Friday on my mind
Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 19th November)
Best Days: Friday: peaky NE swell with slowly improving conditions in the morning as winds become light and favourable. Hardly epic but there should be some worthwhile beachies.
*Forecaster notes will be very brief this week as Craig’s away. Sorry for any inconvenience*
We’re now on the backside of this series of small south swell - set waves are still holding 3ft or so across Sydney’s south facing beaches this afternoon (with bigger sets in the Hunter) but it’ll ease from Thursday onwards. Sydney's south facing beaches should manage early inconsistent 2ft sets (bigger in the Hunter) but it'll be smaller through the afternoon.
Strengthening N/NE winds along the coastal margin will also generate a small windswell on Thursday - biggest in the Far South initially - but there won’t be much quality. You’ll have to surf early in the day, as there’s an outside chance for a brief period of light N/NW winds at dawn, ahead of the strengthening nor’easter. This should favour south swell magnets picking up the final dregs of southerly energy.
Friday looks pretty fun at this stage. Thursday’s strengthening nor'easters (preceding the passage of a weak trough, and eventually a S’ly change) should whip up a peaky NE swell in the 2-3ft range for open Sydney beaches.
Furthermore, it looks like winds may go light N/NW in the morning, before tending variable through the day (i.e. periods of onshores possible) ahead of the southerly change overnight. There’s likely to be some leftover bumpiness at dawn but otherwise we should see an improvement as the morning wears on and the beach breaks should be worthwhile.
Saturday looks dicey, but there are possible options for keen surfers. It’ll all depend on the timing and strength of Friday night's southerly change - at this stage it’s modelled to peter out through Saturday morning, but an early S/SW flow can’t be discounted ahead of a variable trend later. Whilst the trailing fetch isn’t expected to generate much swell (maybe a foot or two at south facing beaches), there should also be some small residual NE windswell in the mix. So Saturday’s best chances of a wave lie in the prospects of a rapidly easing local airstream, and an open beach than can utilise the best of both small swell trains.
Sunday will then see a return to the broader NE airstream. Sure, this will also mean an eventual increase in NE windswell but confidence is not high for much size. Maybe a foot or two at exposed beaches at best. And bumpy as the wind picks up - hardly worth too much focus right now, unless the models ramp things up over the coming days.
As for next week: more of the same troughy pattern and small peaky NE windswells on Monday, ahead of a reasonable southerly change Tuesday, attached to a deep low tracking eastwards through the southern Tasman Sea. This should provide a flush of south swell for a few days (say, small increase Tuesday afternoon, with a bigger pulse on Wednesday) but there’s nothing to write home about at this early stage.
Beyond that, the tropics seem to remain benign with our Southern Ocean south swell window the most likely source of new energy into the longer term.