Easing south, then building north-east

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 19th December)

Best Days: Sat: clean, peaky leftovers early morning with good winds. Late Mon/Tues/Wed: fun short range NE swell but local winds will probably ruin it Mon and most of Tues.

Recap: Small residual E’ly swell padded out Thursday, and conditions were reasonably clean in the morning with light winds. Interestingly, the afternoon onshores only developed any notable strength in a few spots - the Central Coast, Newcastle and Cronulla all reported moderate to fresh E’ly tending NE winds, but the Northern Beaches, Wollongong and Eastern Sydney Beaches (unusual, given its proximity to Cronulla) saw only light onshores and consequently good conditions. A slight lift in swell was also noted in the late afternoon but the expected E’ly groundswell really kicked in overnight with strong 3-4ft waves reported at many open beaches this morning, albeit with gusty S’ly winds. A southerly windswell has since built in the wake of the change and is providing 3ft sets at south facing beaches.

This weekend (Dec 20th - 21st)

Righto. No major changes for the weekend: get in early Saturday as we’re looking at diminishing wave heights across both days.

Early light offshore winds will swing onshore during the afternoons (SE on Saturday, NE on Sunday) but really, there won’t be a lot of size leftover Sunday so aim for the early session Saturday.

South facing beaches should have some 2-3ft sets to begin with Saturday - however keep in mind the large high tide though at 7:30am, which will swallow up a lot of the energy - it might be worth leaving it until mid-late morning so that some water can drain off the banks. By Sunday we’ll be back to weak, residual 1ft to maybe 2ft waves at the swell magnets.

Next week (Dec 22nd onwards)

Hmmm. A slight downgrade on the optimism expressed in Wednesday’s notes - we’ve still got a few sources of swell but nothing in any way dynamic.

Freshening NE winds from Sunday onwards will generate a short range NE swell that’ll lift surf size at NE facing beaches into the 2ft+ range by Monday afternoon (may be a little undersized in the morning), before holding a more consistent 2-3ft through Tuesday and maybe even early Wednesday.

Unfortunately, fresh NE winds will accompany this swell on Tuesday but a shallow southerly change is pegged for Wednesday afternoon which should create at least a small window of opportunity through the day (trough-induced offshore breeze ahead of the change).

The southerly change doesn’t have much schtick in the latest model guidance so there’s very little swell potential from the south until the end of the week, when the next southerly change is due - although it’s way too far out to speculate on the swell potential at the moment.

The only other source of swell for the long term is a stationary belt of trades north and north-east of New Zealand which is expected to generate small levels of E/NE swell through much of next week. It’s hardly worth working around, but in the absence of any major swell generating systems in the Tasman (through the back half of next week) should otherwise keep exposed beaches from becoming flat. Have a great weekend!


blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy Monday, 22 Dec 2014 at 3:09pm

Whoops! The Sydney buoy has lost the plot again.