Plenty of wind changes this week with S swell pulses favouring south of the border from mid week

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Steve Shearer (freeride76)

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Mon 14th Nov)

Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • Flukey, mostly offshore winds Tues/Wed with small S swell in NENSW, tiny/flat in SEQLD
  • Stronger S swell building Thurs with mostly fresh SSW-S winds
  • Plenty of S swell Fri with S’ly winds, easing during the day
  • S swell extends into Sat with early light winds, tending fresh NE in the a’noon
  • Likely building NE windswell Sun PM, extending Mon AM with winds tending W’ly Mon
  • More small S swell pulses expected next week


A few options over the weekend with some tricky wind shifts to work around. Sat saw mostly leftover E swell in the 2ft+ range with glassy early morning conditions razed by strong northerly winds which were embedded by mid-morning. Sundays E/SE-SE pulse came in right around f/cast expectations with surf in the 3ft range with a few bigger 4ft sets at select SE facing spots. Morning light land breezes tended to freshening NE breezes in the a’noon. Today is seeing a NE windswell mostly whipped up overnight with size in the 1-2ft range in SEQLD, bigger 2ft south of Ballina. We’ve got an unruly Spring week ahead with plenty of wind to work around. Read on for details.

SE groundswell with fresh N'lies on Sun

This week (Nov 14-18)

A complex low has remained slow moving through the last 24hrs and is hovering over Southern Vic and Tasmania, with a long front extending up into he interior to join a heat trough in the North-west of the country. A warm front has bought a W’ly change to temperate NSW. Through the early part of this week the low slips SE of Tas and a complex, troughy pattern with multiple low centres sits in the Tasman. This complex low pressure area eventually gets squeezed by an oncoming high generating fresh S’lies and which overlap with deeper S’ly fetches to create a series of S swells later this week. 

In the short run and NW’ly winds extend into tomorrow morning before running out of puff as a troughy area extends along the coast, which should see winds clock around W/SW before ending up SE-NE through the day, at light breeze strength. Surf should be tiny through the morning with marginal leftovers from the NE in the 1-1.5ft range. A tiny pulse of S swell from the Bass Strait may see some 1-2ft surf across Mid North Coast S swell magnets in the late a’noon, but keep expectations pegged very low. 

Wednesday will see a small increase in S swell, with the Bass Strait source being topped up with new S swell from the parent low which ducked SE of Tas during Mon. This fetch was weakening as it moved away so we’re not expecting much size, just a few 2footers in the morning, bumping up to 2-3ft during the a’noon at NENSW S facing beaches, staying tiny in SEQLD. Winds will be a flukey mix of offshore winds through the morning, with a trough line moving through NENSW and SEQLD likely to bring a S/SE flow through the a’noon, possibly staying NE on the Sunshine Coast.

By Thursday a developing low pressure area will be occupying most of the Tasman Sea (see below) and the squeeze with an approaching high will see a regime of fresh SSW to S’ly winds through the Western Tasman and along the NENSW Coast, lighter into SEQLD. That will see a moderate signal of mid period S swell overlap existing S swell trains with size building from 2-3ft up to 3-5ft at S exposed breaks in NENSW, smaller 2ft+ to 3ft+ in SEQLD. Mod SW winds early will tend S’ly then SE during the day, stronger in NENSW.

Mid period S swell is expected to peak through Fri with size in the 4-6ft range in NENSW at S exposed breaks, smaller 3-5ft at SEQLD S swell magnets. The large Tasman low will be drifting towards New Zealand by this stage with weakening pressure gradients so expect morning SSW-SW winds to tend S to SE’ly and ease through the day, likely ending up as light/mod SE breezes through the a’noon. 

This weekend (Nov19-20)

Sat morning is looking pretty good at this stage. Early winds should be light W-SW as a trough hovers over the area and a weak high cell moves off the sub-tropical area of NSW. Expect those winds to tend N-NE and freshen through the day. Surf-wise we’ll be looking at a mix of leftover S swell and SSE-SE swell being generated from the lower flank of the low as it drifts towards New Zealand. That should see clean 4-5ft surf early in NENSW, smaller 3ft in SEQLD at S facing beaches. Expect size to roll off through the a’noon.

Fresh N’ly winds overnight Sat into Sun should whip up some small NE windswell through Sun a’noon, although models aren’t favouring this possibility at the moment.  Expect small S swell leftovers to 2ft through the morning with building NE windswell through the a’noon under fresh N’lies.

Next week (Nov21 onwards)

Looks like a rinse and repeat pattern next week with the approaching low pressure complex driving gales out of Bass Strait and a general easing trend as the low gets shunted SE as it moves into the Tasman. 

The general pattern has been for a more southward orientation of the lows as they approach, weakening as they enter the Tasman- favouring the Southern States for swell production and potentially signalling a  degradation of the La Niña pattern. We’ll need more data to make that call, but for now we’ll flag the change and see how it pans out.

 W’lies next Mon will likely NE windswell to 2-3ft become clean during the day as it eases off in size.

More small/mod S swell pulses are expected next week as further fronts push past the lower Tasman. No great size is expected but we should see moderate pulses in the 3-4ft range through mid next week. The offshore flow should tend to variable winds from mid next week as another long trough hovers about the coast. 

We’ll start to finesse these sizes and winds as we move through the week- there’ll definitely be some revisions.

Check back Wed for the latest update.