Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast (issued Wednesday 23rd April)

thermalben's picture
thermalben started the topic in Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 at 4:15pm

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 23rd April)

Best Days: Mon/Tues: strong building south swell with N’ly tending NW winds. Later next week: more strong S’ly swell with gusty offshore winds. 

Recap: Pulsey S’ly swell on Tuesday that reached 2-3ft at south facing beaches, slightly bigger in the Hunter, with light winds. Hardly any waves today. 

This week (Apr 24-25)

Tuesday’s anticipated south swell punched slightly above its weight throughout the day, offering very inconsistent but long lined waves in the 2-3ft range at south facing beaches (against a forecast of 2ft). Bigger waves were reported in the Hunter however unfortunately it was a one-day wonder, almost completely evaporating overnight and leaving us with tiny conditions today.

The forecast for Thursday isn’t much better as our swell window has been devoid of activity for the last few days. 

Friday will see a kick in new swell but unfortunately there won’t be much quality with it. A gusty southerly change will advance along the South Coast late on Thursday afternoon, generating a new short range south swell for Friday morning.

Our internal surf height model is currently calling 2-3ft at open beaches and 4ft at south facing beaches, which I think might be a slight overcall - I’m concerned that the fetch is not likely to last very long in the swell window, so we’ll see a very brief peak in size with a downwards trend into the afternoon. So don’t be surprised if wave heights come in a smidge under predictions.

Additionally, conditions are looking dicey as a high builds a ridge to the south, directing winds around to the southeast for the early session. They will ease off to become light through the middle of the day before swinging moderate north-east in the afternoon but on the balance I’d expect some lump and bump in the waves. 

There may be a few localised exceptions to this: a few locations (such as the Northern Beaches) may see a brief period of early SW winds (I’d rate it a 30% chance right now), which may deliver slightly better waves for the early session - but for the most part the lunchtime/early afternoon session will probably offer the best combo across most regions before the mid-late arvo nor'easter kicks in. 

Also, the Far South Coast (south of Ulladulla) will probably see light and variable winds all morning due it being positioned under the high. The downside is that this swell is likely to largely bypass the Far South Coast due to it being located south of the typical axis of refracting south swells that are generated in the lee of frontal systems. So, it’ll be cleaner but much smaller here.

This weekend (Apr 26-27)

Not much surf is expected on Saturday. Friday’s southerly pulse is expected to be short-lived affair and we’ll see freshening N’ly winds as a vigorous low/front approaches from the west. Aim for the south swell magnets and keep your expectations low.

A southerly change will then advance along the South Coast overnight, and a build a south swell throughout Sunday, probably reaching a peak in the afternoon. Again, winds look a little dicey as we’ll probably see some influence from the passing front, so expect bumpy 3-4ft waves at south facing beaches with smaller, cleaner surf at protected locations.

Next week (Apr 28 onwards)

Next week looks very interesting at this stage. The southerly change expected to track along the southern NSW coast on Saturday night will be linked to a deep, intense low pressure system just to the S/SE of Tasmania. This looks like it’ll be quite a beast of a weather system, located right on the western periphery of our acute south swell window; but the good news is that there’s a general agreement between the models for a N/NE track up into the southern Tasman Sea through the weekend.

This should generate a strong long period south swell that’s currently due to arrive in the Wollongong/Sydney/Hunter region later Monday ahead of a peak early Tuesday. At this stage the exact size and timing requires some elasticity however I wouldn’t be surprised to see 4-6ft waves at south facing beaches at the height of the swell, with a handful of reliable swell magnets and offshore bombies reaching 6-8ft (yes.. bigger than our model is currently estimating). Let's see how Friday's model data is holding true with this outcome.

Additionally, an approaching trough and front from the west are likely to swing winds around to the north on Monday, before tending NW on Tuesday. So conditions should be unreal at those beaches that enjoy south swells and N’ly tending NW winds. 

Easing southerly swells and gusty offshore winds are then expected on Wednesday.

Looking further beyond this and another classic winter front/low is expected to cross the Tasmanian region later Tuesday and into Wednesday, which should give us another round of large south swell for the second half of the week, with gusty SW winds accompanying.

evosurfer's picture
evosurfer's picture
evosurfer Friday, 25 Apr 2014 at 9:14am

thermalben. Thanks for the Bali surf report last week I didnt have to manup a great deal Ulus got to
8ft maybe 10ft on some sets was entertaining thou but noway as good as my home breaks when
there big and smoking. But next week I might get them on anyway. Keep up the great work. Cronulla

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 at 8:18pm

Where are your home breaks evosurfer ? Not Evans head ? Just general area if that's not too intrusive a question mate. If it is don't answer cheers.