Windy weekend ahead, then solid surf due next week
Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 23rd October)
Best Days: Poor conditions for a few days but with plenty of swell. Tues should start to see a steady improvement and Wed/Thurs are looking great with sizeable though gradually easing SE swells.
Recap: Surf conditions have remained small and lacklustre across most of Southern NSW over the last two days, though a handful of south swell magnets (mainly the Hunter) saw occasional 2-3ft sets of flukey long range southerly swell. Winds were light and variable early Thursday with afternoon sea breezes, and light N’ly winds this morning are now freshening from the NE, beginning a small new NE windswell.
This weekend (Oct 24 - 25)
No change to the weekend forecast.
Fresh northerly winds will persist about the coast on Saturday, though the bulk fetch will push just offshore so we should see a slight weakening from what’s expected to be gusty overnight conditions.
These winds will also generate some local NE windswell, up into the 3ft+ range at exposed NE facing beaches but quality won’t be high, so keep your expectations low.
An approaching trough will then push into the Tasman Sea overnight Saturday, driving a vigorous southerly change across the coast that’ll build a local S’ly windswell through Sunday morning. Although we should see plenty of size by the afternoon (5-6ft south facing beaches), quality will be low under gusty S’ly winds. There’s a slim chance for an early S/SW breeze in a few locations though surf size will be smaller at this time. Winds will then veer SE late afternoon.
Locations not open to the south will see much smaller surf on Sunday, initial some minor leftover NE swell and then (eventually) building S’ly swell. Hard to imagine there’ll be many worthwhile options though.
Next week (Oct 26 onwards)
We’ve got an extended run of sizeable SE swell for our region.
There’ll also be some S’ly groundswell from an impressive polar low under Tasmania this weekend, but it’ll be the less dominant swell of the two.
Sunday’s change will stall off the Northern NSW coast on Monday, and a stationary SE fetch on is southern flank - extending all the way back to New Zealand - will slowly strengthen from late Sunday through Monday, reaching a peak on Tuesday (see chart below) before gradually easing from Wednesday and gently rotating counter-clockside out of our swell window.
This should maintain about 6ft of SE swell for the first three days of the week, initially shorter period energy, but with the wavelengths drawing out to a plateau on Tuesday and Wednesday. In fact late Tues/Wed should see a few bigger sets at exposed beaches into the 8ft range as this occurs (mainly northern ends, and offshore bombies/reefs). Expect smaller surf at southern ends and other sheltered spots.
Also, as mentioned on Wednesday, a small low embedded on the trough line - east from the Hunter region - may also enhance wave heights local on Monday though this is likely to be mainly north from Sydney.
However, local conditions will initially be quite wind affected to begin with on Monday, and although Tuesday will see a steady improvement with easing strengths and pockets of light variable winds, it won’t be until Wednesday where we see a more widespread cleaning up of surf conditions.
Excellent conditions are expected Thursday though surf size will be steadily easing by this time.
See you Monday!