Strong south swells on the way
Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 4th March)
Best Days: Fri: punchy south swell with early offshore winds. Sat: renewal of strong south swell with early light offshores.
Recap: Small mix of SE swells on Tuesday, becoming weaker today with the swell direction tending more E’ly. Mainly light winds both days.
This week (Mar 5-6)
It’s been a little while since we’ve had some strong southerly activity on the cards, and the short term period is certainly going to maintain our focus towards this part of our swell window.
A vigorous front will cross Bass Straight tonight, entering the south-west Tasman Sea early Thursday before it powers through to the north-east.
This process is a little faster than Monday’s model runs suggested, so we’ll probably see a lot more size late Thursday than what was initially expected. However, it will be accompanied with strong SW tending S’ly winds. So those locations picking up all of the size (4-5ft sets) will be very bumpy. There’ll be some bigger (but very wind affected) bombs in the Hunter.
Prior to this, we’ll see a small mix of residual swell through Thursday morning, with the new south swell probably starting to show in Sydney just after lunchtime (earlier on the South Coast, a little later in the Hunter). As it builds, expect much smaller, but better quality waves at protected beaches.
Thursday’s new swell event is expected to peak in the early hours of Friday morning and trend downwards during the day. Fortunately, by this time winds will be light W/NW so most coasts should see clean conditions. Expect 4-5ft waves at south facing beaches at dawn (a few bigger bombs in the Hunter), easing a little throughout the day to 3-4ft. Wave heights will be smaller at most open beaches (3-4ft, easing to 2-3ft) and southern corners will be tiny due to the swell direction.
Local winds should be mainly light on Friday, and even the chance of an afternoon sea breeze probably won’t have much strength in it either, so there should be good options all day.
This weekend (Mar 7-8)
A strong secondary front has been touted in the models over the last 24 hours, and this is starting to consolidate nicely into the weekend forecast.
We’re looking at a resurgence of fresh south swell overnight on Friday, with strong 3-5ft waves at south facing beaches for much of Saturday: again, a few bigger bombs in the Hunter but smaller waves at locations with less southerly exposure.
Because Saturday’s swell source will be a eastward-tracking low/front (a relatively fast moving, cut-off system), we’ll see just a brief pulse from it that’ll probably last just a single day. Therefore, by Sunday wave heights will really start to fall away, maybe some leftover 2-3ft sets at south facing beaches early but much smaller through the afternoon.
Fortunately, both mornings are looking really good conditions-wise with light offshore winds. Freshening NE breezes are expected through Saturday afternoon and they’ll probably develop a little earlier on Sunday, but on the whole there’ll be plenty of waves on offer. Just aim for an early surf.
Next week (Mar 9 onwards)
The long term outlook still remains focused back towards tropical latitudes.
The trades are expected to begin a restrengthening phase from about Sunday onwards however with their more western position (i.e. up through the Coral Sea) there’s no indication if they’ll favour southern NSW as yet.
There are also some suggestions for a very significant Tropical Cyclone way out near the Vanuatu/Solomons region early-mid next week but not all of the models are in agreeance with this (and, based on recent model trends, anything of major interest in that region will probably remain towards the ‘back’ of the model run for the next few days.. i.e. continually delaying its arrival). Nevertheless there are certainly good signs for some strong activity here over the coming weeks.
Elsewhere, our near swell window looks like it’ll remain a little flukey beyond the weekend with only small local sources of swell and occasionally some small refracted Southern Ocean groundswell. But I’ll take a look at all of that on Friday.