Lotsa south swell for the next week and beyond
Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 8th August)
Best Days: Sat: solid long period S'ly tending S/SE swell with good winds in the morning. Sun: steadily easing S/SE swell with good winds. Tues/Wed: another strong S'ly swell, OK winds at dawn. Thurs: strong S'ly swell with good winds early.
Recap: Thursday morning saw an expected easing in surf size from Wednesday. However, an unexpected pulse of new south swell bumped up wave heights by a foot or so into the afternoon, with south facing beaches seeing 3-4ft sets. This settled back a little overnight but has generally maintained 3ft+ surf across south facing beaches today. Otherwise, we’re still waiting to see any signs of the impending south swell due late today (nothing as of yet).
This weekend (Aug 9-10)
The strong new south swell, whose leading edge is due late this afternoon, is playing funny buggers with us.
But then again, yesterday’s somewhat mysto pulse of south swell - that showed nicely at the Sydney buoy - wasn’t detected at the Batemans or Eden buoys, of which this is a semi-regular occurrence under some south swells (the Eden and Batemans buoys are not 100% reliable in picking up certain kinds of south swells, due to a range of factors I don’t have time to explain right here and now).
As such, with the usual travel time between Eden and Sydney for a 15 second swell being 8-9 hours, I wouldn’t be too concerned that the lack of data at the Eden buoy means the swell is running more than 9 hours late. If anything, a slight delay is a good thing because it will hopefully shift the peak of the swell from occurring overnight, to the early morning.
Either way, the weekend’s trend will start off strong and sizeable, before steadily easing from late Saturday morning onwards. South facing beaches will see the biggest surf, somewhere in the 4-6ft range across the Sydney region at first light Saturday with mainly 6ft to possibly rogue 8ft sets in the northern Hunter, however beaches not open to the south will be much smaller.
Wave heights will steadily taper off throughout the day - and may lose two or three feet by Saturday afternoon - with a further drop in size into Sunday, probably down to an inconsistent 2ft at south facing beaches by Sunday afternoon (smaller elsewhere).
Wind wise, we’re looking at early NW winds on Saturday ahead of a light to moderate N/NE breeze in the afternoon, so northern corners will maintain the best conditions all day (and also pick up the most size). Moderate westerlies are expected all day Sunday so open beaches should be very clean.
Next week (Aug 11-15)
Another strong front and low will round the Tasmanian corner over the weekend, driving a southerly change across the southern NSW coast overnight Sunday and into Monday.
This will initially generate a building short range south swell for Monday (4-5ft south facing beaches by the afternoon), but it’ll be accompanied by fresh and gusty S/SW winds - so conditions will be quite average at open beaches. Early morning is likely to offer a brief period of W/SW winds in some districts however this will accompany the initial stages of the building swell, which will be much smaller in size.
A stronger southerly groundswell component emanating from the parent low pressure system (much further south) is then due to build through Tuesday, peaking later afternoon or overnight before easing slowly Wednesday. South facing beaches should see solid 6ft surf at the height of this next pulse, but a continuing S/SW airstream will maintain poor conditions at many breaks. Again, early W/SW winds are likely for a brief period at a few selected locations on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, however in general you’ll be better off looking for some protection from the wind.
This pattern is set to replicate through the second half of the week, with another strong front modelled to push through the lower Tasman overnight Tuesday, bringing a resurgence in southerly groundswell that could again crack the 4-6ft mark at south facing beaches on Thursday, before easing throughout Friday.
There’s a chance that we could see the leading edge of this next pulse as early as mid-late Wednesday afternoon but we’ll have to reassess the model output in Monday’s notes. Winds are tricky to assess at long range due to some model divergence but the most likely trend is early W/SW tending moderate to fresh S/SW.
Longer term (Aug 16 onwards)
Nothing major on the long term charts right now, however a continual stream of vigorous fronts below the continent should maintain plenty of south swell through the following weekend and into the next week. One particular system I’ll be keeping an eye on it a strong polar low modelled to track below Tasmania (off the ice shelf) later Wednesday and Thursday that could be associated with an amplification of the LWT over New Zealand longitudes later next week, and could therefore be the source of some impressive long period S/SE groundswell into the longer term. But more on that next week.