S swells favouring south of the border extend into the weekend with more of the same next week

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

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

Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • Stronger S swell building Thurs with mostly fresh SSW-S winds
  • Plenty of S swell Fri with S’ly winds, easing during the day and tending light SE
  • S-SSE 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 NW- W’ly Mon
  • More small S swell pulses expected next week


Not much to recap with small leftovers from the NE yesterday around 1-2ft and mostly light winds. Today has seen a slight boost in S swell across NENSW at S facing beaches with a few 2-3ft sets, remaining small and weak in SEQLD apart from the most reliable S swell magnets. Early offshore winds are now tending S-SE. 

S swell energy just building a notch north of the Tweed

This week (Nov 16-18)

The complex low system we mentioned Mon is now moving into position with a small low cell East of Tasmania and a deeper parent low tracking through the lower Tasman. The low east of Tasmania moves NE and joins other areas of troughy low pressure to form a large low pressure gyre which occupies most of the Tasman Sea through the latter part of this week. Surf size will be limited by the relatively weak supporting high pressure cell which is currently tracking through the Bight. We’re still looking at plenty of moderate size surf from the S quadrant to end the week and carry through into the start of the weekend. 

In the short run and the low winds up overnight with a proximate fetch of strong winds to near gales adjacent to the NSW Coast and extending down to Tasmanian latitudes. This will add plenty of mid-period S swell to the small existing S swell trains, with unruly surf in the 3-5ft range at S exposed breaks in NENSW, building through the morning after an under-sized start. Tiny surf will start the morning in SEQLD, building to 2-3ft at S facing beaches during the late morning into early a’noon session. Expect mod/fresh SW winds to tend mod/fresh S’ly through the day and smaller/cleaner surf at more protected locations. 

By Friday the low will be drifting towards New Zealand and pressure gradients will be easing along the NSW Coast, leading to early SW winds easing in strength and tending to light SE-E/SE breezes during the day. Thursdays mid period S swell should hold at similar sizes through most of the day- 3-5ft in NENSW, 2-3ft in SEQLD at S exposed breaks- with swell direction starting to veer more SSE through the a’noon as swell trains from the Central to Eastern Tasman start to make landfall. That should offer a few more options under easing S to SE winds. 

This weekend (Nov19-20)

Sat morning is still looking OK early with S-SSE swell to 3-4ft in NENSW, smaller 2-3ft in SEQLD and early NW winds. Size will ease through the day and winds tend NE and freshen through the a’noon, confining surfable options to a small number of backbeaches.

By Sunday there won’t be much SSE swell left in the water, just a small signal of 1-2ft surf mixed in with some developing NE windswell. Expect more mod/fresh N’ly winds with NE windswell being generated by a fetch which extends up to the Fraser Coast building to 2-3ft in the a’noon. 

Next week (Nov21 onwards)

Looks like the next approaching low is of another order of strength higher than this weeks system with much higher windspeeds. Another trough/front Mon sees winds have a NW tilt before tending strong to near gale force W’ly through the day. Gales out of Bass Strait persist through Sun/Mon with tiny NE windswell across most of the region. We may see a slight late kick in new S swell across S facing beaches in NENSW from the Bass Strait source, depending on timing. 

During Mon into Tuesday the parent low is expected to track NE past Tasmania into the Tasman Sea with a board fetch of severe gales below Tas as well as continuing gales out of Bass Strait (see below). This should see some small S swell across NENSW Tues from the Bass Strait fetch.

Models are still divergent about wind strengths and the direction of the wind vectors so we’ll pencil in some moderate S’ly groundswell with a wide range of wave heights expected across the region later Tues, peaking Wed and easing down through Thurs. S swell magnets across NENSW are likely to see some 3-4ft surf from this source, grading smaller 2ft at  S facing beaches in SEQLD. Winds are likely to be light and variable  through this period, tending N’ly through Thurs.

By the end of next week size should be easing right down with small surf and no major swell sources expected for next weekend as weak high pressure moves into the Tasman.

We’ll take a fresh look at next week as well as a final pass over the weekend on Fri.

Seeya then.


Rockethut's picture
Rockethut's picture
Rockethut Friday, 18 Nov 2022 at 9:47am

Coming in a foot smaller than expected this morning. Very weak

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Friday, 18 Nov 2022 at 10:06am

Built very strongly across NENSW yesterday, looks like most S swells though and very attenuated north of the border.