Small surf through this week with a solid S-SE swell from Fri as a low forms in the Tasman

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Mon 26th Sep)

  • Forecast Summary (tl;dr)
  • Small E’ly swells Mon-Thurs, holding in the 2ft range, with winds improving from Wed as low forms off Southern NSW Coast
  • Strong S swell pulse Fri, as winds freshen from the SW-S
  • Plenty of strong SSE-SE swell Sat, slowly easing Sun with winds easing, although favouring Points
  • Nice pulse of SE swell Mon, easing through Tues with light winds
  • Surf easing back from mid next week


A few fun waves to be had over the weekend. Sat saw clean 2-3ft surf before light seabrezes kicked in. Sunday was a notch smaller before a nice little kick in SE swell with clean conditions. Today has seen more clean 2-3ft surf in NENSW, smaller 2ft in SEQLD at most open beaches. NE winds are now kicking up across the region. A dynamic low is expected to move offshore from inland NSW this week with plenty of wind and swell ahead late in the week and into the weekend. Read on for details. 

Nice small clean peaks to start the week

This week (Sep 26-30)

Weak, peanut shaped high pressure sits over NSW and Southern QLD with the remnants of last weeks low still drifting in the Southern Tasman Sea, although no longer producing swell. Yet another inland trough forms an interior low mid-week, likely in Southern NSW, and this low is looking like a solid S-SSE swell producer as it moves offshore Wed/Thurs and becomes cradled by a strong high moving well south of the Bight. It’s not the type of pattern we would expect to see in late Sep, but with so much La Niña mediated troughiness in the Tasman, it’s just been a matter of time until something kicked off.

In the short run and the pleasant conditions with light winds and small, fun surf should carry through for another morning  on Tuesday. Nothing special but a continuation of fun-sized E-SE swell in the 2ft range at open beaches. Get in early or head to a backbench as N/NE winds start to fresh, with a strong wind warning likely south of the border. Winds should grade lighter up onto the Sunshine Coast.

Through Wed we’ll see a troughy area offshore with the inland low starting to approach the coast. That will lead to a flukey wind regime- likely N/Ne across most of the north of the region, tending NW, then W south of Byron. Check your local wind obs through the day as the low approaches, winds will swing around, as the low starts to consolidate just offshore from Sydney. Not much surf to speak of Wed, just a small signal of E/NE swell and NE windswell, topping out around 2ft. Worth a look under clean conditions if winds are offshore in your neck of the woods.

Thursday will be an interesting day as the low winds up roughly due E of Sydney. Light W’ly winds through the morning will tend SW then SW as pressure gradients tighten across the Mid North Coast. Further north, we’ll see lighter winds, tending to light SE-E/SE winds north of the border. Expect more small surf Thurs, with a small background signal of E swell generated by Tradewinds in the South Pacific slot, in the 2ft range.

We’ll see swell come on strong through Fri. Windspeeds in a broad fetch will be strong wind category so surf heights will be somewhat constrained, but should still build into the 4-6ft range through the morning in NENSW, grading smaller 2-3ft up into SEQLD through the a’noon. Expect direction to clock around from S to SSE through the day as the fetch moves Eastwards and elongates down towards the South Island.  Early light SW winds will tend S’ly and freshen through Fri.

This weekend (Oct 1-2)

Plenty of size this weekend as the low slowly drifts away through the Tasman. Saturday looks to be in the solid 5-6ft range in NENSW, smaller 3-4ft in SEQLD with S to SE winds favouring the Points . The pressure gradient between the low and the advancing high is still strong enough to maintain mod/fresh SSE-SE winds through Sat, so you’ll need to find wind protection to get a surf in reasonable quality waves. 

Sunday looks a better bet for improving winds, although they will still favour the Points. Pressure gradients slacken right off, with a weak troughy area along the coast seeing a weak land breeze through Sun morning before winds tend to light SE breezes. Size should hold in the 5-6ft range Sun from the SE, smaller 3-5 in SEQLD, with a slow easing through the day. 

Next week (Oct 3 onwards)

Should be a great start to next week, first week of Oct. As the low moves towards the North Island, gales develop north of Cook Strait and off the West Coast of the North Island through Sat/easing Sun.

That should see a great pulse of ESE swell in the 3-5ft range arrive Mon PM with lighter SE winds. Residual SE swell will hold size in the 3-4ft range through the morning.

That pulse will slowly ease back through Tues, with size dropping from 3-4ft, down to 2-3ft or less during the day. Winds look OK Tues, light through the morning, tending to a’noon E’ly breezes. 

Looking medium term and yet another mid-latitude or inland low is expected to push through next week. That should see NE winds increase along the coast, with fair odds for another round of NE windswell from mid next week, at least on the Mid North Coast. 

A small front passing Tasmania early next week also offers a chance of a small S swell from mid next week, although later model runs have gone cold on that prospect.

Check back Wed for the latest, with the continuing Neg IOD and La Niña there’s bound to be fresh revisions.


Distracted's picture
Distracted's picture
Distracted Wednesday, 28 Sep 2022 at 9:19am

2ft east swell for the last week with light offshores most mornings is very un-spring like. Holiday crowds are cheering.

burleigh's picture
burleigh's picture
burleigh Wednesday, 28 Sep 2022 at 9:24am

Huey doing a good job of skipping spring for the first month.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 28 Sep 2022 at 9:40am

Yep, all linked to this warm water signal north-west, north and north-east of the country. Lots of instability and moisture leading to troughy weather and not that entrenched northerly flow.

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather Wednesday, 28 Sep 2022 at 9:54am

Don’t count ya chickens just yet. I’m a firm believer seasons are getting later hence spring doesn’t really arrive until Oct/Nov!!

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 28 Sep 2022 at 9:59am

Haha, my chicks have hatched and are running amok in the muddy grass.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Wednesday, 28 Sep 2022 at 10:06am

Agree with Craig. With dual Neg IOD and La Niña this troughy pattern seems well entrenched.

More curious to see what happens if La Niña signal breaks down mid/late Summer and what happens late Summer/early Autumn.
Will we see a reversal to a late Summer N'ly pattern ala 2018 and 2019 or a slow breakdown with a more "normal" pattern?

Paradoxically, Autumn, traditionally the most reliable season for surf has become the most fickle in this part of the world.

Matilda0213's picture
Matilda0213's picture
Matilda0213 Wednesday, 28 Sep 2022 at 10:15am

Im hoping we get an autumn similar to 2017

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Wednesday, 28 Sep 2022 at 10:41am

Yeah, that was a good one.