Headed for a spell of small, weak and onshore surf

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

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

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Long period S swell pulse easing Tues PM with NE winds
  • Blocking pattern this week with onshore winds and small E/NE swells
  • Small S and SE swells this weekend as trough forms off MNC with light winds
  • Troughy, unstable pattern continues, check back Wed for revisions


Interesting weekend with Sat seeing mostly S/SE swell and onshore winds from the same direction and late kick in E/NE swell from TC Mal as it raced across the swell window. Winds eased Sun as the front and small low retreated east and we were left with a nice combo of E/NE and S/SE swell under light winds. Size was in the 3-4ft range in NENSW, a notch smaller in SEQLD. Morning winds eventually clocked around from light/variable to NE and freshened in the a’noon. N’lies are up today and apart from a few backbeaches it’s a pretty dismal, onshore 2ft day for most of the region. There is some long period S swell showing on the MNC but mostly very straight and in the 3ft range at select S facing beaches.

Better sets started showing Sat a'noon

More consistent and better quality Sun

This week (Nov 20-24)

Weak high pressure is in the Tasman with an unstable troughy air mass in the interior and along the coast with a  N’ly flow across most of the Eastern seaboard as winds off the top of the high feed into the trough. Another high pressure system well below the continent approaches at Tasmanian longitudes late this week with a frontal intrusion prior to it’s entrance into the Tasman Sea offering up some modest S swell. The troughy pattern remains installed into the medium term so we’re still keeping an eye out for short range features which could supply local swell sources, although these look small and weak.

In the short run, todays long period S swell slowly tails off through tomorrow with some sets early to 3ft at S facing beaches 2ft in SEQLD at select S magnets,  easing off through the day. We’ll see some small NE windswell to 2-3ft in the a’noon across the MNC, tending to a small E/NE swell to 2-3ft in the rest of the region. N’ly winds again tomorrow, lighter N/NW-N early before tending NE in the a’noon.

Similar winds Wed possibly lighter in the a’noon as a trough moves north up the coast, likely bringing a late S change to the Coffs region. Small, weak NE-E/NE swells to 2ft at best, likely in the 1-2ft range by close of play are expected. 

A small trough of low pressure looks to linger off the NSW Central or Mid North Coast on Thurs, bringing a weak onshore flow, likely more E/NE-E north of the border, grading more SE in the south and possibly SW-S across the MNC depending on the position of the trough. Not much surf to work with though: small weak E’ly swells from winds in the Northern Tasman and Coral Seas, mostly under 2ft. A grovel for the keen most likely.

Similar conditions for Fri, although winds should clock around by degrees from E/SE to E during the day but remain light. Again, nothing to get frothed about, just a small signal of weak, background E’ly swells in the 1-2ft range (tops).

This weekend (Nov 25-26)

Not a great deal to get excited about this weekend. High pressure slips into the Tasman and we’ll see a weak onshore flow become established tending more NE on Sunday. Light winds Sat morning tending to light E’ly breezes. 

We’re likely to see a small mixed bag with some S-S/SE swell from the remnants of a front tracking towards the South Island. A small blend of SE-E/SE and S swells to 2ft on the open beaches will be the size of it.

Not much more on Sunday with a similar small blend to 2ft and light winds tending more NE in the a’noon, stronger in NENSW the further south you go.

All in all, there’ll be a small grovel this weekend with light morning winds.

Next week (Nov 27 onwards)

More of the same tricky, troughy outlook next week. 

The week should start small with a N’ly flow.

A trough forming off the South Coast is likely to bring a S’ly change Tues.

From then on, models are all over the shop. We may see the trough develop and move north with another round of localised SE-E/SE swell from winds between the trough and an advancing high. 

Low confidence in specifics due to the changeable mature of these short range features.

Check back Wed and we’ll see how it’s shaping up.


Le_Reynard's picture
Le_Reynard's picture
Le_Reynard Monday, 20 Nov 2023 at 3:39pm

oof...least there's some rain I guess

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Monday, 20 Nov 2023 at 3:41pm

It's been an active second half Spring, can't complain.

Le_Reynard's picture
Le_Reynard's picture
Le_Reynard Tuesday, 21 Nov 2023 at 8:55pm

Very true. Have the higher sea temps in the WestPac made it a bit less el niño-ie?

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Wednesday, 22 Nov 2023 at 9:15am

As one contributing factor, for sure.

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather Monday, 20 Nov 2023 at 3:50pm

All I want is the fcking water to warm up!!! Can't say we've seen too many true clean offshore mornings since probably late July/early August.

adsi's picture
adsi's picture
adsi Monday, 20 Nov 2023 at 4:25pm

Water was pretty bloody toasty at broken yesterday Don, was a boardies and rashy top sesh for me and I get cold easy. Guessing it'll be freezing after some NE winds this week

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather Monday, 20 Nov 2023 at 9:54pm

Wasn’t toasty just up the road from there on Sat. A touch warmer on Sunday but still needed a springy for me.

burleigh's picture
burleigh's picture
burleigh Monday, 20 Nov 2023 at 10:19pm

it was boardshort water on Sunday all day.

Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67 Monday, 20 Nov 2023 at 6:00pm

The Sunday morning sesh at Snaps was super fun, albeit with 300 of my best mates. Glass till 930, and the odd throaty one from behind the rock under blue bird skies. No complaints here

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Monday, 20 Nov 2023 at 7:04pm