Fun weekend of waves ahead
Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 31st October)
Best Days: Sat: fun peaky combo of swells with winds going NW. Sun: early offshore winds and a building S'ly swell. Mon/Tues: strong but easing south swell with good winds in the morning.
Recap: Wednesday’s late arrival of south swell held a little better into Thursday than was predicted; open beaches across Sydney pushing 3-4ft+ at times and the Hunter up around the 6ft mark. It did however ease throughout the day and we’ve seen smaller, cleaner waves this morning under a light offshore breeze. A new long period S’ly groundswell appears to be pushing into Sydney beaches at the moment (see pic below) with some 3ft+ sets showing at south facing beaches. Unfortunately, the Sydney buoy is again out of action, so we can’t confirm the source - but with overlapping swell trains quite visible I'm pretty confident it's the expected long period south swell. Winds are freshening from the N/NE.
This weekend (Nov 1-2)
We’ve got some good options on the cards for Saturday. The new southerly groundswell pushing through right now is expected to peak overnight but should still be present in the water early Saturday morning, ahead of a slow easing trend during the day.
Additionally, a strengthening NE fetch off the coast this evening should also whip up a peaky short range swell for exposed NE facing beaches. The combination of both swells should offer 2-3ft at most open beaches throughout the day - I’m expecting a similar size range from each swell, if anything weighted in favour of the S’ly swell in the morning, and then the NE swell in the afternoon. As such expect a few bigger waves across Hunter beaches on Saturday morning.
Even better: overnight N/NE winds are due to swing NW in the early morning and freshen during the day ahead of a very late S’ly change. So most open beaches should offer clean conditions (perhaps not at first light, although if it’s still lumpy then it should improve pretty fast).
On Sunday we’ll see the short range NE swell fade to an inconsistent 1-2ft by the morning, but more prominent will be a punchy short range south swell building in the wake of Saturday evening’s change. South facing beaches should increase from 2-3ft to 3-4ft+ throughout the day (a little bigger in the Hunter) and winds are looking pretty good for the most part, early light W/SW in most regions tending moderate S/SW mid-late morning, then SE throughout the afternoon.
So it should be relatively easy to find something worthwhile at most beaches on Sunday, although south facing spots will have the most size. Expect smaller waves at beaches not open to the south.
Next week (Nov 3-7)
A strong front/low combo tracking below Tasmania is expected to maintain plenty of south swell through the start of next week. Monday should in fact see the biggest waves of this cycle, up to 3-5ft across south facing beaches early on Monday morning (bigger in the Hunter, but smaller at remaining beaches), before easing by a couple of feet into Tuesday.
Moderate S/SE winds will dominate the southern NSW coast on Monday but we should see an early period of W/SW winds across many beaches around dawn. Tuesday will then see a resumption of the early-light-airstream-tending fresh-NE-in-the-afternoon, as a high builds in the Tasman and a trough occupies eastern Australia for a few days, in anticipation of a southerly change early Thursday morning.
Tuesday’s freshening NE winds will whip up a small peaky NE swell for Wednesday, which will tie in with the dying remnants of S’ly swell from Monday and Tuesday, but local winds are looking dicey (likely fresh NE) so it’ll be far better to aim for a surf on Monday or Tuesday to maximise the stronger southerly swell regime.
Thursday’s southerly change doesn’t look at this stage like it’ll be much of a swell producer, instead probably just providing a temperature relief (and perhaps arresting any early stages of upwelling). As such Thursday looks a little lean in the swell department with a mix of small leftover peaky NE swell, and a small building short range S’ly swell - but unlikely to top much more than a couple of feet (unless we see a model upgrade in the coming days).
Same too for Friday - with no major weather systems expected to develop across any of our swell windows mid-week, it looks like we’ll finish the working week on a whimper rather than a bang.
Longer term (Nov 8 onwards)
Nothing standing out at this early stage. If anything, it appears that a developing high pressure system in the Tasman Sea will allow the trades to start forming across our far E/NE swell window, so I’ll be keeping an eye on this neck of the woods for potential activity. But at the present time there’s not much to speak of. More on the longer term outlook on Monday.