Downgraded S swell but still some waves to be had this weekend
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Fri 1st Apr)
Forecast Summary (tl;dr)
- Moderate S swell favouring NENSW for size, Sat with light offshore winds early, tending NE in the a'noon
- S swell leftovers at solid size in NENSW Sun AM, easing through the day with NW winds early, tending NE in the a'noon
- Surf easing quickly Mon with a couple of small days Mon/Tues with light winds
- New round of E'ly swell likely to build Thurs and extend into next weekend
- Tracking potential TC in the Coral Sea next week, stay tuned for updates Mon
Surf has been undersized compared to model and f/cast notes on Wednesday due to the Tasman low moving further S and SSW then expected and as a result having most of the functional fetch shadowed by the Hunter curve. A spike in initial S swell saw NENSW push up into the 4ft range yesterday a’noon with fresh S’ly winds. That size held into this morning before another building trend kicked in later in the morning. SEQLD has stayed in the 2-3ft range, with SW to S winds. Thats allowed surfable locations at semi-protected beaches, albeit much smaller than f/cast on Wed. There’ll still be waves on the weekend but a N’ly wind bias kicking in Sat will be the fly in the ointment. Details below.
This weekend (Apr 2-3)
The Taman low deepens this a’noon, but the resultant storm force winds are mostly aimed at Southern NSW, and the system continues to move S through SSW.
As a result we’re looking at a downgrade in size, more pronounced for SEQLD. NENSW will still see some 6ft surf at S exposed breaks through Sat, likely bigger 6-8ft at S swell magnets but these will be too windy to be surfed. Much smaller 3-4ft surf is expected at SEQLD S facing beaches, with smaller surf still getting into the Points. Winds will settle down quickly with a light SW flow tending variable before NE breezes kick in. Once that NE wind kicks in surfable locations will be further reduced- only a handful will handle such a straight S swell.
Sunday morning will still see some 4-6ft sets at S facing beaches in NENSW, but with NW winds on offer, it’ll be hard to track down a good wave. Expect smaller 3ft surf in SEQLD, much smaller away from S facing beaches. Northern corners will be the best bet as winds clock around from NW to N then NE through the day. I think we can file this swell as another “hoax” S swell for SEQLD.
Next week (Apr4 onwards)
Very quiet and small start to next week now expected. The remnants of the current Tasman low will be located off the Gippsland coast, still with some structure but not generating any meaningful swell. High pressure will have slipped underneath the low, with a regime of weak pressure gradients across most of the region. That will see light winds Mon, W to NW early, tending to sea breezes in the a’noon. Not much surf is expected, around 2-3ft at the most exposed S facing breaks in NENSW, smaller elsewhere and only suited to beginners and big boards in SEQLD.
That small size extends into Tues and likely Wed as well. Winds remain light and variable Tues with a potential small trough seeing early SW winds tend more SE through the day.
That small trough is likely to linger Wed, seeing winds tend SE through the day. A front will pass through the lower Tasman and the leading edge of a new high pressure ridge will likely build through the day.
Things get very much juicier by Thurs next week, although allowing for the long lead time it’s likely we’ll be revising any calls made now.
The trough off the NSW Coast is expected to deepen and in conjunction with the large high moving at Tasmanian latitudes, create a large SE to E’ly fetch aimed at NENSW and SEQLD. This is likely to see a fairly rapid increase in size from the same direction, along with onshore winds through Thurs. Lets pencil in 3-5ft of size based on current modelling.
This size ramps up further Fri as the fetch matures.
Whilst this is occurring a potential Tropical Cyclone is expected to track in a S’ly direction through the Eastern edge of the Coral Sea (see below). Models have been shifting the track around in recent runs so that is still unclear, although it seems most likely the system will slide off the sub-tropical ridge to the SE, past New Zealand. The so-called “graveyard”.
What is much more reliable is the cradling fetch of E to SE winds which develop through the Northern Tasman and Southern Coral Sea later next week. While these winds are better aimed at sub-tropical areas, we can expect to see a maintenance of swell from the eastern quadrant later next week and into the weekend. It’s likely surf will ease off the peaks from the more proximate fetch late next week but build sometime next weekend from the E/NE to E as the more distant swell trains make landfall.
Some NE groundswell is also possible from the cyclone track but these NE groundswells are notoriously unreliable due to the fetch moving too obliquely to the circle paths. We’ll monitor that over the coming days.
Onshore winds look to ease into next weekend as the high drifts away and pressure gradients close to the coast slacken.
Check back Mon and we’ll dial in these developments.
Until then, have a great weekend!