Easing weekend surf, ahead of a strong series of south swells next week

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 29th May)

Best Days: Sat: small SE and S'ly swell with good winds. Mon/Tues: windy south swell but some workable options. Wed/Thurs/Fri: moderate S/SE swell with generally light winds. 

Recap: Thursday held in a little bigger than expected, with S/SE energy maintaining solid 3-4ft sets across south facing beaches and clean conditions persisting under a light variable wind. Today’s anticipated unusual SE swell arrived overnight (MHL’s Sydney buoy picking up peak swell periods around 15 seconds) however there was quite a wide range in wave heights across the coast - we’ve had reports of pumping 4-5ft surf at many spots, while some locations (including one supposedly reliable Northern Beaches locale where I surfed) was much smaller, and extremely inconsistent. On the whole I’m reasonably pleased with the forecast this week though - the source of the swell was quite unusual and I think this week will certainly be remembered down the track as one of the better runs of SE swell of the year in Southern NSW. 

This weekend (May 30 - Jun 1)

No changes for the weekend outlook. Light to moderate offshore winds are expected both days and we’re looking at a steady, easing trend from the SE Saturday with only a minor top up in meagre S’ly swell for Sunday.

Early Saturday morning may see a few stray sets between 2ft and almost 3ft at exposed swell magnets - with very long waits between ‘em - but expect smaller surf into the afternoon. And as per today’s experience, there’s likely to be a wide variation in wave heights from coast to coast.

Sunday’s small new southerly groundswell is unlikely to translate to much size across most regions but don’t be surprised if the Hunter Coast picks up a few sneaky (and extremely inconsistent) sets in the 2ft+ range. Otherwise, keep your expectations very low. 

Next week (June 2 - 6)

We’ve got a series of vigorous fronts lining up for next week, and they’re expected to deliver a strong series of south swells across the East Coast.

The first system is expected to drop inside our immediate swell window in the early hours of Monday morning, however we probably won’t see much size at dawn - we’re much more likely to experience a rapid increase from mid-late morning onwards, with the afternoon peak (5-6ft south facing beaches) persisting through Tuesday. Winds will be fresh SW tending S/SW however there are likely to be pockets of early morning W/SW winds in a few areas (such as the Northern Beaches).

A low will form in the Tasman Sea in conjunction with these fronts, and although it’s expected to remain slow moving towards New Zealand, we won’t see any direct swell from it. Instead, a series of additional polar fronts being steered up through the south-eastern Tasman Sea into this pattern will maintain S/SE energy through the second half of the week. At this stage it’s still like to be quite strong, although smaller than the Mon/Tues peak (say, 3-5ft south facing beaches?).

However, local winds will be much more favourable during this time thanks to a high pressure system ridging in from the west. As such, don’t worry too much about the Mon/Tues swells as they’re likely to be wind affected at some locations, and a little ragged in quality - aim for a surf from Wednesday thru' Friday, as it’ll be smaller, more manageable, there’ll be a little more SE in the swell direction and local winds will be much lighter creating favourable conditions. 

More on this in Monday’s update. ‘Till then have a great weekend.


Gyro3000's picture
Gyro3000's picture
Gyro3000 Friday, 29 May 2015 at 5:34pm

Surf came and went just as predicted this week. One of the best long lived swells in recent memory. Thanks for the forecast Ben,even today's (Friday's) swell was a good size , with long spells in between sets, just as predicted.Ive surfed every day this week, I'm just about worn out ( good feeling). Wind predictions were just about spot on too. Cheers!

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Friday, 29 May 2015 at 5:56pm

Awesome.. Thanks for the nice feedback Gyro.

maxe's picture
maxe's picture
maxe Friday, 29 May 2015 at 11:00pm

IMO this weeks awesome swell exceeded expectations with both size and winds where I'm at on the Central Coast, nice work Ben!