Lots of swell ahead for Southern NSW
Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 28th August)
*note: these Forecaster Notes will be brief this afternoon, apologies for the inconvenience*
Best Days: Sat: offshore winds and a fun easing S'ly swell. Mon: strong S'ly swell but with dicey winds, good waves at protected locations. Tues: unreal SE swell with offshore winds, easing Wed. Thurs/Fri: complex setup, possibly another ECL, but dicey winds.
Recap: A strong mix of easing E’ly and building S’ly groundswell pushed slightly above forecast expectations on Thursday, with locations south of Sydney reaching 6ft+ whilst from Sydney north surf size was in the 4-5ft range. Smaller waves have prevailed today and conditions have been clean for almost the entire period with offshore winds up until a few hours ago when fresh southerly winds pushed across Southern NSW thanks to a developing low off the South Coast. A late kick in new short range S’ly swell is likely.
This weekend (Aug 29 - 30)
The new S’ly swell from today’s low will be a brief affair, and will ease throughout Saturday however the early morning should see 3-4ft waves at south facing beaches, with bigger surf in the 4-5ft+ range across the Hunter. Thanks to the low clearing out to the east, winds will veer back to the W/SW so conditions should be quite clean for much of the day.
On Sunday, we’ll initially see smaller surf early morning ahead of a building S’ly swell from mid-late morning onwards, originating from a secondary fetch located much further south (developing tonight, SE of Tasmania). This is expected to push a larger S’ly swell across Southern NSW during the day and we should see late sets in the 5-6ft+ range at south facing beaches (smaller elsewhere, maybe some bombs in the Hunter).
Winds are looking good for the morning but we’ll see afternoon southerlies kick in as an associated front crosses the coast. So, expect bumpy conditions at exposed beaches as the swell builds, with smaller, cleaner options at sheltered locations.
Next week (Aug 31 onwards)
Sunday’s late kick in new S’ly swell will hold through early Monday before easing during the day. South facing beaches should maintain 6ft sets at dawn (bigger bombs in the Hunter) however fresh southerly winds are likely to plague the coast, leading to bumpy conditions at exposed spots. There’s an outside chance for a brief period of early W/SW winds but this will probably be confined to a select few locations (such as the Northern Beaches) and probably won’t last very long. Expect smaller surf into the afternoon.
Yet another fetch developing within this complex southern Tasman Low over the weekend is set to deliver a better quality SE swell for Tuesday. Core wind strengths don’t look quite as strong as the previous fetch but we’re still looking at a healthy 4ft to maybe (and less frequently) 6ft across exposed south facing beaches during the day, of which we may also see some bigger waves across the South Coast thanks to the fetch being more favourably aligned to this region. Surf will be smaller at those beaches not open to the south though there probably won't be quite the usual size difference as we see under straight S'ly swells.
Even better - local winds are looking to veer light W’ly thanks to the low departing to the east, so conditions should be nice and clean.
For Wednesday - we’ll see easing SE swells and light variable winds.
From Thursday onwards, we’ve got another complex low expected to develop off the coast that could result in another ECL to finish the week. Current model guidance suggests strengthening E’ly winds both days (and solid, building short range swell). This will invariably move around (timing, and coastal target) but we’re certainly looking at plenty of swell to finish the week (there’l also be a sneaky E/SE in the mix on Thursday, originating from a brief E/SE fetch developing west of Cook straight later Mon/early Tues).
So, the end of next week and the following weekend is currently on target for another large short range swell - but I’ll have more on this in Monday’s update.
No shortage of waves at Bondi this AM.
Looking good in Newy too.
Looks like this second south swell is already kicking in. Shark Island looking deceptively good (the wave out the back just closed out across the reef, was essentially a fat burger):
Couple of bombs starting to show at Bondi too:
Ain't small at Bondi this arvo. Shame about the winds.
G'day Ben, if it's just filling in Sydney today, how long would you guesstimate before hitting up the Yamba area? Got a couple of days off and thinking of heading down. So over this small QLD shit.
It'll be on the North Coast tomorrow... Detailed in Friday's forecast notes for that region.
Cheers Ben, was a little confused when when Crowdy wave buoy started showing an increase around lunch and Coffs isn't showing an increase at all at this time. Less distance from Crowdy to Coffs than Sydney to Crowdy.
Judging by the Shark Island surfcam, winds have just gone S'ly at Cronulla (they have been 20-30kt S'ly at Wattamolla all night, so no big surprises). As such the brief window of early clean conditions is coming to an end - although they should persist across the Northern Beaches for another hour or two.
Still sizey at Bondi too.
S/SW winds kicked in at Little Bay at 9am, and North Head at 11:30am at North Head. Interestingly, Norah Head (Central Coast) swung S/SW at 8:30am (three hours earlier than the Northern Beaches, despite it being further south) - this is due to the local topographical effects of Sydney's North Shore that often steers southerly airstreams around to the west.