Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast (issued Friday 11th April)

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thermalben started the topic in Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 2:58pm

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 11th April)

Best Days: Sat/Sun: protected locations out of the wind. Mon/Tues/Wed: plenty of swell but winds still a bit iffy. Thurs/Fri: good winds and plenty of SE swell. Late Easter Fri/Sat/Sun: strong E'ly groundswell.

Recap: Small, easing swells on Thurs with offshore winds, becoming tiny today with freshening N’ly winds ahead of a NW tending SW change.

This weekend (Apr 12-13)

Anyone who’s been paying attention to the model data over the last few days would have noticed a massive shift in the forecast predictions from model run to model run. However there now seems to be a more general consensus, so let’s discuss the most likely scenario for the weekend’s surf.

A deep low is developing off the Far South NSW Coast, and it’s expected to track north-east overnight. The models are cranking out some pretty amazing wind speed projections around the low’s western flank, upwards of 40-50kts within a long but thin fetch immediately off the entire Southern NSW Coast, which - although very directional - is aimed fair and square into the majority of the region’s south facing beaches. 

However, these spots will also pick up a lot of wind too, so they’re not going to be surfable. That’s if you could handle the size anyway - the early morning will probably start off on the small side at dawn, but we’re looking at a rapid increase from mid-late morning onwards with exposed spots probably reaching 8-10ft+ by close of business (this is down a bit from the current model prediction, but I think GFS has gone slightly overboard in this morning’s run, and will correct itself later today).

The acute southerly direction will cause a very large range in wave heights between exposed and protected beaches; suffice to say that most locations will probably max out in the 4-6ft range by late Saturday, with smaller 3ft surf inside sheltered southern corners. 

Wind wise, we’re looking at fresh to strong SW winds for much of the morning, tending gale force S/SW from early afternoon onwards. So really, only protected corners will have anything workable. And with lots of wind spray around the coast, it'll be quite a speccy day to be watching large waves bashing up against coastal headlands.

On Sunday, we’ll see wave heights pulling back quite a bit but still remaining large thanks to a strong, broad fetch stretching way out into the southern Tasman Sea. Synoptic winds will remain fresh out of the S/SW, but localised areas of W/SW winds (i.e. the Northern Beaches) are possible in the morning.

Size wise, we should still see easy 6-8ft sets at south facing locations, but with the swell direction clocking around to the S/SE and then SE, we should see a slightly broader coverage of size across the coast. Most Sydney beaches should still maintain 4-6ft surf on Sunday, with 3ft+ waves in sheltered southern corners again.

So, the short story for the weekend is very large (by Saturday afternoon) and very windy. Aim for wind protection and you’ll do reasonably well.

Next week (Apr 15-19 onwards)

The weekend’s low is expected to remain slow moving in the Southern Tasman Sea for the first half of next week. In fact there’s a good chance that it’ll continue to influence our surf prospects right through into next weekend, courtesy of an interaction with the southward drifting ex-TC Ita. But more on that in a minute.

At this stage, model guidance suggests we’ll see a slow easing trend through Monday from 4-6ft at exposed locations (smaller at non-south facing beaches), levelling off into Tuesday and Wednesday into the 3-5ft range at open stretches with the swell direction holding from the SE. Local winds are expected to remain moderate to fresh from the south for most of this period but early morning SW winds are likely in more areas as the pressure gradient weakens a little.

Around Wednesday, the remnants of ex-TC Ita are expected to enter the Northern Tasman Sea, and at this stage we’re looking at strengthening E’ly fetch immediately west of Cook Strait (between the North and South Islands of New Zealand). In addition to this, a strong ridge stretching from the Tasmanian East Coast to a position well south of New Zealand is expected to maintain a strong, broad SE fetch throughout the Southern Tasman Sea, which in its own right should maintain at least 3-5ft surf through the rest of the week.

However it’s the intensification near Cook Strait that’s of most interest to us as it may supercharge the pre-existing sea state, generating a long period easterly groundswell with an approximate ETA later on Easter Friday or (more likely) Easter Saturday. At this stage solid 6ft+ surf is very likely, and with the swell generating system located such a long distance from the coast, the swell should be very well drawn out and well defined. And, there’s higher chance that local winds will be more favourable too. Easing swells are then likely through the back half of the holiday break. 

So, that’s a cracking long range Easter forecast to look forward to in Monday’s revised notes. See ya then!

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thermalben commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 4:09pm

Latest model data just in.. as suggested in the notes above, the model guidance has slightly pulled back the Sat PM peak to 10ft+ (from 10-12ft+ in this morning's run).

Still gonna be big and windy though!

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thermalben commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 4:31pm

.... and the BOM have subsequently upgraded their Sydney Coastal Waters forecast for tomorrow.

Their 10:25am forecast had for 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."

It's been upgraded to: "Southeasterly around 1 metre, increasing to 2 to 3 metres around dawn, increasing to 3 to 4 metres offshore later in the evening."

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udo commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 6:18pm

Cape Solander conditions this weekend would it be surfable and when is the comp on ?

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thermalben commented Friday, 11 Apr 2014 at 6:28pm

Possibly a window on Sunday morning, but there's likely to be some wobble in the swell from Saturday's southerly gales. I'm skeptical it'll be worth running the event.

As for Red Bull Cape Fear - you'd think that less than a day out from the first major swell event of the season (and well inside the waiting period), that there's be a press release to accounce whether the event will run or not. Y'know, so they can alert the general public to rearrange their diaries in order to tune into the webcast.

As it is, right now the official website says the surf is "3ft SE @ 10 seconds, Winds 11kt E/NE", when in actual fact it's 1ft+ from the E, swell periods are 6 seconds at the Sydney buoy, and winds are 4kts from the S/SW (winds were N'ly earlier, then NW.. where did they get E/NE from?).

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thermalben commented Saturday, 12 Apr 2014 at 7:28am

Sydney's surf this morning came in pretty much bang on with the model predictions. Will be very interesting to see how sizey it gets this arvo!

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blindboy commented Saturday, 12 Apr 2014 at 12:24pm

Good consistent swell all morning steadily increasing in size. 6ft plus sets now where I was surfing which has moderate southerly protection. The wind hasn't been a real problem yet but is definitely getting gustier so I suspect we have seen the best of today! Roll on tomorrow!

Laurie McGinness

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thermalben commented Saturday, 12 Apr 2014 at 2:12pm

Just did a run from Mona through to Manly. Traffic was off the richter (just general weekend Northern Beaches stuff) and with only a few options to surf, everywhere was very busy (including a boardriders comp at Dee Why Point!). Plenty of surf getting into protected spots though.. Collaroy/The Kick/Brownwater was slightly overhead on the sets, albeit very inconsistent. Enormous waves at Long Reef Bombie too. Been watching the Bondi surfcam and the bombs have gotta be an easy 10ft right now.

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stunet commented Saturday, 12 Apr 2014 at 2:45pm

Looking good down this way. Bit south for the point but jag the right one and you can beach it, so what's that, a 500m ride? Got picked off by a real big set way off the tip of the point, snapped my leggy and had to swim in. Fought the current and made it in near the boatsheds wondering what state my board was in, looked up to see a bunch of people looking my way and all pointing out to sea. Fuck!

Turned around and started throwing the arm over while heading north. Massive thanks to old mate who fetched my board and saved me going through the whole ironman scenario. Need to save the energy for this evening and tomorrow.

Time to scarf some Nutri Grain!

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thermalben commented Saturday, 12 Apr 2014 at 2:59pm

Here's a couple of sets at Bondi.

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stunet commented Saturday, 12 Apr 2014 at 7:24pm

Late session at the local was even better than the midday shift. Wind had backed off and the swell consolidated, not bigger but longer-lined and with more push. Played the waiting game at the tip of the point and was rewarded for my patience - jagged a few bombs, the last one I clocked on from way outside and clocked off on the sand.

When I paddled out I sat near a bloke who was riding a beautiful Michell Rae gun. I could see from a distance the eyes on the rails. Between sets I sidled up for a chat. Bought it for $600, a steal. Bit narrow he reckons but the 9 foot of length means there's foam enough. Maybe too much foam? At least for today.

A clean up set hit - I'm gonna call it 10 ft but then I just had two beers during dinner - and caught out everyone on the outside takeoff. No-one made it over it. I bailed, copped a hiding, and came up gasping. Old mate on the Mitchell Rae was next to me when I bailed yet the extra foam dragged him waaaay inside. He just dissappeared. His board wasn't even tombstombing. Just gone. I saw him about 15 mins later paddling back out still rattled from a footy field length trip underwater.

Was one of those days where everyone will have a story, there were that many clean up sets and great waves ridden. A real buzz. Strangers talking to strangers in the carpark afterwards. That sort of good time feel. And tomorrow's looking good too.

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mick-free commented Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 at 11:31am

Stu I left sydney late last night. Heard reports Deadmans right on dark was finally doing its thing. Looks like it peaked through the night (as usual). Its 6-8 open beaches up here mid north coast stiff offshores. think SW. Good day!!

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

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Jack_Gallen commented Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 at 11:36am

Yer swell was huge down at cronulla. how do i add photos to a comment?

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thermalben commented Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 at 11:41am

Check out this thread Jack for instructions: https://www.swellnet.com/forums/wax/41251

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blindboy commented Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 at 1:06pm

Swell backed off significantly overnight on the northern beaches but the quality was still there with some great waves around before the wind shifted further to the south. The swell look like it has maintained its size for the time being though I suppose it will drop some more tonight.

Laurie McGinness

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Jack_Gallen commented Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 at 3:13pm

Check out this photo i took from the point
http://imgur.com/YXZr6Yc
thx ben

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Blowin commented Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 at 4:20pm

Hey jack did the fella in your photo make that wave.

Mick -free, how far up the coast did you get ?

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Craig commented Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 at 4:38pm

Looks to have only been a temporary drop, kicked back in solidly during the day on the Northern Beaches.

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blindboy commented Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 at 4:50pm

Yeh came back up this arvo but the wind moved right around to the SE with it so where I was it could just have been a shift in direction bringing more of the swell in.

Laurie McGinness

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mick-free commented Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 at 5:38pm

Blowin just got out of the water at South boomers it's back to 10 foot on the sets every 15mins tonight. Wind variable but predominately offshore

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

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thermalben commented Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 at 5:51pm

Some really big waves coming through this arvo on the Northern Beaches, looked bigger than this morning. Easy 6-8ft sets, five waves at a time, long thick lines visible a long way out to sea.

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stunet commented Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 at 6:37pm

Jack_Gallen wrote: Check out this photo i took from the point http://imgur.com/YXZr6Yc thx ben

Great photo Jack! Makes me very homesick.

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Blowin commented Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 at 7:14pm

Cheers Mick-free, isn't boomerang a beachie ? Your keen surfing a ten foot beach break. But I don't know the area very well.

Stu, aren't you just down at Thirroul ? I thought the jetty would shit all over cronulla point ?

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Blowin commented Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 at 7:19pm

Mick-free, is that where the Swellnet Facebook photo was taken? Mark Viney ? Looks nice.

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stunet commented Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 at 8:19pm

Blowin wrote: Stu, aren't you just down at Thirroul ? I thought the jetty would shit all over cronulla point ?

Yeah I don't know about shitting all over it, they're very different waves, hard to compare. I think Cronulla Point has a bit of a PR problem. Fact is, it's not a versatile wave; for it to be real Cronulla Point it needs to be 6ft+ out of the south and low tide. People see it at high tide and think it's a fat old burger, but hey, Voodoo can be a burger at high tide too. It's simple really: you don't surf the Island at low tide and you don't surf the Point at high. And don't judge it at high tide either, I mean look at Jack's photo!

The Point is a short and intense wave. When it's on there aren't many waves that jack as fast and break as hard. But it ain't a 'point', it's a reef, with all the concentrated intensity of an abrupt rock shelf. In fact, geologists call it a bedrock reef. It's only that it's adjacent to the headland that it gets called a point.

I lived above it for about 10 years and surfed it hard for about 15. It was the first wave that I knew inside and out. I'm very comfortable there at any size and still know many of the crew, so I've got a fondness for the wave that won't ever fade. 

That said, I live right near Sandon now and am bringing my family up here. I'm getting to know a few of the fellas in the water, and more importantly starting to get below the surface and understand the wave. This weekend I surfed it as good as I have in the last ten years, and definitely the best since I moved here. It fucken pumped and I rode home tonight totally blissed out. Felt like the start of a new relationship.

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Blowin commented Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 at 8:37pm

Stu, as you said above and about a swell a few weeks back when you surfed yourself silly , it's still a proper blast isn't it. For all the shit we talk about surfing , it's all justified and realised when you nail that dream session. Good to be alive eh.

Good thing about surfing, you can start a love affair with a new break and your old favourite will still welcome you back with open arms.

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Blowin commented Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 at 8:39pm

Your right about the points bad PR. Gotta see all it's moods before you can judge by the sounds of it.

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stunet commented Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 at 8:52pm

Reckon Cronulla Point will always have me back but I don't know if the fellas will welcome me with open arms. Make me wait my turn more like it. And that's the way it should be.

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stunet commented Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 at 9:10pm

...and after all this talk I just got sent an email with Wylie Fowler - who is an incredibly stylish surfer and one of the best to surf Cronulla Point - getting thoroughly pitted at the Point. Ten shot sequence, makes the barrel, goosebumps.

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udo commented Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 at 9:18pm

pics please stewy.

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stunet commented Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 at 9:22pm

Ha! I'll run one as Wave of the Day this week. Will check on running the sequence as a gallery. It ain't huge, just nice and thick. Races through a few sections too.

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mick-free commented Monday, 14 Apr 2014 at 8:45am

No blowin pic wasn't sth boomers but somewhere else more sheltered. Boomers has a rip by the rocks so you can pretty much get out in any size south swell.

its windy offshore here and still 4 footers inside and 6-8 out back...going to hit the search button now!

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

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Jack_Gallen commented Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 at 10:55am

Yer the guy made the wave Blowin