Glimmer of hope for sometime next week

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 13th December)

Best Days: Tues: fun S/SE swell with light morning winds. 

Recap: Small southerly swells and light to moderate cross/onshore winds. Not particularly inspiring.

This weekend (Dec 14 - 15)

There’s not a lot of quality surf in store for the weekend, but there are waves on the way.

A succession of moderate, poorly aligned fronts crossing the Tasmanian region will generate small, intermittent and pulsey south swells both days. No major size is expected, and it’s hard to identify specific arrival times (and thus daily trends) because of the lacklustre swell sources. However it’s fair to expect occasional 2ft sets at south facing beaches throughout each day, with slightly bigger waves across the Hunter. Elsewhere, surf size will be much smaller. 

Local conditions look OK, if a little drab under a weak troughy pattern - winds will be mainly onshore but only light to moderate in strength at best, and the mornings should see variable periods. But it’s really not worth moving the diary around for. 

Next week (Dec 16 onwards)

Still no major swells on the horizon for next week. However there are a few points of interest.

A weak front will cross into the lower Tasman Sea early Monday, and then intensify rapidly as it tracks outside of our south swell window, before forming a broad though poorly aligned Tasman Low just off the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island late Monday and into Tuesday.

The intensifying phase of this low looks really promising (see below) but it’s just off-axis for our region - and will travel quickly through the optimum part of the swell window - so I’m keeping my expectations low for now. The system will then stall in the Tasman Sea, and despite the fetch being mainly aimed up towards New Caledonia, we should see a spread of S/SE swell glance the Southern NSW coast mid-week.

It’s worth pointing out that the models really don’t like this system at all, so it’s not a confident swell event, though I'll update over the weekend if any more useful data comes to hand. 

At this stage Monday is looking to see small residual southerly swells, and a fresh S’ly change will track up the coast during the morning, creating poor conditions at most open beaches. A minor increase in windswell is likely into the afternoon too.

Tuesday looks to be a better day with a high moving in from the west creating light winds ahead of an afternoon sea breeze, and we'll see a peak in sideband S/SE swell into the 2-3ft range at south facing beaches north from about the Illawarra, in fact the Hunter region will be marginally better aligned (than locations to the south) so may pick up a few bigger waves in the 3-4ft range. Locations south from the Illawarra will be a little smaller.

Elsewhere, we’ll see a minor undercurrent of E/NE swell from a trade flow NE of New Zealand a few days ago, but it’ll be very small in size.

Size will then slowly ease from Wednesday onwards thanks to the fetch off NZ slowly rotating away from our swell window. We’ll see local winds around to the north by this time too as the high in the Tasman moves further east. We'll then be back to small residual energy around Thursday.

Long term still doesn’t have anything major either - there’s a suggestion for some strong Southern Ocean lows to develop within our swell window later next week through the weekend, but it’s too far away to have any confidence. The broader South Pacific and Coral Seas will see a gradual increase trade flow activity but again, there’s nothing concrete to pin down just now.

Have a great weekend, see you Monday!


Murrayoliver's picture
Murrayoliver's picture
Murrayoliver commented Friday, 13 Dec 2019 at 6:07pm

Ben is the sudden stratospheric warming influencing the weather in the coral sea ,or the wet season in nth australia

brownie48's picture
brownie48's picture
brownie48 commented Sunday, 15 Dec 2019 at 4:09pm

Some nice pulsey 2ft direct south or almost south west swell on the incoming tide, pleasantly surprised and Ben was spot on with this in the notes then it just stopped when the tide started to drop