Pulsey south swell all week

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 4th August)

Best Days: Late Tues/Wed: building long period S'ly groundswell with good winds. Late Fri/Sat: excellent long period south swell with good winds. 

Recap: It really wasn’t that great a weekend of surf. Saturday morning started out very small, but built rapidly in the afternoon with a fresh south swell, unfortunately accompanied by a gusty southerly breeze. Sunday saw a slow drop in size with early offshores but quality was hard to find, and southerly winds kept the afternoon’s quality to a minimum. A minor renewal of south swell this morning maintained 3ft sets at south facing beaches, and with a touch more east in the direction it’s reaching a broader range of beaches. Early offshore winds have swung light onshore, although with no great strength at this stage. A minor E/NE swell is expect to show up sometime this afternoon but as of yet hadn’t been detected by the Sydney buoy.

This week (Aug 5-8)

Pulsey south swell is the dominant theme of the week. The current event is expected to trend downwards into Tuesday morning, ahead of a small new long period event pushing through the South Coast before lunch, likely to reach the Sydney/Hunter region mid-late afternoon. This pulse is the first in a series of long period south swells expected to push through this week, all courtesy of a vigorous storm track well south of the continent.

Prior to this, we’re looking at a small mix of leftover S/SE and minor E/NE swell on Tuesday morning. With light variable winds on hand conditions will be clean but exposed beaches probably won’t be much bigger than about 2ft (save a few bigger waves in the Hunter as per usual).

The first new long period south swell due late Tuesday should nudge this up to somewhere between 2ft and 3ft at south facing beaches, but I’m not especially confident on the timing of its arrival into Sydney - we may not see an appreciable increase until after 3pm. So, keep an eye on the Bondi surfcam for signs of life and be prepared to surf into dusk to maximise your chances of any size.

A second, stronger and even longer period south swell will then push through during Wednesday morning, thanks to a very powerful low tracking below Tasmania this evening (see below). Although wind speeds are expected to reach 50-60kts around the low's core, it will be tracking quickly east through our swell window and the unfavourable alignment of the storm track will cap wave heights along the East Coast.

There’s an outside chance that the swell may not be in the water for the dawn patrol, but if that occurs we are very likely to see the energy from mid-morning onwards, and once again conditions are looking great with offshores likely all day. Size-wise, Sydney’s south facing beaches should pick up 2-3ft+ sets and it’ll be bigger in the Hunter near 3-4ft+ (especially through the afternoon). However, beaches not open to the south will be much smaller. 

Wave heights will pull back through Thursday, however a small pulse of secondary south swell is then expected to maintain plenty of small waves across south facing beaches during the day - probably less consistent than the previous days, topping out at an infrequent 1.5-2ft+ in Sydney and 3ft+ in the Hunter. Early offshore winds will precede a possible shallow southerly change late in the day, so for the most part it'll be worth a splash at a swell magnet.

Friday looks very interesting. The morning is likely to offer a small combo of residual south swells, however a new long period southerly groundswell is expected to push into the South Coast around lunchtime, reaching the Sydney region late afternoon - and this could very well produce the biggest waves of the week.

At this stage we’re looking at strong 3-5ft sets at south facing beaches in Sydney, and 4-6ft in the Hunter. However - and I can't stress this enough - I am concerned that the late arrival time of this swell may result in its primary peak occurring under the cover of darkness (ahead of an easing trend Saturday). If this were to happen, we'd be looking at small residual south swell all day. But at this early stage it’s worth pencilling a late session into your diary as winds should be generally light and variable, and there's a reaosnable chance for an hour or three of new swell. I'll update the timing in more detail on Wednesday.

This weekend (Aug 9-10)

With Friday’s swell currently expected to peak overnight, Saturday is on target for a strong but easing south swell all day with generally light NW tending N’ly winds. South facing beaches in the Sydney region should still manage 3-4ft+ surf, with 4-5ft+ surf in the Hunter but it’ll become smaller throughout the afternoon. 

Smaller waves are then expected on Sunday as the swell continues to ease, however with no major strength in the winds, local conditions should be pretty good at most beaches. 

Longer term (Aug 11 onwards)

This recent pattern of regular south swells looks set to continue through much of next week, with no major disruption expected to the the South Ocean storm track.


Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Tuesday, 5 Aug 2014 at 11:07am

Satellite observations are in for the low that's generating tomorrow's S'ly groundswell pulse, and jeez there's some impressive readings.

The system is tracking real fast to the east but with peak wind speeds up around 60kt I reckon we could see 3-4ft sets in Sydney from midday onwards tomorrow and bigger in the Hunter. Real tricky one though!

St Helens didn't indicate any size early this morning but the well isn't due to arrive until this afternoon, so we can't really get any early indications down there.

drewdrewdrew's picture
drewdrewdrew's picture
drewdrewdrew Tuesday, 5 Aug 2014 at 12:43pm

craig or ben do you think there will be much for dawn patrol tomorrow?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Tuesday, 5 Aug 2014 at 12:50pm

Way more confidence for the middle of the day and the afternoon (via the second south swell). But there should be some fun waves at south facing beaches in the morning. If you had any flexibility I'd aim for an early arvo session.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Tuesday, 5 Aug 2014 at 4:59pm

Here's the first of the new south swells.. shame the wind's up from the S/SE though. Looks to be around 3ft at Bondi on the sets.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Wednesday, 6 Aug 2014 at 6:18am

Looks like yesterday's late increase has held in nicely overnight.. seems to be 3ft on the sets at Bondi this morning, but rather inconsistent. Nice and clean though.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Wednesday, 6 Aug 2014 at 11:51am

Some solid sets at Bondi now as the second long period swell starts to fill in. Seems to be an easy 3-4ft!