Gallery: South Meets West
The southern New South Wales coast has been battered by an extended run of large southerly swell. As it slowly eases it gives as a second to stop, reflect and repair our battered bodies.
One quick side note; it's not over yet with one final pulse of strong south-east groundswell due to make landfall Friday afternoon and peak Saturday, though the local winds and weather won't be anywhere near as favourable.
It's now been just over a week of consistent, groomed and straight southerly swell, becoming extra-large through Sunday afternoon and Monday morning as the largest of the pulses travelled up through the Tasman Sea.
The source was a large, slow moving Southern Ocean gyre. In layman's terms we saw a very broad area of low pressure spanning from just west of Tasmania, over towards New Zealand with multiple embedded cold fronts spinning clockwise around the gyre. With each frontal system being stronger than the one previous while also acting on top of an overactive sea state, we saw multiple pulses of increasingly large and more powerful southerly swells being generated.
The gyre brought wide-spread heavy and low level snow falls to all alpine regions, setting up a great start to the season, pummelled even the most protected Tasmanian nooks for not just a couple of hours but for days on end.
For the southern NSW coast the energy was initially very acute, performing best from about Sydney north but come Saturday a much wider spread of size was seen ahead of the hefty stuff Sunday afternoon. Further north the swell only started to hit its straps later Friday and Saturday morning, becoming large into Monday.
For such a long-lined, straight and groomed southerly swell you needed a quality reef or point break as most beaches were annoyingly straight (and still are). While the exposed rock ledges and offshore bomboras roared to life one beach was amazingly holding the building swell energy. What begun as a fun 6ft on the Friday, built further towards 6-8ft on Saturday while Sunday afternoon saw big 10ft wedging peaks growing down the line with walls not too dissimilar to a famous South African point break.
Discussion in the water was how incredible it was to have a beach holding so much size, with those with the equipment and the lung capacity taking on the perfect, walled out rights.