Onshore winds with slowly building tradewind swells this week

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Fri 3rd Nov)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Small to start this week,  small E’ly swell for the most part as slow moving high occupies Tasman
  • Better quality distant E’ly tradewind swell Wed/Thurs, very slow and inconsistent
  • Continuing E’ly trade-wind swells into next weekend under blocking high pattern
  • E’ly tradewind swells likely to slowly increase in size and quality late in the weekend and into next week
  • Long period S swells may show across NENSW late next week
  • Tracking possible tropical depression in the South Pacific next week- low confidence for being a direct swell producer


Not much action over the weekend surf-wise with rain and onshore winds widespread. The best of it was Sat morning with some small 

S/SE swell favouring NENSW for some 2-3ft surf at S exposed breaks, small 2ft at SEQLD swell magnets. Sunday was a payday with onshore winds from dawn to dusk and small gurgly surf to 1-2ft. Today has seen light morning winds offering clean or semi-clean conditions but not much swell energy. Just the odd 2ft wave at open beaches is about the best of it. 

Sat morning on the MNC got the choccies for best surf over the weekend

This week (Nov 6-10)

Not a great deal too talk about this week, at least as far as our immediate swell windows go. A large area of high pressure has moved into the Tasman and becomes semi-stationary through the week, with inland troughs maintaining unstable weather. The high initially weakens with a lighter onshore flow before re-strengthening as it approaches New Zealand and has the pressure gradient tightened on the western flank by the complex trough systems. A slowly developing tradewind flow in the Coral Sea will see a small E’ly swell signal become workable through the mid-late week, with signs we’ll see a perk up in size late this weekend and early next week. 

In the short run not much to get excited about. A light onshore flow tomorrow will tend light E/SE in the a’noon. A minor mixed bag of background E swell and traces of swell from the southern quadrant will provide a low energy surf in the 1-2ft range. 

Similar conditions Wed but we’ll see winds tend E-NE (especially south of Tweed-Byron) and start to freshen during the day. Same, small E’ly swells just up a small notch as some longer range trade swell fills in. We’re still looking at small and slow 2ft surf with the occ. bigger set.

We may see lighter winds inshore early both Thurs and Fri as troughy areas oscillate near the coast. Windows of NW winds if so, before mod N/NE winds both days through the a’noon, lighter in SEQLD.

There’ll be some workable E swell from distant and closer sources but no real size or quality is expected. 2ft beachies with the occ. bigger set, favouring SEQLD for most size. 

This weekend (Nov 11-12)

Same pattern continues through the weekend. N/NE-NE winds, stronger as you get south of Yamba and lighter in SEQLD. In fact, morning land breezes should offer some clean conditions across SEQLD beachies on the weekend, or at least clean in the northern corners. Much less likely as you head south into NSW.

Surf-wise the tradewind fetch  will be chugging away and like all tradewind fetches once we get a fully developed sea state we should see an improvement in size and quality. Likely building into the 2-3ft range Sat, and up a notch into the 3ft range on Sun. Likely a notch bigger on the Sunshine Coast and a notch smaller south of Yamba.

Next week (Nov 13 onwards)

A trough line is expected to move north, stalling off the MNC somewhere on Mon, and leaving a variable onshore flow Mon around Yamba-Coffs and light N’lies north of that. Tradewinds do thicken up in the favourable corridor S and SW of New Caledonia over the weekend, suggesting further increases in size and quality to the E’ly swell regime. Likely pushing into the 3-4ft range Mon/Tues. 

Further ahead and winds will depend on the resolution of a complex troughy pattern across the sub-tropics. Light and variable is likely, with a N’ly bias south of the border.

We’re likely to see some  longer period S’ly groundswell likely later next week from the deeper fetches moving through the far Southern Tasman.

Meanwhile, in the South Pacific the large area of convection and angled trough between the Solomons and Fiji may see a tropical depression form in the trough line next week in the Vanuatu region. Winds from the infeed into the trough just poke their head into our swell window (favouring the sub-tropics) but it will supply at least some small E/NE swell into the medium term.

A larger swell from any possible depression or TC remains a possible but low odds event, but we’ll keep watching and report back Wed.

Seeya then. 


Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67 Monday, 6 Nov 2023 at 6:15pm

Good grief how awful. My son and I played pick-the-camera on Swellnet yesterday and couldn't find a ridable wave in the country

pjbyron's picture
pjbyron's picture
pjbyron Monday, 6 Nov 2023 at 7:19pm

Ah, you can't always rely on a web cam... my grommet and his mate found little fun stuff this arvo on the far north coast, not great, but they had lots of fun!

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Monday, 6 Nov 2023 at 6:27pm

What was wrong with Margs via Cam from 6am ?