Pattern of light winds continues with small fun swell sources on tap

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Fri 27th Jan)

Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • Slight rebuild in E swell Sat, easing Sun with light morning winds
  • Flukey long period SSE swell builds in Sat favouring NENSW, eases slowly through Sun
  • Small E swell and light winds Mon, with a small kick in size late Mon into Tues
  • Troughy, tricky pattern from mid next week with a spell of N’lies likely late next week
  • Low in South Pacific looks to generate long range E swell second week of Feb, stay tuned for revisions


Plenty of fun waves yesterday with more Groundhog Day E swell to 2-3ft across the grounds, clean early under light land breezes before NE winds kicked in.  Today we’ve got small residual E swell to 1-2ft with a glassy, windless morning before light NE breezes kicked in.

Another glassy morning with just enough energy for a shred

This weekend (Jan28-29)

Weak high pressure is rapidly moving SE into the Tasman in the wake of yesterdays trough, which has stalled just north of the Hunter coast. E’ly fetches are still bubbling away near the North Island with more small E quadrant swell expected over the short/medium term.

Get in early tomorrow for light winds before light/mod E to NE winds kick in during the a’noon. A mix of long period SSE-SE and E swell should see some fun 2-3ft surf with E swell being the dominant signal for most of the region. A few select spots in NENSW may see some slightly bigger long period SSE sets but they will be few and far between.

NE winds blow through Sun, with only a brief period of lighter W-NW winds expected inshore early. Expect a blend of easing SSE-SE groundswell with inconsistent 2ft sets early, and small leftover E swell to around 2ft+. If you can get out of the wind there’ll be some surfable options.

Next week (Jan30 onwards)

Variable winds tending light E-NE are expected Mon continuing the doldrums pattern we’ve been experiencing. Expect more small blended E swell to 2ft+ or so. We’re likely to  see a late kick in new E/SE swell to 3ft from a Cook Strait fetch over the weekend (see below).

Winds on Tues will depend on the trough moving up the NSW Coast. Light and variable early tending light E’ly in the a’noon is the most likely outcome for our region. Fun sized E/SE swell supplies 2-3ft sets with quality dependent on local winds.

Very tricky outlook from mid next week as troughs linger in the Northern Tasman and off the NSW Coast. We may see the coastal trough deepen into a small low, off the Mid North Coast or North Coast. That may generate some small E/NE swell later next week, in conjunction with another fetch developing near the North Island bringing a small boost in wave heights Fri from the E/SE..

A much larger complex low approaching from the Bight and stalling near Tasmania looks to intensify N’ly winds along the NSW Coast up into the Coral Sea late next week, with potential for increased NE windswell, possibly quite sizey, over next weekend

Out in the South Pacific a large sub-tropical low slowly retrogrades back towards Australia first week of Feb. This is better positioned for the sub-tropics with useful amounts of long range E swell likely for the f/cast region second week of Feb.

Given the poor model agreement and run to run inconsistency it’s likely we’ll be back Mon with serious revision for all these swell sources so don’t set plans in stone just yet. 

Check back Mon and have a great weekend!


SDW's picture
SDW's picture
SDW Saturday, 28 Jan 2023 at 2:07pm

Today’s satellite image on the BOM website shows an absolute monster of mid-latitude storm south (a long way south) of the Great Australian Bight. Must be sending some solid swell somewhere?

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Monday, 30 Jan 2023 at 7:09am

Glassy mornings had to come to an end eventually.

Nor-easter up before dawn and looks like a run of N'lies ahead.

SDW's picture
SDW's picture
SDW Monday, 30 Jan 2023 at 1:31pm

Pretty clean on the SC this morning until about 10. Few little sliders for the big board. Shame we couldn’t have a got a distant cyclone swell over the past week. Seems to be a bit of a quiet season thus far cyclone wise..