High in the Bight, low in the Tasman = fun waves all week with S'ly winds

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

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

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Plenty more S/SE-SE swell Tues/Wed with SW-S winds
  • Fun SE swell continues into Thurs with SW-S winds
  • Easing swells Fri
  • More S-SE winds over the weekend with S/SE swell and some S’ly groundswell
  • S-SE winds continue into next week with surfable days on tap but nothing sizey    


An active, surf filled weekend with Sat seeing a mix of E and S swells showing clean 2-3ft surf until strong S’lies kicked up late in the day.Wild and windy day Sun as a low pressure trough deepened off the coast with strong SW-S winds and raggedy, raw S swells to 4-6ft at regional Points, smaller in more sheltered bays. Size settled into the 3-5ft range on today with winds a little more manageable. All in all, some good waves to be had and more to come this week.

Plenty of size north of the border Sun morning, small waves around the corner

This week (May 20-24)

Another massive high is mooching in the Bight, with a snails pace of eastwards movement expected this week. Wind-wise that will anchor a S’ly flow along the Eastern seaboard for the week with enough slack in the gradient for morning land breezes to develop. The remnants of the weekend’s low pressure trough are currently being reinforced by a another cold front and expected to form a broad low pressure system in the Tasman in the short term which will supply some fun waves this week with an easing trend into the weekend. Another rebuild in S-S/SE swell looks likely for the weekend.

Still some strength in that S’ly flow tomorrow with a morning W/SW-SW flow and S’ly bump across S exposed breaks. Size from the S-S/SE up a notch , 3-5ft with the occ. bigger set across NENSW, smaller a by a notch in SEQLD. 

Wed should see a similar W/SW-SW offshore breeze for the morning, smoothing out more of the S’ly bump before winds clock around S’ly, at moderate paces. More fun sized S/SE-SE swell to 3-4ft beckons, with best conditions before the S’ly kicks up.

By the latter part of the week the low pressure system will have scooted over NZ, out of our swell window, with a broad, weak fetch of S/SE winds in the Tasman. Thurs should offer more  fun surf in the 3ft range with light morning offshore winds and light S’ly breezes in the a’noon. 

Similar winds for Fri. Models are suggesting a small bump in size Fri morning from a lingering fetch near the South Island. Doesn’t look like there is too much in it- a few 2 occ. 3ft waves under clean conditions so worth an early. Otherwise, easing back to small 2ft or so through the day. 

All in all, should be a fun week of waves.

This weekend (May25-26)

High pressure still sits SW or S of Tasmania this weekend, possibly with a reinforcing cell. That will maintain or increase a S-SE flow along the coast. The curve ball is a small trough of low pressure suggested by GFS (see below), which would increase the S-SE flow and possibly generate an increase in short range S/SE-SE swell through Sat and hold through Sun.

Absent that trough we’ll see a lighter S’ly flow for the weekend and a moderate signal of S/SE swell not exceeding 3ft.

Polar low activity remains better aimed at New Zealand and Pacific targets (Raglan has been pumping from these swells) and we’ll see these lows steered into the Tahitian swell window over the weekend and early next week.

Glancing blows from long period S’ly swells should see some 2-3ft surf across S facing beaches over the weekend. 

Next week (May 27 onwards)

High pressure should finally move into the Tasman early next week, with a ridge holding S-SE winds at least into the middle of the week.

No major swell sources on the radar. S’ly groundswell should offer up a few sets Mon before fading out. A poorly aligned fetch adjacent to NZ should offer up some continuing 2-3ft surf from the S/SE-SE.

Looks like a few small days then into the middle and end of next week.

There some suggestion of a trough line forming off the NSW Coast later next week, with no concrete surf potential as yet attached to it.

We’ll keep eyes on that and see how it looks on Wed.

For now, looks like a few fun days of surf this week.

Seeya Wed.


Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67 Tuesday, 21 May 2024 at 10:12am

No sign of a pulse on the southern GC. Smaller by half from yesterday if anything. How’s it looking further south?

burleigh's picture
burleigh's picture
burleigh Tuesday, 21 May 2024 at 10:22am

small and the water temp feel like it's dropped.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Tuesday, 21 May 2024 at 10:40am

Was smaller for the dawny- bigger sets now.

scrotina's picture
scrotina's picture
scrotina Tuesday, 21 May 2024 at 11:15am

so frustrating. my local point has great sand, wind is offshore, i have a day off, but swell is missing