Fun weekend of waves on offer
Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 27th February)
Best Days: Sat: get in early for the best conditions under an easing E/NE swell. Sun: fun NE windswell with a window of good winds around the middle of the day.
Recap: Fun SE swell Thursday morning (2-3ft) with mainly light winds. New E’ly swell filling in this morning (2-3ft+) with early light offshore winds tending onshore.
This weekend (Feb 28 - Mar 1)
Looking like a fun weekend of waves, with a few windows of opportunity on offer.
Today’s new E/NE swell will fade throughout Saturday so you’ll have to make the most of the early session for the most size. And, it’ll be rather inconsistent too. At dawn we should see occasional 2-3ft sets at most open beaches that’ll be clean with light NW winds, but smaller surf will prevail from about mid-late morning onwards, and freshening nor’easter after lunch will create bumpy conditions. Expect smaller surf at south facing beaches.
Saturday afternoon’s freshening NE winds will strengthen overnight and should whip up a peaky short range NE swell for Sunday. And the good news is that - as mentioned on Wednesday - an approaching southerly change will disrupt the local NE airstream (from about mid-morning onwards), creating a period of light variable winds through the middle of the day, ahead of a gusty S’ly arriving across the South Coast mid-late afternoon, and into Sydney just before dinnertime. As such we should see a good stint of favourable conditions during the day.
Wave heights should reach 2-3ft at most NE facing beaches, so keep an eye on the local winds and pounce as soon as it starts to back off. As such it may not quite be worth an early surf, so spread out your activities through the day to navigate through the weekend crowds.
Next week (Mar 2 onwards)
Sunday’s late S’ly change will whip up a peaky short range south swell for Monday. No major size is expected (2-3ft+ south facing beaches, much smaller elsewhere) and there’s still a reasonable chance for a lingering S/SE flow in the wake of the change - so anticipate average conditions at those beaches picking up most of the size.
This short range swell will probably tend more SE in direction through Tuesday but will concurrently ease in size. Winds should be much better by then as well, so this looks like an OK option for a small mid-week beach break session.
Very little E/NE or NE swell is expected by this time so surf size will be smaller away from the south swell magnets.
Otherwise, we’ve got a few sources of swell for the rest of next week. A moderate but steady, and stationary trade flow north of New Zealand should build a small E/NE swell from about Tuesday afternoon onwards (probably holding into next weekend too) but we probably won’t see much more than a couple of feet of slow swell from this source, most likely through the latter part of the week.
A much better bet is a strong series of fronts pushing through the southern Tasman from late Wednesday onwards, that’ll generate a couple of good southerly swells for us. The first (arriving sometime Thursday) will be mainly short range energy and will likely be accompanied with a fair amount of southerly wind too.
However stronger southerly groundswell from the parent low - located much further south - are then due through Friday and Saturday, and by this time the local wind field should ease as the pressure gradient weakens. Further fronts are expected behind this that should maintain our focus towards the south right through into the start of the following week.
As for size, right now somewhere in the 4-5ft range at south facing beaches seems a reasonable ball park figure but I’ll have a little more confidence on this in Monday’s update.