James KC

Autumn is here, cue S swells

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by James Casey (issued Monday 1st March)

Best Days: Thursday, Friday with best winds between the two S changes. Sunday with light winds and easing S swell. 


  • S Change to arrive tonight with decent S wind swell whipping up 3-5ft of waves by the arvo 
  • Longer period S groundswell to arrive Wednesday, expect 4-6ft at its peak, S/SE winds
  • Thursday 3-4ft with easing winds, light onshore around to NE late 
  • Friday 2-3ft with light winds early ahead of a another S change hitting mid morning/middle of day
  • Saturday new pulse of S swell arrives, peaking 4-6ft+, easing to 3-5ft Sunday
  • Winds ease Friday ahead of another strong S change and another pulse of decent S/SE swell for the following weekend

Recap: Saturday we saw lumpy 2-3ft waves, while Sunday was a bit smaller more like 1-2ft but a beautiful last day of summer.

This morning followed up from yesterday, light winds and mostly small waves around the 1-2ft mark. Exposed S swell magnets, mainly around the Hunter, saw larger overhead sets. This swell originated in the Southern Ocean and bent around into our acute swell window. 

Winds started off with a S component north of Sydney but swung round to the NE as a sea breeze built into the afternoon. 

This Week

A strong south change will move through around midnight, cooling things down and whipping up a new S swell for tomorrow (Tuesday). Conditions will be fairly ordinary with moderate to fresh S/SE winds but they will whip up 3-5ft of S swell by the afternoon. Persistent fresh-to-strong winds directed at our coast with the trough will whip up this wind swell.

This initial pulse of S swell is the beginning of a run of S swell that we will continue into the week. 

It’ll be masked by the time the S swell really fills in but keep an eye out for sets out of the E as a long range swell filters in. The Hunter has the best chance of seeing this swell delivered from a source more than 5000km to our east from a tropical low, 94P, that aimed a decent swell at the east coast. The North Island of New Zealand will block most of Southern NSW but there’s a chance of some very inconsistent yet powerful 2ft sets. 

On Wednesday a solid S groundswell will fill in. This swell will originate from persistent gales off the northwestern flank of the low linked to the S change and trough. 

Expect a bit more push Wednesday morning with 4-6ft sets out of the S. Southern corners won’t see as much size but they’ll be the best option as winds continue out of the S/SE.

Winds will ease on Thursday, the early probably still too bumpy for south facing beaches, but as the wind eases and swings around to the NE there’ll be some options around. The afternoon at S swell magnets are likely to be the best option for decent widespread waves, lingering around that 3-4ft mark. Pencil it in and make sure you don’t get stuck in the office, you’ve got to make the most of daylight savings. 

The early on Friday will be the next best period of waves. Light and variable offshore winds will allow things to clean up ahead of a change setto create a nice little window for you to make the most of the easing S swell. It’ll be around 2-3ft but nice and clean. 

Don’t leave it too long though as another S change will move through a bit after sunrise for the Illawarra, late morning for Sydney and around midday for the Hunter. Once the change hits, don't expect to find many decent waves as the wind makes it bumpy and doesn’t deliver much in the way of swell initially. 

The Weekend

The start of the weekend will coincide with the delivery of a solid new S groundswell. Yay for the weekend warriors.

There’ll be various pulses of S swell due to the broad, elongated and slow moving nature of the frontal system. It’ll be up around that 4-6ft+ mark for Saturday and into Sunday morning. 

S swell magnets will be seeing sets around the 6ft+ mark but you’ll need to stick to southern corners out of the wind where it’ll be smaller. Protected corners will be more like 3-4ft, not bad for your Saturday. 

This swell will begin to ease mid morning on Sunday but so will the winds. There’ll still be 4-5ft of swell at S facing beaches and combined with light and variable offshores you should be in for a treat Sunday morning as long as there isn’t too much lump in it. 

By Sunday afternoon winds will have swung around to the NE meaning your S facing beaches will have cleaned up. It won't have eased too much either, so keep an eye on it. 

Next Week 

It’s looking like a combo of NE wind swell and the easing S swell for Monday morning. The NE seabreeze will pick up early as yet another S change approaches.

This next S change will move up the coast on Tuesday but at this stage it’s looking to deliver a bit less in terms of swell than the two previous editions but let’s keep an eye on it. 



thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Monday, 1 Mar 2021 at 12:53pm

Nice glassy long period lines still bending into the Newy coast. Not a single person in the water!

A Cripple's picture
A Cripple's picture
A Cripple Monday, 1 Mar 2021 at 1:18pm

There were plenty of guys in the water, but your camera angle does not view the northern point........ :-)

science's picture
science's picture
science Monday, 1 Mar 2021 at 1:47pm

Dixon was fun even on king hightide, a few out and some long waits of course

joesydney's picture
joesydney's picture
joesydney Monday, 1 Mar 2021 at 1:52pm

I guess the peak being in the middle of the flags kept the crowd down :-) .........clubbies&**%

Halfscousehalfcockneyfullaussie's picture
Halfscousehalfcockneyfullaussie's picture
Halfscousehalfc... Monday, 1 Mar 2021 at 2:52pm

I thought there was a bit more oomph in it today. Long period east swell?

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink Monday, 1 Mar 2021 at 3:03pm

Got some fun ones, water surface was sheet glass till after 11.00 am where I was.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Tuesday, 2 Mar 2021 at 5:28pm

Water jumped to what had to be 23deg in Sydney today. Lots of random jellies and a big sea turtle in the lineup.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Tuesday, 2 Mar 2021 at 5:33pm

There it is, 25deg on the Sydney buoy, 10km off Longy..

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Tuesday, 2 Mar 2021 at 9:20pm

Byron 28.5 on Sunday... wowzers.

sean killen's picture
sean killen's picture
sean killen Tuesday, 2 Mar 2021 at 8:38pm

Yet on the 30c day.. no wind water temp- 23+c still some surfers wearing streamers.. I was cooking in a black rashie n boardies.. mostly young blokes too..

Thegrowingtrend.com's picture
Thegrowingtrend.com's picture
Thegrowingtrend.com Wednesday, 3 Mar 2021 at 5:43pm

Why do we judge people wearing steamers in summer? Who cares.

Justonemore's picture
Justonemore's picture
Justonemore Wednesday, 3 Mar 2021 at 6:37pm

Where is the mid week report?