Winds easing off with days more strong E swell ahead
South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Mon 2nd Jan)
Forecast Summary (tl;dr)
- Strong pulse of E/SE swell Mon, holding Tues with light winds- size favouring Points
- Last pulse of E/SE swell later Tues, holding Wed with light winds, easing through Thurs
- S’ly change extending later Thurs into Fri and the weekend, winds favouring Points
- Small mix of leftover E and S swell provides some workable options over the weekend
- A few days of light winds and small surf early/mid next week with small combo swells continuing
- Tracking tropical low which moves quickly through Coral Sea and reforms near North Island mid next week, stay tuned for revisions
Lots more chunky E/NE-E swell was ridden over the New Years weekend , mostly at the Points where SE winds supplied clean/protected conditions. Sat was the bigger day of the weekend with solid 4-5ft surf and bigger sets, grading smaller at protected Points. Sun eased in size a notch with slower 3-5ft surf. Today has seen a new pulse fill in with solid 4-6ft surf across most of the region, a notch smaller on the Sunshine Coast. Lighter winds this morning did open up a brief window on the beachies if could deal with the hard paddle-out. Otherwise, just another day of pumping Point surf.
This week (Jan 2-Jan6)
A tropical low which hived off the monsoon trough and which has been providing days of chunky E swell to sub-tropical regions is now, finally, on the move. Compared to model runs the system has been much more slow moving than f/cast- which is maintaining plenty of strong E swell across our sub-tropical region. Current ASCAT (satellite windspeed) passes show a board fetch of strong E’ly winds now tracking SSW-SW back into the Tasman from a position half-way between New Caledonia and the North Island, generating solid E’ly swells which will radiate from the sub-tropics down into the temperate f/cast regions.
In the short run and we are seeing an easing of local pressure gradients so the onshore flow is expected to remain light through tomorrow, with light/variable/offshore winds for the early before a light/mod E’ly breeze kicks in. Strong E’ly swell should hold in the 4-6ft range making for another day of pumping surf. Points will be the safer option but beachbreaks will be smooth enough to surf in the morning if you can get out to them.
A last pulse strong E/SE swell is still expected Wed. Size-wise expect chunky E/SE swell in the 4-6ft range across NENSW, a notch smaller in SEQLD, easing slowly during the a’noon. We’ll finally see the end of the SE wind regime as pressure gradients ease right off. Expect morning W’ly winds, tending more NW before clocking around to light NE sea breezes in the a’noon. Winds will be more favourable for the beachies but size will likely overpower all but the best banks. Winds will be a bit funky and devil oriented for the Points, especially once the NE breeze kicks in.
Into the back half of the week and winds look very flukey for Thurs as a small, troughy area of low pressure hovers about the Far North Coast. Thats likely to see early N’lies, tending more E’ly on the Mid North Coast before winds tend offshore north of the trough line (likely around Evans Head). As the trough moves offshore we’ll see mod fresh S to SE’lies establish across the region during the a’noon. Surf-wise there’ll be still-strong E/SE swell in the 3-4ft range, easing back during the day.
By Fri E swell will be easing in the mix with some inconsistent 3ft sets, dropping down through the day. Mod S’ly winds will confine surfing to protected locations and short range S swell is expected to become apparent through the a’noon, more noticeable on the Mid North Coast but extending into the Ballina-Byron area by close of play.
This weekend (Jan7-Jan8)
A strong high SE of Tasmania and a trough of low pressure extending through the Eastern Tasman maintains a mod S’ly to SSE’ly flow through Sat. That will continue to be the major factor for surf quality, so you’ll need to seek protection. Surf-wise the fetch of SSE winds through the lower Tasman extending off the South Island will supply S-SSE swell in the 2-3ft range. A bit of residual E swell lingering from the tropical low and Tradewinds extending down to the North Island will supply some inconsistent background 3ft energy.
Sunday looks more of the same as far as winds go albeit a notch lighter as pressure gradients ease. Lighter morning S’lies (SW on the Southern Gold Coast and Far Northern NSW) tending SE-ESE during the day. Along with continuing small background E swell to 2-3ft we’ll see stronger SSE swell from an intensification of the fetch near the South Island early Sat. This should see surf bump up a notch during later Sun into the 3 ft range.
Next week (Jan9 onwards)
Another dynamic week on the cards next week, so expect plenty of revision between now and then.
Monday looks good at this stage with weak pressure gradients along the East Coast leading to light land and sea breezes.
We should see some very fun SSE-SE swell in the 2-3ft range offering plenty of options across the beachies.
Light winds extend into Tues likely tending NE in the a’noon. Leftover SSE swell to 2-3ft eases through the day. Through the a’noon, we should see a new pulse of E/SE swell generated by a Cook Strait fetch generated by one of the low pressure remnants. Lets peg size around 2-3ft for now and see how the fetch shapes up.
By mid week (Late Wed/Thurs) we should see S’ly winds re-establish through the f/cast region.
Along with E/SE swell and short range S swell tending to SSE swell later next week we’ll be watching a tropical low which becomes complex as it quickly tracks SE through the Coral Sea and intensifies as it reforms in the South Pacific north of the North Island.
Models are really all over the place with the speed of this system but it does look to intensify to severe gales by mid next week.
The North Island will be a problem with models showing the low dipping below the North Island quickly as it intensifies. Any stalling will see a legitimate E’ly groundswell possibly late next week or weekend 14/15 Jan. Under current modelling we’re looking at a quick pulse of E swell in the same time frame.
Check back Wed and we’ll see how it’s shaping up.