Extended period of mediocrity ahead
Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 11th December)
Best Days: No great days... just small slow surf at the swell magnets at best.
Recap: Peaky NE swells provided 2-3ft sets across the coast on Tuesday, with early light winds ahead of a S’ly change that reached the Sydney region mid-afternoon. A new S’ly swell has pushed up the coast this morning, with generally southerly winds across many regions however some beaches picked up an early SW flow. South facing beaches saw 3ft sets, with size now gradually easing.
This week (Dec 12 - 13)
There’s not much surf in store for the rest of the week.
Today’s south swell will slowly ease into Thursday, and we’ll see a minor short range SE swell from the bottom of the trough responsible for the current southerly flow. No major size is likely, just a few 2ft sets at south facing beaches. Expect much smaller surf elsewhere.
Friday looks similarly small. Today’s S’ly swell and tomorrow’s minor SE swell will all but gone by this time, but we’ve got two minor south swells that may provide small rideable waves at south facing beaches.
A small but punchy front will clip Tasmania on Thursday morning, and two fetches - one pushing through eastern Bass Strait and another south-east of Hobart - will both generate some minor energy through the day, probably lifting south facing beaches form a slow 1-2ft early, to a slightly more defined 2ft into the afternoon. But we’re splitting hairs here.
As for conditions, there are no real synoptic drivers expected across the coast so the most likely scenario is early light variable (probably offshore) tending onshore (probably south-east) throughout each day.
This weekend (Dec 14 - 15)
The weekend looks pretty lacklustre.
The latest model guidance has eased back on Monday’s suggestion for a strengthening frontal passage later this week and into the weekend, so wave heights have subsequently been downgraded a little.
Most beaches are looking at tiny waves, south facing beaches may see intermittent, rare 2ft sets on the more favourable parts of the tide, both days. But it’s really not a good weekend to be looking for anything amazing in the surf department.
Wind wise, a weak pressure gradient will maintain early light conditions in the morning and freshening onshores in the afternoon. The only difference from Thursday and Friday is that with a weak high in the Tasman Sea, the afternoon breeze will be more around to the NE. But it’ll still be clean early.
Next week (Dec 16 onwards)
Although the swell charts look a little lacklustre for next week, the models are showing a lot of instability across the Tasman Sea, with a couple of swell generating regions to keep an eye on.
A weak surface trough off the Northern NSW coast Sun/Mon has low surf potential, but an associated S’ly change in Southern NSW may create a local windswell Tuesday. Additionally, a possible mid-latitude low in the south-eastern Tasman around Monday may generate a moderate SE swell later Tues/Wed/Thurs. It's off-axis, but pretty strong in the latest guidance and could be a nice little earner.
Otherwise, a broad trade flow is expected to ebb and flow NE from New Zealand from now through next week. The current incarnation may generate a small E/NE swell for early next week, but a stronger development around Tuesday next week is showing a little more promise for slightly larger waves later next week - though still on the small side.
Anyway, the short version for the long term is that there’s nothing of any great significance showing up right now, but we do have a few regions to keep a watch on. Tune back in on Friday for a more comprehensive long term outlook.