Peaky NE swell Thursday afternoon, not much for the rest of the period

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 28th September)

Best Days: Thurs: building NE windswell, clean from mid-late a'noon onwards following a NW change. Wed: new S'ly swell with good winds. 

Recap: Monday’s south swell eased steadily through Tuesday though early morning still offered occasional 2ft sets about south facing beaches. A renewal of southerly swell today produced clean 3ft sets at south facing beaches (bigger in the Hunter) though once again size has eased into the afternoon. 

This week (Thursday 29th - Friday 30th)

Thursday looks quite tricky. 

Unfortunately, model guidance has slightly downgraded the potential NE swell from a developing northerly fetch overnight. Whilst winds are expected to become quite strong, the advancing NW change is expected to arrive a little earlier - a positive in some respects, as it’ll create a late window of clean conditions - but the N’ly fetch is expected to spend less time within our swell window, veering from the N/NE to the N and then NW. 

The timing of the change is due in and around 2-3pm (give or take), which should provide a couple of hours of quality peaky NE windswell to finish the day.

Surf size will building through the morning and is expected to peak around the time of the change, with 3ft+ sets across NE facing Sydney beaches through the mid to late afternoon. This should produce some really good surf across the open beaches but prior to the change conditions will be very wind affected.

Smaller surf will occur north of Sydney (2-3ft Central Coast, 2ft+ northern Hunter) but conversely, we’ll see bigger surf south from Wollongong in the 3-5ft range at the end of the day (again, smaller earlier). The NW change should impact most of the southern NSW coast concurrently.

Also in the water on Thursday will be a small pulse of new S/SE swell, from a poorly aligned secondary low that developed in the lower Tasman Sea, at the tail end of the front responsible for today’s swell. 

No major size is expected from this source (the fetch is strong but it’s aimed the wrong way), and the northern latitude of this system will probably limit any respectable amount of swell spread to locations north of Wollongong (i.e. Sydney and Hunter coasts) with 2ft+ sets across Sydney’s south facing beaches, and 2-3ft+ sets across the northern Hunter. Size will peak early from this source and ease into the afternoon. Under the early freshening N/NE wind, you may pick up some small peaky morning waves inside sheltered northern corners. 

Though, my pick on Thursday would certainly be the mid-late afternoon session across open beaches. 

As for Friday, the S/SE swell will have almost disappeared and it’s unlikely there’ll be much leftover NE windswell either. Strong to gale force NW winds will probably iron the coast flat during the day so apart from a few stray leftover sets early morning, surf prospects are looking a little grim.

This weekend (Oct 1 - Oct 2)

Looks Monday’s suggestion for a possible flat weekend may very well come to fruition. 

The intense mid-latitude low pressure system currently impacting South Australia is expected to move slowly across South-eastern Australia over the coming days, directing westerly gales across most regions. If anything there’ll be a touch of north in the direction, extending all the way down to Tasmanian latitudes, which means lots of westerly swell for the West Coast of New Zealand but pancake conditions across Southern NSW.

There is still minor hope that the westerly gales existing eastern Bass Strait on Saturday will swing slightly south of west for a period, which could generate a minor south swell for exposed south swell magnets on Sunday but I’m not holding any hope right now.

You’d be much better off choosing some other activity away from the surf this weekend

Next week (Oct 3 onwards)

Northerly winds will return Monday ahead of another late westerly change, in conjunction with a very active series of weather systems across the SE corner of the country.

In fact, this storm track looks like it’ll ride (unusually) north of Tasmanian latitudes, which means that apart from a couple of brief, flukey south swells (every time the westerly fetch swings momentarily south of west), it won’t be until the second half of the week that our south swell prospects will improve - once the broader upper level long wave pattern moves to the east. 

So, the broader outlook seems to be tiny windy conditions Monday and Tuesday, with a reasonable bump of south swell on Wednesday (3ft south facing beaches), and then one or two secondary south swells from Thursday thru’ Saturday.

Certainly nothing to get too excited about, so for now work things around the flat spells and aim to surf when there will be waves. Which is: Thursday afternoon, and then next Wednesday. 


NewcastleWaterman's picture
NewcastleWaterman's picture
NewcastleWaterman Wednesday, 28 Sep 2016 at 8:57pm

good kiting on the lake, thats about it

CJB's picture
CJB's picture
CJB Thursday, 29 Sep 2016 at 6:00pm

This morning's southerly swell and light winds were a nice surprise

maka2000's picture
maka2000's picture
maka2000 Friday, 30 Sep 2016 at 10:13am

will we get anything in NSW from that mega storm in SA?

eel's picture
eel's picture
eel Friday, 30 Sep 2016 at 4:13pm

We will get lots of offshore winds and bugger all swell

mibs-oner's picture
mibs-oner's picture
mibs-oner Friday, 30 Sep 2016 at 3:19pm

couldn't of timed my weekend in the bush any better