Another week of fun waves across the beaches

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 20th January)

Best Days: Fun beachies most days. 

Recap: We’ve seen some really nice waves over the last three days, with a mix of three swells (NE, E/NE and S'ly) producing peaky waves across most beaches, and winds have been generally favourable. There have been occasional pockets of onshores, but with size reaching 3ft over the weekend and then 3-4ft today it’s been a decent run of surf for Southern NSW.

Ominous skies (post t'storm) off the Coal Coast this afternoon

Stacked at Manly this morning

This week (Jan 21 - 24)

We've got another week of active swell sources, though down a little from what we've seen over the last few days.

The NE swell source off the Mid North Coast is still partially active today so we’ll see small levels of NE swell persisting through Tuesday. 

Today’s E/NE swell source eased over the weekend so we’ll see a slow decrease in size from this source on Tuesday, however early morning should still produce a few rare 3ft+ waves before easing to 2-3ft. 

A broad trough encompassing the Southern NSW coast will slowly push to the east on Tuesday, with a modest S’ly fetch developing adjacent the coast - though it won’t hang around long enough to generate any meaningful size. Therefore, we can expect small S’ly swells through Wednesday and maybe Thursday but not really much to work around.

Local conditions look generally OK on Tuesday and Wednesday under the influence of the trough, with generally light variable winds (note: “variable” means “from any direction”, which could be onshore). 

A deep mid-latitude low approaching from the west on Wednesday will strengthen NE winds late in the day and they’ll persist overnight, building NE windswells into the 3ft+ range through Thursday (may be slightly undersized in the morning). Though, surf quality could be a little suss at times under periods of fresh N’ly winds. Another trough will move into the region after lunch so a late easing trend is likely; the afternoon surf looks to be worth pencilling in right now.

Thursday’s NE swell will ease through Friday, but we’ll see a small, slowly building E/NE swell from a distant, poorly located mid-latitude low (ex-TC Toni, in fact), positioned on the eastern side of New Zealand behind the swell shadow. Long periods associated this swell should help to boost an otherwise small swell event, keeping open beaches around the 2ft+ mark with some assistance from the easing NE swell. 

Variable winds are again expected on Friday under the influence of the trough but onshores may redevelop into the afternoon. 

This weekend (Jan 25 - 26)

There's not a lot of point getting overly complicated with the weekend outlook, because at this stage it appears that we'll see a continuation of the current broadscale troughy pattern, and its associated swell sources, which is primarily a local N’ly fetch running down the NSW Coast, generating small NE swells.

A small E’ly fetch developing atop a Tasman high will generate small trade swells but no major size is expected across Southern NSW.

There’s also a suggestion that Friday’s trough may evolve into a small low off the South Coast, and the resulting E’ly fetch could generate a minor E/SE swell but this is still a long time away. 

At this stage, were looking at peaky 2ft+ waves throughout the weekend, best suited to the beachbreaks, with generally light variable winds (again, with a chance that it’ll oqccaiosnally swing onshore). 

Let’s take a closer look on Wednesday. 

Next week (Jan 27 onwards)

Nothing major standing out on the charts at this stage - just the bog standard summer long range model guidance of teasing trade flows and migrating Southern Ocean lows. 


yodai's picture
yodai's picture
yodai commented Monday, 20 Jan 2020 at 9:06pm

By straighthanders do you mean nice waves
Newcastle beaches are devoid of any decent bank and so to Forster way
It’s been a woeful summer

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Monday, 20 Jan 2020 at 9:20pm

Been great waves since Christmas around Sydney. Best over the last two weeks and pumping at times. 

Swany's picture
Swany's picture
Swany commented Tuesday, 21 Jan 2020 at 7:00am

I second that - hard to get too excited about the eastern suburbs, but there’s so much sand, finally a few banks to be had. These little peaky swells are more than doing the job.

Lottolonglong's picture
Lottolonglong's picture
Lottolonglong commented Tuesday, 21 Jan 2020 at 12:05pm

Yes,two days of good waves out front for me too,the weekend warriors would be filthy!!!!

gunther's picture
gunther's picture
gunther commented Tuesday, 21 Jan 2020 at 12:33pm

2 days in a row of great waves...could get used to this

mignos's picture
mignos's picture
mignos commented Tuesday, 21 Jan 2020 at 4:03pm

Stoked I got up for the early this morning.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Tuesday, 21 Jan 2020 at 4:08pm

Yep, another really fun morning of waves. Like autumn with it being so clean, warm water and crystal clear peaks.

Mcface's picture
Mcface's picture
Mcface commented Tuesday, 21 Jan 2020 at 7:52pm

After having surfed mainly sideshore or light onshore throughout summer, it always surprises me with just how much more fun the waves are with an autumn style light offshore. The peakiness of the swell was top notch too.

All in all a good few weeks of waves, if only we could get it for the long weekend.