Fun mixed bag over the weekend with offshore winds with a sizey S swell now on the radar for late next week

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Fri 23rd Sep)

Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • Winds turning offshore Fri north of Moreton Bay, extending south through the region during the day, with fun NE swell
  • Fun NE leftovers Sat with mostly offshore winds, late S change for Coffs
  • Small E/SE swell Sun PM, persisting into Mon at low levels
  • Quiet period most of next week as troughy Spring pattern continues- monitoring a few small swell sources
  • Now tracking a sizey S swell late next week as low forms in Tasman, check back Mon for updates


NE windswell has been in the water since Wed, although size and quality very variable across the f/cast region. Sunshine Coast has been the winner as the fetch and low were positioned more northwards than models predicted. That saw surf build into the 3-4ft range yesterday, with relatively light winds. Elsewhere, surf was in the 4ft range but NE-E/NE winds ruined the quality. Today has seen the low move offshore with winds tending offshore on the Sunshine Coast, still onshore from the Gold Coast and down to the Mid North Coast although winds are expected to tend offshore through the day. Size remains in the 4ft range, nice and clean on the Sunny Coast.

Sunny Coast gets the chocolates with offshore winds and fun-sized E/NE swell

This weekend (Sep 24-25)

A few tweaks to the weekend F/cast as our wicked troughy pattern continues. The small low which hived off the trough line, off the NENSW Coast today meanders down the Tasman, holding some fun levels of NE swell.

A S’ly change generated by a front and trough moving up past Tasmania today now looks a little more delayed, not reaching the Coffs area until late a’noon.

That should offer a generous window of W winds through most of Sat before winds tend SW-S late on the Mid North Coast, and a NW/N or even NE flow expected in SEQLD and far North NSW.

Expect fun surf from the E/NE, in the 3ft range, easing a notch through the day.

S’ly quarter winds will be with us Sun morning, with a brief period of W to SW winds at the usual locations. Those winds will lie down through the day, and tend to variable sea breezes in the a’noon, as the trough system, quickly moves away through the Tasman. There’ll be a small mixed bag on offer Sunday. Small amounts of E/NE swell from the remnants of the low moving down from the sub-tropics, traces of short period S swell and some small E/SE swell from a Cook Strait fetch through Fri. That will add up to some small peaks in the 2ft range at exposed beaches. Nothing special but with surfably fun options.

Next week (Sep 26 onwards)

Another troughy start to the week so factor in error margins for wind forecasts as they swirl around in the troughy soup. 

Small surf Mon, continuing the mixed bag with slight levels of S swell, and E/SE swell should hold surf in the 1-2ft range, with an interior trough seeing winds switch to the NW with NE seabreezes.

The N’ly flow feeding into the trough ramps up through Tues, producing another round of NE windswell for the Yamba-Mid North Coast. Expect small surf Tues morning with increasing N’lies generating 2-3ft of windswell through the a’noon. Much smaller north of Ballina.

The trough is expected to move offshore sometime overnight Tues, or early Wed (timing is rubbery, we’ll finesse on Mon) somewhere off the South Coast, or Gippsland Coast. That should generate offshore winds Wed with small leftovers from the NE across the region.

Models are now starting to firm on quite a significant swell producing system as the low moves offshore and a strong high moving well south of the Bight offers a supporting pressure gradient squeeze on the Western flank of the low (see below). 

At present we are looking at gales developing off the Gippsland coast late Wed through Thurs, with this initial fetch being in the swell shadow of the Hunter Curve, meaning no significant increase in S swell through Thurs. We’ll see small leftovers from the E on Thurs.

A slow moving large fetch of S’ly winds then moves through the lower Tasman later next week, becoming active in the sub-tropical S swell window. We’ll finesse sizes and timing on Mon but we should see S swell build into the 3ft range Fri across the region, biggest at NSW S facing beaches.

S swell then persists at sizey levels through next weekend as the low makes it’s way across the Tasman sea, with a firm high pressure ridge expecting to generate mod/fresh SE winds.

Another inland system moving across Central/Northern NSW into next weekend is a wildcard as far as winds go,  even potentially forming a new surface low offshore early in the week 3/10. 

Usual caveats apply though in this period of enhanced troughiness- check back for updates Mon, we’re likely to see serious revisions.

Until then, have a great weekend!


spidermonkey's picture
spidermonkey's picture
spidermonkey Friday, 23 Sep 2022 at 7:07pm

Unusual swell for the Sunny Coast, few good NE/E lumps around for the beachies with flaky winds. Bonus for this time of year, with options to come by the looks.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Friday, 23 Sep 2022 at 7:16pm

Yeah fun this AM as the tide dropped and just as the wind started to come up.

Bnkref's picture
Bnkref's picture
Bnkref Friday, 23 Sep 2022 at 7:19pm

I’m visiting GC this weekend. Amazing for a southerner to see how quickly the conditions can change. Occy of all people was the only one out at Snapper / Greenmount around 9am. It was a mess. Late morning it started to clean up a bit and then by late arvo it was decent and busy. Beachies looked nice and peaky too.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Friday, 23 Sep 2022 at 7:30pm

Nice, yeah once that low moved south winds did their thing fairly quickly.