Lots of S/SE and S'ly swell ahead; E'ly swell later next week

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Ben Matson (thermalben)

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 19th June)

Best Days: Sat: strong, easing S/SE swell with reasonable conditions. Sun: combo of easing S/SE swell and steady S'ly groundswell with light winds. Mon: fun S'ly groundswell with good winds, smaller Tues. Fri: new E'ly groundswell.

Recap: A small NE swell provided fun waves Thursday morning, ahead of a building S/SE swell into the afternoon with more favourable-than-expected local winds  for much of the day (onshores kicked in late afternoon). Today, the S/SE swell has held in the 4-5ft range for much of the day with a few bigger sets starting to show this afternoon. Early W’ly winds in some areas trended a more regional S/SW throughout the day although it hasn’t been quite as strong as model forecasts depicted on Wednesday.

This weekend (June 20 - 21)

No major changes to the weekend forecast. We’ve got a strong but easing S/SE swell expected all day Saturday, ahead of a new S’ly groundswell arriving late Saturday afternoon that’ll dominate proceedings on Sunday.

Saturday should see 3-5ft surf across most open coasts through the morning but there is still a chance for a lingering southerly airstream in some regions. However, we should see periods of light W’ly winds in at least a few locations (typically the Northern Beaches) so this should allow for reasonably clean waves. Expect smaller surf at beaches not completely open to the south.

Sunday’s conditions are looking much better with a light variable airstream expected in most regions, and although the S/SE swell will be smaller again by this time, we’ll have a new long period south swell across the coast generated by a strong low/front that passed south of Tasmania yesterday (peak swell periods could reach 16-18 seconds late Saturday afternoon/evening as the leading edge arrives; Sunday should level out at 14-15 seconds).

This swell is expected to create a much wider range in wave heights due to the swell direction; south facing beaches should see 3ft to almost 4ft surf but it’ll be much smaller elsewhere. However, the Hunter region often performs really well under these scenarios, so as highlighted in Wednesday’s notes, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see 4ft to nearly 6ft surf at some of the region’s swell magnets on Sunday

Next week (June 22 onwards)

We’ve got lots of swell potential on the cards for next week. A deep low tracking south of Tasmania on Saturday is expected to generate a new S’ly swell for Monday, with 3ft+ sets at south facing beaches but again, much smaller surf elsewhere due to the acute southerly direction (although the Hunter should pull in another couple of feet from this source too). Local winds will be around to the northern quadrant on Monday, but only light and mainly NW in direction.

This same low will continue to generate smaller S/SE energy through Tuesday (with light NW winds) and Wednesday (with freshening N'ly winds) thanks to a brief intensification of the low as it tracks eastern through the lower Tasman Sea, but of more importance to us are the developments in the Northern Tasman Sea around the same time.

A weak low forming off the North Coast today is expected to track eastward and dissipate over the weekend, before regenerating near Norfolk Island on Monday. This phase won’t be particularly useful for Southern NSW, but what’s of great interest is a second, more significant feature developing within a broad, linked tropical depression north of New Zealand. This is expected to generate easterly gales through Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Although aligned more E/SE in orientation than is ideal, we’re still looking at a reasonable spread of new swell back towards Southern NSW and this is expected to result in a good quality E’ly groundswell arriving very late Thursday and peaking through Friday with good 3-4ft sets at exposed beaches. 

I’m not totally confident on this event, as the models have been moving around a little over the last few days, some runs of which had the low positioned well and truly within the swell shadow of New Zealand’s North Island. However we now seem to be developing more convergence between successive models runs so it’ll be interesting to see how Monday’s data pans out - right now we could have some very fun waves to finish next week. See you Monday!


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thermalben's picture
thermalben Monday, 22 Jun 2015 at 2:50pm

Couple of nice sets at Bondi this morning but seems to have slowed this afternoon.