Small, clean days ahead before solid surf from mid week onwards

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Fri 1st July)

Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • Small clean weekend ahead
  • Small mixed bag Sat with some long period S swell in NENSW, mostly small E swell in SEQLD
  • Slight uptick in E swell Sun, extending into Mon/Tues 
  • Increase in SE swell Wed, holding with plenty of size Thurs/Fri
  • Rebuild likely in long period S/SE-SE swell next weekend as low remains in Tasman
  • SSE swell extends into week following, stay tuned for updates


No great surf to speak of since the last f/cast. Yesterday saw a declining signal of SSE swell, topping out around 2-3ft across the North Coast, smaller 1-2ft in SEQLD and clean early before SSE winds kicked in. Today is similar with a small signal of S to SSE swell in the 1-2ft range and clean with W’ly winds now kicking in as we enter into a dynamic coastal weather event.

Small, clean E'ly peaks in the rain to end the week

This weekend (July 2-3)

OK, here we go. We are starting to get some model agreement on a developing easterly trough low expected to form off the Sydney/Hunter coast through tomorrow. There’s still a degree of uncertainty as to the exact position of the low axis, but it’s now far enough south of our region to be reasonably confident in the regional wind conditions expected.

Let’s look at what we know. An Easterly trough low is forming in a complex trough system but this low is now expected off the Sydney Coast, sparing our region the worst of the rainfall and onshore winds. Trough areas remain off the SEQLD and Far North NSW Coast over the weekend- with a possible weak surface low pressure system forming just offshore. This should maintain a light and variable wind flow, tending offshore for most of the weekend. The Mid North Coast is more likely to see a S to SE flow develop, especially Sunday.

Surf-wise there will be some longer period S’ly groundswell in the mix which will add around 2-3ft of surf to S facing beaches at NENSW S facing beaches.

E’ly winds feeding into trough line off the SEQLD coast will see a small signal of E swell around 2ft+ through Sat. Enough for some small fun beachies and babyfood peelers on the Points.

Small E swell holds surf in the 2ft range Sun, possibly perking up a notch in the a’noon, as windspeeds increase into a small surface low forming in the trough line.

The caveat to the forecast is with the trough/low so close to the coast any increase in windspeeds above model expectations will see a rapid rise in bigger than f/cast E swell. Just keep tabs with comments and observations through Sunday, as real-time data rolls in. These trough systems are inherently unpredictable and dynamic and can change very quickly. 

Next week (July 4 onwards)

Couple of small, clean days on the menu to start next week, as Southern NSW gets hammered by the Easterly Trough low. 

Small surface low and trough hovers off the SEQLD coast, with weak, variable winds, possibly tending SW-S during the day.

The proximate E’ly winds feeding into the small low and trough should hold surf in the 2-3ft range through Mon and into Tues. These winds look a bit disjointed and scattered on wind models, so if we do see some more consolidation around a deepening low centre we’ll see a bigger signal.

For now though it looks like fun, small surf with light winds, mostly W’ly biased.

By Wednesday it looks like a classic La Niña map. Strong high just SE of Tasmania with a low in the Central Tasman directing a huge windfield through most of the Central to Northern Tasman Sea (see below). 

That will begin to drive SE winds through the region, and these winds will propagate north through the day and freshen with a consequent increase in S/SE swell building through the a’noon. This should reach 4-6ft across the North Coast, building after lunch with smaller 3-4ft surf in SEQLD.

Further into next week, and allowing for the fact the dynamism leads to low confidence this far out and it looks like the low in the Tasman moves northwards and connects with the remnants of the trough line in Coral Sea. That reinvigorates the low near the North Island, with a fetch of gales then activating off the west coast and back into the Tasman, with the low doing a slow loop de loop back south through the Tasman.

If that model scenario plays out (both GFS and EC suggest some version of it) then we will be looking at more strong swell from the SSE to SE as the low tracks down the West Coast of New Zealand (see below). 

So expect plenty of solid surf in the 6ft+ range in NENSW through Thurs/Fri, smaller 4-5ft in SEQLD with S’ly winds likely.

Strong new E/SE swell is then probable by next weekend 9/10 July and beyond.

Stay tuned to the comments over the weekend as the event unfolds and we can update using real-time Obs and check back Mon for a fresh and full update.

Have a great weekend!