thermalben

Maxing, windy surf for quite a while

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 22nd May)

Best Days: Sat thru' Tues: large but windy at times. Wed: light winds, great waves with easing swells.

Recap: Thursday offered fun clean waves with light winds and inconsistent 2-3ft sets out of the E/NE. Strong to gale force SW winds developed adjacent the coast overnight and into this morning, in association with a deepening Tasman Low, and we’ve seen a rapid increase in large S’ly swell through the day. Winds have actually remained W’ly north from Sydney, keeping conditions clean, and south facing beaches have pushed 8-10ft at times, a little bigger across the Hunter. However the steep southerly swell direction has resulted in much smaller surf elsewhere. 

Avoca looking nice this afternoon...

Until the sets pour through (check second image for size reference - he's in the whitewater!)

This weekend (May 23 - 24)

The weekend forecast - although very dynamic - is also relatively straightforward. 

This is thanks mainly to the slow moving nature of a large, powerful Tasman Low just east of the mainland. Gale force southerly winds will persist across its western flank all weekend, maintaining large southerly swells both days.

As a ballpark, surf size should maintain 6-8ft+ sets both days (bigger across the Hunter) but we may see both embedded pulses slightly above this but also some periods of smaller surf. That’s mainly due to the fluctuating wind field - not so much in strength, but alignment, as secondary fronts wrap around the primary low. 

Probably the biggest factor to work around this weekend will be the winds.

We’re looking at all-day W'ly thru' W/SW winds north from Sydney on Saturday, tending SW across the Illawarra and S/SW along the South Coast. On Sunday, the orientation of the low will change and a more S/SW flow will spread up into most coasts. Early pockets of W/SW thru SW winds are possible north from Sydney but I’m inclined to think they’ll be brief at best (certainly the exception rather than the rule). 

Also, it’s worth mentioning that Sunday will see a building E/NE swell originating from a stationary trough in the South Pacific over the last few days. It’s a shame it won’t be visible beneath the local energy as there’s likely to be inconsistent 3-4ft sets on offer. 

Next week (May 25 onwards)

The Tasman Low will remain in our swell window until Tuesday (!) which means we’ll see elevated swells persisting through Wednesday even early Thursday, though the swell direction will tend more S/SE then SE thanks to a broadening fetch on its southern flank from Sunday onwards. 

The aforementioned E/NE swell will reach a peak on Monday with inconsistent 3-5ft sets on offer, though the S’ly tending S/SE swell will be the  most dominant, still pushing 6-8ft at south facing beaches early, easing to 5-6ft through the day (a little bigger through the Hunter). However a strong pressure gradient adjacent the coast will maintain fresh to strong S/SW winds (with isolated regions of early lighter W/SW winds, i.e. the Northern Beaches). Expect much smaller surf at beaches not open to the south.

All parameters will ease into Tuesday - the local S/SW breeze back to moderate to fresh strength (again, with a broadening region of early lighter W/SW winds), and the S/SE swell will ease from 5-6ft to 4-5ft through the day (bigger in the Hunter, smaller elsewhere), with the E/NE swell also easing quite a bit. 

By Wednesday we’ll be back to light variable winds and a steady S/SE tending SE swell in the 4-5ft range, before easing from 3-4ft to 2-3ft on Thursday, though supplemented by some small E’ly swell, generated from a fetch exiting western Cook Strait mid-week. Southern ends will be smaller in size but as the swell direction veers more SE we should see a slightly broader coverage of size.

Thursday may see a front push into the southern Tasman Sea, generating some short range south swell for the afternoon and Friday, but that’s a long time away and there’s a lot of surfing to do between now and then.

Stay safe, see you Monday!

Comments

Daltz007's picture
Daltz007's picture
Daltz007 commented Friday, 22 May 2020 at 6:54pm

Reflection from my afternoon.......how good is an indicator reef :-)

SimonJ's picture
SimonJ's picture
SimonJ commented Friday, 22 May 2020 at 10:22pm

Never seen 10-15 guys washed away (into shore luckily) from dee why point so easily before. Meanwhile around the corner more protected........

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Saturday, 23 May 2020 at 8:03am

No shortage of size in Newy!

Manly stretch has a few.



Solid on the Cenny Coast

A little burgery at the Island.

Explosions on the Coal Coast.

scroty's picture
scroty's picture
scroty commented Saturday, 23 May 2020 at 2:23pm

Epic days. Not sure I'd call it windy though.

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Saturday, 23 May 2020 at 3:27pm

A couple from this morning, hope you got a few.

250520-3
250520-2
250520-1
230520

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Saturday, 23 May 2020 at 6:53pm

Pumping!

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Saturday, 23 May 2020 at 8:02pm

Ha yea at times it was!

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Saturday, 23 May 2020 at 5:48pm

Ch9 news just had some solid waves on from around Sydney. Looked good

joesydney's picture
joesydney's picture
joesydney commented Saturday, 23 May 2020 at 6:14pm

Cloey Bombie and Wedding Cake were as good as I have seen this morning. Bare Island looked heinous...

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Saturday, 23 May 2020 at 6:27pm

Very special day of surfing, and I'm currently fighting temptation because tomorrow morning is potentially bigger, and then we've got at least 6ft waves till Wednesday.

Gonna be a wreck by the end of it.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Saturday, 23 May 2020 at 6:53pm

Lucky buggers. What type of waves were you surfing today Stu? And what board?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Saturday, 23 May 2020 at 7:10pm

Rock-bottom waves not far from home.

Rode a 6'10" quad through the morning, then because I was in an all or nothing kinda mood, I swapped to a 5'4" fish for the low tide chip ins, but pulled the legrope plug out late in the day and swapped back to the 6'10". Prob ride the same tomorrow morning, but I've just waxed a more standard step up in preparation for the arvo low.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Saturday, 23 May 2020 at 8:01pm

How big where you were ?

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Saturday, 23 May 2020 at 8:00pm

Sounds like a great day. Good luck for tomorrow.

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Saturday, 23 May 2020 at 8:18pm

And the next 3+ I'm on leave yew

evosurfer's picture
evosurfer's picture
evosurfer commented Saturday, 23 May 2020 at 9:37pm

The swell definitely has lived up to your predictions.

IF im not surfing im racing

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Saturday, 23 May 2020 at 11:17pm

Some solid ones off Merewether today

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops commented Sunday, 24 May 2020 at 2:15pm

Copped a good ol fashioned pounding this morning... Sweep was stupid too. Feelin' alive now!

He who hesitates is lost

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Sunday, 24 May 2020 at 9:24pm

Did someone say Merewether never barrels?

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Monday, 25 May 2020 at 6:35am

The video you posted on Saturday was good.
The paddlers got some great waves

gggiiibbbo's picture
gggiiibbbo's picture
gggiiibbbo commented Monday, 25 May 2020 at 7:12am

I live just up the hill from one of the east’s big wave rights. Had a few very crowded 5 footers at sth ‘bra Saturday morning. Friday Wedding Cake was the biggest, cleanest surfable waves I’ve seen in Sydney. 15ft sets. One legend paddler pulled in to an easy 10ft living room & just got smoked on exit. My local went from 6-8ft perfection late Saturday to 10-12ft & super-dangerous yesterday. Hats off to those hell men. Getting in was a total nightmare - 15mins for one bloke!