Lots of south swell on tap
Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 8th May)
Best Days: Sat: really good south swell with offshore winds. Sun/Mon: smaller pulsey south swell with good winds. Tues thru' Fri: several pulses of S'ly swell, all of 'em possibly quite large (especially Wed/Thurs).
Recap: Small clean waves Thursday and early Friday ahead of a building south swell that’s now pushing an inconsistent 3ft in Sydney, and 4ft across the Hunter (just on the lower side of expectations, but still building). Perfectly clean conditions with light offshore winds.
This weekend (May 9 - 10)
Looks like a great weekend ahead if you have a reliable south swell magnet up your sleeve. We’ve got a combination of mid range and long range south swell for Saturday, and winds will remain straight out of the west both days so the open beaches will be super clean.
I’ve marginally pulled back wave heights for Saturday due to the slower-than-expected upwards trend this afternoon, however that being said - Saturday morning’s surf will consist mainly of long period energy (18 seconds) that could really amplify wave heights at exposed swell magnets and offshore bombies. However, these sets will be rather inconsistent.
Most south facing beaches across the Sydney region should see 3-4ft surf from this source (smaller at beaches with less southerly exposure), but the Hunter always does a lot better from these kinds of patterns and solid 4-6ft surf is still expected across this region.
Expect a small easing trend into Sunday, but with similarly great conditions. South facing beaches in Sydney are likely to be somewhere between 2ft and maybe 3ft (again, much smaller at remaining beaches), but the Hunter should manage excellent 3-5ft surf through the back half of the weekend.
Also in the mix over the weekend will be a small undercurrent of long range E/NE swell, of tropical origins. However no great size is expected from this source.
Next week (May 11 onwards)
We’ve got an extended period of south swell on the cards for the coming week. However, getting the timing of these swells is a little difficult as model guidance is mixed and there’ll be a strong zonal component (west-east) to some parts of the initial pattern, which will reduce size potential from some of the associated fetches.
That being said, we should see southerly swell most days. Monday is expected to see a minor reinforcement of southerly swell from a front existing eastern Bass Strait later Sunday. This should deliver a pulse back into the 3ft range at south facing beaches (bigger in the Hunter), and winds are expected to remain from the west. Confidence is not high on the timing of this new swell though.
A moderate polar low well south of Tasmania will be generating a small south swell during this time - expected to arrive Tuesday and Wednesday - however a more significant cold front is expected to push through Bass Strait on Monday that should generate a much larger short range S’ly swell for early Tuesday, possibly up into the 5-6ft range at south facing beaches (smaller elsewhere, bigger in the Hunter). The Far South Coast may even see this new swell arriving late Monday.
Following this, an even bigger and stronger front/low combo is modelled to cross Tasmanian longitudes around Tuesday, and the latest model guidance is quite impressive - current GFS data (from the 18Z run) building Wednesday, holding Thursday and early Friday before easing into the weekend - with easy 6-8ft+ sets across south facing beaches at the height of the event (again bigger near 10ft+ in the Hunter). The first half of this swell would probably be accompanied with strong W/SW tending SW winds too.
It’s still early days to get excited, but there is a broad agreement that a pattern of this nature will develop in some way shape or form (and it’s been on the cards for quite a few days now), so it’ll be worth getting ready for some sizeable action out of the south.
What we could see happen though is the entire pattern shunted forward by a day or so - this has already happened since Wednesday's notes - so don't be surprised if things move around a little by the time we get to Monday. See you then for an update.