Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast (issued Wednesday 12th March)

thermalben's picture
thermalben started the topic in Wednesday, 12 Mar 2014 at 12:23pm

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 12th March)

Best Days: Sunday/Monday: Solid E/NE swell with offshore winds.

Recap: Small swells mainly from the E/NE, every so slowly building in size.

This week (Mar 13-14)

A few small changes for the rest of the week but still within a similar pattern as detailed in Monday's notes. We've got a weak southerly change advancing along the southern NSW coast, and it'll stall near the Sydney region Thursday. Some models have moderate SE winds across the region but I'm reasonably confident any onshore winds we see won't be too strong and won't last very long either. NE winds will then freshen on Friday as a new high sets up camp in the Tasman Sea.

As for surf, the southerly change won't deliver much more than a weak foot or two of short range energy at exposed south facing beaches. So don't expect much love from that source.

Our main source of swell for Thursday and Friday is sideband trade swell energy, essentially a smaller percentage of what's been seen up in Northern NSW and SE Qld over the last days. Our model guidance hasn't been too interested in swell from this source (and is calling very small wave heights), and although I still think it's undercooking the energy, I am going to slightly pull back my size expectations for the next few days. We'll still see a slow building trend through Thursday ahead of a peak in side on Friday, but exposed NE facing beaches are only likely to reach 2-3ft by Friday afternoon (expect it to be a little smaller Thursday). There'll be long breaks between the bigger sets too.

So, look for small clean waves on Thursday with generally favourable conditions, ahead of a slightly pushier swell throughout Friday but with variable conditions as winds pick up from the nor'east.

This weekend (Mar 15-16)

Couple of changes for the weekend forecast, but essentially it's all good news for surfers in southern NSW. 

As has been detailed since last Friday, we've got a broad area of near-stationary trades across the southern Coral Sea, extending into the South Pacific, along with TC Lusi (currently a Cat 2 cyclone, may reach Cat 3 later today).

However model guidance has slightly sped up the southward track of TC Lusi over the coming days, and also made a minor adjustment to its core alignment and primary fetches (marginally more meridional than zonal, i.e. more north-south than east-west). 

This has slightly downgraded the size potential, and also adjusted the timing of the swell. We're looking at a slowly building trade swell for much of Saturday ahead of the leading edge of long period 'cyclone swell' pushing through late afternoon. So don't be surprised to see a rapid jump in size during the last few hours of Saturday. Wave heights will then remain strong on Sunday, generally around 4-5ft at most open beaches, but with some of the region's more relable exposed swell magnets likely to see occasional bombs in the 6ft range. Due to the distant source, there will be a wait for the bigger waves.

But the really good news is that the models have also sped up an advancing front from the west, with an arrival time due Sunday morning (instead of Sunday night). Saturday will see freshening nor'easters all day (so conditions will probably be average at many spots) however Sunday's looking really good with fresh NW winds tending gusty W'ly during the day. Should be excellent surf at many locations.

Next week (Mar 17 onwards)

Monday is still looking excellent, however we will be on the downwards phase of this swell. We'll see some solid sets in the morning (4-5ft exposed NE facing beaches) but it'll trend steadily downwards during the day, probably into the 2-3ft range. There'll also be a smaller E'ly swell (from the remnants of ex-TC Lusi, after it tracks to a position off the west coast of New Zealand) and some small south swell originating from a weak fetch trailing Sunday's change.

Looking further ahead, and although we're still on target for some south swell mid week, the models have altered its alignment - amplifying the associated upper trough west of Tasmania. This is now expected to focus the main storm track into SA and Vic rather than into Tasmania, which has consequently downgraded the size potential from this source.

Elsewhere, we're expecting the Tropical South Pacific to fire up later this weekend and into early next week with some a strong, stationary E'ly fetch way out east of the dateline (and likely to merge with yet another Tropical Cyclone NE of Fiji). Despite the enormous distance from the mainland, this is likely to supply small persistent E'ly swells later next week and into the following weekend, that'll be very useful in the event that our immediate swell windows sees an extended period of quietness next week. More on this in Friday's notes. 

evosurfer's picture
evosurfer's picture
evosurfer commented Wednesday, 12 Mar 2014 at 3:00pm

Damm once again things change for the worse. Im starting to hate the east coast.

IF im not surfing im racing

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 12 Mar 2014 at 3:01pm

Change for the worse? I reckon the forecast got better due to the fast-tracking of the westerly change.

evosurfer's picture
evosurfer's picture
evosurfer commented Wednesday, 12 Mar 2014 at 3:23pm

If you call smaller being better WELL.

IF im not surfing im racing

mick-free's picture
mick-free's picture
mick-free commented Wednesday, 12 Mar 2014 at 3:28pm

Agree those winds just got better! Inconsistent Ben????? I mean its a big radial spread from a long way a way.

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml commented Wednesday, 12 Mar 2014 at 4:41pm

goodluck with that swell eastsiders , mick there should be a few waves for you hey ?

Timbo85's picture
Timbo85's picture
Timbo85 commented Wednesday, 12 Mar 2014 at 4:57pm

Hi Ben. Do you think the south coast down past Ulladulla way will pick up the same amount of swell as Sydney and the north? Cheers. T

dx

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 12 Mar 2014 at 7:00pm

Yeah Timbo no reason for the far South coast to see any major difference in size compared to Sydney. I do think the northern NSW coast will pick up bigger waves than the southern half of the state though.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 12 Mar 2014 at 7:11pm

mick-free wrote: Agree those winds just got better! Inconsistent Ben????? I mean its a big radial spread from a long way a way.
It's a very long way from the coast, and the primary fetch (responsible for the long period energy) is moving southwards, which is perpendicular to the existing trade belt. If a weather system is such a long way from the mainland, I try to look for one or two features that support the possibility of a more consistent swell - such as (for the east coast) a retrograding storm track, or a sustained, stationary position at maximum intensity. To put it on a scale from one to ten, I'd rate the consistency about a five - not consistent, but not super inconsistent either.
pointy's picture
pointy's picture
pointy commented Thursday, 13 Mar 2014 at 11:01am

that would be right, we are finally going to get some waves and I am out of the water for two weeks after having my right shoulder driven into the sand while body surfing a huge 1ft wave on Sunday.

Catrch some for me......

thelostclimber's picture
thelostclimber's picture
thelostclimber commented Thursday, 13 Mar 2014 at 1:13pm

Swell dropped slightly, but offshore Sat arvo - monday.
I feel a sick day coming on.

mick-free's picture
mick-free's picture
mick-free commented Thursday, 13 Mar 2014 at 10:46pm

caml wrote: goodluck with that swell eastsiders , mick there should be a few waves for you hey ?

Yeah Camel debate is ongoing North or South haha.

Hows the new 10 footer, have you had it out yet or straight to the pool room?

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

mick-free's picture
mick-free's picture
mick-free commented Thursday, 13 Mar 2014 at 10:50pm

BTW Camel, we are all talking up a 2.2m swell at 13 seconds for East Coast for Sunday meanwhile its 5.0m down in SA it peaks at 5.5mat 14 seconds haha

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml commented Thursday, 13 Mar 2014 at 11:40pm

Mick hi mate that board just got to me today ,coincidently ! Might give it a wet paper rub as foreplay before waxing almost 2 blox wax on . Its not goin to ride serious surf , will use it in head high for a try to see how it feels . Goodluk with the swell 13 sec is nice . I surfed 4m @13 yesty then today 3m 13 . Tubes !