thermalben

Small, patchy period of waves ahead

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 18th January)

Best Days: Sat AM: last blast of peaky NE windswell with a brief window of light winds. Tues/Wed: small S'ly swells. 

Recap: Peaky NE windswells have maintained 2-3ft+ sets at times over the last two days but size has eased a little this afternoon, against forecast expectations. However we should see a very late rebuilding trend through into the evening. Winds have been mainly moderate to fresh NE, with a period of light variable winds early Thursday and then an unusual period of fresh E/SE winds overnight Thursday into Friday.  

Temporary drop in NE windswell this afternoon

This weekend (Jan 19 - 20)

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

We’ve got one final push of short range NE windswell for Saturday morning, thanks to a late strengthening trend tonight within our short range swell window.

An approaching southerly change will disrupt the flow around dawn (if not before), leading to a very early peak and then a steady decrease in size throughout the day. The models have eased back the strength of the fetch since Wednesday, so I’m consequently pulling back my forecast expectations: NE facing beaches should see 2-3ft sets early, easing to 1-2ft into the afternoon. Expect smaller surf across the northern Hunter and at south facing beaches.

We may see a light S’ly wind change in the early hours of Saturday morning as a pre-frontal trough passes over the region, but the proper southerly change - at strength - should reach Wollongong just after dawn, then most Sydney beaches between 7-9am and before nosing into the Hunter between 8-10am. 

Prior to the change, winds should be light and variable and this will be your best time to surf all weekend.

In the wake of the change, we’ll see building southerly windswells to 2-3ft at south facing beaches by late Saturday afternoon though there won’t be a lot of quality in it.

Saturday’s front will clear to the east on Sunday and we’ll see light variable winds with sea breezes. Our NE swell will be all but gone, and instead we’ll be relying on a small, peaky mix of S’ly swell - leftover windswell from Saturday’s change, plus a small groundswell from the parent low, which will pass south of Tasmania on Saturday. 

Expect average set waves up to 2ft+ at south swell magnets (mainly north from Sydney to the Hunter) and not a lot elsewhere. 

Next week (Jan 21 onwards)

Doesn’t look like much surf in store for next week, with a weak Tasman synoptic pattern expected to maintain low swell heights for our local swell windows. General troughiness will linger through the region all week and while there’s always a chance that we’ll see the inclusion of one vital ingredient tip the balance in favour of something significant, right now it’s hard to get excited. 

A series of poorly aligned though strong fronts passing south of Tasmania throughout the forecast period will drive small intermittent S’ly swells along the coast, but their sideband nature won’t contribute much size. Tuesday and early Wednesday are showing the most potential right now with an outside chance for stray 2-3ft sets at south swell magnets but there won’t be much elsewhere.

Another burst of fronts in the south-eastern corner of the Tasman Sea around Wednesday may kick up some small S/SE swell around Friday but I can’t see much in it. 

Otherwise the tropics look generally uninteresting. A small but tight tropical low will develop SE of Fiji around Monday, and linger for much of the week, but without a supporting high pressure system to the south, the associated fetch length will be short and so the large travel distance will erode the vast majority of its swell potential. I’ll keep an eye on it anyway. 

Have a great weekend! See you Monday. 

Comments

Twichy's picture
Twichy's picture
Twichy commented Friday, 18 Jan 2019 at 7:10pm

Sounds like a good week to drop the old board off for ding repair

mrkook's picture
mrkook's picture
mrkook commented Friday, 18 Jan 2019 at 10:36pm

Funny you say that, I did it today

MK

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Friday, 18 Jan 2019 at 7:33pm

Aaah another weekend in Newy.
Cue the southerly change and dribble swell.
Groundhog day has turned into Groundhog week.
Bring on Autumn.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Saturday, 19 Jan 2019 at 7:46am

Typical short range NE windswell this AM - notice the close, irregular spacing of the lines?

Still the odd decent 2-3ft set though.


Incoming!

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Saturday, 19 Jan 2019 at 10:47am

Buoy data offshore from Botany Bay spells out the trend: up steadily from 9pm last night through until about 1-2am, and then steadily down since about 3am (losing 0.7m Hsig!). Bummer for those that couldn't get in the water at first light.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Saturday, 19 Jan 2019 at 10:55am

Looks like the S'ly change is running a few hours late. It reached Bellambi around 9am, and is now gusting 35kts. Should be into Sydney's Eastern Beaches very soon and the Northern Beaches shortly.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Sunday, 20 Jan 2019 at 11:45am

Odd.. the S'ly swell is only 1-2ft in Cronulla, but it's producing 2-3ft sets on the Northern Beaches. Both of which are within close proximity to the 2ft+ forecast, but it's just unusual to see Cronulla dip out (again!) under a S'ly swell, especially seeing how it's had such a long run of tiny surf under the recent NE swell regime.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Sunday, 20 Jan 2019 at 12:00pm

Remember Russell Crowe’s band ?

It was called “ 30 odd foot of grunts “.

They could do a double act with Bondi. The band from Bondi being known as “ 300 odd metres of closeout “.

Wait , that’s not Bondi is it ? Where is it ?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Sunday, 20 Jan 2019 at 12:35pm

It’s pleasing to see that such a well travelled surfer such as yourself didn’t pick one of the most famous beaches in the country for another one of the most famous beaches in the country.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Sunday, 20 Jan 2019 at 12:40pm

Where is it ?

I promise I won’t tell anyone.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Sunday, 20 Jan 2019 at 1:04pm

Technically, it’s the birthplace of Australian surfing.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Sunday, 20 Jan 2019 at 1:10pm

Okay !

I get it. Looks like the Duke picked the right beach to go straight at.

Crazy how I’ve never seen it before. I pride myself on recognising surf spots , even ones I’ve never been to.

I think it might be my superpower . Though to be honest , there’s probably more useful superpowers getting around .

Why did it please you that I didn’t pick it ?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Sunday, 20 Jan 2019 at 1:12pm

I just love the notion that unusual angles can partially obscure the identity of very well known beaches. 

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Sunday, 20 Jan 2019 at 1:25pm

It’s always good to good a fresh perspective.

And it’s nice that mystery can be preserved through a little lateral thinking.

FrazP's picture
FrazP's picture
FrazP commented Sunday, 20 Jan 2019 at 7:52pm

2+ sets every 10 or so around and after lunch at Cronulla Ben. No banks though which I think is impacting size. Looked like a good bit of E in the swell.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Monday, 21 Jan 2019 at 1:23pm

Crazy how you couldn't pick it Blowin, but I also had friends on insta messaging me asking where, haha. Nuts.

I also have that super power, I don't even need any landmarks, just show me an image of the shape of the wave and I'll be able to pick it. Great little perk of the job ;)

shoredump's picture
shoredump's picture
shoredump commented Monday, 21 Jan 2019 at 1:44pm

Ugh, look at all those humans. Pretty soon the ocean will return to its rightful and most loyal custodians. 38 days....

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 21 Jan 2019 at 1:55pm

I'm starting to get a bit resentful too, Shorey. I reached Peak Goodwill sometime around January 7th and it's been downhill ever since with the picknickers and frolickers feeling the icicles of my deathly stare.

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Monday, 21 Jan 2019 at 2:04pm

what took you so long....

simba