Stacks of swell ahead, though brief windows of clean conditions

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday  16th November)

Best Days: Sat: small clean leftovers early. Sun: easing SE winds, fun afternoon waves as a new E/NE swell reaches a peak (early may be a little wobbly). Mon: clean early, easing E/NE swell and a small SE swell. Tues/Wed: building S/SE tending SE swells though tricky conditions with N'ly winds Tues tending NW Wed AM then maybe S'ly Wed PM. Thurs onwards: extended run of S'ly swells. 

Recap: Wednesday’s E/NE swells eased back into Thursday though still managed 2-3ft sets throughout the day. Early light winds freshened from the south from mid-morning onwards, and a southerly windswell built into the afternoon.  Today has seen early light winds across some regions, but moderate southerlies elsewhere, and a peaky mix of E/NE and S’ly swells up to 2-3ft at exposed beaches. 

Lovely waves at Manly for the early session on Thursday

This weekend (Nov 17 - 18)

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

Looks like a reasonably fun weekend of waves across the coast, though it’ll be a little undersized early Saturday morning.

A small low has been sitting off the SW tip of New Zealand since yesterday, and there’s a small though reasonable S/SE fetch aimed through our swell window. This is generating new SE swells that’ll be initially small early Saturday (1-2ft) though an increase to 2-3ft is expected later Saturday - a little earlier along the South Coast - holding into Sunday morning, before easing throughout the day. 

Expect smaller surf from this source at beaches not open to the south, but we'll still see inconsistent sets out of the E/NE around 2ft on Saturday. Conditions look best in the morning, as a shallow southerly change is expected Saturday afternoon that’ll deliver moderate to fresh SE winds after lunch.

A fresh pulse of E/NE swell is expected to arrive overnight Saturday, peaking through Sunday in the 2-3ft+ range, generated by a broad trough that strengthened north of New Zealand over the last few days.

This system was better aimed towards Northern NSW but we’ll still see an appreciable level of energy across our coast, that's likely to peak through the middle to latter part of the day. Set waves will however be quite inconsistent owing to the distant source. 

As for conditions, Sunday morning will probable see lingering SE breezes along the Hunter coast, but south from Sydney we should see mainly light variable winds; there’s still a risk of early onshores, but it diminishes as you head south from the Northern Beaches. However even if onshores persist into Sunday morning, they’ll ease back to become light into the afternoon. 

Therefore, early Saturday and later Sunday are the pick of the weekend period, the latter likely to see the most size.

Next week (Nov 19 onwards)

Sunday’s E/NE swell will ease slowly through Monday; early morning should manage inconsistent 2-3ft sets but it’ll be down to 1-2ft by late afternoon. Winds should be light before afternoon NE sea breezes set in.

A series of strong fronts pushing through the south-eastern Tasman Sea Sunday onwards will generate S/SE swells across Southern NSW from Tuesday onwards. This front will reinvigorate the remnants of the small existing low in that vicinity, generating a strong secondary fetch that will provide better SE swells through Wednesday and Thursday.

The initial poor orientation of the fronts will result in only small surf across exposed south facing beaches (Tuesday) in the 2ft range, but Wednesday and Thursday should see more size out of the SE, pushing 2-3ft+ at most open beaches with some kind of southerly exposure. 

However, freshening N’ly winds will create some problems on the surface on Tuesday, though also generating some windswell for the region too. 

Wednesday looks tricky with a complex trough bringing about a southerly change to the South Coast, but N/NW winds preceding it should create a reasonable period of favourable conditions as the new SE swell builds across the coast. I'll be able to fine-tune the timing more accurately in Monday's notes.

Looking beyond the middle of the week, and the return southerly flow on the backside of Wednesday's complex trough looks like merging with an approaching polar front, resulting in an extended region of southerly winds stretching to very low latitudes, generating a lengthy period of southerly swells for the East Coast.

Initially, we could see a sizeable pulse to begin with, but the broad trend anticipates plenty of southerly action from Thursday right through into the weekend and the start of the following week.

More on that in Monday’s notes. Have a great weekend!


thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 16 Nov 2018 at 5:21pm

Still some fun lines across the Cenny Coast.

Mathew Colivas's picture
Mathew Colivas's picture
Mathew Colivas commented Friday, 16 Nov 2018 at 10:28pm

I’m so down with your optimism of the above picture. First world syndrome. You’re right as per .... get amongst it!