Very large surf due mid-week

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 1st September)

Best Days: Tues: fun clean beachies early. Wed/Thus: very large, windy swell with waves at unusual spots. Sat/Sun: small clean leftovers at exposed beaches.

Recap: A solid SE swell filled in on Saturday with 6-8ft waves reported at most open beaches. However, strong S/SW winds generally limited surfable options to protected southern corners.  Wave heights eased steadily throughout the first half of Sunday however 6ft sets were observed at most locations early morning. Conditions remained clean all morning with light offshore winds, and a weak afternoon sea breeze ruffled the surface as a secondary E/SE swell filled in after lunch, pulsing back up to 4-6ft at some exposed beaches. This swell has slowly eased overnight, with perfect 4-5ft waves and light offshore winds on offer this morning right across the coast. Weak sea breezes kicked in after lunch at most locations with wave heights easing a little. 

This week (Sep 2-5)

After a couple of days of sublime, solid beach breaks we’ve got a total reversal on the cards for the rest of this week.

A strong frontal system is expected to cross the coast during Tuesday, bringing S/SW gales to most regions by the afternoon. Prior to this we’ll see dying leftover E/SE swell across the coast, with clean but inconsistent 2-3ft+ sets and freshening W/SW winds (this change will hit the South Coast early-mid morning, so you’ll need to aim for a dawn session south of Wollongong).

Once the change comes through we’ll see an initial increase in short range south swell that’ll provide 3ft+ sets for south facing beaches by the end of the day - however quality will be low at these locations due to the accompanying winds.

A small low pressure centre is expected form along the frontal boundary on Tuesday afternoon, offshore from about Sydney, and as this occurs we’ll see wind strengths increasing considerably immediately off our coast - probably upwards of 45-50kts. The core of this fetch looks to be positioned north from about Jervis Bay, and aimed up into the Mid North Coast - so the biggest waves from this event look to be positioned north of Sydney.

However by no means will this be a small event elsewhere - model data has upgraded this swell significantly in the last 24 hours, and we’re looking at some macking waves across the Sydney basin on Wednesday - probably 10ft+ at south facing beaches in Sydney, and closer to 10-12ft+ across the Hunter region (likely to peak mid-late morning). Surf size will probably be a couple of feet smaller on the South Coast due to the position and alignment of the fetch.

[For reference, our automated surf forecast model seems to be overcalling wave heights at the peak of the swell on Wednesday (12-15ft south facing beaches) but this is likely to be associated with a heavy windswell loading from the close fetch source.]

Of course, conditions will be atrocious on Wednesday with gale to storm force SW tending S/SW winds, but an event like this will generate lots of waves at all kinds of unusual corners and coves that don’t normally receive swell. So, if you’re prepared to work around the wind and weather there could be some interesting options. 

Wednesday’s winds will ease slightly on Thursday as the low tracks eastwards into the Tasman Sea, however they’ll still have some bite (probably down to 20-30kts at this time). We should see early SW winds at many locations but at this kind of strength it'll be challenging at locations completely exposed to the elements.

Wave heights will also ease but it’s possible that south facing beaches will still be in the 8ft to maybe even 10ft range early morning (and bigger in the Hunter) ahead of a steady easing trend during the day towards 6ft+. So, protected southern corners and funky points will still be your only port of call for much of the day.

By Friday, we’ll really be on the backside of this swell with rapidly easing wave heights (4-5ft south facing beaches early, smaller later) and much lighter winds - even a chance for an early offshore. However there will still be some wobble on top leftover from the previous few days’ southerlies so keep your expectations low. 

This weekend (Sep 6-7)

Nothing of major interest on target for the weekend at this stage. We’re looking at much lighter winds with residual surf across most beaches - there should plenty of options at exposed beaches but quality will be dependent on how much the large mid-week swell kicks the sand around. I'm a little concerned that the models have a weak ridge to the south, driving an onshore airstream across the Sydney and Hunter regions, but it's best to give it a few days before making a final decision as to whether this will heavily influence the weekend's surf prospects. Let's take a closer look at this on Wednesday.

Longer term (Sep 8 onwards)

A strong front is expected to push up towards the southern Tasman Sea on Sunday, and should generate a quality south swell for southern NSW early next week (probably arriving during Monday afternoon, peaking early Tuesday). It’s still a long time away but early indications are for some great waves through the first half of next week. More on this in Wednesday’s update. 

Comments

mick-free's picture
mick-free's picture
mick-free Monday, 1 Sep 2014 at 5:50pm

yikes been waiting all day for this haha.

nottombatman's picture
nottombatman's picture
nottombatman Tuesday, 2 Sep 2014 at 9:31am

I'm expecting some of this sweet Bennelong Point action

GONAD_MAN's picture
GONAD_MAN's picture
GONAD_MAN Tuesday, 2 Sep 2014 at 10:21am

Well done for posting the last great kept secret spot in Sydney. I just pray that Koby and the boys dont see this vid. Ours No.2?

Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython Tuesday, 2 Sep 2014 at 3:38pm

Ha, the edit is too good. Im gonna show it to world. I recon Koby will be leading all the lads to it tomorrow for sure..
Thats if all the boogers havent taking it over already. I mean this place is one crazy slab!!

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Tuesday, 2 Sep 2014 at 8:21pm

Here she comes, Eden's showing a very sharp and large J-cuve..

redsands's picture
redsands's picture
redsands Tuesday, 2 Sep 2014 at 9:04pm

Craig,Any E/SE swell from it's centre in a few days?

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Tuesday, 2 Sep 2014 at 9:08pm

Not E/SE, but definitely SE redsands.

Thursday will be S/SE tending SE into the afternoon, continuing from the SE into the weekend.

redsands's picture
redsands's picture
redsands Tuesday, 2 Sep 2014 at 9:25pm

Thanks,I know it's still a bit away but in a week or two the charts look interesting with offshores and south groundswell.Hoping something good comesfrom this.I missed July 2011.

Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython Tuesday, 2 Sep 2014 at 9:29pm

I cant remember a bigger swell attack - ABSOLUTELY FROTHING!!

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml Tuesday, 2 Sep 2014 at 10:04pm

So wheres going to have big waves for you to froth over tim ? Any where big will be too windy or no?

mick-free's picture
mick-free's picture
mick-free Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 8:18am

Its big but nothing is working around here Camel, its a blow out. No waves at Deadies. Though Collaroy is well overhead and South Steyne your only option.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 8:25am
mick-free's picture
mick-free's picture
mick-free Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 8:46am

Haha south of the bridge !!! Always forget about the old Shire in these South Swells. There and RSs only spots eh

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 9:01am

Swell direction will slowly start to veer more S/SE during the afternoon and tomorrow, which should start to open up a few more options. Just hope the size hangs in there.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 5:46am

Haven't seen the buoy this big for who knows, going to be a few options!!

wellymon's picture
wellymon's picture
wellymon Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 6:26pm

Green for Go,
Green is of the richter Craig, does the graph only go to 8m...?

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 5:47am

6.2m @13.8s!!!!

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 5:47am

And to think that my 10ft+ call (and 10-12ft+ in the Hunter) is probably an undercall.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 5:49am

S'ly winds gusting 62kts (115 km/hr) at Wattamolla though a few hours ago, even 50kts S/SW at Little Bay. Gonna be a victorious sea state.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 11:36am

The BOM have made a slight wording change to their 'Dangerous Surf Warning' in recent days. It now says:

"Large and powerful surf conditions are expected to be hazardous for coastal activities such as crossing bars by boat and rock fishing."

Wonder why the've omitted "swimming and surfing" from this warning?

Aussie_Adam's picture
Aussie_Adam's picture
Aussie_Adam Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 11:38am

http://i.imgur.com/mg6QIkq.jpg mid north coast somewhere
Currently pumping 1 guy out now with grass and bushes being taken from the beach

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 11:40am

Wow, solid in a south swell!!!

Aussie_Adam's picture
Aussie_Adam's picture
Aussie_Adam Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 11:48am

Another beast some larger http://i.imgur.com/6OIfWEJ.jpg
Large sweep and long paddle barrels on the inside

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 2:16pm

Was considering a session at the old local this morning but decided not to after watching the surf cam. Looked OK to me, big but not out of control and the wind was offshore SW, yet there was no-one out. That was enough to tell me something was up with it and don't bother with the drive.

Just had a session at the new local, which doesn't usually fare as well under these conditions but had a ball anyway. Only three of us in the weater, sitting 3/4 of the way out. There were some wild ones out on the back of the reef, maybe 8'-10' on the biggest sets.

Had a quick chat with a fella who in the morning saw another notorious slab down the coast and said it was doing its thing. Told me that tonight he'd be driving pilot boats in and out of Port Botany in these conditions. "It's gonna be a nightmare," he said, his face fixed somewhere between dread and excitement. I could understand the contradiction.

Set hits the outside:

img_6646.jpg

And a few inside runners:

img_6653.jpgimg_6649.jpgimg_6652.jpgimg_6650.jpg

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 6:41pm

.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 4:14pm

Earlier than forecast? Monday's notes (here) had "You’ll have to hunt down a super protected location in order to make the most of what could easily be 10-12ft+ surf at a handful of exposed south facing spots in Northern NSW (and more so, the Mid North Coast) by late Wednesday afternoon and/or early Thursday morning."

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 4:19pm

Oops bang on time.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 4:20pm

And Coffs has hit 5.1m @ an amazing 16 seconds! Wow.

Checked the coast up your way yet Udo?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 4:30pm

That's one heck of a J curve. The spectral's grinning at me again too.

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 5:50pm

Was watching the changes to the shape and intensity of this thing on my preferred synoptic.

It just got bigger, meaner, more intense and more well directed every time I looked. I took a look at the charts this morning and thought 'goddamn that's gonna be one hell of a ball of energy'

Wedding Cake came up overnight, woke to the sight of waves consistently breaking a farking long way out there. Might go for a walk when I get home and take a look.

Good luck all.

wellymon's picture
wellymon's picture
wellymon Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 6:41pm

Whats your preferred Synoptic Batfink....!
Ok its an old trusty secret, you don't have to share, was just interested ;)
Its always good to have few different versions up ya sleeve. Like a Wizard.

mick-free's picture
mick-free's picture
mick-free Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 6:41pm

Wedding cake got to be in the mix for best name for a surf break

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 8:42pm

So wats the size of the biggest waves breaking on the swell magnet bomboras ? Could there actually be xxl size maybe 20 ft ( hawaiian ) scale

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml Wednesday, 3 Sep 2014 at 10:14pm

Ok 20ft but onshore my contact near sydney tells me . True ?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Thursday, 4 Sep 2014 at 5:40am

20ft? Looked 10-12ft at the exposed Sydney swell magnets to me. 20ft on the face maybe. And strong cross-shore at these spots.

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml Thursday, 4 Sep 2014 at 9:15am

Ok well if its a 5m @ 16 swell thats easily 20 ft in fact more in west oz . Maybe the real time buoys are different ? . My mate that told me probably is reliable enough for me to believe him becos he spent yrs in w.a.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Thursday, 4 Sep 2014 at 9:43am

There was 40-50kts of wind off the coast yesterday, so the associated windswell component was considerable (the 5m Hsig wasn't 5m of pure groundswell).

Peak swell periods were only 13 seconds too, not 16 seconds.

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml Thursday, 4 Sep 2014 at 9:51am

Ok ben thats 20ft sea state he could have meant . & im saying 16 sec becos of that coffs buoy , is that not 16 its 13 ? Anyways i cant see it being 20ft , your call of 11ft is realistic considering the synoptic chart i saw . Just a small band of strong wind at close range . Thanks

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Thursday, 4 Sep 2014 at 10:00am

Ah, I didn't reaslise you were referencing Coffs buoy data (which is 450km further up the coast).

Without going into too much detail, using Tp as an authoritative number for swell period values - as it relates to surf size - is not usually the best approach. You have to take into consideration all possible sources of the (in this case, large) Hsig values, which was - yesterday - was right on the doorstep of the entire East Coast.

The 16 second swell periods are likely to have been generated some distance from Coffs Harbour however the Hsig values were generated by a combination of swell sources, including a 40-50kt fetch in the immediate vicininty.

As such, the percentage of swell at 16 seconds would have probably been quite small (say, 1m) whilst the remaining 4m would have comprised a wide range of swell periods between 5-12 seconds. Tp simple refers to the largest swell period recorded at the buoy at that time (so, if a faint 20 second from the east happened to arrive at the same time, Tp would have been 20sec, despite it having very little relevance to the actual surf/sea/swell conditions at the time).

Hope I haven't complicated things further!

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink Thursday, 4 Sep 2014 at 11:40am

G'day Wellymon,

Been using these ones for years now.

http://metvuw.com/forecast/forecast.php?type=rain&region=swp&noofdays=5

I think Ben once told me they are using EC modelling, so would be the same as that, but it gives you all of our swell window, being a NZ site. Found them years ago, way before Ben's site, back in the days when you had to be able to read synoptic charts to forecast swell rather than have it all laid out for you by Ben and his compadres.

I was beside myself when I found it. Had been using the BOM charts but they cut off great swathes of open ocean that is part of our swell window.

On Wedding Cake news, I did go for a walk last night and it was breaking but not as big as the morning. It was cleaner and a bit more lined up. The morning swell was probably heavily local wind (gale!) induced, whereas by nightfall it would have been more like ground swell, and the winds were surprisingly light around dusk, considering that there were gales off the coast.

I don't think Wedding Cake is actually the name of the break, one of the breaks is, or at least was, known as 'Southy', but I think that generally referred to the inside wave closer to the cliffs, which can get hollow and quite mean. The outer break, which breaks anywhere from close to the island to way out from nowhere, and probably has another name given by the cognoscenti.

But I ain't one of them.

wellymon's picture
wellymon's picture
wellymon Thursday, 4 Sep 2014 at 4:52pm

Cheers Batfink.
Bookmarked that one, Heres to you,
I think Sheepio uses it as well...? I tried saving it awhile ago but my computer skills were a little on the down side, I have progressed since then ;)

I've been archiving synoptic weather maps the last 6 months from various sites, SN, WZ, BOM and a UK one WeatherOnline. Its quite interesting to see the difference between some of them, with regards to prognosis and real time say 5-6 days later.
I only archive stuff when there is potentially good swell here on the East coast of OZ and back home in NZ as well as good snow systems....
I've learnt shit loads about weather as an amateur, thanks to Swellnet, Ben,Craig and many of the regular forum posters.
So cheers fellas keep it coming as it keeps me well interested :)

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml Thursday, 4 Sep 2014 at 9:09pm

Ben no you havent complicated . I suppose the buoy works different from the w.a. Ones becos if there was [email protected] it would be 25 ft on xxl bommie . Im not familiar with eastside buoys & have no experience at using them . But i have checkd them during last 2 yrs & have been suprised how big they read . Now i will not be so shocked thanks to you explaining why . But i will be keen to learn more in future .

mitchvg's picture
mitchvg's picture
mitchvg Thursday, 4 Sep 2014 at 9:36pm

I have to agree with both TB's explanation and caml's sentiment... It's a logical and expected explanation, but the windswell or 'sea' (?) component on Byron's graph and directional spectra are/ have looked fairly slim.

Direction and angle of approach is probably very different to usual WA sitch. i.e. running adjacent and parallel to coast here, direct and perpendicular to reefs there...?