Strong south swells on the way

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

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.


sirfin's picture
sirfin's picture
sirfin Thursday, 5 Mar 2015 at 8:13pm

Ben do you know if this ssw swell will reach south coast area. Kiama, Gerringong, etc. Thanks

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Thursday, 5 Mar 2015 at 8:31pm

The first swell should already be there now (Bondi looked a good 4-5ft tonight). Plenty of swell tomorrow and Saturday.

evosurfer's picture
evosurfer's picture
evosurfer Thursday, 5 Mar 2015 at 9:53pm

Cronulla 1715hrs Wanda 2-3 junk just rubbish 1900hrs 6ftplus easy solid bigger really
but rubbish. Fingers X for the morning off shore.

evosurfer's picture
evosurfer's picture
evosurfer Friday, 6 Mar 2015 at 7:35am

Ok swell has backed right back again 0700 hrs but it is offshore.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Friday, 6 Mar 2015 at 12:06pm

Dunno where you were Evo but there were some good lumps out reefs this morning.

erikb's picture
erikb's picture
erikb Friday, 6 Mar 2015 at 1:36pm

Surfed Bondi late last night and again this morning and also reckon it dropped off a bit overnight. Checked it again just now and looked like it had picked up again. Some solid 6ft sets.. 3 guys out till the shark alarm went off..

oiley's picture
oiley's picture
oiley Friday, 6 Mar 2015 at 10:05am

dawn patrol was mackin with the westerly, but dropped away fast with the high tide - feels like autumn has arrived

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Friday, 6 Mar 2015 at 10:13am

The buoy readings are phenomenal in the spike and drop observed by you Evo.

I surfed Longy and it was an inconsistent 3-4ft, but the Longy Bommie was a consistent 6ft and one set pushed through Germans that would of had to be 8ft easy, especially to break on the high tide.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Friday, 6 Mar 2015 at 12:08pm

Bit of size up Newy way this morning. Photo taken by Dave Anderson our Newcastle reporter.