Throwin' everything at the wall

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 9th January)

Best Days: Most days should have fun waves, although you'll have to work around the winds on Saturday. Still lots of potential in the long term.

Recap: Small clean waves early Thursday, building during the day as NE winds freshened. Peaky NE surf in the 3ft range for much of today but with freshening NE winds. 

This weekend (Jan 10-11)

We’re looking at a similar mix of short range NE windswell and some small distant E/NE swell for much of the weekend, probably similar on Saturday as per what we saw today.

Winds will be fresh and gusty from the NE at times but there should be easy 3ft sets at NE facing beaches throughout the day. Aim for an early surf as winds should be lighter then. Expect much smaller surf at south facing beaches such as Bondi and Cronulla.

On Saturday night a weak trough is expected to slide up the southern NSW coast, bringing a shallow southerly change to some regions early Sunday but I don’t think it’ll impact Sydney or the Hunter coasts to any great degree (Wollongong may see moderate winds from the southern quadrant though). 

As such, I think we’ll see light variable winds for most of the day across the greater Sydney and Hunter regions. The model guidance is a little hazy on what might eventuate Sunday afternoon, but for now I think we’ll see reasonably good conditions on the whole. 

As for surf, the NE fetch off our immediate coast will weaken ever so slightly through Saturday which means surf size will fall a little into Sunday, but still should maintain 2ft to almost 3ft sets at NE facing beaches. Wave heights may also trend downards slowly during the day. And once again, expect much smaller surf at south facing beaches such as Bondi and Cronulla.

Next week (Jan 12 onwards)

Jeez, we’ve got a complex period ahead in the weather forecasting department. And unfortunately we’re no closer to having a great deal of confidence on the prospects of a significant swell event. 

All of the ingredients are still there but the various computer models are still quite erratic between model runs and there’s too many possible scenarios that could play out.

Key features are:

1) a steady supply of small trade wind swell through until about mid week at least, sourced from a ridge between New Zealand and New Caledonia. It’s likely to weaken early next week but could potentially be reinvigorated shortly afterwards by a southward tracking Tropical Cyclone.

2) a small trough in the lower SW Tasman Sea early in the week, which could give some useful short range SE swell to the region around Monday (although probably just the Far South and South Coasts).

3) a rebuilding N/NE fetch off the NSW coast through Tuesday, which should build short range NE swells about most regions that afternoon and into early Wednesday.

4) a more significant southerly change around Wednesday (thanks to a low SE of Tasmania), with an associated increase in punchy southerly swell

5) Tropical Cyclone developments in the Coral Sea, which whilst still a long time away in forecast-land, have some potential to deliver a strong NE or E/NE groundswell later next week

So with all of this information at hand, the first half of next week looks to initially begin with a mix of residual swells on Monday (and a possible pulse of SE swell, but mainly in the south), followed by NE swell through Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday, all the while with an undercurrent of small E/NE swell. 

Monday and early Tuesday look to deliver the best conditions (at this stage) but there is a westerly change on the cards for Wednesday that could clean up the short range NE swell nicely for the early session.

I’ll detail all of this more comprehensively in Monday’s update. Have a great weekend!


batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink Saturday, 10 Jan 2015 at 6:32pm

It has that look of a very fine possibility turning into a somewhat average reality.

Every model run seems to make it less appealing.

At least there should be some swell in the water, somewhere, at sometime.

rusty-moran's picture
rusty-moran's picture
rusty-moran Saturday, 10 Jan 2015 at 9:15pm

Awesome. I don't need to reorganise my busy schedule for any surfing then.

evosurfer's picture
evosurfer's picture
evosurfer Sunday, 11 Jan 2015 at 4:12pm

Im going to buy another race car. No waves on the east coast AGAIN.

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink Sunday, 11 Jan 2015 at 6:30pm

Ok, those schizophrenic charts latest update suggest much better possibility for the nor east swell for much of NSW, still some south swell to follow, and then a cyclone tracking from just off the nq coast to the south east, which if it comes off would have the big wave boys getting their jetskis tuned up and waves for everywhere for a week or more.

I can't keep up with the changing fortunes. Reorganise the schedule again rusty.