Endless SE pattern with waves on the Points ahead
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Fri 20th May)
Forecast Summary (tl;dr)
- SE Pattern continues for days yet
- Stronger S swell Fri, peaking Sat, with mod SE winds (more noticeable in NENSW)
- Mix of S and building E to E/SE short range swell Sat, peaking Sun biggest in SEQLD
- Plenty of leftover E swell Mon, easing Tues/Wed
- SSE groundswell favouring NENSW through Tues
- More E swell later next week, stay tuned for updates
Not much action since the last f/cast. There’s been small levels of S swell showing in NENSW, but the signal has been hard to find in the noise created by onshore SE winds. SEQLD has stayed small with a mixed bag in the 1-1.5ft range. There’s been a slight increase in size today, more noticeable in NENSW, with some 2-3ft sets at S exposed breaks, again with low quality. SEQLD has stayed small and weak, with wind affected surf less than 2ft at exposed breaks.
This weekend (May 21-22)
The frontal progression responsible for the S swell pulses over the last couple of days is now on the New Zealand side of the Tasman, with a large high approaching Tasmania setting up a firm ridge along the coast.
The Coral Sea has become inflamed with SE-ESE Tradewinds, enhanced by a trough off the CQ Coast and a developing low near New Caledonia. Through the weekend, Short range ESE swell from the tradewind fetch will supply the dominant swell trains, especially in SEQLD.
That leaves our weekend f/cast fundamentally unchanged.
The wind forecast is simple: mod/fresh SE winds both days, with only small chances of lighter SW winds around the QLD border. Elsewhere expect more of the same conditions we’ve had all Autumn, favouring the protected Points.
Surf-wise Saturday will be bit undersized, with a mix of swell trains from the S and E/SE. In NENSW expect S swell to be dominant with surf to 3ft at S exposed breaks and some building short range swell from the eastern quadrant more prominent in the a’noon.
SEQLD will see less S swell with short range trade swell building from 2-3ft to 3-4ft during the day, bigger 4ft+ on the Sunshine Coast. Of course, expect smaller waves the further you go into Inner points.
Sunday sees short range, mid period E/SE swell thicken up a bit as wavelength draws out, with waves on the Outer Points in the 3-5ft range, grading smaller into NENSW. Longer period S swell adds sets to 3ft in NENSW, but like previous S swells this Autumn, these swell trains are likely to be lost in the mix. All in all, it’s another weekend with SE winds favouring the Points and surf quality dependent on the sandbanks available.
Next week (May 23 onwards)
While temperate NSW will see continuing S to SSE swell pulses early next week and these will be in the water through sub-tropical NSW by far the dominant swell trains will continue to be the E’ly quadrant swells from the Coral Sea. So we’ll mention longer period SSE swells through later Mon, Tues and even Wed but with a continuing SE pattern precluding S facing beaches they’ll be hard to spot.
The proximate fetch of E/SE winds anchored by the trough off the CQ/Fraser Coast retreats E’wards through Mon, which will see surf level off in the 4ft range, with winds favouring the Points.
A steady state of fun sized E swell then looks to set in through Tues-Thurs, likely in the 2-3ft range. It’s hard to see any offshore wind potential in there; just more showery pattern SE winds and fun sized E swell.
Through to the end of next week and E’ly swell will be on the ascent. Just how big is still an open question due to some serious model divergence.
Both models show a low forming near New Caledonia that quickly slips away to the SE mid week, which will add a small amount of E/NE swell to the mix later next week.
The trade flow then rebuilds with EC suggesting another trough/low forming SW of New Caledonia and intensifying in the South Pacific slot near the North Island. Those fetches are better aimed at the sub-tropics but will supply small levels of E/NE swell for temperate NSW.
GFS has a much more dynamic system forming off the Fraser Coast and drifting southwards later next week leading to much more solid E/NE to E swell next weekend.
With so much instability in the Coral and Tasman Seas it’s likely we’ll see substantial revision on Mon.
Check back then and have a great weekend!