Tiny over the Xmas weekend with an extended period of sizey E swell setting up from Boxing Day
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Fri 23rd Dec)
Forecast Summary (tl;dr)
- Small, weak surf Xmas weekend with light winds, tending E’ly on Xmas a’noon
- Increase in SE-ESE swell from Boxing Day, becoming chunky through Tues with SE winds
- Stronger ESE swell Wed/Thurs, maintaining plenty of size through Fri into the NY weekend
- Likely active surf pattern to continue into Jan with with active Monsoon Trough, stay tuned for updates
As expected we’ve seen easing surf since Wed as our SE swell source fades away. Yesterday saw some fun 2-3ft surf for most of the region (smaller 2ft in SEQLD)with early light land breezes tending NE-E in the a’noon. Today has declined further with mostly 1-2footers, swallowed up by the big morning tides at most spots. Conditions were clean early before variable/NE winds kicked in. Santa is bringing a quiet Xmas, with more juicy surf on offer next week. Details below.
This weekend (Dec 24-25)
No great change to the weekend f/cast.
Light winds for Xmas Eve morning as a trough line lingers about the NSW coast, light NW for most areas before tending to light N to NE breezes in the a’noon. Expect small leftovers in the 1ft range early with a small bump in ESE swell through the late morning to lunch-time (likely not showing until the tide drops) with a few 2ft+ sets expected at some of the more reliable swell magnets. It’ll be mostly a weak, inconsistent swell though, so keep expectations low.
The trough brings a more variable/offshore flow for Xmas morning. Small leftovers from the ESE will supply a weak surf in the 1-2ft range, easing through the day. By the a’noon, E’ly winds will kick up as high pressure moves into the Tasman, starting an extended period of summer SE winds as a block pattern establishes.
Next week (Dec 26 onwards)
The broad pattern will be setting up by Boxing Day with a dominant, slow moving high in the Tasman and low pressure expected to form along the monsoon trough line in the Coral Sea and in the South Pacific near the North Island. That will see at least dual swell producing fetches aimed at the Eastern Seaboard, favouring our subtropical region for most size (see below).
Expect a fair amount of revision in possible wave heights when we come back Mon due to plenty of model divergence, but we can be confident the basic building blocks are now in place. GFS has the far more bullish offering (feeding into most wave models) with a large area of pressure forming in the Coral Sea and slowly meandering southwards with a broad fetch area of strong winds generating large swells by Thurs.
EC has a much more modest Coral Sea fetch suggesting much smaller swells.
Surf increases in size Boxing Day, primarily short range SE swell and favouring SEQLD for size as it builds into the 2-3ft range, smaller south of Byron.
By Tues we should start to see a stronger increase in E swell from the Coral Sea fetch attached to the large high in the Tasman.
Wind outlook has a high degree of confidence with a general SE flow from Mon into Thurs.
Wave heights will likely be revised depending on the movements of the low pressure systems anchored by the high but through Tues-Wed we should see E’ly swell build from 3-5ft into the 4-6ft range. Smaller into more sheltered Inner Points.
This is likely to build further into the 6ft+ range Thurs and pulse in the 4-6ft range through Fri into the NY weekend.
We may winds tend N’ly Fri before a S’ly change as a trough enters the picture Sat before a stronger SE surge late in the weekend as a strong reinforcing high moves SE of Tasmania over the weekend.
More pulses of E quadrant swell in the 4-5ft range are likely late in the NYE weekend from the New Zealand source and early first week of Jan but there is low confidence in timing and size due to models struggling to resolve the complex low pressure development along the monsoon trough line.
Get ready for an extended surf pattern and expect daily revisions as we dial in the movement and strength of the E’ly fetches developing next week and into the New Year.
Happy Xmas everyone and have a great weekend!