Swell, wind, swell, swell (deep breath), swell, swell, swell
Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 27th July)
Best Days: Tues: very large, windy surf. Wed: better winds, strong though easing surf. Fri/Sat/Sun: nice mix of S, S/SE and E/NE swells with generally light winds.
Recap: Easing S/SE swells offered 2-3ft sets on Saturday, becoming smaller during the day and into Sunday, ahead of a new E/NE swell that built slowly through Sunday ahead of a rapid increase into Monday. Surf size generally held out in the 10-12ft range across most of the Sydney region today, though interestingly, we saw much smaller surf through the Hunter (and, some reports of larger 12-15ft sets south from the Illawarra). Sunday’s freshening onshore winds swung offshore across many locations today though we’ve seen pockets of S/SW gales, mainly south from Sydney.
This week (July 28 - 31)
There’s so much swell inbound from so many sources, it’s hard to keep track of it all.
The current Tasman Low (though, it could be an ECL, I haven’t had a chance to analyse properly), is slowly moving southwards, but we’ve got more energy on the way. A new SE fetch is developing on the low’s southern flank, aimed into the South Coast though we’ll see a fair percentage of size north into Sydney and Hunter coasts.
This will also strengthen a S/SW fetch parallel to the coast on Tuesday, generating additional short range energy.
And to cap it off, the eastern flank of the broad supporting trough had E/NE gales within our swell window (in the central Tasman Sea) for most of today so this energy will push through on Tuesday, before easing from Wednesday.
So, the combination of these three sources - plus easing NE energy from today - should maintain 6-8ft+ surf at most spots spots into Tuesday, with bigger waves likely south from the Illawarra. However, local winds are less likely to offer as many windows of opportunity today. There’s an outside chance for early W/SW winds north from Sydney but for the most part expect S/SW tending S’ly gales.
Wednesday will see wave heights trend down pretty steeply (still 4-6ft exposed beaches early though) and conditions should be more manageable with moderate SW winds, tending W’ly across a few locations.
Whilst this is going on, a redeveloping trough will push down from the Coral Sea and into the western Tasman Sea, strengthening NE winds across the northern and north-eastern Tasman. This will generate some new NE swell expected to kick in size on Thursday - probably into the afternoon (so, expected undersized conditions in the morning) - with an initial, brief pulse into the 4-6ft range for a few hours that afternoon, before levelling off at 3-4ft on Friday, thanks to a broad supporting ridge extending back into the South Pacific.
Completely unrelated to these systems, a front will clip Tasmania on Wednesday evening, and push up into the Tasman Sea, merging with the southward travelling trough (responsible for the Thurs/Fri NE swell). This will kick up some small initial S’ly swell for Thursday, but more importantly, will form another Tasman Low that should generate 3-5ft of S/SE swell for Friday. The low looks really good on paper but will be off-axis within our swell window so we won’t see quite as much size as we’d like.. however the Hunter might pick up a few bigger sets.
Thursday’s conditions look a little dicey with associated S’ly winds with the front affecting exposed locations (probably a few isolated pockets of offshore winds), but Friday’s looking great with light variable winds.
This weekend (Aug 1 - 2)
The new Tasman Low generating Friday’s S/SE swell will linger all weekend but slowly move eastwards, resulting in a slow decline in wave heights. Fortunately, conditions look clean both days with light winds.
South facing beaches should still manage 3-5ft sets early Saturday (upper end between Sydney and the Hunter), easing to 3-4ft during the afternoon and then 2-3ft into Sunday. Elsewhere, we’ll see a small undercurrent of background E/NE swell in the 2-3ft range both days.
Looking like a fun weekend of surf just about everywhere.
Next week (Aug 3 onwards)
Yep another southwards tracking tropical depression is expected to push from New Caledonia towards New Zealand from Friday into Saturday, strengthening E/NE winds into the South Pacific and generating a fresh E/NE swell for sometime around Mon/Tues of next week. Early size estimates are somewhere in the 4ft range.
An unrelated cut-off low moving in from the west also looks to provide solid southerly swells.
So, it’s shaping up for another active week of surf across Southern NSW.
See you Wednesday!