More southerly swell ahead... and a possible ECL

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 6th July)

Best Days: Tues/Wed/Thurs: plenty of S'ly swell (easing Tues, rebuilding Wed, peaking that a'noon) with generally light winds. Early next week: possible ECL on the cards.

Recap: Saturday morning was generally very small with residual SE swells maintaining 1-1.5ft waves at most beaches. A late afternoon pulse of new S’ly swell built a little better into Sunday but initially came in under size expectations, holding 2-3ft at south facing beaches through until the afternoon when it built to 3-4ft. A third, stronger S’ly swell lifted wave heights further this morning to 3-5ft at south facing beaches. The entire period has seen larger surf across the Hunter but smaller surf at southern ends and protected locations. Conditions have been generally clean too, with morning W’ly winds tending S’ly at some locations through the afternoons. Surf size is now slowly easing across the region.

Solid bombs at Shark Island this morning

This week (July 7 - 10)

Wave heights are expected to continue easing into Tuesday, and we’ll see clean morning conditions under a light W’ly breeze tending S’ly through the day. South facing beaches should manage 2-3ft+ sets, with bigger options through the Hunter but smaller waves elsewhere. 

On Wednesday, we’ll see the arrival of two overlapping south swells, generated by a deep polar low that pushed up underneath Tasmania today and will tonight project a strong front through the lower Tasman Sea. The two swells will probably arrive simultaneously (early hours of Wednesday morning, following a late Tuesday arrival on the Far South Coast), so there’s an outside chance for a temporary lag in size at dawn, but otherwise expect a steady upwards trend all day. 

The models have slightly weakened the core fetch from this system so I’m pulling the plus from Friday's projected wave heights, and estimate we’ll see south facing beaches pushing 4ft to maybe 4-5ft into the afternoon (smaller earlier). Long swell periods associated with the polar component of primary fetch should exaggerate wave heights at south swell magnets like the Hunter, and offshore bombies, into the 6ft+ range. And we’re looking at clean conditions with light variable winds for most of the day. 

Gradually easing size is then expected through Thursday though the surf should be strong through the morning, again with south facing beaches picking up the most size (3-4ft+, bigger through the Hunter). 

A further easing trend will continue into Friday, along with continuing clean conditions under a light wind and weak pressure pattern.

This weekend (July 11 - 12)

Our swell window will become quiet through the middle to patter part of this week, which means small surf for the weekend.

Small long period S’ly swells generated on the periphery of our far swell window may generate small waves for south facing beaches - perhaps 1-2ft sets - but nothing amazing is expected. We may also see a small NE swell from a modest fetch developing along the top of a weak Tasman high, but it won’t amount to much size.

Conditions will however be clean with light winds, so the swell magnets will be worth scouting around if you’re desperate to get wet. 

Next week (July 13 onwards)

We’ve got some dynamic weather on the way for next week, with an approaching upper cold pool expected to deepen a surface trough along the NSW coast early next week, probably bringing about an East Coast Low from around late Monday or Tuesday.

Initially suggestions are for a steadily building NE swell on Monday thanks to a tropical infeed from the Coral Sea (into the developing low), ahead of an explosive short range S’ly swell for Tuesday and/or Wednesday that could end up delivering some very large waves across Southern NSW (along with a continuation of E/NE swell from the eastern flank of the low.. see below). Though, with local winds likely in excess of gale to storm force, conditions won’t be terribly inviting for part of this event. 

It’s still very early days, though worth noting that the models have been confident on the broader setup of this pattern for quite a few days now so confidence is becoming stronger that we’ve got a significant weather/swell event on the way. 

More on this in Wednesday’s update.


sean killen's picture
sean killen's picture
sean killen commented Monday, 6 Jul 2020 at 6:25pm

ECL I hope so.. local banks can do with a major flush out again , had some awesome banks after the last one


Montygoesbananas's picture
Montygoesbananas's picture
Montygoesbananas commented Monday, 6 Jul 2020 at 8:24pm

Heading down the s coast on Friday bring it on!