thermalben

Keep your eyes peeled to the south

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 12th June)

Best Days: Most days: keep an eye out for a sneaky south swell, though biggest late Thurs/Fri.

Recap: South facing beaches beaches saw small inconsistent surf on Tuesday around 1.5ft, ahead of a pulse of bigger S’ly swell overnight that peaked later than expected, and produced slightly larger waves than forecast early this morning (2ft+ south facing beaches, smaller elsewhere, though a smidge bigger in the Hunter). Conditions have been clean with mainly light winds, and the south swell eased steadily through the day to become tiny.

This week (June 13 - 14)

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

Thursday morning will be tiny to begin with. However, I’m still expecting the leading edge of a new long period S’ly swell to glance south facing beaches throughout the day (reaching max size late afternoon), originating from an intense polar low that developed off the ice shelf on Monday, well south of Tasmania. 

Set waves will be very inconsistent, but anywhere from very late Thursday through Friday morning could see occasional 2-3ft+ sets at reliable south swell magnets. However, the distant source of this swell will create long breaks between waves, and anywhere not completely exposed to the south will be much smaller in size. A gradual easing is expected through Friday.

Also in the water on Friday will be a small mid-range S’ly swell extending from a poorly aligned front exiting eastern Bass Strait later Thursday. This should contribute smaller sets to 2ft for south facing beaches, but its main benefit will be to improve the consistency in the surf zone - though probably not by very much. 

Conditions look great both days with light offshore winds. 

This weekend (June 15 - 16)

Saturday looks small and nondescript, with clean, easing leftovers from Friday out of the south. Exposed swell magnets may pick up stray 2ft sets, but this will probably be confined to a handful of beaches and most locations will be much smaller. Winds will be light so conditions should be great. Size will probably subside throughout the day. 

On Sunday, a small long period S’ly swell will push through the coast, generated by another poorly aligned low and front pushing south of Tasmania on Friday (see chart below).

Thanks to very strong core wind speeds, the resulting swell periods of around 15 seconds should help to boost surf size into the 2-3ft range at south swell magnets by the afternoon, though once again this will be a handful of locations and most beaches will see much smaller surf. I wouldn't be surprised if the Hunter picks up bigger bombs too, but it'll be very inconsistent again.

We may also see a small E/NE swell over the weekend from a tropical low SE of Fiji, however the models have moved this a little more quickly through our swell window than is ideal, and so I fear Monday’s 1-2ft estimate for the weekend was a little ambitious. Keep your expectations low.

Conditions will remain clean on Sunday with light winds. 

Next week (June 17 onwards)

Sunday’s S’ly swell will ease but hold steady through Monday, with some additional small energy filling in from the backside of the low. This should keep south facing beaches flush with slow 2ft+ sets, bigger through the Hunter in the morning before it eases into the afternoon.  

A developing trough along the East Coast on Sunday will form a small NE fetch just off the Sydney coast into Monday, though it doesn’t look very good for swell potential right now. I’ll keep an eye on it and update on Friday. 

Longer term suggests a series of fronts pushing across the SE corner of the country mid-week, delivering a spell of southerly winds from Wednesday thru’ Friday, though no major surf is expected due to only modest surface wind speeds - perhaps bumpy 3-5ft waves at south facing beaches if we’re lucky. 

However, there’s still plenty of potential for a more significant weather system to form in the Tasman Sea next week, and I have a feeling by Friday’s update there’ll be some juicy synoptics on the boil for the second half of next week and the following weekend.

Comments

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Thursday, 13 Jun 2019 at 2:10pm

Well hello there, Mr Leading Edge Southerly Swell at 17.4 seconds.

kyle5446's picture
kyle5446's picture
kyle5446 commented Thursday, 13 Jun 2019 at 7:08pm

Hey ben! Is this a website we can use to access the same real time bouy info in the graph above? Cheers!

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Thursday, 13 Jun 2019 at 2:36pm

Despite the long S'ly energy at the buoy, it's Lake Bate Bay right now. Haven't seen it so devoid of swell in ages!

chook's picture
chook's picture
chook commented Thursday, 13 Jun 2019 at 2:48pm

17-second swell period? even at 2-foot that'd be well into the board-snapping territory, wouldn't it? 14-15 seconds on the east coast is usually more than enough to get a solid working over.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Thursday, 13 Jun 2019 at 2:56pm

depends on the angle and how long it's been dragging on the continental shelf for.

Where-is-albo's picture
Where-is-albo's picture
Where-is-albo commented Thursday, 13 Jun 2019 at 3:17pm

The odd head high wave coming though down south. Shame the wind has turned onshore.

Where-is-albo

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Thursday, 13 Jun 2019 at 4:46pm

Nice, like this here..

Great sunset but.

chook's picture
chook's picture
chook commented Thursday, 13 Jun 2019 at 3:34pm

thanks for that freeride. swell period is a bit of mystery to me. i've been very wary of higher swell periods after getting a nasty surprise in waves that appeared well within my abilities but had a long swell period.

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Thursday, 13 Jun 2019 at 3:48pm

Just had a look at the Newy and Avoca cams and it's pretty flat still.

What I also found interesting is that I had a look around the country and couldn't see a decent wave anywhere.

Good day to be at work....

Talk about east coast swell blues.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Thursday, 13 Jun 2019 at 5:29pm

Great day for a bushwalk
https://imgur.com/a/Rh5EHJl.

Laurie McGinness

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Thursday, 13 Jun 2019 at 6:10pm

nice...beautiful australia.!

simba

dannyz's picture
dannyz's picture
dannyz commented Thursday, 13 Jun 2019 at 6:49pm

it's starting to show on the wave height buoy, woohoo!

Onenut's picture
Onenut's picture
Onenut commented Thursday, 13 Jun 2019 at 7:29pm

haha frothing hard Danny’s , try to contain the excitement mate that way you won’t be too disappointed in the morning if it’s only 1-2ft. If there happens to be a half decent wave when you wake up then you’ll be pleasantly surprised , win win !

dannyz's picture
dannyz's picture
dannyz commented Thursday, 13 Jun 2019 at 10:29pm

haha yeah I know mate but i’m easily stoked so even if it’s 1ft and grinding out comes the mal!

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 6:02am

So close! But, it's all or nothing.

The leading edge of this small south swell arrived at 1pm yesterday (Tp 17.4 seconds), which is close to what I had expected. However, the bulk of the 'surfable' part didn't fill in until between 6-7:30pm (see below). Though great to see it came in down south (thanks Where-is-albo!).

Although the source of this south swell was quite a distance away, normally the time frame between leading edge and bulk energy isn't quite as spread apart (we normally see this in Vic/SA/WA, where the swell window is much longer through the Southern Ocean). Of course, there are several synoptic factors, as well as geographical, that contribute to the timing.

Also interesting to note that had this sequence played out in December or January, there would have been plenty of great waves for the "very late session Thursday" - because last light isn't until 8:30pm or later. TBH, I neglected to consider this when reviewing the swell's particulars on Wednesday.

Essentially there's around three hours of lost opportunity in the afternoon through the height of winter due to the tilt of the earth's axis (and another hour or two in the morning).

Will be interesting to see how much size is leftover this morning. Looking OK on buoy data, though I suspect it'll be very inconsistent. 

Where-is-albo's picture
Where-is-albo's picture
Where-is-albo commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 9:40am

Great info thanks mate. Is wave period one of the factors? Waves traveling at different speeds?

3ft this morning.

Where-is-albo