Not much for Xmas but plenty of chunky surf on the radar from Boxing Day onwards
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Wed 21st Dec)
Forecast Summary (tl;dr)
- SSE swell slowly fading out Wed
- Gradual easing of swell and wind from Thurs into the rest of the week
- Small, weak surf Xmas weekend
- Increase in SE-ESE swell from Boxing Day, becoming chunky through Tues
- Stronger ESE swell Wed/Thurs, easing into Fri
- Still tracking developments in the tropics next week with active Monsoon Trough, stay tuned for updates
We’ve started to see conditions settle as the slow moving Tasman Low exits the Tasman and pressure gradients ease along the coast. Size boosted Mon arvo into the 4-6ft range in NENSW, and briefly held at that size through Tues morning before easing. Size was smaller 3ft in SEQLD, at the lower end of the f/cast range for the swell. Today has seen leftover 3-4ft surf in NENSW, smaller 2ft at SEQLD S facing beaches with offshore winds through the morning. Lighter S’lies are now tending to light SE breezes as we move into a weaker, troughier synoptic environment.
This week (Dec 21-23)
With the remnants of the Tasman low lingering up near the North Island we’re looking at easing swells into the Xmas weekend.
A brief fetch of SE winds near the South Island Mon/Tues should see some fun SE swell hold a few 3ft+ sets through tomorrow morning in NENSW, smaller 2ft in SEQLD at S swell magnets,under light W to NW winds before NE breezes kick in through the day. Expect size to ease through the day.
Dribbly leftovers are on offer Fri with minor levels of SE swell topping out at around 2ft+ on open beaches in NENSW, smaller 1-1.5ft in SEQLD. Winds should stay light through the morning, before tending NE and freshening through the a’noon. Early W to NW winds may offer up chances of a Shorey if you can work with the big morning new moon tides. Keep expectations low though, there won’t be much energy to work with.
This weekend (Dec 24-25)
Light N’lies are expected for Xmas Eve, in a weak, unstable troughy pattern. As mentioned on Mon and in Craigs Xmas Forecast a fetch from the remnants of the current Tasman Low off Cook Strait is the only swell source on offer. Current model runs have this fetch looking very unimpressive so it’s best to dial down expectations. We’ll see small surf in the 1-1.5ft range through the morning and possibly a few 2ft sets through the a’noon, more likely on the Mid North Coast. Expect a low energy swell with plenty of soft, slow periods. Just enough to generate an appetite on.
Xmas morning will see a few leftover sets from the E/SE as the Cook Strait source dries up. Nothing much expected- just some slow 1-2ft sets before that eases back to dribblers in the a’noon. We’ll see light land breezes through the morning before E sea breezes kick in through the a’noon as a trough moves over the region and high pressure moves into the Tasman.
Next week (Dec 26 onwards)
Tiny surf continues into Boxing Day morning as SE winds become established through the day, heralding the start of a new swell cycle.
Models are now firming on a trough of low pressure forming near the North Island early next week and retrograding in a SW direction back towards the Eastern seaboard. Cradling the low will be a high pressure cell with broad fetch of SE-ESE winds developing through the Northern Tasman and into the Coral Sea, along with an elongated area of low pressure off the monsoon trough off the QLD Coast.
The Tasman Sea fetch is expected to generate a rising E/SE swell through Mon, up into the 3ft+ range by close of play under typical summer E-SE winds. Most of this initial swell increase will be short range swell so expect scrappy surf on the beaches and a pretty weak signal getting into the Points.
This tradewind style swell should bump up a few notches through Tues into the 4ft+ range with continuing fresh SE winds.
Stronger SE-E/SE swell is then expected Wed/Thurs from the fetch of strong winds generated by the low as it retrogrades back into the Tasman Sea (see below). We’ll finesse this Friday but for now, we’ll peg size in the 4-5ft range Wed, easing a notch into Thurs with SE winds likely to slowly ease during this period. There’ll be some chunky surf on hand across the f/cast region, favouring the Points for quality.
This swell should ease a notch through Fri as the low pressure dissipates in the Tasman. Winds should hold from the SE as high pressure maintains a ridge along the sub-tropical coastline.
Longer term and the monsoon trough remains active, with active potential for more low pressure development into the New Year- possibly even as early as the New Years weekend as a trough and front enter the Tasman and the lingering remnants of a low off the QLD coast combine. We’ll keep tabs on that and report back Fri. Another strong high pushing through the Bight suggests a SE surge in the first week of Jan so a flat spell looks unlikely to begin 2023.
Check back Fri for the latest.