Small pulses through the week, becoming big on Monday

Guy Dixon picture
Guy Dixon (Guy Dixon)

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Guy Dixon (issued Monday 18th July)

Best Days: Sunday


Saturday saw plenty of fun options at south facing beaches in the morning with westerly breezes grooming a 3-4ft swell, more so in the 4-5ft range for the Hunter. This energy eased a touch on Sunday from the 3ft range under a west/northwesterly breeze, again larger across the Hunter. 

Today, the energy has eased significantly with inconsistent sets struggling to reach 2ft at south facing beaches.

This week (Tuesday 19th - Friday 22nd):

The small amount of swell that is in the water today will continue to fade, becoming small for much of the coming week. Tuesday is looking to ease back to around 1ft, but remain clean under a light northwesterly breeze, possibly becoming variable late allowing conditions to glass off.

The first semi-decent swell generating fetch should move into our acute southern swell window in the early hours of Tuesday in the form of a west/southwesterly trailing fetch.

This is by no means a good looking system. The alignment of the fetch is sub par, it’s area is okay, but it moving zonally in a west to easterly motion quite rapid leaving very little time for swell generation.

South facing beaches will see small amounts of side band energy build on Wednesday afternoon, but only modest with sets in the 2ft range, with the Hunter highlighting this small and brief swell event. By Thursday morning, I’d expect this energy to have pretty much subsided, although a broader, slower moving, more intense system looks to follow in its wake.

Westerly fetches in the wake of this system will have been moving across the Great Australian Bight in the days prior to moving into the NSW swell window, so it looks as though a very long period, but comparatively small pulse will precede the main swell generating pulse on Thursday.

The better fetches are expected to move zonally across the Tasman once again, so we can be conservative with sizes. South facing beaches may see sets build to around 2ft to occasionally 3ft late on Thursday afternoon more likely Friday morning, with more size showing across the Hunter. 

Conditions should remain generally clean under a northwesterly breeze, with the outside chance of light seabreezes developing later each day. Models suggest that locations south of Sydney may see period of northeasterly breezes each morning.

Northwesterly pre-frontal fetches look to dominate the swell window thereafter which are virtually useless to us. It’s not until Friday that a frontal progression moves over Tassie and steers the first decent system through the swell window.

As a result, the rest of Friday should fade under a northwesterly breeze.

A deep low and associated front looks to move across the southern swell window steering southwesterly fetches of 50-60kts up through the Tasman. This system has been downgraded since the last model update, so we will keep an eye on its developments.

This weekend (Saturday 23rd - Sunday 24th):

Initial energy from the leading west/southwesterly fetches exiting Bass Strait should fill in across the coast late on Saturday afternoon heavily favouring south facing beaches due to the acute direction.

Exposed south facing beaches may pick up 2ft to occasionally 3ft options, with a touch more size across the Hunter.

Sunday should offer better mid-range energy with around 3-4ft breaking at south facing beaches, followed by more substantial long period energy providing a strong kick mid-late overnight in time for Monday.

West/northwesterly breezes should keep the options flowing throughout the day at most spots.

Next week (Monday 25th onward):

South facing beaches can look forward to solid sets in the 6ft range on Monday as the effects of long range energy fills in generated by the main core fetches of the low.

This is a dynamic system. At this stage, sizes are ball park figures and should firm up in coming days.


peter kelaher's picture
peter kelaher's picture
peter kelaher Tuesday, 19 Jul 2016 at 8:29pm

going to the telos islands 30th this month any good news for me swell wise as I am there for a week. thx

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Tuesday, 19 Jul 2016 at 8:41pm