trough is expected to trend to the S/SE as a major new fetch occupies the Tasman sea adjacent to NSW later next week.

A strong high at southern latitudes and trough through the Tasman strengthen this SE fetch, leading to plenty of short range SE swell building later next week with winds from the same direction.

Another strong high pressure surge in the Tasman late next week

The monsoonal surge remains active across Northern Australia, extending into the Coral Sea and South Pacific Convergence Zone so a high likelihood of more tropical low pressure development remains into next week.

Check back Fri for the latest look at this and the action ahead next week.


Ben Harding's picture
Ben Harding's picture
Ben Harding Wednesday, 26 Jan 2022 at 3:33pm

Beachies been punching overs this week. Been really good fun, sweepy as hell; couple run around setups but the sand is still good. Happy days!

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Wednesday, 26 Jan 2022 at 3:35pm

Yep, just been one of those under the radar swells that has punched above it's weight.

burleigh's picture
burleigh's picture
burleigh Wednesday, 26 Jan 2022 at 4:05pm

Thanks freeride. Hopefully you’re back out there

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Wednesday, 26 Jan 2022 at 4:17pm

cheers Burleigh, doing everything I can to rehab this back injury.
Missed two cyclone swells and another one coming.

Paddling a board in the lake to try and maintain paddle fitness.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Wednesday, 26 Jan 2022 at 4:16pm

This would be such an incredibly productive surfing period if the banks hadn’t been gutted by that stinking cyclone.

There’s still waves but it’s a shadow of what it could’ve been.

Life goes on.

brevil's picture
brevil's picture
brevil Wednesday, 26 Jan 2022 at 4:20pm

First surf today in over 10 months from rotator cuff operation. Holiday crowds made it sketchy at times , but great to be back in the water .

linez's picture
linez's picture
linez Wednesday, 26 Jan 2022 at 6:09pm

Awesome brevil. How did you go?

brevil's picture
brevil's picture
brevil Thursday, 27 Jan 2022 at 5:50am

Ok , shoulder is still quite stiff so paddling was difficult and no real muscle in the arm meant it felt weird as there's no power when you paddle. The walk from the car to the beach was possibly the greatest , couldn't stop grinning.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Wednesday, 26 Jan 2022 at 7:44pm

Been down the coast for a few days, scored some fun beachies in the 3-4ft range with little wind Tues/Wed, a smidge smaller and a lot less consistent today but still plenty of fun. Surprisingly light crowds, had a few lengthy periods on my own.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Thursday, 27 Jan 2022 at 5:58am

Chopper=Local surfers

Neville Bartos= Huey

Cash= Decent sandbanks.

barclay's picture
barclay's picture
barclay Thursday, 27 Jan 2022 at 7:11pm

2 metres at 12 seconds na it’s good they like it, keeps ya alert and that

Frodge's picture
Frodge's picture
Frodge Thursday, 27 Jan 2022 at 1:16pm

Hey Freeride, Craig and Stunet
Probably not an original idea, but worth putting up given the article & comment above:
You put together so many great educational articles, predominantly about understanding all things weather, what about an education piece around generally accepted surfing code of conduct?
Controversial subject yes, but it’d probably be of some form of value to the more experienced punter (as a reminder) and of high value to anyone new to the sport.
No doubt it would also lead to a lengthy but entertaining comments section.
Even a permanent sub-link on the home page would be good.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Thursday, 27 Jan 2022 at 2:56pm

Tried it a few times (well, kinda - specifically around legropes).

Nine years ago:

Three years ago:

TBH, I don't think an article would do much. Most surfers who know, know. Most surfers who don't know, will probably never understand. There's plenty of surfers who know, but don't care. And we end up coming up across all preachy.

Kinda like the jetski issue - we've covered it a few times (in 2015, 2018 and again in 2018), but.... has anything really changed? I dunno.

I mean, does anyone read those etiquette signs at the beach?

Has a single surfer modified their behaviour as a result of those signs?

Frodge's picture
Frodge's picture
Frodge Thursday, 27 Jan 2022 at 4:37pm

Thanks for the feedback and references.
I remember reading all of those articles, apart from the one nine years ago.
All good reading.
I'd like to think that some surfers do take note and generally people want to try and do the right thing - Any information to help people in that camp (if that camp actually exists) may be of value?
I'm from Vic and can't really recall seeing those etiquette signs along our coastline.
Hopefully even highlighting your previous articles might make some think twice about their behaviours in the line-up.
Maybe I'm being too optimistic?
Thanks again for taking to the time to provide comment

spookypt's picture
spookypt's picture
spookypt Thursday, 27 Jan 2022 at 10:05am

and Udo thats not the 1/2 of it. Noosa is little Melbourne plane and simple. Chaos rules and there's no way 'education' is going to solve it. Thats delusional what ole girl says in that article. . Last swell, there were 45 cars camped out in the Nats carpack. yep 45!
Local surf shop owner who I surf wth a lot calls Noosa his go to place and he's got more boards with holes and chops in them than Ive had hair cuts. Lots of chaos and incident goes unmentioned. These days if you rock up and there's an ambulance in the carpark you know there's a ridable of sorts wave. Not 10 foot of pipe..nope just a wave full of every flatsom and jetsom you can imagine. Its not a wave of consequence unless you get hit or run over. I live 12mins from there and just dont go as do many but its still chaos. As for the last large swell there were windows of quality and uncrowded waves with consequence 5 mins from my door and that was enjoyed with 2 out at 5am on my 7'0 AB without any fear of being run over. Plenty of worry about getting a BOMB on the head but thats surfing...Noosa isnt!
PS. Noosa Councial now says you can know longer dance clap or laugh in noosa short term accom so maybe their regime will trickle down to surf etiquette. LOL

boogiefever's picture
boogiefever's picture
boogiefever Thursday, 27 Jan 2022 at 10:24am

Love noosa.... Best wave ever!!!! The outside points would be good right now and with another tropical low developing.... Time to book in some time off because noosa will be on fire again!!! Dont miss out!!

mickseq's picture
mickseq's picture
mickseq Thursday, 27 Jan 2022 at 7:23pm

Ive never been to Noosa, but all the talk about it lately I'm pretty keen to go, what are the locals like, do they wave as you drive by? I like places like that

boogiefever's picture
boogiefever's picture
boogiefever Friday, 28 Jan 2022 at 8:21am

Beautiful spot noosa... Us Locals are cool as.... Drop ins dont exist, theyre just party waves which are even more fun than they sound!!!!
the more the merrier!!!!! No-one owns the waves so come and grab ur fill!!!!

boogiefever's picture
boogiefever's picture
boogiefever Thursday, 27 Jan 2022 at 10:33am

Re - noosa.
Dont let crowds stand in the way of you getting the best waves of your lives. If its crowded, it just means that its good.....
The ultimate bucket list wave..... Do it b4 the govt close it.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Thursday, 27 Jan 2022 at 11:30am

Sand rebuilding at key locations.

Huey Akbar !

Roystein's picture
Roystein's picture
Roystein Thursday, 27 Jan 2022 at 1:58pm

I saw that Noosa Council regulation spookypt, what is the world coming to?

Ben Harding's picture
Ben Harding's picture
Ben Harding Thursday, 27 Jan 2022 at 4:54pm

whats the reg?

Fresh55's picture
Fresh55's picture
Fresh55 Thursday, 27 Jan 2022 at 4:47pm

Forecasts look like they have all changed since yesterday ?

Ps pretty average surfer but enjoy following the weather patterns etc.

Roystein's picture
Roystein's picture
Roystein Thursday, 27 Jan 2022 at 5:20pm

as per Spookypts comment:
"Noosa Councial now says you can know longer dance clap or laugh in noosa short term accom so maybe their regime will trickle down to surf etiquette. LOL"

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Thursday, 27 Jan 2022 at 4:54pm

Very dynamic pattern.
There will be fresh update tomorrow.

Rockethut's picture
Rockethut's picture
Rockethut Thursday, 27 Jan 2022 at 9:34pm

Hmm....the crowds and etiquette in the water topic hey? Let me put your questions and curiosity to an end.
Simply put, etiquette will NEVER work at crowded spots. It simply is not possible.

As soon as you have over a certain crowd threshold in the line-up and people start paddling back past you after just having a wave, then all etiquette has already been lost at that point. Then you can expect drop ins to happen and tempers to flair.
The end