Small S/SE groundswell peaking Saturday, otherwise small and ordinary

Guy Dixon picture
Guy Dixon (Guy Dixon)

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Guy Dixon (issued Friday 4th March)

Best Days: Saturday morning at south facing beaches, otherwise protected northern corners early.


A small mix of residual southerly swell and background easterly swell has been breaking across the NSW coast over the past couple of days, with a northeasterly windswell increasing today to around 1-2ft. 

All in all, a brief period of light winds has been on offer each morning, soon giving way to a northeasterly seabreeze. Even for those who took advantage of these light breezes each morning, conditions were dicey with plenty of residual bump in the mix.

This weekend (Saturday 5th - Sunday 6th):

We are starting to see a pulse of long range south/southeasterly swell fill in across south facing beaches this afternoon, although undersized on the leading edge of the swell front. Instead, Saturday morning should see the majority of the size with inconsistent sets building to the 2-3ft range across the south swell magnets.

This south/southeasterly groundswell which has been generated by east/southeasterly fetches on the southern quadrants of a low south of New Zealand is likely to gradually fade throughout Sunday, being replaced by an increasing easterly trade-swell into Sunday.

This trade energy is largely as a result of an easterly fetch which has been extending out from behind the swell shadow of New Zealand’s North Island overnight and throughout today, steered by a strong blocking ridge residing over the Tasman. Open beaches should see a relatively steady stream of options in the 2ft range throughout Sunday, easing from a similar size on Monday.

Make the most of the early hours of each morning as winds look to tend light north/northwesterly (particularly south of Sydney - more so on Sunday) for a brief, fleeting moment before a north/northeasterly airflow dominates for the remainder of the day.

Next week (Monday 7th onward):

This same blocking ridge has also been steering a north/northeasterly local fetch along the coast of NSW, although becoming weak and disjointed in recent times.

This energy is barely even registering on the swell models, but should add around 1ft of short range into the mix for the open beaches each day. Unfortunately, when the airflow is this light, the swell generation is insignificant, but enough to have an impact on the quality of the surf during the day.

To work around this, the only opportunity for an okay wave will be in the early morning when winds are at their lightest with a north/northwesterly component. Otherwise, the remainder of day is likely to be lacking in quality, especially along the open beaches.

A fresh southerly groundswell is due to build very slowly throughout Monday steered by a polar frontal progression south and west of Tasmania today. Initially, the size will be negligible, with Tuesday likely to see more size where infrequent sets look to peak in the 2ft range at the more exposed south swell magnets.

Otherwise, the forecast looks pretty bland with background easterly trade energy providing ebbs and pulses in the 1-2ft range steered by a distant ridge north of New Zealand.

The take home message is to keep it early, stick to the protected northern corners and take a board with more foam than your standard high performance short board. Otherwise, tune back in for the early heads up on the next significant swell.


Guy Dixon's picture
Guy Dixon's picture
Guy Dixon Saturday, 5 Mar 2016 at 6:58am

A few small lines of S'ly swell showing across Bondi, although a touch on the full side as we come off the back of high tide. Should continue build throughout the day.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Saturday, 5 Mar 2016 at 7:13am

That small black shape out the back (middle, top) must be the new shark detection buoy.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Sunday, 6 Mar 2016 at 8:54am

The east swell has come in a bit stronger today, looking at good 2ft+ waves with the odd 3ft bomb.

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink Sunday, 6 Mar 2016 at 1:37pm

Agreed Craig, swell this morning was more east, maybe touch of north, and was bigger than yesterday a.m. . Bra was picking up all of it.

Pleased to see it, body surfing has been fun, and really enjoying the cooler water this weekend.