Average forecast period ahead

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 26th September)

Best Days: No great days. Saturday morning and possibly Monday morning the best of an average lot.

Recap: Fun peaky NE windswell on Thursday with winds swinging NW across some locations ahead of a late gusty S’ly change. Building S’ly swell today but with generally fresh S’ly winds (SW in a few areas early morning).

This weekend (Sep 27-28)

We’ve got an average weekend of waves ahead. The existing south swell will ease tomorrow, and a secondary fetch that popped up in the charts on Wednesday (for today) has been wound back a little in the latest model guidance. 

We’ll still see plenty of south swell in the 2-3ft range at south facing beaches on Saturday (a little bigger in the Hunter, but smaller at beaches not open to the south). However the main problem is the risk of southerly winds for most of the day. We should see early pockets of W/SW winds but you'll have to get in quick for the best conditions.

On Sunday, surf size will throttle back and although a small long period south swell is expected to glance the coast (generated by a front slipping south of the lower Tasman Sea today), it won’t offer much more than a foot or two of inconsistent surf at south facing beaches (smaller elsewhere, although perhaps a little bigger in the Hunter). Conditions are looking much better thought for the morning with early NW winds. They’ll tend NE into the afternoon and become quite fresh and gusty, so if you’re aiming to get wet you’ll need to aim for an early session at a reliable swell magnet.

Long term (Sep 29 onwards)

Sunday’s late freshening NE wind may whip up a low quality windswell for Monday, probably just a foot or two in Sydney but probably a little bigger on the South Coast. However, the northern Hunter rarely picks up these swells so it’ll be relying on small, fading leftovers of the weekend’s south swell(s). 

Winds are expected to swing NW in the morning so conditions will improve quickly across most open beaches. It may be worth a quick paddle first thing but overall - unless the models upgrade Sunday's NE winds - we probably won't see anything worthy of too much attention.

In Wednesday’s notes, I detailed the possibility for a developing Tasman low (today) to form a short lived but worthwhile fetch off the west coast of New Zealand over the weekend. Unfortunately, the latest model guidance has completely scuttled these plans and consequently the small anticipated E/SE swell is pretty much off the cards for Tuesday. We’ll see small residual swell at exposed beaches with light morning winds freshening from the NE during the day. 

Wednesday has a gusty S’ly change on the cards and an associated kick in short range, possibly punchy south swell during the day (early estimated in the 4ft range at south facing beaches). There may also be some small leftover NE windswell (from Tuesday afternoon’s winds) but right now I’m not particularly confidence for anything amazing. I’ll have a closer look on Monday though as the model data has been moving around a lot, even at short range - which somewhat reduces the confidence level.

In similarity to the models wiping away Tuesday’s small E/SE swell, they’ve also thrown a spanner in the works for Thursday’s projected E/NE swell (also originating from the merged remnants of the developing Tasman low) that was mentioned in Wednesday's notes. This weather system is still expected to form, but it’s now much more likely that it’ll show strongest as it slips southward into the swell shadow of New Zealand’s North Island. So right now I don’t have any confidence that we’ll see any surf from this neck of the woods.

Elsewhere, and a strong frontal progression is expected through the Tasman Sea from Thursday onwards, which suggests a sustained period of southerly groundswell through into most of the weekend. I’ll detail that more comprehensively on Monday.


ACB__'s picture
ACB__'s picture
ACB__ Monday, 29 Sep 2014 at 3:11pm

What region are you based Ben?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Monday, 29 Sep 2014 at 3:22pm

Northern Beaches.