Small weekend ahead with a few swell sources on the radar from mid next week

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Steve Shearer (freeride76)

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Fri 16th Sep)

Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • Small NE windswell late Thurs on the MNC, extending throughout on Fri, smaller in the North
  • Will remain small the entire period throughout SE Qld
  • Small leftovers and offshore winds expected this weekend
  • Remaining small into early next week
  • E-NE swell from Thurs next week as trough deepens through Central NSW
  • Small background E swell from Tradewinds in South Pacific holds surf at fun levels from mid next week
  • Super troughy pattern will require constant revision, check back Mon for latest 


Mostly SSE swell through yesterday, the last gasp of the current swell regime, with size to 2-3ft in NENSW, smaller 1-2ft in SEQLD. N’ly winds kicked up early and hard and confined clean surf to protected backbeaches. Today has seen continuing N’lies with a small signal of NE windswell  The weekend is still looking very quiet, details below. 

Fun levels of NE windswell favouring the Mid North Coast- much smaller in SEQLD

This weekend (Sep 17-18)

Still, no major change to the weekend f/cast. A complex low linked to multiple troughs and cold fronts is now approaching from SW of Tasmania. A main coastal trough linked to an Indian Ocean NW cloud band is clearing the area with a mostly offshore flow across the weekend and no major swell sources on tap. 

Expect a continuing N’ly element to winds through Sat morning,  NW at first, then easing through lunch-time before a new surge in W/NW-W winds in the a’noon as the next front pushes through. Lingering NE-E/NE winds through the Tasman will hold a NE swell in the 1-2ft range,  with a slight background signal of E swell from South Pacific Tradewinds, at similar size. There’ll be some fun, small wave options around.

Nothing much happening Sunday, just small traces of leftover NE swell, a tiny signal of background E swell, all in the 1 to occasional 2ft range under brisk offshore winds with an a’noon NE seabreeze- mod/fresh on the Mid North Coast. If you can find a shallow sandbar you may find a rideable wave but bring the appropriate board for the tiny surf on hand. Fishing and diving gear may be more appropriate.

Next week (Sep 19 onwards)

Bit more action on the radar for next week, after a slow start. It’s a complex, troughy brew to start the new week. Weak high pressure will be over interior NSW with the remnants of the complex low still making it’s way into the Tasman and a long trough line extending up most of the Eastern Seaboard. That will see continuing NW to W winds and tiny surf Mon, with an a’noon seabreeze.

A trough line extends off the coast Tues, leading to light/variable winds tending to S’lies with continuing small surf, mostly small S swell from weak frontal activity pushing into the lower Tasman. Winds look light so we’re not expecting any size- just a 1-2ft swell at S swell magnets in NENSW, negligible elsewhere.

By Wed things start to look juicier. One of the inland troughs starts to coalesce into an inland low, as an upper trough moves into the area. That energises the NE infeed as high pressure drifts into the Tasman. 

Expect winds to tend through Wed, with a corresponding build in NE windswell, likely up into the 2-3ft range on the Mid North Coast, smaller north of Yamba.

A further increase is expected Thurs, as winds continue to intensify into the trough and the feed elongates up into the Coral Sea. The size will be graded on latitude with bigger waves in the south and smaller in the north.

We’ll need to keep a fair amount of wriggle room here due to the enhanced instability. EC, in fact,  develops a small closed low off the Hunter Coast on current runs, which would see a strong boost in E/SE swell in addition to NE swell through Thurs/Fri.

It’s likely the trough or low will clear the coast Fri and move away, bringing an offshore flow to the end of the week, with surf easing into next weekend.

Troughiness also extends into the South Pacific and we’ll be watching the development of a possible low NE of the North Island late next week. Models are shifting around on this and it’s still a bit dicey how much of the fetch will be in the swell window, versus being shadowed by the North Island. It’s a better aimed source for the sub-tropics, but we’ll flag it for now, as a potential source of long range E swell possibly late next weekend or early week beginning 26/9. 

As a minimum, the tradewind belt in the South Pacific is likely to be active enough to supply background E swell in the 2ft range from later next week.

In the mean time the incredible amount of troughiness across the Island continent, and extending into the Tasman and South Pacific means low confidence in synoptic outcomes- there is simply too much atmospheric instability for models to deal with on medium scale time horizons.

In short, it’s likely we’ll see significant revisions come Mon, so check back then for the latest .

Until then, have a great weekend!


Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67 Friday, 16 Sep 2022 at 4:44pm