Small, clean options ahead and over the weekend with plenty on the radar for next week

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Wed 22nd March)

Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • Extended run of small, fun trade swell holding into the weekend although slowly easing from Thurs
  • SE winds Tues/Wed favour Points with morning offshores from Thurs into the weekend
  • Small, fun S-SSE swell favouring NENSW building Tues PM, better quality from Thurs as winds behave
  • Small fun surf again this weekend with light winds and morning offshores likely- variable winds all weekend
  • More small Tradewind swell into the medium term some small, long range E swell in the mix early next week
  • Small long range S swell in the mix Mon next week
  • Dynamic outlook ahead next week, check back Fri for updates


SE winds made a mess of most beaches yesterday with a gurgly 2-3ft tradewind swell offering up some Pointbreak options on low tides. Conditions did glass off around rain squalls across some parts of NENSW and the Southern Gold Coast in the a’noon. Size has picked up a notch today with a mix of 3ft tradewind swell and some SSE swell, more prominent in NENSW. SE winds have tended E’ly and generally become light through the a’noon as pressure gradients ease.

A bit more juice to it this morning

This week (Mar 22-24)

High pressure has now moved into the Tasman, weakening rapidly as it does so. In the south a small trough of low pressure off the Gippsland coast is aiding a N-NE flow through temperate NSW. In the Coral Sea a monsoon trough remains active with a persistent but unspectacular trade-wind flow maintaining a small fun E swell signal north from Port Macquarie. The remnants of a low near the South Island are now dissipating after a final flare up yesterday. 

In the short run we’ll see winds drop right off to land and seabreezes as pressure gradients ease further. Small amounts of SSE swell are on offer and we should see just a small bump in size through the a’noon from that last flare-up of the low today. In addition small, fun tradewind swell keeps a steady drumbeat of tidally affected 2 to occasionally 3ft surf. Nothing amazing but there should be fun options across the region.

A period of offshore W-NW winds are expected Fri before light E/NE-NE seabreezes kick in. Stronger N’lies may tend NW on the Mid North Coast as a trough pushes through the area. Surf-wise E’ly tradewind swell backs down a notch and mid period SSE swell holds some 2-3ft sets before easing. Clean 2ft beachies in SEQLD with select swell magnets seeing 2-3ft surf across SEQLD and NENSW.

This weekend (Mar 25-26)

Flukey winds are expected this weekend as a trough deepens off the Mid North Coast on the leading edge of a new high. We’ll fine-tune Fri but under current modelling expect light winds across the region for Sat morning , tending light N’ly down to Yamba and variable from Yamba to Coffs. 

Similar winds Sun, mostly light and variable with periods of light S’lies developing before winds tend light E’ly to NE’ly later in the a’noon.

Not much size is expected with small background trade swell to 2ft Sat.

Sunday sees more of the same with a small addition of long range E swell to 2-3ft and traces of long period S swell offering up inconsistent sets to 2ft at S facing beaches.

Next week (Mar 27 onwards)

Monday now looks a better bet for long period S swell from an intensification and slight NE movement of a frontal progression and parent low early in the weekend. That should see S swell wrap in with periods in the 15 second range, and size in the 2-3ft range at S facing beaches with some outliers able to maximise long period swell in the 3-4ft range. Morning winds look good, straight offshore as another trough forms off the South Coast. Also in the mix is a slight uptick in long range E swell from a low which has been slow moving in the South Pacific at Samoan longitudes. Expect one waits for sets in the 2-3ft range.

Much more dynamic looking outlook from early next week but with lots of model divergence we’ll take outputs with a grain of salt before committing to solid calls.

EC is suggesting a strong high pressure belt well south of Australia with a cell slipping SE of Tasmania by Tues next week and a trough forming a surface low in the Tasman. This low and high generate strong pressure gradients and a slow moving fetch aimed straight at NSW for days on end. Under that scenario we’re looking at days of ESE-SE surf, favouring NENSW for size, initially under an onshore flow likely Tues-Thurs at least.

GFS suggests a troughy pattern to persist in the Tasman with the high being shunted quickly Southwards, bringing small swells, mostly NE windswell with some long period S and E swell in the mix.

Both major models are persisting with the rare Ice shelf fetch of gales to severe gales early next week which increases odds for long period S-SSE swell later next week, likely showing Thurs/Fri.

We’re also tracking continuing E’ly swell potential from low pressure sitting on long tradewind fetches in the South Pacific. Most of this long range action looks to favour the sub-tropics at this stage but small amounts will filter down into temperate NSW and depending on local winds could be significant into next weekend. 

In short looks like we have lot to keep eyes on, most of it a bit flukey but offering up potential for some sneaky swells from far away sources.

Check back Fri for a last look before the weekend.


Rockethut's picture
Rockethut's picture
Rockethut Thursday, 23 Mar 2023 at 7:54am

Jeez so much for light winds this morning. It's pumping straight onshore.

scrotina's picture
scrotina's picture
scrotina Thursday, 23 Mar 2023 at 12:20pm

can we have a decent swell / wind combo please

Plasticspastic's picture
Plasticspastic's picture
Plasticspastic Thursday, 23 Mar 2023 at 12:24pm

was perfect QS / CS comp surf this morning..

scrotina's picture
scrotina's picture
scrotina Thursday, 23 Mar 2023 at 8:50pm


seeds's picture
seeds's picture
seeds Thursday, 23 Mar 2023 at 11:51pm

I know I’m not teaching anyone how to suck eggs here. But, the beautiful cool air here tonight and the twinkling stars I’m calling autumn is here. Even though still some warm day time temps forecast for the next week.

seeds's picture
seeds's picture
seeds Friday, 24 Mar 2023 at 12:09am

Many moons ago, the accommodation owner in the Barrington Tops where I was staying, taught me. Does taste good.

Anyone else do this?
ps. This isn’t him.

seeds's picture
seeds's picture
seeds Friday, 24 Mar 2023 at 1:04am

It’s just gone offshore at Bonza base 1.
Question. Why has it taken the nearshore land temp to drop to 7 degrees cooler than the nearest nearshore wave buoy water temp reading to get the land breeze going. Other times the land temp only has to drop 1 or so degrees below sst for the wind to go offshore.
What are some of the other factors at play?

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Friday, 24 Mar 2023 at 8:01am

Looks like the gradient wind has just overpowered land/sea breeze effects Seeds - although we did get a mid-morning-mid-arvo glass off here yesterday.