Slow weekend of waves, next week looks patchy

Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 9th October)

Best Days: Sat AM: early offshores, slow, easing E/NE swell. Late Sat/early Sun: keep an eye out for a small, flukey south swell at the swell magnets. Wed/Thurs: small+ long period S'ly swell, though N'ly winds will probably spoil things. 

Recap: 4-6ft E/NE swell on Thursday eased through 3-5ft through the day, but was affected by freshening northerly winds. The breeze did eased back (across Sydney at least) to well below 10kts from about 4pm onwards, but the swing to the NW didn’t occur until 7:30pm. Today has seen much cleaner conditions all day with moderate to fresh W/NW winds and easing E/NE swells from 3-4ft at exposed beaches.

Empty peaks at Queensie

Nice Friday E/NE lines at Manly

Decent shorey at Maroubra

This weekend (Oct 10 - 11)

Our current E/NE swell will continue to ease into the weekend, and will be down to a slow, inconsistent 2ft+ by Saturday morning, becoming smaller by the afternoon and holding through Sunday.

Conditions will be clean with early offshore winds, though afternoon sea breezes may bump up the open beaches (it shouldn’t be too strong though).

A strong front exiting eastern Bass Strait today has a broad fetch of westerly gales trailing behind. It’s poorly aligned within our swell window, but early Saturday morning will momentarily veer W/SW, and this should allow for a brief flush of south swell across the region. However its alignment has been tweaked slightly outside of our swell window since Wednesday’s notes, so I’m now a little less confident that we'll see waves.

Most beaches will dip out completely due to the acute direction, but a handful of south facing beaches should see a late afternoon pulse into the 2ft range. The Hunter region always performs a little better, so occasional 3ft+ sets are possible here, though it’s worth noting that this swell will absolutely peak overnight Saturday and will be trending down by early Sunday - so there’s a fair chance that the best part of this event will go unridden, under the cover of darkness.

Light winds on Sunday morning will precede an afternoon sea breeze, and you’ll have to make the most of the (very) early morning session as it’ll be tiny by the afternoon. 

So, keep your expectations low and be pleasantly surprised if this south swell delivers a few peaks for you late Saturday or early Sunday. 

Next week (Oct 12 onwards)

Looks like a slow week of waves ahead. However there are some interesting options to keep an eye on.

A building ridge north and north-east of New Zealand from the weekend onwards will slowly generate E’ly swell for Northern NSW into next week though it'll be only small in Southern NSW (and E/NE in direction). 

A developing trough in the northern Tasman Sea early next week will push against a coastal ridge, generating local SE swells for Northern NSW and SE Qld but again, surf size will be much smaller in Southern NSW from this source.  

Wednesday will see the leading edge of a long period S’ly swell glance the coast, generated by an incredible low pressure system in the Southern Ocean over the weekend, though generally outside of our swell window (inside the Tasmanian swell shadow). Most locations won’t see much size from it, but the long wavelengths should allow swell energy to wrap efficiently into south facing beaches, where we should pick up inconsistent 2-3ft+ sets later Wednesday and early Thursday (bigger across the Hunter, peaking near 3-5ft). 

This swell will be horribly inconsistent though, and freshening northerlies around the same time will limit surfable options to just a couple of locations. It's not worth putting into the diary.

Otherwise, a more classic frontal passage through the lower Tasman Sea later next week should set up a more bog-standard though relatively strong round of south swell for next weekend. 

Have a great weekend, see you Monday!


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Sprout commented Saturday, 10 Oct 2020 at 11:21am