Tiny weekend; much better options from the south next week

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 26th June)

Best Days: Entire period from Monday thru' next weekend: series of small to moderate, long period south swells with generally good winds (except Wednesday at this stage). 

Recap: Very small conditions padded out Thursday and a southerly change reached Sydney around lunchtime, blowing out exposed beaches. A small southerly windswell built across the region overnight (2ft Sydney, 3ft in Newcastle) but also in the water today was a much-discussed (since Wednesday last week!) but low-confidence east swell, providing inconsistent 2ft waves to exposed beaches. Unfortunately conditions have been generally average under a southerly flow, however some locations reported light W’ly winds this morning. 

This weekend (June 27 - 28)

Nothing much to get excited about for the weekend. Main points being:

1. Today’s small east and south swells will ease through Saturday

2. The Tasman Sea is otherwise devoid of swell generating weather systems in our swell window.

3. A prolonged series of vigorous, intense fronts below the continent - which will eventually supply surf to NSW - are currently too zonal (west-east) in alignment to favour swell production for Southern NSW. The first major system to line up inside our swell window will pass south of Tasmania Saturday night but the ETA from this is early Monday.

That being said, there’s a chance for a few stray waves pushing through on Sunday, from the zonally-aligned front passing through the Southern Tasman Sea tonight.

Any energy - if it arrives - won’t make landfall ‘till Sunday and even then I’m doubtful that we’ll see much more than a handful of 1.5ft sets at exposed south facing beaches (Newcastle may see a little more size, near 2ft+, but expect very long breaks between the sets).

For the most part, expect small, weak easing swells on Saturday with light offshore winds. Many beaches will become flat on Sunday but if you’re desperate for a paddle keep an eye on the Bondi and Newcastle surfcams - if there’s any rideable energy out there with this small south swell, it’ll show best here. Light winds are also expected Sunday.

Otherwise, I’d really consider other activities away from the coast this weekend. And you never know - it could be the only tiny weekend of the year to rack up some serious brownie points. 

Next week (June 29 onwards)

We’ve got a succession of very strong low/front combos sweeping through our south swell window from Saturday through until next weekend (at least), and although they won’t generate large waves for Southern NSW, the swell periods will be strong and the surf will be quite punchy.

As alluded to in Wednesday’s notes, each of these swells will be spaced about two days apart, with smaller conditions between them. The timing’s not 100% yet, but on the balance it looks like being a peak sometime around Monday, Wednesday and Friday - however the backside of each pulse shouldn’t drop too much in size. 

As for local winds, aside from Wednesday when we may see a local trough induce a shallow southerly flow about the coast, winds should generally be light offshore most days

So, at this stage Monday’s looking pretty strong with south facing beaches in Sydney picking up inconsistent 3ft+ sets at times, with much smaller waves elsewhere due to the swell direction. The Hunter performs much better under these acute south swells so we’re looking at occasional bombs around 4-5ft.

This swell will then ease slowly through Tuesday ahead of the next long period swell (originating from an even stronger low south of Tasmania late Monday) that’s due to arrive on Wednesday - maybe not until lunchtime. At this stage the storm looks less favourably aligned up stronger core wind speeds will generate larger swell periods (18-20 seconds) and this should keep eave heights in a similar size range at south facing beaches (3ft+ in Sydney, 4-5ft in the Hunter) for the late session - maybe even some bigger bombs at offshore bombies. Keep in mind though that Wednesday currently looks like it’ll see the diciest winds. 

Easing swells are then expected through Thursday ahead of another strong front through the lower Tasman Sea that’ll whip up a fresh south swell for sometime Friday (peaking late). At this stage we can probably expect a similar size range as per Monday and Wednesday but we’ll take a closer look at this on Monday’s updated data.

Just a side note: our surf model doesn't seem to be picking up these small, long period south swells very well and is consequently undercalling prospective surf heights (IMO). However I'll have a better idea on surf size on Monday - if the storm track trends a little more zonal than is currently modeled we may see a size downgrade.

Beyond Friday, it looks like further strong fronts will maintain strong southerly swell energy through next weekend. So it looks like this coming weekend’s tiny conditions will be the smallest waves we’ll see for some time. 

Have a great weekend, see ya Monday!


Anonyomous's picture
Anonyomous's picture
Anonyomous Saturday, 27 Jun 2015 at 5:57pm

Hi just wondering what the update on Mondays swell is