Large surf to continue well into the weekend

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Craig Brokensha (issued Wednesday 15th July)

Best Days: Experienced surfers only in protected spots Thursday and Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday 


A rapid and significant increase in strengthening S/SE swell yesterday as a low in the Tasman Sea undertook explosive cyclogenesis. This saw the surf jumpu to 10ft+ across the Sydney region by midday, a touch smaller across to the south and larger to the north into the afternoon.

Strong morning S/SE winds improved and swung more S/SW creating clean conditions in protected spots.

Today we’ve seen the largest and most powerful pulse of swell from the ‘bombing low’, that being a SE groundswell event with oversized surf right across the NSW coastline along with strong but favourable SW winds. This is offering surf between 10-12ft+ but only for the most experienced.

Swellnet subscriber Max Wax giving it a proper nudge

The Port Botany buoy has been registering some incredible figures since early this morning, with Significant Wave Heights between 5-6m at 12-15 seconds, while Maximum Wave Heights pinged over 10m, while we've just seen an incredible 12.98m recording at 9am.

We should see the size ease off a touch through the day, discussed below.

This week and weekend (Jul 16 - 19)

The largest and most powerful of the swell should be peaking this morning, owing to the burst of severe-gale to storm-force SE winds towards us through yesterday.

In saying that we're still seeing a significant and broad fetch of SE gales aimed through our swell window, weakening slowly into this afternoon.

With this there's no change to the expected size tomorrow, with most of the southern NSW coast still likely to persist around that 10ft range on the sets, easing into the afternoon and then back a little more through Friday.

Friday doesn't look to really drop below 6-8ft+, and into the afternoon some new E/SE groundswell should be seen, easing slowly through the weekend.

The source of this will be an intensification of E'ly gales off New Zealand's North Island as the low broadens today, with the fetch extending well into the Tasman and remaining there until Friday morning, breaking down slowly thereafter. Following this as the low continues to weaken we'll still see strong E/SE-SE winds in the Tasman through Saturday, finally breaking completely down Sunday and this will keep all regions more than active into early next week.

Coming back to the size of the E/SE groundswell pulse Friday and Saturday, this should maintain sets to 6-8ft+ across most locations Friday afternoon, easing into Saturday from 6-8ft and Sunday morning.

Monday will then see the surf become more manageable and dropping from 3-4ft+, down to a slower 3ft into the afternoon.

This will top off nearly a week of over-sized to large groundswell, quite a significant event in anyone's book.

Coming back to the local winds and a slight reduction in strength is due tomorrow but we'll continue to see gusty SW winds (tending W/SW in certain locations through the morning) and then S/SW into the afternoon, while Friday looks less favourable with S/SW winds across most locations (SW in pockets), shifting more S'ly into the afternoon.

Come the weekend conditions will really start to clean up with a great offshore W/SW breeze due, giving into N/NE sea breezes and then excellent Sunday with a W/NW tending variable breeze. A strong cold front pushing across the south-east of the country will bring strengthening NW tending W/SW winds Monday and then a S'ly change Tuesday.

Tuesday's change will be linked to a couple of cold fronts pushing up and past us, bringing some new mid-period S'ly energy mid-late week as winds go variable. More on this Friday though.


scottishsponger's picture
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scottishsponger commented Wednesday, 15 Jul 2020 at 2:23pm

Explosive cyclogenesis! Yew

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Wednesday, 15 Jul 2020 at 5:52pm

I have already advised management that I have, ahem, personal matters to attend to this Friday and Monday. Yew indeed!

@Max Wax, epic pic mate, stay home and go hard eh.

Max Wax's picture
Max Wax's picture
Max Wax commented Thursday, 16 Jul 2020 at 6:35pm

Cheers west, home is always more special :)

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Wednesday, 15 Jul 2020 at 8:23pm

A few at the Harb (not taken by or of me)


science's picture
science's picture
science commented Thursday, 16 Jul 2020 at 5:39am

There were a few guys out Stockton in front of pines about 4pm; a bit full but big. Took a bunch of pics but accidentally had my ISO setting way too high so they're all f$#ked :( should have stuck to using smartphone, devo

kang's picture
kang's picture
kang commented Thursday, 16 Jul 2020 at 8:13am

Share a few pics! Harb as usual looks like a shit fight. 40 guys sitting ontop of shopping trollies

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Thursday, 16 Jul 2020 at 9:10am
Lumie83's picture
Lumie83's picture
Lumie83 commented Thursday, 16 Jul 2020 at 6:06pm

Is that bloke In the last wave alive

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Thursday, 16 Jul 2020 at 8:31pm

From around the internet....How big? Bucking huge!


kang's picture
kang's picture
kang commented Friday, 17 Jul 2020 at 12:19pm

you know its big when it breaks beyond the jetty like that! Thought this spot would of been protected!

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Friday, 17 Jul 2020 at 9:11am

Were the Police towing in at the harbour :-)

anthony.olsen's picture
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anthony.olsen commented Friday, 17 Jul 2020 at 9:25am

Checking on social distancing?