Solid southerly energy on the way
Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wednesday 8th April)
Best Days: Thurs: easing S'ly swells, pockets of light winds. Sun: combo of strong S'ly swells, OK winds. Mon/Tues: more S'ly swells, great conditions. Size easing Wed.
Recap: Tuesday saw a mix of small E/NE swell and S’ly swells, the latter being most dominate with early 2-3ft sets increasing a little into the afternoon. A new longer period S’ly swell pushed across Southern NSW overnight (leading edge of 15 seconds reaching Eden at 10pm and Sydney around 4am) but surf size has come in smaller than expected, just an inconsistent 3-4ft at south facing beaches through the middle of the day. Winds have been generally light to moderate S/SE for the last few days, with periods of variable conditions at times.
This week (Apr 9 - 10)
We’re now on the backside of today’s pulse and size will continue to ease through Thursday. With no new significant swell trains - aside from the small existing trade swell - we’re looking at very small conditions to finish the week. We may see minor E’ly windswells on Thursday (from a weak trough off the coast) and N/NE windswells on Friday but there won’t be much size in it.
Thursday morning should see early 2-3ft sets at south facing beaches, easing to 2ft by the afternoon and Friday’s likely to hover in the 1-2ft range. It’ll be smaller elsewhere at beaches not exposed to the south, but the Hunter has a chance for slightly bigger waves.
The local NE swell may create 1-2ft surf across NE facing beaches on Friday and a few bigger options well south of Sydney but quality won’t be high.
TC Harold is now entering our far northern swell window, east of New Caledonia, but it’s tracking too quickly to the east to generate any meaningful swell for Australia’s East Coast. As such I am not expecting any energy from it.
Local conditions look average over the next few days. We’ll be under the influence of a broad Tasman high, so wind strengths won’t be very high but it’ll be a general easterly airstream on Thursday, tending northerly on Friday. Pockets of variable winds are likely here and there but overall there won’t be anything amazing, so don't move the diary around.
This weekend (Apr 11 - 12)
Saturday looks very small and windy as a vigorous front pushes off the coast, swinging early, freshening W/NW winds to the S/SW.
We may see a late increase in S’ly windswell in the lee of the change, but those beaches picking up any size - maybe some 4ft sets towards dusk - will be facing due south and they’ll be heavily wind affected.
Sunday looks much different, with two interesting southerly swells expected to be in the water. The first will have originated from a broad, intense polar low pressure system tracking well south of Tasmania on Friday (see below).
Although poorly aligned within our swell window - and is also located a long way from our region - the sheer strength of this system can’t be discounted, and we’re looking at long period energy arriving overnight Saturday (in fact the South Coast may see some forerunners late afternoon), peaking Sunday with peak swell periods in the 17-18 second range. This should contribute a brief period of 3-4ft surf at south facing beaches, though the long periods should exaggerate wave heights at offshore bombies and south facing beaches with 6ft+ sets.
At the same time, Saturday’s front will have rocketed through the lower Tasman Sea at strength and generated an impressive secondary (pr perhaps primary?) swell, with much lower periods but more size in the ocean swell (see below).
We should see 4-6ft surf at south facing beaches from this fetch, reaching 6-8ft across the Hunter, and local winds look best suited to protected spots - mainly moderate to fresh S/SW, though with periods of SW or even W/SW winds early morning at a handful of locations, such as the Northern Beaches.
Let’s firm up the specifics in Friday’s update.
Next week (Apr 13 onwards)
Strong secondary fronts trailing behind Saturdays system will maintain elevated southerly swells for Monday, Tuesday and (according to model guidance) possibly even Wednesday - though I think mid-week is a stretch (Mon and Tues most likely).
This should keep south facing beaches in the 3-5ft range, and conditions are looking great under an extended period gf light winds thanks to a weak high pressure ridge.
More on this in Friday’s update.