Flukey south swells ahoy!
Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 15th November)
Best Days: Sat PM/Sun AM: fun small S'ly swells with OK conditions. Likely to be biggest late Sat but best early Sun.
Recap: Yesterday and today have seen a series of overlapping southerly swells. Most south facing beaches have seen wave heights around the 3ft mark but a strong pulse of secondary swell late Thurs and early Friday provided occasional sets as high as 6ft at reliable south swell magnets (mainly the Hunter). Conditions have been pretty good with light winds and sea breezes.
This weekend (Nov 16 - 17)
Today’s S’ly swell is on the way out, so the weekend’s surf potential will need to originate from fresh sources.
There’s essentially little change to the outlook issued Wednesday. We’ve got some more south swell on the way, but it’s even less favourably aligned within our swell window, originating from even flukier frontal systems passing below Tasmania, and also exiting eastern Bass Strait (see below). There’s a couple of swell fronts in the mix generating various swells of different periods - and thus forward speeds - so getting the timing right is a little difficult.
There’s also been a bit of argy-bargy in the model guidance over the last few days, which has marginally sped up the arrival time of the main round of energy. Whilst most of the weekend will see an underlying 1-2ft at south facing beaches (bigger near 2-3ft across the Hunter), each swell front has the capacity for 3ft sets at south facing beaches, up to 4ft across the Hunter - and this is now more likely Saturday lunchtime through the afternoon, and then again early Sunday morning. Of course, anywhere else not exposed to the south will be much smaller.
Local winds are the wild card.
A gusty S’ly change overnight tonight should clear most coasts by sunrise (except maybe the Hunter) leaving us with light to moderate winds and bumpy trending lumpy, though gradually improving surf. It won’t be great but it’ll be OK, best after lunch as winds swing E/NE.
Overnight N/NE winds will then trend variable at some point Sunday morning ahead of a new southerly change that’s due into the South Coast during the morning, Wollongong just before lunch and Sydney/Hunter coasts just after lunch. The afternoon looks like a write-off with fresh S/SE winds.
So, later Saturday and early Sunday are your best options. Don’t get terribly excited though.
Next week (Nov 18 onwards)
To be honest, most of next week can be summed up by a couple of features: troughy (read: erratic) winds, and small flukey south swells.
A persistent progression of poorly aligned fronts under Tasmania will throw occasional southerly swell pulses up the coast though no major size or strength is expected. It’s too early to pin down any favourable windows of opportunity, so let’s check back in on Monday to see when it may be worthwhile for a paddle.
Otherwise, the other long term synoptic features include a broad but ultimately weak trough S/SE of Fiji that has some potential for a small E/NE swell, and a developing ridge across the Coral Sea that won’t favour our region for swell but may anchor in the broad scale weather pattern for a period.
A local N/NE airstream is expected to kick up some decent NE windswell later Thursday and Friday next week, maybe also Saturday. And there’s a pretty significant Southern Ocean low on the boil around the same time that doesn’t look promising on the charts right now but needs to be closely monitored for signs of improvement.
Have a great weekend, see you Monday!