A few windows of opportunity
Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 28th November)
Best Days: Saturday morning: easing south swell with temporarily light N'ly winds. Monday: building, inconsistent south swell with generally good winds.
Recap: Small junky waves Thursday and early this morning, but a new south swell is filling into the region with south facing beaches seeing 2-3ft sets late this afternoon (bigger in the Hunter). A peak is expected this evening. Early light SE winds are now E/NE.
This weekend (Nov 29-30)
A few slight changes to the weekend forecast, but the overall trend remains the same: Saturday morning is still the pick.
The small new south swell currently building across the coast is expected to peak overnight and will trend downwards throughout the day. Early sets should reach somewhere in the 2-3ft range - although it’ll be rather inconsistent - and there's a few bigger bombs likely in the Hunter. Expect smaller surf through the afternoon.
However, we’re now looking at overnight NE winds tending light N’ly Saturday morning (rather than NW) ahead of a freshening NE trend from about mid-morning onwards, so conditions will remain bumpy away from protected northern corners. As such, aim for an early session for the biggest surf and best (!) conditions.
Sunday will see a mix of small residual south swell (barely a foot or two at south facing beaches, but bigger in the Hunter) along with a small NE windswell of a similar size, although this NE energy is unlikely to benefit the northern Hunter due to the swell shadow offered by Seal Rocks. A few bigger sets may approach 2ft to nearly 3ft at NE swell magnets late in the day however freshening NE winds all day will render most beaches rather bumpy. There’s not much chance for an early period of favourable winds either.
It’ll also be worth keeping an eye out for an afternoon arrival of small long period south swell, originating from an intense Southern Ocean low below the continent yesterday. This swell will be extremely inconsistent and probably won’t start to appear until the last few hours of the day but we may see a few stray 2ft+ sets at south swell magnets late afternoon/early evening.
Next week (Dec 1st-5th)
The low generating Sunday’s initial long period energy will have taken a much better path through our south swell window from today thru’ Sunday, and is expected to deliver a nice round of south swell for Monday. It won’t be very consistent and the swell direction will favour only south facing beaches, but sets should occasionally reach 2-3ft+ (bigger in the Hunter) and there should be some good waves on offer.
However as per Wednesday’s notes I do have to emphasis just how inconsistent this south swell will be - expect very long breaks of flatness (at south facing beaches at least, which won’t be picking up a small residual NE swell very well) - between set waves.
The aforementioned NE windswell should provide peaky 1-2ft+ waves at remaining beaches for Monday. The only tricky aspect for Monday's forecast at this stage are the local winds, which will be under the influence of a broad, complex trough and could offer a wide range of conditions throughout southern NSW. The most likely scenario is for some form of northerly wind, however it’s quite possible that this will trend NW at times.
This complex trough is proving to be quite an erratic system to forecast so the outlook for mid-next week has low confidence. Most model guidance hasn’t shown much interest in the possibility of a noteworthy swell generating system so I’m keeping my expectations very low for now. However we’ll revise this on Monday as major changes can’t be ruled out for this time period just yet.
Beyond Wednesday and Thursday, there are a few systems popping up in the longer term model runs but right now - with such a flukey, low quality outlook for earlier in the week - there’s no point speculating about anything beyond this. Suffice to say that there’s a lot of potential for good surf in the longer term; we’ll just need to wait a few more days to firm up the specifics. More on this on Monday.