Moderate S'ly swells for Wed, Thurs and Fri

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 3rd October)

Best Days: Wed/Thurs/Fri: good south swells with generally favourable winds. Sat: smaller, easing S'ly swell wth good winds. 

Recap: Saturday was flat across the southern NSW Coast. Sunday saw a small new S’ly swell build throughout the day, early sets at south facing beaches were in the 1-1.5ft range and it built a little more into the afternoon though the waves were generally weak and extremely inconsistent. Today saw this minor south swell ease back in size from 0.5-1ft across Sydney’s south facing beaches early (2ft in the Hunter, as per the surfcam grab below) but it’s now almost flat across all coasts.

Newcastle showing some leftover 2ft S'ly sets this morning

This week (Oct 4th - Oct 7th)

Tuesday will remain almost flat across Southern NSW. Today’s northerly airstream isn’t ideally focused or strong enough to generate any meaningful swell, and strong to gale force W/SW winds developing later today will maintain clean, if somewhat blustery conditions. 

A slightly better aligned front is expected to track east from the mainland on Tuesday afternoon, displaying W/SW gales east of Bass Strait into the Tasman Sea. This still won’t be very well aligned for Southern NSW but we should see some reasonable southerly swell spread up along the coast. 

Wave heights are expected to build all day Wednesday, and after starting from a low base, should reach 3ft+ at south facing beaches through the mid to late afternoon, with bigger waves across the Hunter. Surf size will however be smaller at beaches not open to the south, and we’ll also see smaller surf across the Far South Coast owing to the spread axis. 

Surface conditions look pretty good on Wednesday as the front clears to the east. Moderate to fresh SW winds may persist about a few locations (such as the Hunter) but in most areas we’ll see moderate W/SW winds easing during the day and swinging more W’ly.

The outlook for the second half of the week has changed quite a bit. We’re still looking at an intense low passing east of Tasmania on Wednesday, but it’s now modelled to slide south of Tasmania rather than north (through Bass Strait) - see the explanatory images below.

Despite core wind speeds likely to reach 50kts, this storm is also expected to travel a little faster through the swell window, which means we’ll see smaller surf across the Southern NSW coast than what was indicated in Friday's notes. And, it's expected to arrive a little later.

We’ll actually see two swells build through Thursday and Friday from this system, following a fairly dramatic fall in surf size overnight Wednesday. This initial energy will be generated by the W/SW gales exiting eastern Bass Strait, across the northern flank of the low. South facing beaches should build to 3ft+ throughout Thursday afternoon (bigger across the Hunter), with once again remaining beaches seeing smaller surf due to the swell direction. Expect smaller wave heights at first light.

Longer period S’ly swell from the core of the parent low tracking across waters SE of Tasmania is then expected to reach the Sydney coast overnight Thursday - possibly arriving mid-late afternoon across the Far South Coast - and should push closer towards 3-4ft at most south facing beaches for Friday morning. This swell will display much longer swell periods and therefore could show much bigger at offshore bombies, and also across the northern Hunter (4-6ft sets are possible in Newcastle early Friday). But once again, any beach not directly open to the south will be much smaller in size.

Wave heights will probably ease slowly throughout Friday, and as for local conditions - both Thursday and Friday look very good with early light to moderate W’ly winds and afternoon sea breezes. 

Book 'em in, Danno.

This weekend (Oct 8th - Oct 9th)

Looks like easing S’ly swell will dominate the weekend. Friday’s solid long period swell will probably lose a foot or two overnight into Saturday morning, and south facing beaches will see the most size - maybe some 2ft+ sets across Sydney’s south facing beaches early, and up to 3ft+ across the Hunter (but smaller everywhere else). Smaller surf is expected throughout the day.

A small low embedded in the westerlies between 45-55S on Thursday (SW of Tasmania) may generate a small spread of south swell for Sunday, but it doesn’t look very well aligned for the Southern NSW coast. So, at this stage Sunday is looking at very small, intermittent levels of south swell for exposed beaches. 

Conditions look pretty good for Saturday with mainly light winds but a shallow S’ly change is pegged for Sunday morning that may cause a few problems at exposed beaches. Let’s see how the models are looking on Wednesday.

Next week (Oct 10th onwards)

Another large Southern Ocean low is on the model guidance for the longer term period, crossing Tasmanian longitudes and possibly setting up a small N’ly windswell early in the week, followed by a large S’ly swell during the middle of the week. it’s still a very long time away though so let’s see how things progress over the coming days.  


thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Wednesday, 5 Oct 2016 at 9:08am

Nice fetch captured exiting eastern Bass Strait last night. Poorly aligned but we should still see a good pulse of south swell from it later this afternoon.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 5 Oct 2016 at 12:08pm

A little more size starting to show on the high tide.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 5 Oct 2016 at 12:17pm

Buoy has just kicked accordingly.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 5 Oct 2016 at 1:33pm

Bigger now.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Wednesday, 5 Oct 2016 at 2:04pm

Bang on forecast. Pumping!

(now, just don't get any bigger!)

alexsmith1's picture
alexsmith1's picture
alexsmith1 Wednesday, 5 Oct 2016 at 3:28pm

Looking nice and juicy out there