Ocean Rhythms

Much more of a traditional summer this year, with the La Nina phase of the ENSO cycle seeing more swell from the east and some much appreciated moisture inflows. December’s big rain event was a damp squib for surf in this region. Stormy close range swell from the ENE knocked the banks out at the Point, hit the reset button everywhere really, and while there’s been some fun beach-breaks in the aftermath we’re still a long way short of where we were for most of last year.

Byron and Broken Head fared better. The Pass continues to have a hall of fame sandbar with any little scrap of swell from the east turned into white line fever. Of course you have to deal with the twin threats of a crazy, clueless crowd in the water and road rage in the carparks as people line up to get a piece of the action. Is an 800m peeler from Spectators rock to the Cafe worth the gruel? Personal tastes vary but for mine, sometimes it’s worth it.

An unseasonal long period south swell provided the best part of a week of OK to good surf in the week from 17-23 January. The deep Southern Ocean storm would have been better served if we had a classic winter bank to make sense of the long period lines but it was a great treat for local surfers to feel some winter power. Slippery rocks that were moved around during the December storm surf provided plenty of challenges for rocking off with some hilarious kook-slams recorded during the biggest days. 

At time of writing the eastern swell window is heating up as a strong monsoonal surge through the tropical South Pacific fires up depressions which may become cyclones, both in the Pacific and Coral Seas. A broad easterly tradewind fetch will maintain a steady drumbeat of swell from the east as a baseline during this time. It’s a classic summer surf pattern. 

Fishing was slowed up by all the dirty water for a month after the rain event. It’s very much on the improve now as clean, warm blue water floods the area. This is firing up whiting and dart on the beaches, flathead in the river and pelagics on the close reefs and the FAD. Weather and swell depending the fishing should only improve from here with the moderate flush of the Richmond River being just what the Doctor ordered. As long as we don’t another major rain/flood event we should be golden for pelagics as that warm blue water runs downhill hard until Easter. Hope 2021 is a good one for you and yours. Tight lines and tubular visions until next month.

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