Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 17th March)
Best Days: No great days (relative to what we've just had!) - maybe a small window of clean, peaky waves early Tuesday before the northerly kicks in mid-morning. Otherwise, hold out for Sun/Mon/Tues for our next long range E/NE groundswell.
Recap: Small building trade swell Saturday, ahead of an epic long period E/NE groundswell that peaked Sunday afternoon with offshore winds. Probably one of the best days in the last twelve months across many southern NSW locations. Size wise, most coasts held out in the 5-6ft range however some well positioned reefs and offshore bombies delivered occasional rogue sets in the 8ft+ range (see photos here). Equally epic waves this morning but slowly easing in size and becoming less consistent.
This week (Mar 18-21)
It’s a good thing we’re all exhausted after the last few days of pumping surf, because there’s not much on the cards for this week. The weekend’s groundswell will continue to ease in size throughout Tuesday and by Wednesday will be very small.
The only noteworthy source of new energy this week will be a very small underlying trade swell signal, generated by a broad but otherwise unremarkable flow through the southern Coral Sea. However, based on last week’s poor performance in southern NSW (relative to the excellent performance seen in Northern NSW and SE Qld by the same trade swell), I wouldn’t expect much more than a weak foot or two south of Seal Rocks.
It’s also worth noting some strong storm activity expected in the Southern Ocean over the coming days. However in general it’s much too zonal (west-east) in alignment to be of any use to the East Coast. We’ll see a few minor pulses of southerly energy at exposed south friendly beaches throughout the week but overall there’s nothing significant on the cards.
In any case, conditions are looking pretty tragic all week - freshening northerlies Tuesday and early Wednesday ahead of a southerly change in the afternoon that’ll swing easterly on Thursday (possibly light in strength across the Sydney/Hunter region due to a locally stalling trough). Wednesday afternoon’s change may whip up a small local windswell for Thursday morning but I wouldn’t expect much in the way of quality. Freshening north-east winds will return on Friday, generating a local windswell into the afternoon but again, without any quality.
This weekend (Mar 22-23)
As discussed last week, the Tropical South Pacific is yet again expected to fire up yet again over the coming days with a strong, stationary E'ly fetch way out east of the dateline (and likely to merge with yet another Tropical Cyclone well east of Fiji).
In fact, this looks to be an eerily similar synoptic setup to TC Lusi, which generated yesterday’s and today’s unreal surf. The only difference is that the entire setup is positioned another couple of thousand kilometres to the east, which will significantly dilute open ocean swell heights once the energy reaches the Australian mainland.
That being said, it’s another beast of a weather system and we’re looking at another long period groundswell arriving later next weekend.
Prior to this we’ll see a small, slow increase in trade swell from late Friday thru’ Saturday ahead of the long period energy filtering in on Sunday ahead of a peak in size on Monday and maybe early Tuesday. Model guidance is pretty optimistic at the moment (calling 4-6ft around lunchtime Monday throughout Sydney) however I think the upper end of this size range will be confined to a handful of exposed swell magnets and offshore bombies (say, 5-6ft+) whilst most open beaches will probably see much smaller waves around 4ft.
But an even bigger consideration for this swell will be its inconsistency. If you thought our most recent groundswell required some waiting around, we’re looking at up to twice as long between set waves for this next event.
Next week (Mar 24 onwards)
As discussed above, the first half of next week looks like it’ll be dominated by the super long range E/NE swell event. Other than that we’ve got very little else popping out on the long range charts. Tune back in on Wednesday for more details.
ben r u calling 4 same size as the last swell?
Nah, at this stage I think it'll be smaller. And a LOT less consistent.
thx ben. lets hope huey delivers some goods