Juicy looking start to Summer as low pressure trough forms in Coral Sea this week

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Mon 28th Nov)

Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • Small surf Mon, with a slight increase in short range S swell late Tues (more likely on the Mid North Coast)
  • Mix of S swells Wed, with building short range SSE-SE swell later in the day as low pressure trough forms
  • More building SE-ESE swell Thurs, peaking Fri/Sat with chunky surf favouring the Points
  • Strong ESE swell gradually fades out Sun into Mon, and Tues with winds becoming light and beachies opening up
  • Small surf expected later next week but still watching Coral Sea for active monsoon trough and potential low pressure- check back Wed for updates


A tricky weekend that ran close to the script with Sat seeing small leftover S swell initially and light winds. That enabled a few small beachbreaks in NENSW in the 2ft range, smaller 1-1.5ft in SEQLD at swell magnets. Surf did come up a notch on Sun at a few select NENSW S swell magnets with 2-3ft surf reported, much smaller elsewhere with mostly 1-2ft surf in NENSW, tiny in QLD and torn to shreds by fresh N’lies. Nothing much on offer today with weak NE windswell to 1ft or so, bigger on the MNC. There is plenty of action ahead this week with both ends of the swell window showing signs of life as we leave Spring behind and head into Summer. Details below.

Just some small, weak windswell to kick off the week, much juicier surf on the way later this week

This week (Nov 28- Dec 2)

We’ve got an interesting looking pattern as we transition into Summer, with both active frontal systems transiting below the continent and a precursor monsoonal trough across the top end of Australia. A front pushing into the Tasman Sea and a deeper parent low bring S swell pulses this week while a trough of low pressure is expected to hive off the precursor monsoon trough mid week and sit in the Coral Sea later this week, bringing plenty of  E swell for the Eastern Seaboard- especially favouring the sub-tropics for size and duration.

In the short run and we’ll see early NW-SW winds through Tues morning north of Yamba in a weak, troughy environment, before a front pushes through around lunch-time with mod/fresh SW winds clocking around quite quickly to the S-S/SE as the a’noon progresses. South of Yamba should see early SW-S winds as the trough moves through in the early morning.  Surf will be tiny through the morning with a late kick in low quality short range S swell on the Mid North Coast to 2ft.

High pressure moves quickly over Central NSW on Wed, with a ridge building along the NENSW coast and strengthening into SEQLD as a trough of low pressure forms off the CQ/Fraser Coast. That will see SE winds freshen during the day. Along with short period S swell, some better mid-period S swell will be in the water Wed morning with size topping out around 3ft at S facing beaches in NENSW.  Through the day we’ll see short period SSE-SE swell building in, especially on the Sunshine Coast where size should exceed 3ft through the a’noon.

By Thurs the trough off the Fraser Coast is expected to elongate and fetch of strong SE winds is well aimed at SEQLD, and to a lesser extent NENSW. Mod/fresh SE winds will favour the Points and we’ll see size grow through the day from 3ft on the Sunshine Coast to 4-5ft, smaller by a notch on the Gold Coast and another notch smaller into NENSW. There will be some traces of long period S swell in the mix but unlikely to show in amongst the building short range swell.

Friday looks like a classic day for the QLD Points with a low offshore directing a broad fetch of SE winds at the sub-tropics. There’s still some model divergence with GFS suggesting a stronger system so we may need to finesse wave heights as we go along this week. Nonetheless with the basic pattern now in place we’ll be looking at least 4-5ft of strong ESE swell, possibly bigger. Mod/fresh SSE-SE winds will confine clean conditions to the Points, where you can expect size to trend downwards into the more sheltered Inner Points. 

This weekend (Dec 3-4)

The trough of low pressure off the QLD coast looks to remain locked and loaded off the sub-tropics, with a slow drift away expected during the weekend. That should see local winds relax a notch into Sat with mod S to SE winds expected, and a small chance of a morning SW flow around the Southern Gold Coast, unlikely elsewhere. 

We’re still looking at least 4-5ft of ESE swell through Sat, favouring the Points for quality.

We’ll start to see size rolling off on Sun as the system weakens as it moves away towards New Zealand. That gives much better odds for a morning land breeze, before winds tend light/mod SE through the day. Lots of quality mid period ESE swell is still on offer Sun, in the 3-5ft range, with a slight and slow easing through the day.

In short there’ll be plenty of quality waves this weekend but you’ll need to take a quality hit if you want to get away from crowded Points.

Next week (Dec 5 onwards)

ESE swell will be on the wane into early next week with light winds tending SE on offer as pressure gradients relax as the low pressure trough drifts off towards New Zealand. Expect some fun waves in the 3ft range Mon, easing during the day, possibly the first day open beachies will be on the menu.

Following this a weak, troughy pattern looks to set-up in the Tasman Sea with the Coral Sea trough of low pressure drifting towards New Zealand and more days of small surf ahead. 

A front passing to the south on Mon/Tues may bring some small S swell late Wed with size unlikely to exceed 2-3ft.

Otherwise, surf remains small and weak through most of next week.

Models are offering divergent outcomes over the fate of the Coral Sea low, with GFS suggesting it may reintensify near the North Island later next week, offering potential for a pulse of E swell on the weekend or early week 12/12. 

EC model maintains a weak area of low pressure in that region which would suggest continuing small, weak surf from the E/NE. Not flat, but not too far off.

Major models continue to favour a monsoonal trough line across Northern Australia and into the Coral Sea so we’ll continue to monitor that for signs of low pressure development as we track deeper into Summer.

Check back Wed for the latest update.


Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67 Monday, 28 Nov 2022 at 6:16pm

Yesterday punched above its weight - fun lefts on the Clarence coast. Garbage elsewhere. This week looks super fun, better get some work done before Thursday :)

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Monday, 28 Nov 2022 at 6:20pm

Just as a caveat- which I mentioned in the notes- I've kept a pretty "cool" low range estimate due to model divergence and the strength (or lack thereof) of the supporting highs.

There is scope for substantial upgrading through the week, I doubt there would be any downgrading.

burleigh's picture
burleigh's picture
burleigh Monday, 28 Nov 2022 at 6:22pm

You good to surf now Freeride?

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Monday, 28 Nov 2022 at 6:27pm

Been back in the water since May.
Stress tested back on a few 6ft days.

Plasticspastic's picture
Plasticspastic's picture
Plasticspastic Tuesday, 29 Nov 2022 at 10:56am

wow no downgrading. that's exciting. although the forecast is bouncing around alot, I suppose that is the nature of a swell source being so close.

dawnperiscope's picture
dawnperiscope's picture
dawnperiscope Wednesday, 30 Nov 2022 at 10:32am

Looking fwd to some point surf in somewhat clean water, before brown town returns. It's been a while!

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather Wednesday, 30 Nov 2022 at 1:29pm

EC progging two bites of the cherry!!