Small tradewind swell chugs away this week under a NE flow

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

South-east Queensland and Northern NSW Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Wed 8th Nov)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Small E’ly swell for the most part this week 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
  • Lighter NE winds in SEQLD, stronger in NENSW
  • 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 but may enhance tradewind swell


Just small surf since Mon with size in the 1-2ft range mostly and the Hunter hoovering up some extra size from some residual S/SE swell, up in the 2-3ft range. Clean conditions early before N/NE winds kicked up and freshened. Similar winds today, with a small NE windswell on offer to 2ft at best and the Hunter continuing to show some occ. sets from the SE to 2-3ft.

A few fun peaks as small E'ly tradeswell makes landfall

This week (Nov 8-10)

The pattern established on Mon is now well entrenched with a slow moving high in the Tasman slowly being squeezed on the western flank by approaching trough systems. A weak ridge up the sub-tropics has a lighter E’ly flow with stronger N-NE winds developing south of the border. We’ll see this pattern with increasing NE windswell on the MNC and some workable trade swell in the sub-tropics. A strong frontal progression is expected to provide a series of S swells next week. 

In the short run and there’s no change to the outlook. Light/mod N’lies tending mod/fresh NE in the a’noon through Thurs and Friday south of the border, with lighter winds north of the border. The small E’ly tradeswell will have a few sets from more distant sources but the story remains the same. Mostly 2ft with the occ. 3footer and some fun peaks at backbeaches. 

Friday sees more of the same, although longer range tradeswell eases in the mix, leaving more small, peaky E’ly swell in the 2ft range with the occ. bigger set. Nothing amazing but there should be enough energy for a surf.

This weekend (Nov 11-12)

No great change to the weekend f/cast. 

Continuing N-NE winds, lighter in SEQLD and stronger the further south you go. 

SEQLD should see morning land breezes, or at least a NW flow early, possibly extending to Tweed-Byron. 

Stronger NE winds on the MNC with more NE windswell in the mix.

Otherwise, we’re looking at typical small peaky tradewind swell in the 8-10 second period band, offering up a pulsey 2 occ. 3ft surf. Favouring the Sunshine Coast for most size. 

Next week (Nov 13 onwards)

A trough advances up the coast Mon, likely stalling between Yamba and Ballina. An onshore S/SE flow will arrive with the trough with lighter N’ly winds north of the stalled trough.

  We’ll see a pattern change in swell direction as the first of a series of S swells makes landfall. This first pulse is mostly short period stuff from a front passing SE of Tasmania and some strong winds out of Bass Strait. Onshore 2-3ft surf at S facing beaches looks likely. 

We should see an increase albeit minor in size and quality of the E’ly tradewind swell in response to a burst of E/SE winds in the New Caledonia region over the weekend. That should see size up into the 3ft range Mon, slightly bigger Tues. 

We’ll also see some minor S swell Tues from a front passing under Tasmania, with more to come. Nothing more than 2-3ft at S facing beaches in NENSW

Longer period S swells are expected as follow-up pulses as a series of powerful fronts with gale to severe gale W-SW fetches move through the Lower Tasman (see below). 

Winds look to revitalise from the N on Tues after a morning of light winds and stay fresh from that direction through Thurs with a possible S’ly change Fri. 

We’ll see a small pulse late Wed, then another into Thurs with swell periods in the 15-17 second band. That would suggest some size at S facing reefs and magnets, possibly up in the 3-5ft range in NENSW, grading smaller away from direct S swell exposures and half that size in SEQLD.. We’ll update on Fri.

Further ahead another frontal intrusion is expected later next week, possibly tracking on a similar path through the lower Tasman, or even pushing NE right up into the Tasman Sea. More S swell either way. 

Tradewinds in the South Pacific corridor will favour the sub-tropics and we may see that tradewind belt enhanced by a tropical depression or even TC, although any system looks to dissipate as it enters our swell window proper. Either way, a persistent E-E/NE swell signal should chug away at low levels. 

Lots to keep track of so check back in Fri and we’ll see how it’s shaping up.

Seeya then.