Days more small fun E swell ahead with some flukey swells on the menu as well

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Mon 23rd Jan)

Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • Fun E swell builds from Mon, holds Tues, slowly eases Wed next week as ex TC drifts in from New Caledonia
  • Residual E swell holds at fun levels through Thurs into the weekend
  • Flukey long period SSE swell builds in Sat favouring NENSW, eases slowly through Sun
  • More small E swell on the cards for next week stay tuned for updates


A few fun waves over the weekend as winds were generally lighter than forecast under a troughy pressure environment. Sat saw surf in the 3-4ft range, a mix of SE and E swell with winds light enough for all day surfing. Size dropped a notch Sun with light winds and a’noon seabreezes. Today has seen more E swell in the 2-3ft range, building this a’noon into the 3ft range- 3-4ft on the Sunshine Coast- as the remnants of TC 10  drift back towards the East Coast. A few sneaky swell sources are on the radar this week, details below.

Plenty of peelers on the Points with January crowds

This week (Jan 23-27)

A troughy pattern exists through the Northern Tasman down to the South Coast with the remnants of TC 10P (named by JTWC but remained a cyclone for less than a day) drifting in a SW direction from out near New Caledonia as a weak sub-tropical low. A small low pressure cell near the South Coast is slowly drifting south leaving a variable flow in it’s wake across the f/cast region.

In the short run we should see a light/variable offshore flow through tomorrow morning before a’noon E’ly sea breezes. E swell from the retrograding remnants of TC 10 hold surf in the 3-4ft range through tomorrow.

Winds should be light W wind through Wed morning before tending light mod N then NE through the a’noon. Mid period E swell holds surf in the 3-4ft range so if you can deal with the winds swell direction opens up lots of options. 

E swell eases back a notch through Thurs as the remnants of TC 10 aim up more for temperate NSW. We’ll still see some 3ft sets, with size more generally in the 2-3ft range and easing under a continuing light/mod E/NE to NE flow.

Friday brings more of the same light onshore pattern with light morning winds and a’noon sea breezes. E swell fades out to lower levels, sustained by background trade energy from above the North Island. Nothing amazing but fun sized 2ft surf is on the cards. 

This weekend (Jan28-29)

Light winds Sat maintain the weak onshore pattern with E swell holding in the 2ft range. We are expecting a rare swell source to make landfall later in the day. A low intensifies under New Zealand later today into tomorrow with storm force SSW-S winds sending radial spread of long period groundswell back towards Australia. This is expected to send some SE-SSE long period swell up the NSW Coast. Swell models are not resolving this swell well with an underestimation most likely. Expect a few 2-3ft sets in NENSW, smaller 2ft in SEQLD with select S swell magnets in NENSW seeing slightly bigger surf. 

Light winds are expected Sun, NW early tending NE through the day. Dregs of SSE-SE groundswell supply a few inconsistent 2-3ft sets but E swell will be dominant as the fetch near the North Island keeps chugging away. Expect 2-3ft surf from this source. 

Next week (Jan30 onwards)

Model divergence between the major weather models suggests revision for next week but the new week looks like the weak N’ly pattern overnight Sun into Mon with a  S’ly change possible Tues. We’ll revise timing through the week.

E swell looks to keep chugging away as the semi-stationary fetch near the North Island maintains position. EC runs this fetch right through to mid next week suggesting plenty of fun, pulsey E swell in the 2-3ft range. GFS winds it up much earlier with S swell from a fetch associated with Tuesdays S’ly change building later Tues in the 2-3ft range.

By mid next week we look to be in a weak, troughy environment again suggesting light winds across the f/cast region. Under the EC scenario that will be with fun E swell to ride.

Check back Wed and we should have some more clarity over this as well as more info on the short term.


AlexTurney's picture
AlexTurney's picture
AlexTurney Monday, 23 Jan 2023 at 3:42pm

Wow that blob of purple in the deep south east of the planet will light something up in its path........

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Monday, 23 Jan 2023 at 3:47pm

yeah, we'll get something from it, but somewhere will get something huge.

dawnperiscope's picture
dawnperiscope's picture
dawnperiscope Monday, 23 Jan 2023 at 5:41pm

enough energy to make southside hawaii?

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay Monday, 23 Jan 2023 at 6:06pm

And barely any ice in the Ross Sea. I used to wait for those swells to bring quality swells before the move north.

SDW's picture
SDW's picture
SDW Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 4:48pm

Any idea why the water out the front of Coolum is so murky?

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 5:07pm

Highly likely it's a Trichodesmium slick mixed in the surf zone.

SDW's picture
SDW's picture
SDW Tuesday, 24 Jan 2023 at 9:47pm

Ahhh, yes that's what it looks like. Cheers.

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 6:50am

Happy to say (now it's gone) yesterday was pumping, sets solid 4ft barrels, today's lucky to be half the size.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 6:54am

Nice one Sprout.
Big new moon tides seem to have back-scoured all the sand out here.
Drove around aimlessly looking for a surfable option yesterday morning before the tide killed it.

Clean lines and plenty of close-outs.

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 5:05pm

I know that pain all too well from years of La Nina.

dawnperiscope's picture
dawnperiscope's picture
dawnperiscope Wednesday, 25 Jan 2023 at 11:14am

With the big tides, it's been amazing how much the banks have changed day to day on the open stretch around here