Another week of S swell pulses favouring south of the border

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Mon 21st Nov)

Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • NE windswell Sun, extending into Mon AM with winds tending NW- W’ly Mon
  • Small S swell pulse Tues, with a bigger overlapping pulse in the PM, W’ly wind with a’noon seabreezes
  • S swell holds Wed with N’ly winds
  • Stronger, longer period S swell Thurs, with light S’ly winds, tending to seabreezes
  • Easing S swells Fri with N’ly winds
  • Not much action this weekend, small S swell leftovers Sat, weak NE windswell Sun with N’ly winds
  • Small surf next week with a weak S swell pulse Tues/Wed
  • Keeping eyes on the tropics for any low pressure development, check back Wed for updates


A reasonable mixed bag was on offer over the weekend with some reasonable leftover S-SSE swell Sat morning in the 3ft range at NENSW S or SE facing beaches, smaller 2-3ft in SEQLD. Clean conditions early before N’ly winds kicked in. Yesterday saw a mix of easing S-SE swell to 2ft with some small NE windswell in the 2 to occasional  3ft range with mostly fresh N’lies which tended more NW-NNW south of the border. Surf is tiny this morning with sub 2ft surf across most of the region. A frontal progression tied to a deep parent low will bring multiple pulses of S swell to the region this week. Read on for details.

Still some decent sets on Sat morning

This week (Nov 21-25)

Todays W’ly change was the herald for a strong frontal progression which is currently unfolding at the gateway to the Tasman Sea. We have a front tied to a small low E of Tasmania with a much deeper parent low well to the south of Tasmania. There are multiple swell generating fetches associated with this complex low arrangement, favouring NENSW S swell magnets for size. Gales out of Bass Strait produce a refracted S swell signal from today, while the deeper low is slingshotting gales through today/tomorrow with a final front exhibiting stronger gales on an active sea state as it tracks NE into the Tasman on Tues/Wed. The swell trains will be mixed together so expect a pulsey few days as the various S’ly swell trains make landfall.

In the short run and W’ly winds are expected to hold groomed conditions for most of the morning before weak SE/NE breezes kick in. Small S swell is expected to build through Tues as a mix of Bass Strait sources and frontal wind generated S swells make landfall. Expect undersized surf early with S swell building mid-morning across NENSW, reaching the QLD border around lunch-time. Size should reach the 3-4ft range in NENSW, smaller 2ft on the sets in SEQLD at S swell magnets. Expect tiny/flat surf away from S facing beaches, especially in SEQLD.

A high pressure centre rapidly moves off the sub-tropical coast, bringing N’ly winds through Wed, although a troughy area lingering around NENSW may see some flukier NW or even W winds through the day. Keep tabs on your local wind obs but expect N’lies.

 Mid period S swell will overlap with previous S swell trains to hold surf in the 3-4ft range at S facing beaches in NENSW, smaller 2ft at S facing beaches in SEQLD. Expect a pulsey nature to the swell as the various swell trains overlap.

By Thursday,  the troughy area we mentioned is expected to move offshore bringing a weak S change and then fluky/variable winds which are likely to tend NE again in the a’noon.  Thursday should be the high point of the week surf-wise as longer period swell trains from the deep fetch Tues/Wed (see below) make landfall. The extra period will see a big spread in wave heights as certain swell magnets hoover up most of the size, while other beaches miss out. Surf is likely to build strongly mid-late morning across NENSW and later in the a’noon in SEQLD with sets to 4-5ft at NENSW S facing beaches, smaller 3ft+ at SEQLD S swell magnets.

By Friday we’ll be on the back-side of the swell event with easing swells expected. Winds remain light/mod NE under the influence of weak high pressure . Expect 4ft sets through the morning at S facing beaches in NENSW, smaller 2-3ft in SEQLD at S swell magnets, easing in size through the day.  Expect much smaller surf elsewhere, as is typical for S swells.

This weekend (Nov26-27)

Nothing to get excited about for this weekend’s f/cast. If you missed out during the week the news isn’t good. Were looking at small leftovers Sat in the 2-3ft range at S facing beaches in NENSW, 2ft or less in SEQLD and easing right back during the day.

By Sunday that S swell signal will have almost entirely disappeared and we’ll one left with just a weak NE windswell signal from a fetch which is located off the sub-tropical NSW Coast.

Winds should be light Sat morning before kicking up from the NE during the a’noon.

Sunday looks flukier with a trough hovering around the Central NSW Coast likely to increase N’lies and see them tilt more NNW-NW through the a’noon. We’ll finesse this wind outlook as we get closer to the weekend.

Next week (Nov28 onwards)

Not much action to start the last week of Spring. We’re looking at weak pressure gradients in the Tasman for at least the first half of next week as an insipid high pressure drifts NE into what are more typical spring time positions.

A passing front Sun/Mon doesn’t have much going for it with a zonal fetch and rapid transit.

After a tiny Mon we should see a small bump in S swell late Tues with size in the 2ft range at S facing beaches in NENSW. Tiny elsewhere.

From mid next week we’ll be looking at a very quiet swell regime with size in the 1ft range through Wed/Thurs. 

We may see a small NE windswell develop Thurs PM into Fri as high pressure drifts towards New Zealand and an inland trough line tightens up the pressure gradient- but we’ll wait and see how that looks before making any definitive calls.

The tropics is starting to stir with low pressure troughs across the North of Australia and out in the South Pacific, so we’ll keep a watchful eye on those and hopefully have some better news there as we proceed through the week.

Check back Wed and we’ll see how it’s shaping up.