Downwards trend from here on
Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 3rd November)
Best Days: Tues: strong but easing south swell with good winds in the morning. Wed: small mix of swells with a brief window of good winds early. Thurs: small mix of swells (leftover NE, building S'ly) with moderate S'ly winds becoming light later.
Recap: Saturday provided a fun day of waves, with a mix of leftover southerly groundswell and small new NE windswell, in the 2-3ft range across the Sydney coast. Freshening N’ly tending NW winds cleaned up most open beaches throughout the day. Sunday saw a building south swell all day that ended up being bigger than forecast, with south facing beaches reaching 4-6ft through the afternoon, with smaller waves at remaining beaches. Early SW winds swung moderate to fresh SE throughout the day. This south swell has pulsed in a similar size range for much of today - early morning seemed to be a shade under yesterday’s late size but we’ve seen it pick up slightly this afternoon, with good 6ft sets at exposed south facing beaches across the Sydney region. Early offshore winds this morning are now moderate to fresh E/SE.
This week (Nov 4-7)
It’s a steady downwards trend from here on. The source of today’s strong south swell has now exited our swell window, so we’re looking at easing surf size through Tuesday before wave heights bottom out on Wednesday.
As for local winds, freshening nor’easters are expected for much of Tuesday, and they should become quite fresh and gusty through the afternoon. However, early morning is likely to see a period of light NW winds for a few hours in and around sunrise. With onshore winds expected to persist for much of the night, there may be some residual lumpiness on top at first, but it should improve quickly within this small window of opportunity before the NE flow kicks back in mid-morning.
Size wise, south facing beaches should see early sets in the 3-5ft range but it’ll lose a couple of feet throughout the day. As per usual, beaches not open to the south will be much smaller however Newcastle is likely to see some early 6ft+ sets ahead of the easing trend.
Tuesday afternoon’s freshening NE winds will kick up a small peaky windswell for Wednesday that should tie in nicely with the easing south swell. Again, freshening NE winds are expected locally all day (ahead off a southerly change in the early hours of Thursday morning) but there’s a chance for a brief window of NW winds at some locations. Keep your expectations low and you might pick up a few stray 2ft+ waves at exposed beaches - perhaps a little bigger in the Hunter thanks to the leftover south swell.
Thursday morning’s southerly change looks like it’ll peter out pretty quickly, so even though there’s a risk of blown out conditions in the morning (at exposed beaches) we should see a rapid improvement during the day.
Unfortunately the responsible fetch trailing the change doesn’t look particularly strong but an afternoon increase should deliver 2ft+ waves at south facing beaches - this will be the best time to surf too, with winds likely to be light and variable. The morning however should still see some small peaky waves out of the NE at exposed spots (1-2ft+) and they’ll be generally clean under the southerly breeze.
As for Friday - it looks small and lacklustre at this stage, with mainly peaky residual swells from the south (say, 2ft) and light variable winds ahead of an afternoon sea breeze. We’ll probably have surfable options at the exposed spots but hardly anything worth taking the day off work. I’ll have more details on this in Wednesday’s update.
This weekend (Nov 8-9)
Nothing of any great interest at this stage. We’re probably looking at peaky options at exposed beaches around 1-2ft, with freshening NE winds on Saturday ahead of a weak, shallow southerly change Sunday (preceding a stronger southerly change due late afternoon or overnight).
The only thing worth holding out for a is a mild suggestion that Saturday’s NE winds could end up strengthening more than is currently modelled, which would consequently improve the size of the local windswell (for Sunday morning). But that’s just me being rather optimistic.
Long term (Nov 10 onwards)
Looks like we have another succession of reasonable swell generating fronts due through the southern Tasman Sea from Sunday into Monday. This should kick up another couple of days of decent southerly swell for the coast (Monday to Wednesday). I’ll update this in more detail on Wednesday.
Otherwise, our east and north-east swell windows remain quiet, with no notable activity on the cards - the trades are expected to strengthen southwest of Fiji mid-week but not in any useful capacity for southern NSW.