More active period ahead, with typical winter S swells on the radar

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Wed 21st June)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Solid but easing S-S/SE swell  Thurs with offshore winds tending N-NNE and freshening in the a’noon
  • Small mixed bag of SE and new E/SE swell Fri with freshening N’ly winds tending W/NW-W’ly in the a’noon
  • Another weekend with mostly offshore winds
  • Fun leftover E/SE swell Sat, becoming tiny Sun
  • Pulsey background E swell this weekend- very inconsistent but favouring Sunshine Coast!
  • Pulsey, long range E swell persists into next week
  • Next week now looking favourable for some sizey S swells- Tues/Wed
  • More S swell later next week, potentially sizey- check back Fri for latest update


Yesterday saw undersized condition early with S swell taking it’s time to fill in, only showing from the MNC northwards later in the a’noon and reaching 2-3ft at S exposed breaks later in the day as SW winds freshened. Conditions have improved into today with swell quality and direction improving a notch and size in the 4-5ft range across S exposed beaches in NENSW, bigger 5-6ft at S swell magnets. The Gold Coast is seeing 3-5ft surf at S swell magnets, 2-3ft at some other breaks with the Sunshine Coast in the 2ft range at S facing beaches. Offshore winds are set to clock around SW-S and lay down through the a’noon as coastal pressure gradients ease.

S swell strong enough to wrap into some of the Gold Coast Points

This week (Jun 21-23)

Yesterdays large area of low pressure consolidated nicely in the Tasman and is now slow moving as it approaches the North Island. The head of the fetch reached sub-tropical latitudes, aiding swell spread into SEQLD. Off-axis SSW-SW winds hold through today and tomorrow in the Central Tasman leading to a slow decline in S-S/SE swell for the region through this time frame. We’re in for another series of fronts and troughs through the end of the week and into the weekend with plenty of W’ly quadrant wind ahead. Frontal activity early and mid next week now looks much better aligned and more aggressively tracking into the Tasman Sea, looking like a much more active S swell window next week.

In the short run and and early light land breezes tomorrow look primo for open beaches as they tend NW before freshening from the N through the a’noon. A morning peak in leftover S/SE swell should see strong 3-4ft sets at S exposed breaks in NENSW, smaller 3ft in SEQLD, easing back during the day.

N’ly winds freshen overnight Thurs into Fri with leftover S/SE swell to 2ft or so from the lingering low in the Tasman. That fetch should produce a small pulse of E/SE swell later Fri, up into the 2ft range with the odd bigger set, well timed as a trough and front pass over and winds tilt fresh W/NW to W, possibly too late in the day to clean up surf much away from backbeaches.

This weekend (Jun 24-25)

No change to the wind outlook for the weekend. Frontal progressions and a high riding trough with an interior high will drive W’ly quarter winds, likely tending W/NW-NW at times over both days NE seabreezes.

Saturday should see some small leftovers from the E/SE as this weeks lingering low generates a useful fetch off the West Coast of the North Island later this week. Mid period swell in the 2ft range will be well groomed by offshore winds. Our long range E swell looks weaker than expected. The long trough and embedded low has been more disorganised than modelled, although it does look to reform later this week and into the weekend. For Sat though, not much more than 2ft surf is expected with very long waits for sets.

Not much on offer for Sun - small, background E swell sets to 2ft wth long waits for sets. Sunshine Coast beachies tend to maximise these swells so a scout around may reveal a quality piece of sand squeezing the most juice out of it. Clean under offshore winds.

Next week (Jun 26 onwards)

Looks like a much more active period ahead now, with strong frontal intrusion into the Tasman Sea and plenty of directional S swell ahead. 

Mon looks small, with background E swell to 2ft at best and hard offshore winds as a strong front pushes out of Bass Strait and then NE into the Tasman. This background E swell should hold a pulsey, inconsistent signal for most of the first half of next week at least, although it will be lost in the larger S swell signal in NENSW.

Under current modelling the front Mon should generate a sizey S swell pulse for later Tues, likely pushing up into the 3-4ft range in NENSW, smaller in SEQLD.

Plenty of size then extends into Wed under a very active sea state in the Tasman Sea.

More S swell is expected later next week, potentially even bigger. The European model has a very strong front pushing NE into the Tasman mid next week, suggesting S swell in excess of 6ft at S exposed breaks.
GFS has a more modest frontal intrusion but still offering more S swell, typical of seasonal averages.

Come back Fri and we’ll dial in specifics on size and timing as we get closer to the event. 

Seeya then. 


tiger's picture
tiger's picture
tiger Wednesday, 21 Jun 2023 at 3:23pm

Meh. That low still looks to stall of the north island tomorrow. Earlier models had a little bubble high sitting under it in the lower Tasman and a bit of a better fetch orientation. But doesn't look as well set up on latest runs unfortunately. Of interest the long range has been hinting at a trough drifting across from the nw of the country. Pegging hopes on it for rain as much as anything, but it's got the feels of an ecl. Have I mentioned I'm desperate, and an eternal optimist. Not a good combo coming into an el Nino spring.

surfiebum's picture
surfiebum's picture
surfiebum Friday, 23 Jun 2023 at 8:32am

10 degrees warmer and northerlies on the sunny coast... spring already? :(

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather Friday, 23 Jun 2023 at 6:34pm

And Fcking cold water. Def felt like spring today.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Friday, 23 Jun 2023 at 9:26am

Don't jinx it SB.

But with the northwards positioning of the high pressure belt it looks like N'ly winds will be episodic.