Large storm surf slowly easing over the weekend with only a handful of options on the table
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Fri 13th May)
Forecast Summary (tl;dr)
- Large surf Sat with potential for E/SE winds in SEQLD, more E to E/NE in NENSW and only protected spots surfable
- Surf still large but easing Sun with lighter E'ly winds, possibly cleaner in SEQLD
- Surf easing through Mon, with fun leftover E swell and light winds for early next week
- Small S swell favouring NENSW Wed/Thurs
- Another E'ly La Nina pattern forming late next week into the weekend
Large, stormy E swell and strong onshore winds have been with us since the last f/cast. Size has generally been in the 5-6ft range, building through today as a surface low retrogrades back towards the Fraser Coast. Winds have been from the E to E/NE in SEQLD, more NE in NENSW. Not much to surf unless you were prepared to chance your arm at the innermost sections of the more protected Points.
This weekend (May 14-15)
Few tweaks to the weekend f/cast. The fetch of deep E to E/NE winds in the Coral and Northern Tasman Sea is contracting northwards around a surface low off the CQ/Fraser coast, and expected to fizzle out over the weekend. At present gales are retrograding towards the QLD, generating large swells.
That will see E/NE-NE swell peak overnight and through tomorrow across the region, before beginning an easing trend which continues for a few days.
We’re looking at very large surf tomorrow, likely in the 8-10ft range across SEQLD, grading smaller 6-8ft across Far Northern NSW and 6ft across the Mid North Coast. Most of the coastline will be a mess, but winds do look to shift E/SE through tomorrow across SEQLD as the remnant of the low approach. That will open up surfable options at the most protected Points, which will see smaller surf in the 4-6ft range.
Winds remain E to E/NE across the rest of the region south of the border, so keep expectations well pegged there.
Size settles through Sunday but there’ll be plenty of solid leftover energy from the East in the ocean. Expect surf in the 6-8ft range across SEQLD, easing through the day, with smaller 5-6ft surf south of Byron-Ballina. A lingering E/NE to NE flow is likely across most of the region. There is some chance for a remnant E/SE flow across SEQLD depending on where the low remnants end up which will open up surfable options at the Points. Stay tuned to local winds, and we’ll update in the comments.
Next week (May 16 onwards)
Much more settled week on offer next week. There’s a lot of strong frontal activity under Australia during next week, most of which gets shunted southwards before it enters the Tasman Sea, although there will be small amounts of refracted long period S swell making landfall, with all the usual caveats for those flukey swells, especially in SEQLD, where it is unlikely they will show.
With a high moving over WA/SA on Mon and light pressure gradients on offer we should see light winds and residual surf from the E on Mon. The edge of a cold front brings light S’ly winds which ease rapidly to light breezes. We’ll see some leftover 3-4ft surf from the E, backing down during the day, and hopefully some sunshine. Should be a good day to survey the state of the sandbanks after the current onslaught.
Surf bottoms out Tues/Wed in the 2ft range with light winds expected from the S to SE. There is a weak, angular trough expected to form off the Northern NSW coast which we’ll keep an eye on but at this stage it doesn’t look like much of a swell producer. It may add some small, weak SE windswell into the mix through Wed.
Traces of S swell will be in the mix during later Wed and into Thurs as a series of fronts pass through the Southern Ocean. That will see some small S swell on offer in NENSW, not much more than 2ft at S facing beaches, and not significant in SEQLD, where surf around 1-2ft will be on offer.
This last front is on track to generate a more substantial pulse of S swell through Fri, although a large high tracking in behind it sees winds quickly shift S to SSE in the wake of the front. Expect surf in the 3ft range at S facing beaches Fri, biggest in NENSW.
Into the medium term and another dominant high moving at low latitudes (S of Tas) sets up another E’ly pattern in the Tasman and Coral Sea through the end of next week and weekend of the 21/5. That will see another round of E to E/NE swell and an onshore flow. Typical of the La Niña Merry Go Round we are currently on with no end in sight.
Check back Mon for the latest and have a great weekend!