Large and windy Thurs, easing Fri; then another large S'ly swell Mon onwards
Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 8th April)
Best Days: Thurs: Large, windy S'ly tending S/SE swell, best suited to protected corners. Fri: moderating S/SE swell and early W/SW winds. Sat: good winds but steadily easing surf. Mon/Tues/Wed: Large S'ly tending SE swell with good winds likely.
Recap: Lovely small beach breaks on Tuesday with an inconsistent E/NE swell around 2ft and light offshore winds. Very small this morning but the expected S’ly swell has been building slowly since about lunchtime, with 3ft sets showing at south facing beaches as of 3pm (and a further building trend expected all afternoon and evening).
This week (Apr 9 - 10)
Large and windy: that’s the top line overview for Thursday.
This deepening Tasman Low (not an ECL) is expected to remain at strength overnight with 40-50kt+ winds wrapping around its western flank. The slow moving nature of this system will further accentuate wave heights from this source, so we’re looking at one of the bigger south swells in many months.
South facing beaches should see solid 8-10ft surf throughout Thursday (with likely bigger sets at offshore bombies, and in the Hunter) however winds will be strong to gale force SW at times, trending S’ly through the mid-late afternoon. A slight easing trend in surf size is likely through the afternoon.
Wave heights will be considerably smaller at locations not completely open to the south: 4-6ft most open beaches, 2-3ft surf inside southern corners (with an easing trend into the afternoon). However keep in mind that there’ll be a lot of water moving around and a significant south-north sweep, so take care if you’re considering paddling out at the southern end of an open beach.
On Friday, wave heights will level out but still remain quite solid through the early morning, thanks to the slow moving nature of this Tasman Low. South facing beaches could see early bombs between 6ft and maybe 8ft, but it’ll ease back to 4-6ft through the middle of the day. Again, it’ll be much smaller at locations not open to the south (early 3-5ft open beaches, 2ft southern corners) however winds should be light W/SW across most coasts early before trending moderate S’ly from mid-late morning onwards.
As such, there should be no shortage of great waves across the region to finsih the working week.
This weekend (Apr 11 - 12)
Our Thursday swell will be well and truly on the way out for the weekend. But Saturday morning should still see early 3-4ft sets at south facing beaches (occ bigger sets in the Hunter) ahead of an easing trend during the day. Winds are looking very good with light offshores through the morning ahead of a light to moderate sea breeze after lunch. Expect smaller surf at beaches not open to the south.
Sunday will pan out smaller with mainly weak residual swells to 2ft at exposed beaches in the morning, and light winds that may veer S’ly into the afternoon as a weak front clips the southern part of the state. At this stage it’s not expected to push very far north so we may end up with OK conditions after lunch but for now there’s nothing to get too excited about.
Also worth nothing that a small long period south swell may also show up late afternoon (unrelated to the change), generated by a deep Southern Ocean Low later this week - but it’ll only generate occasional 2ft sets at south facing beaches (and may not arrive in Sydney until after dark anyway).
Next week (Apr 13 onwards)
As discussed in Monday’s notes we’ve got an excellent synoptic pattern setting up for next week. An amplifying Long Wave Trough over the south-eastern Tasman Sea is expected to focus off a series of intense fronts right through the primo south swell window on Sunday, aimed ideally for the entire NSW coast.
The sheer length and strength of this fetch looks incredible at the moment, stretching from the ice shelf through to about Sydney latitudes. This means we can expect a large and sustained south swell event through the first half of next week.
Current thinking is that Monday will dawn small, but the new swell will start to show quickly and by the end of the day it’ll be very sizeable, somewhere near 8-10ft at south facing beaches. And, the large wavelengths associated with this swell will significantly amplify wave heights at offshore reefs, so expect even bigger surf at these locations (12ft+.. or bigger?). As per usual, locations not open to the south will be considerably smaller.
The other good news is that due to the storm tracks’ more eastern position, it should exert less influence on local winds. We may see a southerly flow develop as the swell builds but it probably won’t have much strength.
This swell is expected to peak overnight before easing Tuesday (early 8ft+ sets at south facing beaches, smaller elsewhere, but bigger at offshore reefs) but we may see a secondary SE swell arrive on Tuesday, originating from a re-intensification of the primary fetch just off the southern tip of New Zealand’s South Island, later Sunday.
This won’t be any bigger than the pre-existing, easing S’ly swell but should maintain strong energy across all coasts (easing Wednesday afternoon). At this stage Tuesday afternoon should see good sets in the 4-6ft range, holding into Wednesday morning.
Let’s wait and see how Friday’s models pan out but for now, the first half of next week looks particularly exciting.