A lotta swell and wind on the way
Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 24th July)
Best Days: Sat AM: small clean leftover S/SE swell. Sun: building NE tending E/NE swells, though winds look dicey. Mon/Tues: very large swells from the S and E/NE, though very windy. Size easing rapidly through Wed with light winds. More strong NE swell due around Fri/Sat plus other swell sources beyond this.
Recap: Easing S’ly swells provided occasional 2-3ft sets at south facing beaches on Thursday, before a new S/SE groundswell pushed into the region overnight, offering 3-4ft surf at south facing beaches this morning, smaller elsewhere. The sets have been inconsistent and size is now easing. Winds have been light with clean conditions.
This weekend (July 25 - 26)
Today’s S/SE swell will fade pretty steadily through the weekend. We’ll see lingering sets at south facing beaches early Saturday but I don’t think there’ll be much more than 2-3ft across the Hunter, with smaller surf near 2ft+ at south facing beaches south from Sydney - most other locations will be very small indeed, and we’ll see a further small decrease into Sunday.
There’s a risk that developing NE winds will affect surf conditions through the day as a coastal trough to the north slides towards us, but early morning should see light variable winds and clean conditions.
On Sunday, the smaller leftover S/SE swell will be accompanied by a small, slow increase in E/NE swell associated with the approaching coastal trough (well, its easterly infeed, developing today off SE Qld). No major size is likely until overnight, and conditions are looking a little dicey with strengthening easterly winds as the approaching trough starts to exert more influence.
However the flukey nature of coastal troughs means there’s a decent chance we’ll see a wide range in conditions across the greater Southern NSW coastline (including an eventual swing in the wind to the W/SW, though this is more likely Monday). Therefore, prepare for poor conditions but don’t be surprised if a small window opens up.
As for size, the building short range E’ly swell should manage some 4ft+ sets by the end of the day (smaller earlier), maybe larger as we’ll certainly be on a steady upwards trend by this time with double to maybe triple this size expected over the following 24 hours.
Next week (July 27 onwards)
East Coast Low or Tasman Low?
It currently looks like it’ll be the latter, but either way we’ve got a lot of swell and wind for early next week. Winds will be a major problem too, as the low intensifies off the coast on Monday, we’ll see S/SW (South Coast) thru SW (Sydney etc) and maybe even temporary W/SW winds through the Hunter to begin with, though reaching gale to storm force strength, maintaining through Tuesday though becoming light and variable by Wednesday.
Accompanying the swell will be a combo of moderate to large NE tending E/NE swell plus a large to very large S’ly tending S/SE swell with the latter being most dominant.
How big? Hard to be overly confident but 10ft+ sets seems a reasonable ball park figure for now (late Mon thru’ Tues). The mix of swell directions will assist in maintaining plenty of size across even the most sheltered southern corners.
A broad ridge north of New Zealand from this weekend onwards will maintain useful E/NE swells through the middle of next week - as the two primary swells ease rapidly around Wednesday - ahead of another tropical system developing in the lower Coral Sea that looks like it’ll eventually merge with an approaching front from the south (around Thursday).
The merge is of less interest than the supporting ridge to the north-east (see below), which looks like it’ll broaden and strengthen considerably, generating an excellent NE swell for about Friday or Saturday. The models aren’t liking this much at the moment but I reckon we could see 4-6ft sets from this source.
Otherwise, we’ll have plenty of S’ly swell from the front later netx week, and the there’s a chance yet another low may form in the central Tasman Sea (thanks to the merge) which means elevated swells through next weekend and the start of the following week.
All in all, it’s looking very active period of surf continuing across the East Coast. Booya!
Have a great weekend, see you Monday!