Lots of S swell pulses ahead, favouring NENSW with an unstable outlook next week

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Wed 28th June)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Long range, pulsey E-E/SE swell lingers next week- slowly easing through Thurs
  • Another S swell pulse Thurs PM, peaking Fri with W’ly winds re-establishing
  • Stronger S swell pulses expected Sat and Sun
  • More S to S/SE swell next week, at least until Wed
  • Tracking possible E/NE swell Tues/Wed as deep trough/possible surface low moves down from QLD- check back Fri, still uncertain outlook
  • More active phase for first week in July


Small E-E/SE swell with some inconsistent 2ft sets (mostly smaller) padded out surf before a first pulse of S swell in a swell in a series arrived in the a’noon, providing surf to 3-4ft across S facing beaches at NNSW S facing beaches, smaller 1-2ft at SEQLD S facing beaches. Conditions were mostly clean under W winds with tended light SE in the a’noon. Long range E/SE swell has built today with  2-3ft sets on offer, mixed in with S swell to 3-4ft in NENSW, smaller 2ft in SEQLD. Clean conditions early with calm/variable winds now tending pre-frontal N’ly and scuffing up most breaks.

E/SE swell up a notch today, clean before the N'lies kicked in

This week (Jun 28-30)

We’ve got a slow moving pattern, quite unusual in terms of going against the grain of a developing El Niño and positive IOD. Monster high pressure approaching WA longitudes, high pressure over the NE of he country and Coral Sea and a series of cold fronts penetrating well into sub-tropical latitudes. A massive NW cloud band is drawing moisture in from the Indian Ocean and Arafura Sea via inland troughs. The cold fronts are our primary swell source through this week and into the weekend with next week suggesting the troughs will move offshore and potentially create conditions for swell from the E/NE to SE. 

In the short run we’ll see a strong frontal intrusion into the Tasman Sea tomorrow with early W-NW winds tending to fresh SW-S’ly winds in the a’noon. We’ve likely seen the peak of the E/SE swell with easing inconsistent 2ft sets supplying the bulk of the swell energy in SEQLD. Easing S swells in NENSW will rebuild in the a’noon pushing back up into the 4ft range at S facing beaches, just reaching the QLD border around dark.

W’ly winds re-establish Fri, which should see a rapid improvement in surface conditions right across the region. Short range and mid period  S swells supply surf to 4ft at S facing beaches in NENSW, smaller 2ft in SEQLD. A few inconsistent 2ft sets remain out of the E/SE, likely less significant south of the border.

This weekend (July 1-2)

We’re still looking at stronger S swells this weekend as the synoptic pattern shifts eastwards and the squeeze between an approaching high and a series of fronts becomes tighter through the lower and mid-Tasman. Compared to Wed though the development of the massive low pressure gyre near New Zealand has been downgraded with the system failing to deepen and coalesce like it promised. Overlapping swell pulses will still be a feature of this dynamic pattern so keep in mind that slow and active phases will be on tap over the weekend and into early next week. S swells will, of course, favour areas South of the Border.

Winds look better Sat for most of the region with a frontal W/SW flow early, tending SW through the day. Plenty of mid period S swell to 3-5ft at S exposed breaks in NENSW is expected, small 2-3ft at SEQLD S facing beaches.

Winds will start to tend fresh S’ly then S/SE through Sun as the high pressure ridge works it’s way East. We should see a period of W-SW winds early before they clock around with similar size surf to Sat- in the 3-5ft range at S exposed breaks in NENSW, smaller at SEQLD S facing beaches. 

Next week (Jul 3 onwards)

Lots more S swell to begin next week, with the fronts allying with a large low pressure gyre near New Zealand. This gyre no longer looks so favourable for swell production for the East Coast but the sheer amount of energy imparted to the Tasman Sea as the fronts pass through Sun/Mon should ensure plenty of energy Mon/Tues, at least.

Winds will be dependent on how quickly the high pressure cell moves East, but a strong ridge is expected. Mod/fresh winds, from the SE, possibly even tending E/SE as early as Mon a’noon are on the cards. We should still see at least 3-5ft of S swell in NENSW, smaller 2-3ft in SEQLD.

A slow easing of S swell is then on the cards for Tues, extending into Wed, with winds tending NE on Tues.

From early week we’re still looking at uncertainty depending on the evolution of the inland troughs tracking across Aus. We still may see a trough/low develop off the QLD Coast and drift South, bringing building E/NE swells possibly Tues before the systems gets captured in the W’ly flow, possibly forming a broad surface low in the Tasman with building S or SE swells later next week.

Or we may just see the normal development of SE-E/SE winds in the Coral Sea from the strong high pressure centre in the Tasman,  generating SE-E/SE swell from Mon into Wed.

Check back Fri and those scenarios will come into clearer focus as we get closer to the event.

Seeya then.


SDW's picture
SDW's picture
SDW Wednesday, 28 Jun 2023 at 7:40pm

SAM forecast to fall through the floor again next week. With a more easterly position of the W’ly node we could get some more good fronts in the coming weeks. Maybe something that could generate a good ECL too.