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.
Plenty of crew at Bondi getting stuck into this building south swell. 12 punters on this first wave alone! Sets are inconsistent but 2-3ft.
Thank you for getting it a little wrong this morning so I scored 4ft perfect pits at my generally overcrowded local with just 3 mates
Where are ya Mibs? Was only 3ft on the Northern Beaches when I did the surf report around 6:30am.
Without naming it exactly a popular wedge near Shellharbour
Ah yes, I know where you're talking about (would the wedge factor not have exaggerated wave heights a smidge). However there's usually a few locations that perform better than the broader swell magnets - for example, another spot north of Newcastle would have been 4-5ft+ on Saturday - but as a forecaster it's hard to accomodate everyone. Otherwise you end up with a forecast that says "anywhere between 2ft and 6ft depending on exposure of your break" which starts to become meaningless.
Normally id say the wedge factor would add to size but the South facing beach next to it was solid too. Usually the swell direction that was shown on the buoy Saturday morning doesn't hit at full force.
I'm not having a dig at your forecast mate. They're generally on point. I like it when they aren't perfect to keep them crowds down.
All good Mibs - I enjoy the feedback, and discussing the characteristics of these swells.
Interestingly, the south swell magnet I mentioned in my post above (north of Newcastle) only came in at 3-4ft! Very surprising considering its location and track record. In fact if we'd received reports of solid 6ft surf from there Saturday I wouldn't have been overly surprised, such are its magnetic abilities.
Although, its magnetic abilities to bring in south swells also managed to attract record crowds over the weekend too.
It definitely came in over sized where I was but with long breaks between the sizeable sets. Not much quality so good to hear someone scored mibs.
Yeah we got some smokers. Light offshore and 4ft nugs. Handful of dudes on 3 banks.
Thanks again for the Bondi cam screen grabs Ben. Always makes life seem a bit rosier when you realise the waist deep shit other people wade through to live this surfing life.
Can we just rechristen it the Schadenfreude Cam ?
I also like the fella in the foreground of the first photo, heading for a slash.
Look at the body language - keen as fuck. I do believe he's eyed that set and started running. Good times for him.
Is there a Bondi version of Bear that rummages through the garbage bins and mutters to anyone within earshot about that 4' swell of '97 that rivalled Makaha for backwash ?
Actually, it might be a chick.
Romanian fashion model more than likely. Granted a day pass from a hectic weeks pouting. Cheek bones so sharp you could shave a Christmas ham off of and a pair of stilts as long, finely tapered and unsuited to the act of balancing on an unruly fibreglass wafer as Darwinian selection ever allowed to pass.
Yeah the Bondi cam is a good visual reminder for where you really don't wanna be surfing unless you have to. And it's a bloody good swell magnet too.
Some lovely lines at Bondi this afternoon. All straighthanders, of course.
I'd rather..... Crack a rib trying to suck my own dick , thanks.
Life's too short to surf that shite.