OCCASIONAL JOY: The wave of the day at Alexandra Headland.
OCCASIONAL JOY: The wave of the day at Alexandra Headland. John McCutcheon

East winds make for junky surf

INTERESTING to get such a rush of late-season cyclones and not much quality surf.

The consistent east winds have been the main culprit and have kept almost everywhere junky this week.

While the size has been good, the weather remains shifty, especially down south, and only the most protected corners have been clean.

Tropical Cyclone Iris wandered in from the east, lazily cruised down the coast to a few hundred kilometres off Hamilton Island and was expected to be downgraded to an ex-cyclone by late Thursday, whereupon it was expected to drift NW once again.

Ex TC Josie, out near Fiji a couple of days ago, has also sent us swell with most of that arriving just before the weekend as an underlying east.

Top that off with a bit of SE below Byron and things have been jumping, albeit poorly.

It should go without saying, but I'm going to say it loud and clear anyway: east swells are our most dangerous. Be ultra-careful of rips everywhere

Agnes Water to Coolangatta, Saturday: Fresh E to SE winds will be on before dawn and conditions anywhere but the extremely protected points will be poor to bad. Size in those areas will be a bit under the open beaches (up to 2m) - likely 1 to 1.25m on the points. But as ex-TC Iris drifts back NW, some little-played areas further up north will come back up a bit. It'll be cloudy, and showers to rain are still an 80 per cent chance, but with 27C forecast, it'll also be muggy and hot. Gold Coast surfers willing to brave the Commonwealth Games traffic will find fewer clouds and plenty of onshore winds. We're expecting E to SE winds of 15 to 20 knots by sun-up and they'll hang in all day. Point surfing only. Waves will be in the 1 to 2m range and uneven-as on most if not all the beaches. Top temp will hit 28V about noon and there's a 40 per cent chance of rain or showers likely in the arvy.

Sunday: Background swell from Fiji will be easing, but residual swell from everywhere else will be keeping things messy and 1.5 to 2m. Early winds will be lighter (finally) and the points will be liking that. Forget the open beaches as they're rippy and shapeless still. The high for the day will be 27C and rain-shower chances are down to 50 per cent so on and off sunny most of the day. On the Gold Coast, 1 to 1.5m swell (with a few larger sets possible) will still be messy on the beaches and dead east. Dangerous. The protected corners will be better but far from perfect, due to the lump in the swell. Probably a bit smaller, too. The forecast high is 27C and it should be a mostly sunny afternoon with only a few showers, mainly early.

Tweed Heads to Coffs Harbour, Saturday: Byron surfers will awaken to fresh east winds (again!) and an uneven, rippy swell on the beaches. The size is up to 1.5m with the odd set bigger. The direction will be all over the place so head for the most protected points where it will be smaller (1-1.5m), but far more manageable. As for the day, it will be partly cloudy with a 26C high and a 60 per cent chance of rain and showers. In the Coffs Harbour region, the south swell has departed but leftover east will still be delivering swell over a metre. Some beaches will be cleaner but still dangerously rippy, so be careful. Head for the calmer corners. Early winds will be E/NE, tending variable mid-morning, then will hit 15 knots NE by the afternoon. It'll be a warm and sticky day with a 27C high and a 60 per cent chance of showers or rain.

Sunday: The Byron crew will wake up to onshore easterlies once again - not strong but enough to mess things up on the beaches. Those winds will be up all day with maybe a little SE in it later and speeds up to 15 knots. The surf will remain 1.25 to 2m on the beaches, smaller on the points, but forget the beaches anyway. Ugly. With a 26C high and a 40 per cent chance of rain or showers, it will be mostly sunny for at least the first half of the day. Coffs surfers can expect light winds early and a chance at those beach breaks. Size will be 1-1.25m or so and the odd spot will have shape. Later, though, NE winds will get up to 15 knots and it'll be time to seek the protected corners. It will be mostly sunny and the high is expected to be 28C with only a 20 per cent chance of showers later.

So crew, a crazy end to summer but that's weather for you. And it's not over yet!



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