Autumn off to an ordinary start but a few fun options over the weekend

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Wed 1st March)

Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • Small boost in tradewind swell Fri with winds tending S-SSE
  • Fun mix of E and SE swell this weekend with SE winds Sat, light winds Sun
  • Traces of long period S swell Fri and Sun/Mon- only showing in NENSW
  • Tropical depression or TC now likely to drift quickly SE through swell window and not produce any major size
  • N’lies Mon-Wed next week with small surf
  • Small S swell on the radar mid/late next week, stay tuned for updates


Mostly mediocre surf since Mon with small SE swell in the 2-3ft range yesterday cleanest early under light winds before NE breezes kicked in (S’ly change just reached Coffs Harbour). Today is seeing surf a notch smaller in the 2ft range- slightly bigger at swell magnets on the Sunshine Coast. Conditions are clean-ish early with morning offshore breezes, tending NE and freshening through the day.

Sunshine Coast beachies had the best of it this morning

This week (Mar1-Mar3)

Lots of action on the charts but not much of it will translate to meaningful surf for the Eastern Seaboard. The tropics remains active with a monsoon trough and convective activity strewn across the Top End, while the edge of the trough in the South Pacific has spawned TC Judy, with another system behind it. Both of those systems are now modelled to track quickly SE through the swell window with no major swells generated. Further south a deep polar low and frontal system is generating large swells, with traces of long period S swell refracting back into temperate NSW over the coming days. A trough of low pressure is bringing a S’ly change to temperate NSW today, extending into the sub-tropics tomorrow. 

In the short run and we’ll see variable winds early across most of the region with a S’ly change working it’s way north, likely reaching the Mid North Coast before dawn, Ballina-Byron early morning before stalling around the border, with variable E-SE winds slowly establishing. Not much in the way of surf with a small amount of E quadrant surf in the 1-2ft range at open beaches, smaller elsewhere. 

Light winds are expected Fri morning, likely SW inshore early  before tending to mod SSE-SE winds through the day as a high pressure ridge and remnants of a trough drift out into the Northern Tasman.  Expect a small mixed bag of S/SE and E swells with a little more size and energy on offer. Most of this will be from a precursor tradewind fetch near New Caledonia which briefly fired up before TC Judy dragged it to the graveyard. Size should build into the 2-3ft range during the day with small peelers on offer at the Points. 

This weekend (Mar 4-5)

No great change to the weekend f/cast. High pressure drifts E of Tasmania Sat with a  ridge along the sub-tropical coast. That should see mod/fresh S-SE winds on Sat with a mix of local SE swell from the Northern Tasman, and E swells from the activity in the South Pacific slot. No major size expected but we’ll see size perk up into the 3-4ft range, bigger 3-5ft at S facing beaches during Sat. Expect much smaller peelers at sheltered Points, which is where most surfing will be going down. Some long period S swell will likely be too insignificant a signal to show in the noise, but will add a small amount of energy into the mix.

The ridge weakens Sunday with winds easing, light SW land breezes are likely, before tending light S to E in the a’noon. Sunday morning should see some fun surf in the 3-4ft range at exposed breaks with a mix of E and SE swells providing good conditions for beachies to fire up. Some long period S swell should supply 2ft sets into the mix. Breezes should stay light enough for fun waves all day. Pencil in Sun. 

Next week (Mar6 onwards)

N’ly winds freshen Mon as a complex low approaches from the W and tightens pressure gradients. Leftover S and small E/NE swell supplies small 2-3ft surf for the morning, easing during the day.

More N’lies Tues with easing swells, tending to NE windswell through the a’noon, up into the 2-3ft range on the Mid North Coast, smaller elsewhere.

We’re likely to see NE windswell peak through Wed morning with some 3ft sets. Winds look tricky at this point with a trough hovering in the area. Possibly early W-NW before a S’ly change or light and variable. We’ll revise Fri.

The complex low starts to move E into the Tasman by Tues bringing our first S swell of the Autumn (see below). We’ll peg early size estimates in the 2ft range possibly as early as Wed from a Bass Strait fetch Mon/Tues. 

The bulk of the swell is likely to fill in Wed PM and hold Thurs/Fri in the 2-3ft range at S facing beaches in NENSW, smaller 2ft in SEQLD. Winds look ordinary, the front pushes far enough north-wards to drive a mostly W’ly biased wind across temperate NSW through Wed/Thurs with winds more SE-ESE in our region.

Surf looks to then ease into next weekend 11/12 March.

Nothing much on the radar after that but check back Fri and we’ll see how it’s shaping up.


Rockethut's picture
Rockethut's picture
Rockethut Wednesday, 1 Mar 2023 at 2:23pm


donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather Thursday, 2 Mar 2023 at 1:48pm

Sorry is next week Autumn or fcking Spring in SE Qld/Nth NSW!!!!

I am liking the super long range model setup with that impressive monsoon trough stretching from NT out into the tropical south pacific, cradled by a large high around NZ.

adsi's picture
adsi's picture
adsi Thursday, 2 Mar 2023 at 2:53pm

Yeh bit of a shit year for surf so far around Ballina, been plenty of average days mostly 2ft sometime 3ft.
The big swell that was cooking in Cooly was only working at the Pass which was full of donuts.
Need some nice offshores, 4-5ft pumping beachies, at least the banks are looking pretty good round here when we finally do get some good swell.