thermalben

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.

Macking at Kiama around lunchtime

Cenny Coast looking sizeable

Top to bottom at the Queenscliff Bombie

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!

Comments

davidaj's picture
davidaj's picture
davidaj commented Monday, 27 Jul 2020 at 5:48pm

Yeeowww!

David Ackling-Jones

Froth Dog's picture
Froth Dog's picture
Froth Dog commented Monday, 27 Jul 2020 at 5:52pm

Yewwwww

Froth Dog

batty_rida's picture
batty_rida's picture
batty_rida commented Monday, 27 Jul 2020 at 5:56pm

Is the NE energy for Tuesday likely in the 6-8ft range, or will the southerly swell be dominant? Can't believe how big and clean is was today!

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink commented Monday, 27 Jul 2020 at 6:27pm

Holy crap, that is an amazing run of swell. July 2020 might go down as one of the biggest of winters for just ongoing macking swells. I thought the previous week’s was one of the biggest sustained swells we have had for a long time, but now it’s just probably the biggest and most sustained swell in a series of killers. Worth remembering.

SimonJ's picture
SimonJ's picture
SimonJ commented Tuesday, 28 Jul 2020 at 9:12am

Better free up tomorrow morning calm after the storm

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 28 Jul 2020 at 9:32am

Very special day of surfing 'round here yesterday. Enormous and unruly in the early morning, despite having a sou'wester on it, but by late morning the energy had calmed just enough to be rideable. Rare that we get swells that big from the E/NE so the local was breaking in an alien manner with all the usual takeoff spots mixed up and a new approach needed to scratch into 10'+ sets breaking square onto the reef. Called it quits after five waves or so and a clean account - no wipeouts or bad lickings.

The E/NE component had eased by the late arvo so most people sat on the bowl. I tried to jag a few from the back, riding a new 6'3" compressed gun - 8 foot of board squashed down - while Ellis Ericson rode a real gun, a beefy Parmenter, and stroked into a few bombs joining the sections like it was mid-range Sunset on a west swell. However, carpark consensus judged the best wave to lidder Katesy.

Today it's dropped a lot. Still 6ft or so, the wind is howling, rain is teeming, a classic winter morning with only a handful of guys getting amongst it.

Just did the drive around and the beaches here are copping it from both sides: a large, sustained swell and over 170mm of rain in two days. The creeks are roaring and the earth is sodden. Danger time for houses in slip areas.

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops commented Tuesday, 28 Jul 2020 at 10:08am

Got any more details on the board Stu? I'm finding the whole compressed gun thing fascinating.

He who hesitates is lost

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 28 Jul 2020 at 10:25am

Here's some shots. It's 6'3" x 19 x 2 3/4. Not sure of volume yet, gotta find out. It has rail channels but a completely flat deck between them up under the chest. Very low rocker. Got a few sets yesterday and it felt unreal, that's exactly the surf it was made for, while this morning it was a touch too small for it and the board rode stiff. That's fine, it helps me understand what's happening.

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops commented Tuesday, 28 Jul 2020 at 11:46am

Beautiful looking thing. First thing it says to me is "drivey and smooth"

Interesting how much wider the tail is than a traditional gun/how round it is. I'm guessing it'd be outrageously fast (even more so with that flat rocker) and much more maneouvrable, but perhaps have slightly less "hold" than a traditional pin? (Though that'd be offset by that rail...)
Interesting to see that step-change in deck thickness from the chest to the rail too... I guess the same reason you see it in tiny-wave boards (more bouyancy -- better paddling) holds for an getting edge in scratching into big waves.

What fin setup did you go with?

He who hesitates is lost

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 28 Jul 2020 at 12:06pm

Yeah, it's a beautiful board; attractive lines and proportions.

Punches well above its height for paddling, there's a lot of foam in it, and the extra volume gives it a buoyancy at odds with its length. It's not a board you'd ever bury a rail through a turn, it wasn't made for that.

Simply put, the wave it was made for demands a big board on takeoff but then tapers in size to shortboard requirements, so this was to try and marry those two aspects. There's compromise at either end but less so than having a gun and not being able to turn, or a shortboard and not catching waves. Early impressions are promising.

I rode it as a quad but have a feeling a Thruster set up might help put the board on rail.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 29 Jul 2020 at 6:03pm

looks v. nice Stu, but that salt and pepper beard ...........whats the story there?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 29 Jul 2020 at 6:29pm

Going the Ernest Hemmingway look.

Gotta work on my misogyny, homophobia, and short sentence structure, but I've got the aesthetic down pat.

Andrew P's picture
Andrew P's picture
Andrew P commented Wednesday, 29 Jul 2020 at 3:08pm

Stretch's new model the Shortenboard

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 29 Jul 2020 at 5:49pm

Chortle, chortle

Bubble elder's picture
Bubble elder's picture
Bubble elder commented Tuesday, 28 Jul 2020 at 11:18am

They were tricky to get with that wind but definitely the most fun I've had out there in a long time... I wish we got more swells of that direction there!

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Tuesday, 28 Jul 2020 at 10:10am

I think I know what the answer will be Stu, but ya got any photos of yesterday?

You painted an incredible picture of it I’d love to see it

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 28 Jul 2020 at 10:15am

A bloke said he got iPhone shots of one of my waves in the morning but I haven't heard from him yet.

Didn't see anyone else with a camera as it was pouring the whole time.

Late session I sat out there with photographer Storky Thompson as a set pushed down the point, low cloud, the water surface was gun metal grey, while the sou-wester blew plumes of spray 100 feet into the air, and he regretted not having his camera.

Then he dropped into an 8fter and I imagine he switched his position again.

ojackojacko's picture
ojackojacko's picture
ojackojacko commented Tuesday, 28 Jul 2020 at 10:45am

magic. photography is unreal but there's always a cost - has to be one thing or the other, otherwise it's neither

mike lowrey's picture
mike lowrey's picture
mike lowrey commented Tuesday, 28 Jul 2020 at 4:47pm

some real strange activities going down on the shark island cam - 430-4:45pm tues

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 28 Jul 2020 at 4:53pm

Seen old mate on the motorised board a few times before.. what a pest!

lomah's picture
lomah's picture
lomah commented Tuesday, 28 Jul 2020 at 4:56pm

oh my there is someone out at shark island on what looks like some sort of motorised surf board contraption. check out the cams. weaving between everyone doing laps as he catches whatever he wants by the look of it. oh dear the end is possibly here.

Jono's picture
Jono's picture
Jono commented Wednesday, 29 Jul 2020 at 9:42am

He's back out there this morning, solo sesh this time.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 29 Jul 2020 at 10:06am

He's been doing the same there for years, ever since those machines were first imported into Ausralia. Does it with impunity too, both ethical and legal impunity, as the machine isn't classified as a PWC when it's imported into Oz.

flow's picture
flow's picture
flow commented Tuesday, 28 Jul 2020 at 5:32pm

Saw one today briefly at The Bower

maka2000's picture
maka2000's picture
maka2000 commented Wednesday, 29 Jul 2020 at 8:38am

so who paddled out on monday lunch time at the north manly next to shelly? I did , got a small one overhead , then following 6ft set of 4 washed my body straight to the beach :D

evosurfer's picture
evosurfer's picture
evosurfer commented Wednesday, 29 Jul 2020 at 2:32pm

Old mate on the motorized thing was out the point today for a few and in no uncertain terms was made to scamper away very quickly the boys have had enough of the blowins with no surf manners or have no idea and this clown is going down. HARD

IF im not surfing im racing