A terrible time of year

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 20th October)

Best Days: No great days. As per Friday's notes, there'll be waves on offer all week, but nothing worth rearranging your diary for. OK, Tuesday and Thursday might be fun on a fish. But don't push your luck.

Recap: Surprisingly fun and clean leftover south swell early Saturday which faded throughout the day and fell under the influence of a light afternoon onshore breeze. Small peaky waves Sunday with light N’ly winds tending moderate to fresh N/NE during the day. A gusty S’ly change arrive in Sydney around dawn this morning (a little later in the Hunter) and accompanied a small NE windswell for the early session, ahead of a building S'ly swell this afternoon that’s ended up being larger than I estimated in Friday notes (but has come in very close to what our automated model predicted, seems to be 3-4ft at south facing beaches in Sydney). Quality is pretty ratty though with gusty southerlies.

This week (Oct 21-24)

Not a great week to get excited about surfing. The current short range south swell will fade slowly through Tuesday but local winds are expected to remain onshore overnight and into the morning, albeit quite a bit lighter in strength than what we’ve seen today. There’s only a slim chance for a period of light variable winds at dawn - probably restricted to the Northern Beaches at best - but even then overnight sou'easters will leave quite a few lumps and bumps on top. So it won't be pretty by any stretch.

South facing beaches should manage 3ft sets early morning but it’ll be smaller at remaining beaches (although a little bigger in the Hunter). Expect surf size to taper off slowly throughout the day. You'll defintiely get wet if you're keen but there's no point in rearranging your diary.

As noted throughout much of last week, Tuesday may also see a small, distant E/NE swell originating from an impressive but ultimately distant and unfavourably aligned fetch SE of Fiji from Friday onwards. We probably won’t see much more than an infrequent foot or two of long range swell at open beaches through Tuesday and Wednesday, but in the absence of anything interesting elsewhere, I thought it was worth tabulating for your reading pleasure.

Otherwise, the rest of the week maintains small residual swells from various sources (including a tiny long range south swell on Wednesday), as well as winds from the northern quadrant as a trough pattern envelops the coast. A shallow southerly change is expected to grace the South Coast on Thursday but current model guidance suggest it won’t reach much further north than about Jervis Bay or Wollongong. It certainly won’t generate any new swell either.

Freshening NE winds feeding into the advancing change later Wednesday should whip up a fun peaky NE windswell for Thursday, however that’s probably the sole highlight of the working week’s surf outlook. The wind outlook is a little dicey right now but there’s a reasonable chance we’ll see a period of light variable winds and consequently some - if we’re feeling optimistic - fun lumpy waves. Let’s see what Wednesday’s updated model data brings.

Otherwise, Friday looks like being more of the same with small, wobbly residual swells and tricky winds under this persistent trough pattern. Keep your expectations low.

This weekend (Oct 25-26)

I know you want me to say good things about the weekend, but I just can’t do it. This lengthy troughy period is expected to hold through the weekend, with only a very vague chance that it’ll form into anything remotely worthy of a decent swell generation. The most likely outcome is a continuing small NE windswell with tricky winds. Hopefully Wednesday will have a clearer picture, because the one I’ve got right now looks pretty muddy. 

Long term (Oct 27 onwards)

And if those notes weren’t full of enough excitement, the long term outlook appears to be as equally dreary with nothing of any major interest on the cards beyond the weekend. That’s it, I’m outta here ‘till Wednesday.


oiley's picture
oiley's picture
oiley Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014 at 9:40am

this isnt good

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014 at 12:09pm

Late next week is looking ok