Classic Monsoonal pattern sets up with days of pumping E swell ahead
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Mon 26th Dec)
Forecast Summary (tl;dr)
- Increase in SE-ESE swell from day after Boxing Day onwards, becoming chunky through Tues with SE winds
- Stronger ESE swell Wed/Thurs, maintaining plenty of size through Fri with winds favouring the Points
- Possibly very sizey mix of E swells Sat/Sun depending on movement of low- pumping Point surf almost certain
- Slow easing in size likely into early/mid next week
- Likely active surf pattern to continue into Jan with with active Monsoon Trough, possibly cyclogenesis by mid next week, stay tuned for updates
Xmas Eve had a few fun waves with a nice pulse of E/SE swell from across the Tasman filling in through the a’noon with some tasty 2ft sets showing in NENSW under light winds after an undersized start. Xmas day saw a few smooth 2footers with glassy morning conditions before E’ly winds kicked up in the a’noon. Today is seeing small, weak leftovers in the sub 2ft range (mostly 1-1.5ft) with mod E’ly winds expected to kick up further through the a’noon and tend E/SE-SE. A very active E’ly surf pattern sets up through this week, details below.
This week (Dec 26-30)
We’re now on the cusp of a dynamic, tropical induced blocking pattern with low pressure hiving off an active monsoon trough in the Coral Sea and meandering in Coral Sea before drifting down into the Northern Tasman. The high pressure belt holds good support for this low pressure area with reinforcing cells stacking onto a slow moving system located at South Island latitudes. This will see an extended E’ly swell event, with days of pumping E swell ahead.
In the short run we’re looking increasing levels of E/SE-E swell as the fetch starts to organise around the large low pressure area in the Coral Sea. This swell increase will be accompanied by fairly constant ESE-SE winds- tending more E’ly from Yamba southwards.
Expect size to rise into the 3ft range through tomorrow, smaller on the Mid North Coast, with smaller surf in the more sheltered Inner Points.
The slow rise continues into Wed as more mid period swell trains start to make landfall, with size increasing into the 3-5ft range, smaller 3-4ft on the Mid North Coast. As period bumps up a notch we’ll see more swell energy start to show on the Inner Points.
Into Thurs and we’ll start to see a more meaningful increase in E/NE swell as the southern limit of the Coral Sea fetch starts to thicken up and extend southwards. Expect surf to build from 3-5ft into the 4-6ft range through the day. Winds may lighten a notch Thurs morning as a troughy area forms along the North Coast. Possibly SW inshore early before tending more SSE through the day. Stay on top of your local wind obs as local wind changes are highly likely, especially on the Mid North Coast.
By Friday winds will have firmly re-established from the E/SE to SE as reinforcing high pressure slips into the slot. A stronger increase in E/NE swell is on the cards as the E’ly fetch continues to colonise the Northern Tasman. Both size and juice are on an upwards trend with sets to 5-6ft building to at least 6ft+ during the day. It’ll be a Points only deal with mod/fresh SE winds but there will be plenty of waves if you can deal with the crowds.
This weekend (Dec 31-Jan1)
Plenty of E/NE swell for New Years Eve as 2022 goes out with a bang. There’s still some substantial model divergence to deal with. GFS has a retrograding low pressure area pushing close to the NSW Coast during NYE with size pushing up into the 6-8ft+ range at least under a SE-S flow. EC slowly slides the large area of low pressure towards the North Island with smaller but better quality E/SE swell in the 6ft range and lighter SE winds. In addition a strong low drifting NE of the North Island this week at the edge of the swell window is expected to supply some longer range E/SE energy in the 4-5ft range. It’s going to be a very energised ocean NYE so check in Wed as we finesse size and winds.
New Years Day will have stacks of strong E/SE swell and allowing for a bit of revision through this week confidence is high we’ll see surf in the 4-6ft range at the least. We should see a slackening of the local pressure gradient leading to lighter SE winds through the day. We’ll finesse those winds through the week as more model guidance comes to hand.
Next week (Jan2 onwards)
Strong E/NE swell continues into the first week of Jan as a low pressure trough sits in the Northern Tasman off the NSW Coast. We should see a slow easing trend through the first couple of days of the New Year, although maintaining plenty of size.
A broad fetch of E/NE winds remains active from the North Island down into the Tasman which should hold surf in the 3ft range through into the middle of next week.
Winds look tricky. A long trough line is expected to form off the Southern NSW Coast early next week. That may bring a S’ly change as early as late Mon or Tues with lighter winds Mon morning worth pencilling in.
S’lies may then kick in Tues as the trough joins up (potentially) with the low remnants. That could see both building short range S-SE swell and residual E/NE swell into the middle of next week. Confidence is low on those predictions so make sure you check back in Wed for the latest revisions.
Longer term and cyclogenesis looks likely off the Far North QLD coast next week- with another tropical depression or cyclone forming in the South Pacific near Tonga. It’s too far out to have confidence in the surf potential for our region from these systems but we’re certainly in a very active tropical phase so check back in Wed and we’ll see how it’s shaping up. More surf looks highly likely.
Plenty to keep us occupied in the run up to NYE!