Strong SE surge brings plenty of short range swell with E'ly tradewind swell continuing to chug away

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Wed 20th Sep)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Tradewind swells slowly back down Thurs with a S’ly change Thurs PM
  • E’ly tradewind swell hangs in there at low levels into the weekend
  • Strong SE surge Fri with developing short range S/SE swell
  • S/SE swell holds over the weekend, slowly easing through Sun with S-SE winds
  • Small mixed bag of S and E’ly swells early next week
  • E’ly tradewind swell looks to boost a notch Tues/Wed next week- stay tuned for revisions


Fun sized E’ly tradewind swell has continued to supply a slowly easing signal through the region with yesterday seeing 3ft sets. Conditions were cleanest in SEQLD with slack morning winds, while NENSW had an earlier N’ly flow. Across the entire sub-tropics N’lies increased in the a’noon. Some long period S swell did show across NENSW later yesterday and continue into the morning with inconsistent 2-3ft sets. That’s added into a smaller E swell to 2ft today with a N’ly flow, again lighter in SEQLD. A few fun waves to be had if you could work with the N’ly winds.

Once again, cleaner conditions on the SEQLD beachies

This week (Sep20-22)

High pressure is now close to New Zealand, with an advancing trough and cold front bringing a fresh S’ly change, expected to generate a strong SE surge up the sub-tropical coast as a new high moves into the Bight and strengthens. Once the new high high moves into the Tasman over the weekend it’ll set up a blocking pattern but we’re expecting a few small S pulses leading up to that although winds look fickle. E’ly trade-wind swells continue at small levels into the short/medium term. There should be a few small swell sources to work with next week.

N’ly winds continue through tomorrow with a stiff S’ly change due in just after lunch around Coffs and the border by sunset. Winds should tend more NW in SEQLD and with E’ly swell hanging in the 2 occ. 3ft range there’ll be some fun backbeach options. Not many options across NENSW once the change hits although we should see a late kick in new S-S/SE swell across the MNC behind the change.

Not much of an improvement in conditions for Fri- that S’ly flow will hang in there and tend fresh/strong SE through the a’noon. E/NE swell from a very persistent fetch should hold some 2ft+ surf, making protected corners and Points worth a look for small peelers.  It’s a strong SE surge so short range S/SE’ly swells should be in the 3-5ft range Fri, although much smaller into protected Points as low period swells fail to refract.

This weekend (Sep 23-24)

No great change to the weekend f/cast with a strong ridge up the sub-tropical coast and S/SE-SE winds which may tend briefly SW inshore across Far Northern NSW and the southern Gold Coast. Given the winds, clean options will be limited to protected Points.

S/SE-SE swell from the surge should see 3-5ft surf Sat AM across open exposures, smaller in protected Points where residual E swell will provide a few 2ft peelers.

Similar conditions Sun, with short S/SE swell easing and E’ly tradewind swell justo perking up a notch to 2-3ft as winds feed into a trough stretching North-South across the South Pacific window between the North Island and New Caledonia.

This week (Sep 25 onwards)

That pattern extends into next week with high pressure holding SE winds in SEQLD, tending E/SE then NE down the NSW North Coast. E swell chugs away in the 2-3ft range.

We may see a trough Tues with flukier winds in NENSW. E’ly swell should bump a notch as an angular trough which runs right up the South Pacific swell window focuses tradewinds into a more E/NE alignment over the weekend. That should see swell bump up a notch from the E/NE Tues into Wed, likely into the 3ft range or just above. Winds look lighter in SEQLD, stronger NE’ly in areas south of Byron through this period (same as the current pattern).

Models are divergent about the possibility of a trough forming off the NSW Coast later next week, possibly  a source of local S swell if it forms according to the EC model. GFS suggests a low/front passing up towards New Zealand Tues with small/moderate S-S/SE swell Thurs.

We’ll see how all this shakes out on Fri but odds are good we’ll have enough mixed swell sources to keep the wave count ticking over.

Check back Fri for the latest.


toncie's picture
toncie's picture
toncie Wednesday, 20 Sep 2023 at 7:22pm

There's been continuous swell on the Sunny Coast for a while now that's been sitting near 10 second period, but it's seemed weak with only a few spots being on and off decent.
I know what the computer says and the ocean does are two different things, but similar period swells are often good for beachies.
I've been trying to compare from memory with other mostly east swells of similar size and period when the sand, tide, wind situations have seemed similar and I can't figure out why this one's just been a bit weak and not forming decent faces at most locations.
Sounds like I'm complaining but I'm actually puzzled. Feels like being gaslit by the ocean.

Le_Reynard's picture
Le_Reynard's picture
Le_Reynard Wednesday, 20 Sep 2023 at 11:09pm

That's interesting. Down GC Beachie way it's been...good.
Numbers are just that.
Maybe a different swell train is peaking it up down here, but not so much up there? Banks an important factor too.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Thursday, 21 Sep 2023 at 6:23am

Has to be local sand banks, surely?

blow-in-9999's picture
blow-in-9999's picture
blow-in-9999 Thursday, 21 Sep 2023 at 6:34am

Local reefs have been pus too.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Thursday, 21 Sep 2023 at 7:01am

Not sure then.
Normally Sunny Coast beachies gobble up these tradewind swell events and churn out heaps of fun waves.

blow-in-9999's picture
blow-in-9999's picture
blow-in-9999 Thursday, 21 Sep 2023 at 10:54am

In fairness I'm coming back off an injury after some time down Ulladulla way. Maybe I've got south coastitis.

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout Thursday, 21 Sep 2023 at 11:41am

Nah, you're right.

Serendipity60's picture
Serendipity60's picture
Serendipity60 Thursday, 21 Sep 2023 at 12:27pm

S.C. definitely hasn't been what you'd expect where I've checked.
I think it may be the touch of north in swell direction not suiting things.
That's the good thing about surfing though- there's always next week.

toncie's picture
toncie's picture
toncie Thursday, 21 Sep 2023 at 12:47pm

Had a pretty fun surf today. Cleaner, bit more guts, few bigger sets and a few longer sections.
Stats about the same as for yesterday.

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude Thursday, 21 Sep 2023 at 2:05pm

I like it Serendipity. Nothing better than rocking up to an over performing swell or a day that is peakier or cleaner than you expected it to be. Keeps me coming back.