Decent spell of summer surf ahead
Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 22nd January)
Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)
- Fun weekend of waves with a mix of swells, though wind affected Sun
- Good swell combo Mon/Tues with long period S'ly and short range NE swells, though generally wind affected form local NE breezes
- Fun mix of swells for the second half of next week with better winds
Recap: Thursday delivered some truly epic surf across Southern NSW. By and large, most coasts seemed to rebuild through the day with surf size around the 6ft, occasionally 6-8ft mark but several regions reported much larger waves north of 10ft, mainly at offshore reefs and other locations that efficiently focus and amplify long period groundswells. Conditions were perfectly clean through the morning with light offshore winds, ahead of developing northerly breezes through the day. Wave heights maintained 4-6ft sets into this morning but has eased further to 4ft through the day, and early light N’ly winds are now fresh NE.
This weekend (Jan 23 - 24)
The weekend looks pretty fun though certainly nothing compared to the last few days.
A trough of low pressure will disrupt the currently N’ly flow across the coast, in fact a brief incursion of S’ly winds is expected across the South Coast overnight, and it may just nose into the Sydney region early Saturday. However it won’t last long and we’ll be back to light variable winds by lunchtime ahead of - north from the Illawarra - fresh NE breezes into the afternoon.
Full-tilt N’ly tending NE winds are expected on Sunday so make the most of Saturday for the best conditions.
As for surf, our existing S/SE groundswell will ease from 2-3ft+ to 2ft+ through Saturday, but we’ll also see a small NE windswell in the 2ft+ range, which will also ease through the day.
Sunday’s strengthening NE breeze (outside chance for an hour or two of light/mod N'lies at dawn) will rebuild NE swells from 2ft to 2-3ft through the day, and we’ve also got an interesting long period southerly groundswell that’ll glance the outer edges of the coast into the afternoon. It’ll only favour a small number of south facing beaches with very inconsistent sets in the 3ft range, however the Hunter usually does pretty well with these kinds of events and I can’t rule out a chance for late sets in the 3-5ft range (expect smaller surf early morning).
Next week (Jan 25 onwards)
The Southern Ocean storm track responsible for Sunday’s long period S’ly swell will remain slow moving south of the Tasman Sea over the weekend, and will consequently maintain intermittent long period S’ly swells through Monday. Only reliable south facing beaches will pick up this energy, with inconsistent sets around 3ft but as mentioned above, the Hunter often does very well and we may very well see occasional 3-5ft sets from time to time. Expect a gradual easing through Tuesday.
Monday and Tuesday will also see plenty of short range NE swell from a stationary fetch off the coast, building from 2-3ft Monday morning to 3-4ft by the end of the day, and holding 4ft+ through Tuesday.
Conditions both days looks to be heavily affected by fresh, gusty N/NE winds however a weak trough off the South Coast on Tuesday may disrupt the synoptic flow through the day so there’s potential for an improvement. I’ll have a better idea on this in Monday’s notes.
The long term outlook looks dynamic with a number of swell sources.
First up, a cut-off low in the Southern Ocean below Tasmania early next week should generate a mid-week S’ly swell, and a ridge pushing in below Tuesday’s South Coast trough should generally some SE swell mid-late next week.
Our local NE windswell early in the week will ease steadily from Wednesday onwards, however developing trades across the Northern Tasman Sea this weekend will generate small E/NE swells all week, that’ll become enhanced by way of a small E’ly dip in the lower Coral Sea from about Tuesday onwards, that should kick up a more robust E/NE groundswell. At this stage it’s expected to mainly favour SEQld and Northern NSW though the end result - even in a worst-case scenario - will be for fun, persistent E/NE swells in the 3ft+ range for most of next week. If the E’ly dip aligns a little more favourably within our swell window, then we may see this figure revised upwards by a couple of feet.
Beyond this there’s a myriad of tropical and Southern Ocean swell sources expected to keep Southern NSW active with plenty off swell through the first half of February.
See you Monday!