Fun waves over the weekend before all hell breaks loose next week
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Fri 6th May)
Forecast Summary (tl;dr)
- Tricky weekend with developing S/SE winds with a coastal trough, but there'll be plenty of fun E'ly swells, lighter SW winds inshore early Sat, less likely Sun
- Slight kick in E swell Sun, extending into Mon with S to SSE winds freshening through Mon
- S swell will be in the mix NENSW later Sun into Mon
- Wild week from Tues as coastal trough/possible low brings large, unruly E/NE swell and onshore winds and rain for days, stay tuned for updates Mon
Residual E swell from a persistent tradewind fetch has maintained a steady state of 3ft of E swell with the odd bigger 4footer. Winds turned N’ly yesterday after an offshore morning and forced surfable options into northern corners, but have switched back to light today, now tending to light S’lies through the a’noon. Another week with plenty of waves in the books. A dynamic week is ahead, let’s run the ruler over it.
This weekend (May 7-8)
No great changes to the weekend f/cast. A complex low forming over Tasmania today is forcing a large high north, while a coastal trough is expected to form off the SEQLD/NENSW coast, bringing an increase in S’ly winds Sunday.
Surf-wise Sat will see a continuation of fun, albeit inconsistent E swells, topping out around 2-3ft at most exposed breaks. With offshore winds there will be some nice, groomed small waves on offer early, before winds tend S’ly and we are back to the Points for clean conditions.
Sunday sees the trough deepen off the coast, but high res wind models are still showing a window of morning SW winds, especially from Ballina-Gold Coast. Get on board that if you can because winds will swing S to SE and freshen through the day, although local rain showers/squalls may see periods of light or even offshore winds pre and post squall. We should see a muscle up in E swell courtesy of a mid week flare up in Tradewinds. It won’t be anything to get too frothed up over, just a few bigger 3ft+ sets but worth working around. A few 4footers are likely at some of the better known E swell magnets. This pulse should start showing through the morning.
Later in the a’noon we’ll see a building trend in new South swell on the Mid North Coast, as the low near Tasmania gets active in the swell window. This increase- around the 2-3ft range- is likely to be accompanied by winds freshening S through SE, which will mean S facing beaches will get wind affected as the swell hits. Keep expectations pegged for Sunday a’noon from that source but there should be enough fun waves at semi-sheltered spots to get a surf in.
Next week (May 9 onwards)
Very dynamic pattern on the cards for next week. Models are in broad agreement so we’ll sketch out the broad scale pattern and finesse the details as they unfold through next week.
A large high now in the Bight, which is forced north over the weekend, tracks SE early in the week to be just E of Tasmania Monday. That high will set up a ridge through the week and essentially be the “anvil” for any trough or low pressure development in the Tasman or Coral Sea. A coastal trough off SEQLD/Fraser Coast and interior upper trough combine through the start of next week to increase SE/E winds, initially in the Coral Sea.
That will see the event kick off Mon with increasing SSE winds, tending more SE on the Mid North Coast. Proximate fetches close to the SEQLD coast tend to see rapid rises in local SE swell so depending on how the fetch shapes up we are likely to see an a’noon increase in local SE swell. Prior to that there’ll be a continuation of mid-period E swell in the 3-4ft range and S swell more prominent along the NENSW coast with some 3ft sets. These swell trains will combine to see (another)day of 3ft surf on the Points on the appropriate tides, grading smaller into more protected Bays and Inner Points.
By Tuesday the region will start to come under the influence of the stronger E’ly pattern being generated by the large high and impinging troughs. That will see increasing SSE to E/SE winds, likely pushing up into the 20knot range, with a developing short range swell from the same direction. That should see surf start to build through the day up into the 4-5ft range, although with fresh winds it’ll be tough finding a wave of any quality away from the Points, where surf quality will be once again, favoured.
The rest of the working week looks wild ( see below). Models do begin to diverge on specifics which will impact size and quality. GFS has the more bullish outlook, with a trough or potential surface low forming off the Fraser Coast and tracking south through Fri13th- energising a long E to NE fetch through the Central Tasman to Coral Sea. In effect, it’s a slightly less energised version of the June 2016 Black Nor-Easter set-up. That will see increasing E/NE swell through Wed/Thurs/Fri likely pushing up into the 6-8ft range and likely exceeding that size over the weekend. A trough brings a S’ly change Sun, after days of E to NE wind.
EC offers a more conservative outlook with a broad coverage of E to E/NE winds through the Northern Tasman and Coral Sea but with lower windspeeds than GFS. Thats still expected to produce plenty of 5-6ft surf at a minimum from Thurs/Fri into next weekend, with winds from the same direction before the clearing change late Sat or Sun.
Long story short, get ready for a period of large, unruly surf from the E/NE with onshore winds from Tues next week.
Also, there is scope for wave heights to be substantially revised upwards if we do get more of a Black Nor-easter set-up.
No doubt there will be revisions on specifics as we get closer to the event so check back Mon and we’ll take a fresh look at how it’s shaping up.
Seeya Mon and have a great weekend!