Days of strong E swell ahead to close out 2022 and start the New Year
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Wed 28th Dec)
Forecast Summary (tl;dr)
- Plenty of E swell Thurs, maintaining plenty of size through Fri with winds favouring the Points
- Sizey mix of E swells Sat/Sun with pumping Point surf and light/mod SSE-SE winds
- Strong pulse of E/SE swell Mon, holding Tues with light winds- size favouring Points
- Slow easing in size from Wed into end of next week
- Likely active surf pattern to continue into Jan with active Monsoon Trough, still watching out for cyclogenesis later next week, stay tuned for updates
Fun levels of E’ly swell built in yesterday with 2-3ft surf reaching the 3ft+ range by close of play and the swell direction getting into most of the Points. Winds were generally mod SE with some pockets of lighter winds on offer through the day offering cleaner surface conditions. Today has seen more of the same E swell, slowly building in through the day with some 3-4ft surf on offer under SE winds, with pockets of lighter winds around rain showers.
This week (Dec 28-30)
The building blocks for a classic Summer monsoonal pattern are now firmly in place and almost the entire Eastern Seaboard from the Tropic of Capricorn to Tasmania is going receive swell as a result of it. A dual-centred high straddles New Zealand with an elongated monsoonal low pressure trough located in the Coral Sea and extending into the near South Pacific. This is creating a long and broad E’ly fetch which is slowly extending southwards. As we near the end of the week, a more discrete surface low hives off the end of the monsoonal low pressure trough and retrogrades back into the Tasman Sea as it intensifies, generating large E’ly swells over the last days of 2022 and first days of 2023.
In the short run and the initial stages of the fetch have created a juiced-up tradewind type swell for the subtropics and this swell will slowly increase into tomorrow- up into the 3-5ft range. Winds do look a notch lighter through tomorrow as a trough slightly disrupts the high pressure ridge so expect mod SE winds, with a possibility for lighter SW-S winds inshore early and pockets of lighter winds through the day. Possibly light enough for more open locations to be surfed if you aren’t too fussy about wave quality.
Mid period E swell should hold wave heights in the 3-5ft range through Fri-favouring the Points for quality and with SE winds continuing, albeit possibly stronger as the ridge re-establishes.
This weekend (Dec 31-Jan1)
No great change to the weekend f/cast. Pumping E swell and plenty of it. With the Points firing on all cylinders as period and size both increase.
Not great detail required for the wind f/cast- both days will see SE winds with lighter periods of SSE wind in the morning, possibly SW-S across the Gold Coast and NENSW and with pockets of lighter wind through the day if you have flexibility and can react to local conditions. Ideally suited to the Points from sun-up to sundown.
Expect a slow build in size Sat, from 4-5ft up into the 6ft range with size holding in this range through New Years Day.
There will be some nice E/SE swell trains in the mix from a low out in the South Pacific E of the North Island, providing some 3-4ft sets through Sat into Sun but likely hard to discern amongst the more dominant E’ly swells from closer range.
Next week (Jan2 onwards)
If models hold true we’ll be looking at the main course of this swell event to kick off 2023. Over the weekend a low hives off from the end of the large area of monsoonal low pressure and begins to drift SW back into the Northern Tasman (see below), intensifying with E’ly gales aimed back at the Eastern Seaboard. With the fetch travelling in the same direction as the propagated swell trains, we’ll see enhanced potential for swell production.
Expect a solid muscling up in size through Mon, with 4-5ft surf building into the 6ft range through the day as size and period increase from the E/SE. Expect surf to be a notch bigger across the North to Mid North Coast. Winds look good for Mon morning, light SW tending to light SE in the day. If you can get out to them, exposed breaks may be on offer but Points will be handling the size better.
Size holds at a solid 5-6ft into Tues morning before a slow easing during the day . A trough brings another favourable wind outlook, with early variable winds, tending S/SE and then light E’ly during the day. Thats not set in stone, so check back in Fri for an update.
Flukey winds carry-over into Wed AM as the trough hovers about the coast before a more settled S/SE flow kicks in as a new, major high pressure ridge moves in from the Bight.
Plenty of size is expected to hold into Wed as the low slowly hovers in the Tasman. Expect 4-5ft surf Wed, slowly easing into Thurs.
Under current modelling we’ll see winds tend S-SSE in a more stable synoptic flow.
The easing trend is expected to continue into next weekend.
Longer term and we may see some S quadrant swell next weekend from S’ly winds in the Tasman, associated with a front pushing through. The monsoon trough still remains active and although models have gone a bit cool on cyclogenesis in the Coral Sea we may till see further low pressure development in that area or possibly further south associated with the remnants of this weeks low pressure.
Get your paddling arms ready and be ready to drop your standards a notch to deal with some onshore winds.
Check back Fri for the latest.