Weekend of large waves, better winds Sunday
Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by James Casey (issued Friday 5th March)
Best Days: Sunday morning, largest swell and lightest winds. Monday will still be solid but on a downward trend with light NW winds early.
- S change today with first pulse of S swell this evening
- Saturday 6ft+ for Sydney and Illawarra, more like 6-8ft for Hunter. Winds fresh from the S
- Sunday AM will be the peak of the swell 8ft for Sydney and Illawarra and 8-10ft for Hunter. With light winds this is the best time for decent big waves.
- Monday 4-5ft+ easing throughout the day but still solid. Winds NW and light early increasing out of the N/NE mid morning
Recap: Wednesday's S groundswell finally filled in mid-late morning, bumping waves heights up from the morning. The swell hung in there yesterday with a little 3-4ft pulse yesterday arvo and this morning there were still 3ft sets. Winds were light early yesterday ahead of a NE seabreeze late and light and SW this morning creating clean conditions at most spots. A S change moved through mid morning today making it bumpy at most spots.
Into The Weekend
Well what a weekend we have on our hands. A prolonged, active and elongated polar front is set to provide multiple S pulses arriving late this afternoon and keep plenty of energy in the water until at least Monday.
There are plenty of synoptic features associated with this system, strong winds with the initial trough moving up the coast, followed by the front and finally the ridge squeezing up against the low whipping up persistent gales and making the swell last for a few days.
The winds have been blowing for a while already, with the winds breaching the tip of Tasmania last night. This pulse will provide the biggest waves for our coastline but it is a tricky one to forecast, being such an active and elongated front.
At this stage it's tricky to discern each pulse and the models are mixing swells but this is how I see it playing out.
There’ll be a mid period S swell arriving first, causing wave heights to pick up this afternoon to around 4-5ft this afternoon. Later this evening we will see a sharp jump in size, it’ll probably arrive a bit late to be able to surf in Sydney and the Hunter but the Illawarra should have an option late this afternoon with solid 6ft+ waves late. Strong S winds will keep it to southern corners where it’ll be smaller.
Saturday morning the swell will have well and truly filled in across the entire region with 6ft+ waves out of the S, up around 6-8ft for the Hunter. Again winds will be fresh out of the S so southern corners and points will be the best options. Don’t expect winds to be much better early as winds should continue through the night.
Sunday morning will see the swell peak as the strongest part of the swell from the strongest fetch fills in and winds become light. It really is the pick at this stage with waves up around 8ft for Sydney and the Illawarra and 8-10ft for the Hunter, all for S facing beaches. Winds will be light and variable early swinging around to the NE later in the day. Waves will ease a little into the afternoon but only back down to the wave heights seen on Saturday. With NE winds there’ll be plenty of solid options around at S facing beaches.
For the South Coast it is worth noting that this swell will perform far better than the previous S swell earlier in the week. This is due to the swell being generated in a more favourable swell window to the E of Tasmania. Also deep water reefs and bommies can expect to see larger surf again on top of what's forecast above.
There’ll be plenty of power throughout the weekend with this swell so it really is best for experienced surfers. Those less experienced can find smaller waves in protected southern corners but do so with caution, there’ll still be plenty of water moving around.
The New Week
Don’t expect the swell to be all gone by Monday morning, it’ll still be solid.
I’d expect 4-5ft waves for Sydney and the Illawarra with the Hunter seeing 6ft+ waves early. With NW winds there’ll again be decent options for those looking for something with a bit of power.
As the swell eases throughout the day I’d expect more options to open up along the more open beaches spreading out the crowds a bit.
Winds will swing around to the N/NE mid morning as winds feed in ahead of another weaker S change set to arrive on Tuesday.
By Tuesday the swell will have finally eased and as a S change moves through mid morning there’ll just be a smaller lumpy S swell remaining.
Waves will remain on the small side until Wednesday late/Thursday early when a fresh pulse of S swell moves in. Let’s dissect that on Monday though.