Large, long period energy to continue

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 23rd February)

Best Days: Thurs thru' Sun: varying degrees of solid south swell, very large on Friday. Light winds in general. 

Recap: Tuesday saw leftover S’ly swell around 3ft+ across the Sydney coast with bigger 4-5ft sets across the Hunter. Today has seen a large long period S’ly groundswell push up the coast, a little behind schedule but strong and sizeable at exposed spots. How big? As discussed on Monday, there’s been an enormous variation in size, with small surf at protected southern ends, but most south facing beaches have been pushing 6-8ft at times, with bigger waves north of 8ft+ at swell magnets. We’ve also had reliable reports from one regional bombie that saw occasional sets in the 12-15ft range. 

Today’s Forecaster Notes are brought to you by Rip Curl

This week (May 24 - 25th)

No changes to the notes issued Monday.

The general trend is down steadily into Thursday, ahead an exceptional south swell for Friday: large, with very long swell periods, more so than what we’ve seen today.

Again, there’ll be an enormous variation in size right across the coast, thanks to the southerly direction, and also the large wavelengths which focus such swell energy nicely towards some beaches, and steer it away from others. As such, blanket size estimates really aren’t useful because you’ll see different surf from beach to beach. 

Thursday should still manage solid waves in the morning, around 4-6ft at south facing beaches (bigger across the Hunter) though much smaller elsewhere. Size will ease steadily throughout the day too. Conditions are expected to be clean with light variable winds; they may tend light to moderate S’ly through the middle of the day (earlier down south) as the outer edge of a front clips the coast. But it shouldn’t cause too much problem. 

The new long period S’ly swell for Friday will rocket in overnight and should lift wave heights somewhere around 6ft+ at most south facing beaches (smaller elsewhere, though bigger in the Hunter). However, the extra long periods associated with this event are expected to exaggerate the size increase across south swell magnets and offshore bombies, likely in and around the 10ft+ range (and given today’s reported size at some locales, it could be frighteningly big at these spots again). 

Winds look generally good on Friday, though the outer edge of Thursday’s glancing front - in the form of a southerly breeze - may linger across some coasts into the morning (most likely candidate the Hunter region) so bear this in mind. It will clear throughout the day though to become light and variable. 

This weekend (May 26 - 27)

Wave heights will trend steadily downwards all weekend, and it’ll be clean with light variable winds under a weak ridge of high pressure. 

Saturday morning is still likely to be quite large, around 5-6ft at south facing beaches (bigger near 6-8ft across the Hunter) though smaller at most open beaches around 3-4ft, and smaller again inside protected southern corners. Expect wave heights to lose a foot or two during the day, and then the same again through Sunday - by late afternoon we should be down to 3-4ft at south facing beaches. 

All in all, an excellent weekend of light winds and strong southerly swells, with waves just about everywhere. As long as you’ve got banks! 

Next week (May 28 onwards)

A blocking pattern will set up camp across our swell windows early next week, and as a result we’re looking wave heights bottoming out into Monday and remaining very small into Tuesday and Wednesday.

However, a fresh node of the LWT will move into the Tasman Sea mid-week and it looks like we’ll see the development of a fresh Tasman Low that’ll generate plenty of strong S’ly tending SE swell through the second half of the week, holding into next weekend. 

More on this in Wednesday’s update. 


thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 23 May 2018 at 5:47pm

Strong lines at Queensy this arvo.

evosurfer's picture
evosurfer's picture
evosurfer commented Wednesday, 23 May 2018 at 6:55pm

Ok another very direct south swell for Friday with size I live in
a south swell magnet and the last 2 today included were way
way under sized I think ive lost confidence in these angled south
swell predictions and todays swell was so messed up it looked
like a 7 second wind swell. Sorry but I will believe it when I see it.
I would hate to do your job.

IF im not surfing im racing

toosha's picture
toosha's picture
toosha commented Wednesday, 23 May 2018 at 7:36pm

Hey evosurfer , I am down the south coast and one spot where I surf ( and is a magnet ) was a weak 6ft late this arvo. A place my mates surfed 15kms south was 6 to 8ft and was as strong as the Hulk. It is frustrating but at least there are waves to surf. It is all about managing your expectations!!!

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Wednesday, 23 May 2018 at 8:10pm

All about that period.

Seen and head different reports right across the region. Northern Beaches hit 6-8ft later today.

legrope1's picture
legrope1's picture
legrope1 commented Wednesday, 23 May 2018 at 7:07pm

As long as you can find banks.. l can find plenty of closeouts & fat handers.. perfect forecast becomes irrelevant ..may as well be flat

billie's picture
billie's picture
billie commented Wednesday, 23 May 2018 at 8:11pm

i got two ripper tubes today. That'll do ! Cheers Ben!


the-u-turn's picture
the-u-turn's picture
the-u-turn commented Wednesday, 23 May 2018 at 9:17pm

Well, I thought the call was spot on. Weigh up the info and A1. Surfed a Panzer today, 1pm-3pm, and can safely say it was plenty big enough for me. Needed every inch of the 10' Gravelle.

The U Turn
...a little Aloha goes a long way.

maka2000's picture
maka2000's picture
maka2000 commented Thursday, 24 May 2018 at 9:26am

had a few short big but short rides at queensy on wednesday arvo, lots of shutdowns, not much room for a proper exit just jump off with bum down still lot's of fun :D