Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast (issued Wednesday 9th April)

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thermalben started the topic in Wednesday, 9 Apr 2014 at 4:51pm

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 9th April)

Best Days: Thurs: small leftovers but clean early.

Recap: Reasonably solid SE swell Tues/Wed with mainly light winds. Wave heights reported in the 3/4/5ft range at exposed beaches.  

This week (Apr 10-11)

Not much expected for the rest of the week. Our existing SE swell will ease slowly throughout this period, bottoming right out on Friday with very small waves expected across the open beaches. 

Wind wise, we’re looking at early light winds on Thursday tending N/NE and freshening in the afternoon as a trough deepens across the eastern states. On Friday, we’ll see mainly moderate N’ly winds but they’ll veer NW in the afternoon as the trough moves further to the east.

However without much swell on offer it’s not worth getting too excited about. Aim for an early surf Thursday morning if you have to get wet.

This weekend (Apr 12-13)

Ordinarily by Wednesday I’d like to have a firm grip on the weekend outlook, so that we can start to make some concrete plans as to where we’re surfing on Saturday and Sunday. 

Unfortunately, the computer model forecasts couldn’t be any more tricky and divergent than they are right now.

As discussed on Monday, we’ve got a very complex surface trough and low developing just east of Bass Strait later this week and into the weekend. However, the models have been moving the precise location of the trough around quite a bit from model run to model run over the last few days. 

As an example, this morning’s GFS run had the low developing nicely off the South Coast, giving us a 5-6ft+ S/SE swell by late Saturday. But in the latest GFS data that was made available just a short time ago, it’s pushed the trough back into eastern Bass Strait and completely written off any prospects of a surf this weekend (hence why the updated forecast graphs are languishing around 1ft on Saturday and 1-2ft on Sunday). See the charts below for more detail.

So, at the present time all we can rely on is gut feel and intuition. I have a feeling that the trough/low will push a little further to the north-east than what the models are suggesting right now, but it’ll still probably be focused into Bass Strait. This suggests a wide range in wave heights (and surface conditions), with the biggest waves being in the Far South of the state (6-8ft+ of short range SE swell). 

As for the Illawarra/Sydney/Hunter regions, we’ll probably see a building trend from very late Saturday (if we’re lucky) but more so through Sunday, and due to the likelihood that the fetch won’t be well aimed into our region, we’ll probably see smaller sideband energy somewhere around 3-4ft at open beaches.

But that’s about as much of a limb as I’m prepared to go out on right now - and we should certainly allow for a high degree of elasticity in these figures, because just about anything is possible at this stage. Let’s take a closer look on Friday (I’ll try to have the forecast done by 2pm).

Next week (Apr 15 onwards)

Obviously, with the weekend’s forecast completely up in the air, it’s hard to have much confidence for next week either.

However there is a reasonable chance that the overall synoptic pattern will eventually move slowly east, allowing for a large S’ly swell to develop across the southern NSW coast on Monday or Tuesday.

In fact there’s even a suggestion that we’ll also see a polar low/front rear up from the south around this time, combining with the weekend’s system to create an even stronger, broader fetch of S/SE winds in the southern Tasman Sea - all of which suggests an extended period of large swells from the south thru’ south-east from Monday into Wednesday and Thursday. More on this in Friday’s update.


blindboy's picture
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blindboy commented Wednesday, 9 Apr 2014 at 8:21pm

I wondered what happened to the swell forecast for the weekend but here's hoping for some easterly movement of that low for next week!

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 at 10:36am

And we're back on the horse! 6-8ft at south facing beaches on Sunday. Will be interesting to see if the 4:30pm update keeps this swell on target.

mick-free's picture
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mick-free commented Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 at 3:40pm

Holy toledo have you seen the WAMs for the Tasman on Saturday 19th April????

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 at 3:45pm

Yeah all kinds of crazy stuff at the moment. Way too much divergence across the models though, to have any real confidence.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 at 3:51pm

mick-free wrote: Holy toledo have you seen the WAMs for the Tasman on Saturday 19th April????

Last night it was reading 15ft for Sat 19th, this morning back to 3ft, now 6ft.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 at 4:03pm

Aaaaanndd.... Sunday's swell has been pegged back to Saturday, and upped to 8-10ft at south facing beaches.

Who'd be a surf forecaster, eh?

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barstardos1 commented Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 at 4:33pm

Looking like the next week or two could be pretty epic. I am definitely going to enjoy this Autumn! Anyone seen the WAMS for Easter? If it happens anything like that cyclone tracking down in to the Tasman and combining with that trough as is currently suggested, this will be an Easter swell for the history books!!

mick-free's picture
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mick-free commented Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 at 5:21pm

bastardos uno WAMS look incredible for Easter but you need to get the premium membership to view. pesos pesos buddy

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

blindboy's picture
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blindboy commented Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 at 5:24pm

April is the cruellest month........but not on the east coast!

barstardos1's picture
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barstardos1 commented Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 at 7:34pm

You dont need bars on a graph to tell you it will be pumping! Isobars do it for me every time and you can see those in abundance on the wams tab out to 360 hours for free!

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 5:47am

And another upgrade.. models are calling 10-12ft at south facing beaches by late Saturday!

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thermalben commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 10:04am

The BOM have a somewhat conservative weekend forecast for the Sydney coast.. will be interesting to see how the models evolve and whether the BOM upgrades.

Saturday: "Southeasterly below 1 metre, increasing to 1 to 1.5 metres during the morning, then increasing to 1.5 to 2.5 metres during the afternoon."

Sunday: "Southeasterly 2 to 3 metres."

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thermalben commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 10:38am

BOM just updated the Sydney Coast forecast ten minutes ago - no changes to the swell forecast heights but they have now added a 'Dangerous Surf Warning'.

 

ACB__'s picture
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ACB__ commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 10:39am

I love them warnings.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 12:09pm

Latest model data holding steady with 10-12ft south facing beaches by late Saturday (this is GFS derived). EC isn't quite as as optimistic but it's hard to imagine we'll see less than about 8ft given the current progs. Gonna be windy as buggery too!

jimbrown's picture
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jimbrown commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 12:23pm

Captured fetch potential? Thinking June 2012...

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 12:33pm

Yeah there certainly is (albeit small in size/distance). The lack of a pre-existing sea state won't assist but I reckon we'll see an extraordinary jump in size between early morning and late afternoon.

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toosha commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 2:38pm

Just gone out and taken photos of sea, well I think it is the sea!! as it's nice and flat. Cant wait to post the before and after photo's, fingers crossed!!!

stinky_wes's picture
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stinky_wes commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 2:45pm

Such a shame there aren't any protected southern corners in Newcastle, which will be copping the brunt of the swell... or is there?

Wes Jones

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 3:08pm
ACB__'s picture
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ACB__ commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 3:15pm

stinky_wes wrote: Such a shame there aren't any protected southern corners in Newcastle, which will be copping the brunt of the swell... or is there?

Just looking on google maps I can see at least 3 pockets.