A whole week of small, flukey south swells

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 10th June)

Best Days: No great days, but Thurs/Fri are worth keeping an eye out for a small sneaky south swell. 

Recap: Saturday saw easing surf from 3-4ft across south facing beaches (bigger in the Hunter, smaller elsewhere) with light winds and clean conditions. A new pulse of S’ly swell delivered very inconsistent 3-4ft surf at south facing beaches through Sunday, with similarly clean conditions. This swell eased today, with 2ft sets at south facing beaches and light N’ly tending N/NW winds. 

This week (June 11 - 14)

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

So, the swell charts are flat-lined for the rest of the week. 

Though, the models had ~1ft surf for yesterday, and we ended up seeing occasional 3-4ft surf at south facing beaches. So, things aren’t always as they appear.

The source for Sunday’s flukey south swell was a large, intense storm sitting in remote though usually reliable part of our far south swell window. Although there are a couple of peripheral sources on the cards for this week, there’s nothing of this magnitude glancing the region for the next few days, so on the balance, we can expect a week of small, slow waves. 

The polar low responsible for yesterday’s south swell did stall near New Zealand on Friday, and there was some reasonable activity inside our distant S/SE swell window that should keep exposed south facing beaches from becoming completely flat over the coming days. No major size is expected, and there will be long breaks between rideable waves, but exposed south swell magnets may pick up occasional 1-2ft waves if we’re lucky (perfect for beginners) on Tuesday and Wednesday.

This will be supplemented by a small pulse of S’ly swell from a low passing south of Tasmania on Saturday. It was poorly aligned so most of its swell will bypass the coast, but south swell magnets may see the odd 1-2ft wave.  

And, another front crossing Tasmania today may also supply some small S’ly swell from a poorly aligned W/SW fetch extending into the lower Tasman Sea. If anything we’ll see a brief pulse later Tuesday (2ft south swell magnets) fading Wednesday.

The best looking system for this week is a polar low developing well south of Tasmania this afternoon (see chart below). It’s expected to broaden its fetch as it advances to the north over the coming 24 hours, and will generate a small long period S’ly swell.

Our model has this swell arriving on Friday with peak swell periods increasing to 13-14 seconds, however my manual calculations put the arrival time some 18-24 hours earlier, during Thursday (with larger leading edge swell periods around 15-16 seconds). As such, keep a watch out for building surf throughout Thursday - it’ll only show at reliable south swell magnets but I can’t rule our occasional 2-3ft+ sets both days (late Thurs more likely to pick up the upper end of this size range). There will be very, very long breaks between sets though, due to the flukey, distant swell source.

Away from south facing beaches, expect much smaller surf. The Hunter may also pick up slightly larger waves all week from these flukey south swells, though the inconsistency will make it hard to effectively plan around.

Conditions look clean Tuesday with light winds and sea breezes, whilst Wednesday is at risk of a brief period of N’ly winds before they veer NW and freshen through into Thursday morning,  easing and tending W/SW through the day, holding from this direction into Friday. So, the whole week (apart from a window on Wednesday morning) looks pretty good on the surface.

This weekend (June 15 - 16)

A small tropical low will form SE of Fiji over the coming days. It’s not expected to develop into anything amazing but will be enough to kick up some small E/NE swell for the weekend, with inconsistent sets in the 1-2ft+ range from time to time. I wouldn’t work around it though.

Otherwise, the only other source of swell this weekend is a poorly aligned front exiting eastern Bass Strait later Friday, which should set up a small flush of S’ly swell into the 2ft range for south facing beaches on Saturday. Trailing fronts behind should maintain this energy into Sunday though there won’t be much strength in it.

A weak troughy pattern will result in light variable winds all weekend, though ‘variable’ also means the potential for it to be onshore (no major strength likely at this stage). 

Next week (June 17 onwards)

The weekend’s unstable troughy pattern will present a couple of the ingredients required for a more significant swell generating system to form in the Tasman Sea next week. There’s nothing of any great interest showing at this stage, but let’s watch this space - there’s plenty of potential for a solid round of swell from the eastern quadrant.

More on this in Wednesday’s update. 


thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 10 Jun 2019 at 5:02pm

Uninspiring swell train outlook for the next week. Though (as per the notes) there's some interesting potential on offer.

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Monday, 10 Jun 2019 at 7:51pm

All aboard the swell blues train
Aka the swell train blues.

scottishsponger's picture
scottishsponger's picture
scottishsponger commented Monday, 10 Jun 2019 at 10:00pm

Like you predicted Ben, there’s been some decent swell getting into South facing beaches over the weekend. Even today there were 3-4ft sets at a very reliable S swell magnet. Fantastic conditions as well.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 10 Jun 2019 at 10:09pm

Unreal.. which coast mate?

Timbo85's picture
Timbo85's picture
Timbo85 commented Tuesday, 11 Jun 2019 at 5:29pm

And here I was getting all stressed about having to board a plane to Europe for 2 weeks tomorrow and missing swells. Looks like the timing of this wedding was impeccable. Been an awesome few weeks of waves.


Mcface's picture
Mcface's picture
Mcface commented Wednesday, 12 Jun 2019 at 2:03pm

Good stuff. I've just gotten back from 5 weeks of being away only to find that the run has dried up - seems like there's always winners and losers no matter how good the run!

Beagle's picture
Beagle's picture
Beagle commented Wednesday, 12 Jun 2019 at 9:13am

Great time to heal up those sea ulcers. It's been a cracker of a run!