Weak swells, weak winds for the ‘weak’end
Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by James Casey (issued Friday 26th February)
Best Days: Saturday/Sunday with light winds and 2ft+ of combo of weak swells. Wednesday 4-6ft S/SE groundswell although winds persistent S/SE. Friday better option with smaller swell but better winds.
- Quiet weekend of waves with a few small swells combining to deliver 2ft+ waves, 2-3ft for the Hunter
- S/SE swell Tuesday with S change moving through early and continuing into the middle of the week initial 3-5ft wind swell with larger 4-6ft S groundswell pulse on Wednesday
- Swell hanging in around the 3-5ft mark although with persistent moderate S/SE winds
- Winds ease Friday ahead of another strong S change and another pulse of decent S/SE swell for the following weekend
That E/NE swell certainly packed a punch yesterday with some solid 3-5ft waves in the Illawarra, more like 3-4ft for Sydney and the Hunter. It certainly exceeded my expectations of a 2-3ft pulse.
There are two reasons this happened. First of all, the infeed of NE winds ahead of the trough were stronger than forecast.
Secondly, and probably more importantly, it combined with that E/SE swell that I assumed would have been a distance memory. The low from earlier in the week continued to deliver a decent amount of energy out of the E/SE and create an active sea state. The additional 2-3ft, 3ft for the Illawarra, from the E/NE meant the swell combined with the lingering 2-3ft of E/SE swell and gave us a nice 3-5ft swell.
This morning, we saw that E/SE swell finally subside for the Illawarra and Sydney while the Hunter received the last of it. It meant all we saw was the remaining 2ft of E/NE swell for the Sydney and the Illawarra, while the Hunter got it’s last bit of E/SE swell combining with 2ft E/NE swell.
The light winds ahead of the S change meant there were nice conditions for most of the morning. That sunrise too, how good. I hope you managed to get out there.
The S change swung winds SW early but didn’t really fill in with more S in it until the mid morning. Winds eased and went more SE into the afternoon.
Into the Weekend
The 2ft E/NE swell will be inconsistent tomorrow (Saturday) morning, while a new S/SE swell begins to make its presence felt into the afternoon. Don’t expect too much from this new swell though it’ll be 2ft+, a little bigger for the Hunter, let’s call it 2-3ft.
This new pulse of swell will be generated by a trough and low out in the Tasman, associated with Friday’s S change. Again nothing of any decent magnitude just 2ft of S/SE swell filling in late Saturday, peaking overnight and beginning to slowly ease by Sunday. The Hunter will see this peak early Sunday rather than overnight.
This S/SE swell will combine with a weak E trade swell setup delivering an additional 2ft and filling in the gap once the S/SE swell fades out on Sunday afternoon.
Winds will be light and variable for most of the weekend. Early tomorrow (Saturday) will have a little left over lumpiness from today’s S change but it’ll be clean enough before a light NE sea breeze puffs up in the afternoon.
Sunday morning will be a bit cleaner with a stronger afternoon NE seabreeze. All in all small waves and light winds for the weekend. A more summery vibe with fun waves along the open beaches.
Worth mentioning is the morning high tide. The best winds will coincide with a high tide that will drown most banks rendering them fat and slow at best. We saw that this morning (Friday) and we actually had a bit more swell to play with. A fish, mid length or basically anything with a bit of volume will be best suited.
The New Week
Not much action for the start of the week. There’ll just be the easing SE swell, weak E trade swell and a very weak NE wind swell from the indeed of NE winds ahead of a stronger S change. All of that will amount to 2ft+ of weak waves along the coast. With light winds ahead of an afternoon NE seabreeze it’ll have a summery vibe.
The S change will move through overnight making for a bumpy morning on Tuesday. This S change will be stronger as an associated low squeezes isobars against the coast.
Initially it’ll whip up 3-4ft of S/SE wind swell getting closer to 5ft by the end of the day. With strong S/SE winds you’ll be limited to protected southern corners where less swell will be getting in.
By Wednesday a longer period S groundswell will fill in. This swell will be generated by persistent gales on the north west flank of a low in the southern Tasman on Monday. Expect a solid 4-6ft to fill in across the region, a bit larger for the Hunter.
The swell will be accompanied by moderate S/SE winds keeping you confined to southern corners where there's a bit less size. Go suss out a bank in the protection of a headland or hit your favourite southern point. Otherwise try early for a bit more size when winds are a bit lighter but expect some lumpiness if you’re not in a southern corner.
Winds will ease by Thursday, swinging around to the NE ahead of yet another S change on Friday. This one looks like it’ll pack a bit of a punch as well with another decent S/SE groundswell thanks to persistent gales aimed along our coast. A high centred to the west of Tasmania will have a ridge funnelling strong S winds towards our coastline and delivering another decent S/SE groundswell for Saturday.
That’s a while away though so let’s keep an eye on it. For now enjoy the summer-like weekend ahead of you.