Small peaky NE options Thursday the pick of the period

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 5th November)

Best Days: Thurs: peaky NE and building S'ly swell, but only surfable options in southern corners. Tues/Wed: strong but wind affected south swell.

Recap: Plenty of strong south swell on Tuesday morning, and a brief period of NW winds early morning in most areas except the Hunter. Smaller mix of leftover S’ly and peaky short range NE swells this morning, and light N’ly winds which have since become fresh NE (and have subsequently built NE swell across the Sydney region). Some ripping thunderstorms across the Sydney basin this afternoon too.

This week (Nov 6-7)

Freshening NE winds are building a peaky NE swell today and this trend is expected to continue into this evening. However a gusty southerly change is due to arrive overnight - best estimates are close to midnight - and this will push the NE fetch further offshore, reducing its swell generating potential.

Wave heights seem to have pulsed this afternoon slightly above forecast size at some beaches (observations form the Manly surfcam look to be in the 2-3ft range) and it’s likely that exposed NE facing spots will see a similar size range early Thursday before a slow downwards trend sets in during the day. We should also see a building S’ly swell of a similar size range (2ft to maybe 3ft) but with a likely peak in the afternoon.

Locally, fresh S’ly winds will generally restrict quality at all but the most protected southern corners on Thursday morning but the good news is that we’re expecting an easing trend during the day, and a possible swing to the SW for a brief period in a few spots (unlikely across the Hunter though). So there should be workable morning options at NE swell magnets offering protection from the southerly breeze.

On Friday we’ll see very little leftover NE swell and a small fading short range S’ly swell. Early sets could be in the 2ft range (give or take) at south facing beaches but it’ll trend downwards throughout the day. Fortunately, winds will be light and variable in the morning ahead of a NE sea breeze, so conditions should be clean for the early paddle.

This weekend (Nov 8-9)

Not a great weekend ahead. With no major weather systems expected to develop within any of our swell windows over the coming days, we’re looking at small residual swells both days, with freshening NE winds on Saturday ahead of a shallow S’ly change early Sunday

Saturday’s freshening nor’easters may whip up a weak 1-2ft for exposed beaches early Sunday morning, but the southerly change looks like it’ll pack a smidge more punch, with possible 2ft+ sets at exposed south swell magnets during the day - but they're likely to be blown out with poor winds before lunch. The afternoon may provide an improved window of opportunity as local winds decelerate but right now I wouldn’t bother rearranging your diary. 

Let’s hope Friday’s updated model data has a little better news!

Long term (Nov 10 onwards)

A strong southerly change is expected into the lower Tasman Sea on Monday, and should generate a couple of days of strong southerly swell through Tuesday and Wednesday (and possibly even early Thursday) - albeit accompanied by gusty winds from the southern quadrant. At this stage we could see south facing beaches up in the 5-6ft range but I’ll have a better handle on potential options in Friday’s update.

Elsewhere, there’s not much to get excited about - we’ve got some developments in the north-eastern Tasman Sea that suggest potential for a small E/NE swell mid-late next week but model guidance has this system tracking a little too quickly to the east for my liking, so I’m not particularly interested in it right now. But, there’s always a chance that the models may slow this progression down, in which case we’d see an improvement in the swell outlook from this ocean basin. I’ll take a closer look on Friday. 


batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink Thursday, 6 Nov 2014 at 1:49pm

Well I'm looking very closely at the systems for next week and into the weekend of 15th and 16th as being a nice time to hit the road.

I know that's a long way out and things can change but there is certainly a good possibility of some long period south swell for then.

Will await your forecasts with interest.