Small pickings this week, ahead of a large S'ly weekend
Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 21st September)
Best Days: Tues: fun small NE swell with offshore winds. Later Thurs/early Fri: brief flush of S'ly swell, good winds for the most part. Sat/Sun/Mon: large S'ly swell, windy at times but plenty of opportunioties. Next week: more S'ly swell though much smaller than the weekend.
Recap: The weekend delivered a mix of building S’ly swells that reached 3-4ft at south facing beaches late Saturday and early Sunday, plus a building NE swell that pushed 3-4ft by Sunday afternoon (bigger than expected) as the S’ly swell rapidly retreated. However freshening NE winds Saturday afternoon continued through Sunday, becoming quite gusty through the day. They backed off early this morning but have resumed at strength again, with the NE windswell easing back to about 3ft.
This week (Sep 22 - 25)
Although local winds inside our near swell window are easing back, we’ve got a small stationary N’ly fetch off Northern NSW that will persist through Tuesday, essentially supplying NE windswells across Southern NSW through until Wednesday.
Tuesday will see the most size with occasional 2ft to nearly 2-3ft sets, and conditions should clean up as a weak front directs W/NW winds across the region. As such we should see a major improvement in surface conditions. Easing size into Wednesday should maintain 1-2ft waves at NE facing beaches in the morning, ahead of an easing trend throughout the day. Expect smaller surf at south facing beaches and across the northern Hunter.
A cut-off low to the south-west of Tasmania will pass through into our swell widow during the middle of the week. Initially, westerly gales exiting eastern Bass Strait will probably be too unfavourably aligned to generate a spread of south swell for our region (though, it can’t be ruled out, late Wed/early Thurs), but a secondary fetch around the western flank of the low - off Tasmania’s east coast overnight Wednesday - should generate a better flush of south swell for Thursday afternoon.
Early indications are for 2-3ft+ sets at south facing beaches, pushing 4ft across the Hunter, but it’ll probably be a short lived pulse that’ll peak under the cover of darkness Thursday night. Surf size is expected to ease rapidly through Friday. Beaches not open to the south will be significantly smaller due to the acute southerly swell direction.
Thursday’s winds look favourable under a moderate westerly but Friday is at risk of freshening northerlies ahead of a gusty overnight NW change (early morning should be light though). So, there’ll be window of opportunity at south facing beaches later Thursday and early Friday, but you’ll have to pounce on whatever you see.
This weekend (Sep 26 - 27)
A Tasman Low is expected to rapidly intensify off the Southern NSW coast on Saturday morning (see below).
Although it looks quite impressive in single synoptic snapshots, this low is likely to be whisked quickly to the east, limiting its swell generating potential within our swell window. Nevetheless, the sheer strength, breadth and length (down to polar latitudes) of the resulting fetch should generate a large south swell for the region this weekend.
Current expectations are that we’re likely to see a rapid increase southerly swell at some point on Saturday (probably before lunch). The late afternoon session and/or Sunday is presently on target for a peak in the 6-8ft range, with fresh W/SW winds accompanying Saturday’s rapid building trend (albeit starting from a very small base!), whilst Sunday could see a secondary front bring about a gusty S’ly change.
Next week (Sep 28 onwards)
The weekend’s large S’ly swell will ease steadily through the start of next week, with light winds keeping conditions nice and clean. Ballpark size range is 4-6ft early Monday easing to 3-4ft through Tuesday.
Strong secondary fronts racing up from polar latitude into the south-eastern Tasman Sea should supply smallish S/SE swells through the middle to later part of next week, keeping the open beaches busy with fun activity.
See you Wednesday!