Fun beach breaks ahead this week
Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 23rd February)
Best Days: Good waves are expected pretty much every day (Tue AM, Wed AM, Fri AM ths pick). Thurs probably the low point (size wise) of the week however most days should offer favourable winds at some point.
Recap: Pulsey E/NE swell that eased a little later Saturday (3-5ft early) and into Sunday morning, before building again during the afternoon. Another temporary easing trend this morning with this afternoon showing some bigger waves with the tide (4ft). Winds have been onshore but mainly light to moderate in strength, occasionally variable at times.
This week (Feb 24 - 27)
With ex-TC Marcia now weakening off the SE Qld coast, it feels like we can finally kick off the week with a recalibration of the forecast models.
Fortunately, there’s still a 15-25kts E/NE fetch associated with ex-TC Marcia positioned in our mid-range NE swell window, which will provide some fun swell for Tuesday (3ft open beaches, maybe a few bigger bombs at NE swell magnets) and early Wednesday (2-3ft, easing). Expect smaller waves at south facing beaches.
Tuesday’s winds are looking good for the morning - generally light and variable, however a gusty southerly change is expected mid-afternoon. Southern corners should continue to provide good waves even once the change pushes through, as it’ll also pick up the E/NE swell nicely.
This E/NE fetch will steer outside our swell window on Tuesday so the associated swell source will dry up for the rest of the week.
However a long, thin S/SE tending SE fetch trailing Tuesday’s southerly change should generate a fun SE swell for Wednesday in the 2-3ft range at south facing beaches. Tie this in with a light variable morning wind (thanks to Tuesday’s front weakening quickly overnight) and the secondary E/NE swell, and we should see some fun A-frames at open beaches for the Wednesday morning session.
Thursday is then expected to be the low point of the week with easing E/NE and SE swells in the 2ft+ range at open beaches. Winds should be light and variable all day under a weak synoptic pattern.
Friday looks like we’ll finish the week with some fun waves, thanks to a new pulse of long range E/NE swell, generated by an impressive trough that developed well NE of New Zealand over the weekend. Core wind strengths were reasonably impressive however the system wasn’t positioned perfectly within our swell window and it’s slowly snuck inside the swell shadow of New Zealand too, which will shave back the size potential.
As such, we’re looking at a very inconsistent swell event on Friday - but NE swell magnets should pull in occasional 3ft sets at times. With a lack of other notable swells in the water, there could be long breaks between sets. However early indications are that conditions will be nice and clean with light winds and afternoon NE sea breezes. I’ll fine tune the details on this in Wednesday’s notes.
This weekend (Feb 28 - Mar 1)
Friday’s long range E/NE groundswell is expected to ease slowly through the weekend, and at this stage there are no other significant sources of swell on the charts.
We should see early 2-3ft sets at NE facing beaches on Saturday (smaller at south facing beaches) but it’ll trend towards during the day and into Sunday.
Locally freshening NE winds from Saturday afternoon onwards should whip up a small NE windswell for exposed beaches on Sunday but if it happens, conditions will probably be a little second hand thanks to the accompanying nor'easters. So at this stage your weekend priorities should be aligned around a Saturday morning session.
Next week (Mar 2 onwards)
Looking really good at this stage.
The trades north of New Zealand are expected to fire up later this week and through the weekend (and beyond), generating a good E/NE swell that should start to appear around Monday and build strongly through the middle of next week, possibly holding through to the weekend. Current indications are for a fun 3-4ft from this source but there’s a chance we could see an upgrade (some of the models have the fetch retrograding to the coast, which could deliver a similar pattern as what we’ve seen over the last four or five days).
Otherwise, there are a couple of flukey sources of south swell due early to mid next week (associated with a developing trough off the South Coast) but we’ll need a few more days to assess their potential.