Plenty of S swells, solid for the weekend

James KC

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by James Casey (issued Wednesday 3rd March)

Best Days: Thursday morning 3ft S swell with light WSW winds and then the afternoon with NE winds so S swell magnets should pick up S swell and be relatively clean. Saturday solid swell but strong S winds. Sunday, swell hanging in there with better winds. 


  • Longer period S and E swells peaked in the past few days but the S swell will linger around that 3ft mark until Friday
  • Strong S change Friday bringing a pulse of large S swell for the weekend as front, low and trough combine 
  • S swell peaks on Saturday around the 8ft mark, more like 8-10ft for the Hunter. Hangs around on Sunday and eases on Monday
  • Another S swell later in the week

Recap: S swell seemed to peak Tuesday afternoon for the Illawarra and Sydney with 3-5ft waves at S swell magnets. Wednesday the period was up but it just didn’t seem to be getting into the Illawarra or Sydney coast with 3ft+ waves for filling in for the late morning to the forecast 3-5ft by the afternoon, while an inconsistent 3ft E swell also lingered. Meanwhile the Hunter saw waves up around the 4-6ft mark for most of today although SE winds made conditions ordinary for most spots. 

The End of This Week

Tomorrow we will see this late S swell ease. Late for Sydney and the Hunter anyway. The Hunter will see 3-4ft waves in the morning while I wouldn’t expect anything more than 3ft for Sydney and the Hunter. Winds will be light and offshore so there’s a nice little window to milk the last out of this swell. 

By the middle of the day there won’t be much more of this S swell but winds will swing around to the NE meaning S facing beaches will be as clean as they’ve been for a few days so that’ll be worth sussing out. 

By Friday it’ll hit the low point for the week, the smallest waves for the week with light winds early before a S change moves through making most places choppy and small. It’ll just be 1-2ft slowly building throughout the day but with the strong S winds you’re best off giving it a miss as there’s something brewing for the start of the weekend. 

There’s a chance it could really jack up late in the afternoon as a frontal system edges into our swell window around Tasmania. Keep an eye on it but expect it to be accompanied by strong S winds. 

The Weekend 

Hold onto your hats as on Saturday we can expect a solid S swell to filling in across the region. 

You will need to hold onto your hats though as strong winds will be out of the S. This means you’ll need to head to those southern corners but still expect a bit of size. There'll be plenty of water moving around so it's only really for the experienced surfers, unless you head to those tucked away, protected southern corners.

Now what makes this swell so large compared to the last S swell?

The positioning of a ridge of high pressure in the Tasman and the strength of the associated low and trough with the front are the main factors. Persistent gales to the south and east of Tasmania, along the western flank of the low, are funnelling the swell up towards our coastline are delivering the size. 

These winds remain strong and reasonably well aimed for over 24 hours meaning the swell will hang around for a while too. Both Saturday and Sunday will see waves ebb and pulse around the 6-8ft mark for Sydney and the Illawarra while the Hunter gets a bit more due to the angle of the swell, reaching 8ft with occasional 10ft sets. 

Sunday will be the day, as winds become light and out of the SW early before the high moves over the coast. Winds will remain light and variable until the afternoon as a little NE seabreeze picks up later in the day, turning it on for S facing beaches but ending the cleaner smaller waves at protected southern corners. 

The New Week

By Monday the swell will begin to ease and a NE wind ahead of a trough will create cleaner conditions for S facing beaches, it’ll be best early while there’s still some decent swell around. 

The infeed of NE winds ahead of a front could whip up a little NE swell peaking on Tuesday before another S change moves through. This change could bring another bout of solid swell but let’s look at that on Friday. 


Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout Thursday, 4 Mar 2021 at 11:21am
James KC's picture
James KC's picture
James KC Thursday, 4 Mar 2021 at 1:10pm

Hope you got out there this morning, dreamy conditions on the northern beaches

geoffrey's picture
geoffrey's picture
geoffrey Thursday, 4 Mar 2021 at 1:20pm

hey mate ive seen some of your content off this website. you put out some good stuff cheers. got good waves this morning too in illawarra.

brownie48's picture
brownie48's picture
brownie48 Thursday, 4 Mar 2021 at 3:20pm

Solid pulse at open beaches from mid morning until after lunch, easy 5ft sets with multiple wave sets

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Thursday, 4 Mar 2021 at 4:23pm

Where abouts roughly?

evosurfer's picture
evosurfer's picture
evosurfer Thursday, 4 Mar 2021 at 5:11pm

Very nice waves today. Sorry work

nolocal's picture
nolocal's picture
nolocal Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 10:56am

sorry, not sorry.