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)
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.