Sunday the peak of NE windswell

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Guy Dixon (Guy Dixon)

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Guy Dixon (issued Wednesday 16th December)

Best Days: Early each morning for waves of variable quality, possibly Monday morning preceding southerly change.


Tuesday was undersized, with 1-2ft peaks dribbling form the northeast throughout the day. Conditions were workable early under light winds, soon becoming slightly bumpy as a northeasterly seabreeze increased.

A cluster of severe thunderstorms kept surfers out of the water along the Sydney stretch for the first half of today, with wind gusts in excess of 210 km/h at Kurnell and heavy rain leading to localised flash flooding. As the threat of thunderstorms passed, anyone who was keen for a wave was disappointed with only a small and soft dribble of NE windswell to around 1-2ft, slightly bigger across the Hunter with sets in the 2ft range.

This week (Thursday 17th - Friday 18th):

A Tasman ridge is looking to dominate during the remainder of the week steering a localised north/northeasterly airflow along the NSW coast.

This north/northeasterly fetch, although modestly sized and not overly strong is likely to be the main source of swell over the coming days. Having said this, this airflow looks to weaken late this afternoon and overnight into Thursday, leading to a plateau of swell size throughout Thursday.

We are looking at weak 1ft+ options, with the occasional 2ft set across the open beaches on Thursday under an increasing northeasterly breeze. The morning holds the best chance of a clean wave, as breezes will be at their lightest.

Friday should see a slight increase in size as the pressure gradient tightens and a north/northeasterly fetch re-develops. As for size, it’s not looking like anything ground breaking, with small peaks in the 1-2ft range across the open beaches.

Similarly to Thursday, winds look to be at their lightest, and most northerly in the morning, increasing from the northeast later.

This weekend (Saturday 19th - Sunday 20th):

The weekend is likely to see more size, with local north/northeasterly fetch increasing further. The surf is expected to build to the 2ft+ range by Saturday afternoon, however conditions aren’t looking all that enticing with gusty northerly breezes, tending northeasterly throughout the day.

Sunday should see the peak in northeasterly windswell, building to the 3ft range by the afternoon, with the odd 4ft set on dark.

Just for something different, northerly winds are on the cards early, tending northeasterly and becoming particularly gusty in the afternoon. 

Each morning holds the best opportunity for a wave, however it’ll be tricky to find a wave with the swell coming from the same direction as the wind. Don’t get your hopes up for high quality surf.

Next week (Monday 21st onward):

A southerly change is looking to move through at some stage on Monday morning, likely very early (there is still model uncertainty). In either scenario, hit it early to snag a few workable peaks in the 3ft range as winds swing from the north through to the south. The window of opportunity doesn’t look overly long, and there isn’t a whole lot of time for conditions to clean up, but it’s the best opportunity over the coming week for a clean wave.

As the day progresses, the open beaches are likely to fade as the northeasterly windswell eases, while a short range southerly swell builds in the wake of the change to the 2ft range at the magnets. Conditions will more than likely be poor across the exposed south facing beaches, so make the most of northeasterly left overs on Monday following the change.

A more substantial southerly groundswell generated by the core fetches associated with with southerly change should move up the coast on Tuesday, building to the 3ft range at south facing beaches, peaking on Wednesday in the 4ft range.

Unfortunately, we will have to make do with a moderate southeasterly flow on Tuesday and Wednesday, creating workable but bumpy conditions at the spots picking up the most size.


oiley's picture
oiley's picture
oiley Thursday, 17 Dec 2015 at 9:17am

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