James KC

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.

Outlook

  • 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. 

Comments

raycollins's picture
raycollins's picture
raycollins Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 12:27pm

Nice and early!! Thanks!

andersonj's picture
andersonj's picture
andersonj Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 2:28pm

Dunno why notes are coming so early now but I bloody approve! New timeline is awesome.

vbabin's picture
vbabin's picture
vbabin Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 2:33pm

Yeah same here early notes are awesome ! Good on ya James KC

the-u-turn's picture
the-u-turn's picture
the-u-turn Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 4:07pm

Well Done, James. Well written.

Simon Roberts's picture
Simon Roberts's picture
Simon Roberts Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 4:45pm

how good was yday. great south swell and good winds

mibs-oner's picture
mibs-oner's picture
mibs-oner Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 6:58pm

Early notes, no email. Mini burgers in the Illawarra still with an hr til dark. Froth levels declining

KillaB's picture
KillaB's picture
KillaB Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 7:46am

Yep and it's now the morning of and still no sign of swell... more burgers.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 8:59am

Tomorrow is the day Mibs.

Mark.Fletcher's picture
Mark.Fletcher's picture
Mark.Fletcher Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 7:28pm

South coast bommie on fire Sunday morning but everyone already knows that :D

lost's picture
lost's picture
lost Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 8:49pm

Very impressive how quickly in grew while I was in the water this afternoon. Rare moment at popular spot with only a handful out. It looked not to be only just breaking when I paddled but was rewarded with it getting better and better every 15mins

SimonJ's picture
SimonJ's picture
SimonJ Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 8:35am

Nice waves at avoca this morning for comp, thought it was meant to be onshore

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 8:39am

Winds were mod/fresh S'ly overnight and up until about 6am, but it looks like the last few hours of showery activity - that's been confined between the Northern Beaches and Newcastle - has allowed localised light W/SW winds to develop across that region. Won't last long though ('tis fresh southerly elsewhere). 

joesydney's picture
joesydney's picture
joesydney Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 12:15pm

"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. "

So far an underwhelming bog standard southerly bluster swell, period is less than 10 secs on the bouys....

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 12:25pm

It's a tricky system and even the models are struggling to resolve it. We're in between pulses ATM and tomorrow morning should be a different story. 

joesydney's picture
joesydney's picture
joesydney Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 1:32pm

I spoke too soon. Swell filling in now and pushing 6ft with some solid lines

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 1:36pm

Noice.

science's picture
science's picture
science Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 2:05pm

Hey this isn't a critique of anybody's forecasting ability but something I've been wondering about; is it that models struggle in La Nina years? I mean in the last 15 years hasn't El Nino been the predominant pattern (and possibly the predominant pattern overall)? therefore could there be an inherent bias in the modelling based on whatever data was used to construct that model? Or is shit just getting whack with climate change? Sometimes swells get undercalled, sometimes over, I couldn't give a crap about accuracy because nobody can see into the future... I'm just curious if La Nina affects the modelling.

I've never had a real go at forecasting, I just leech off your notes and pretend I know shit at work

Stu2d2's picture
Stu2d2's picture
Stu2d2 Monday, 8 Mar 2021 at 4:03pm

Hard to say - probably just the fact that systems in the Tasman are much closer to our coast than ones in the southern ocean where no landmass, more consistent water temp (cold) slows or speeds up systems.
My take is that it’s worth trying to arrange your diary around a S swell two weeks out but not so much when one is from the N.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 5:47pm

Eden has just been sent to the moon!

Paddledamnit's picture
Paddledamnit's picture
Paddledamnit Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 7:22pm

What's the swell transit time from Eden to Sydney??? Froffing, I'm packing the INSANE

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 7:03pm

Roughly 10 hours with that period.

Paddledamnit's picture
Paddledamnit's picture
Paddledamnit Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 9:02pm

Cheers Craig, right on for the early, fingers crossed!

shoredump's picture
shoredump's picture
shoredump Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 10:23am

Sydney looking good

us dv photo editor

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 10:30am

Far out. What a double up!

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 11:01am

Think you mean a triple up!

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 11:16am

Far out that’s insane!

channel-bottom's picture
channel-bottom's picture
channel-bottom Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 1:04pm

That’s epic. Scrolling through, I was hoping that was the start of a sequence and stoked it was.

Was expecting him to go over the falls but a great effort to stick the drop.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 11:04am

Classic long-period southerly groundswell doing its thang again. Hitting some spots and totally missing others.

15ft deep south, 10-15ft Longy, 3-4ft+ Manly, very inco 4-6ft Winki, not breaking Narra bommie, 4-6ft at Stu's local..

joesydney's picture
joesydney's picture
joesydney Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 11:54am

I was convinced to drive to and go out Winki.....wont do that again.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 12:05pm

Ha. Yeah weekend and with a swell like this. Yeah nah. No fun. 

jamespeach's picture
jamespeach's picture
jamespeach Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 12:34pm

Haha yeah I didn’t bother - was it insanely crowded and not that good?

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 12:35pm

Both. Good when the sets came which was very infrequent.

joesydney's picture
joesydney's picture
joesydney Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 1:01pm

What Craig said....first time out there for me and I struggled to get any feel for the place. My mate who surfs there a lot on a booger scored some absolute drainers across that outside ledge.

Which was bitter sweet...

science's picture
science's picture
science Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 11:24am

Decided mountain biking would be better than drowning this morning but stopped for a look on the way. Here's a couple rights and a bomb set:

James KC's picture
James KC's picture
James KC Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 12:36pm

A solid 8-10ft with the occasional 12ft set out there for my local this morning.

Seemed biggest early, lost a bit of size as the tide dropped and then little pulse with the incoming tide.

Still smooth out there, waves to be had!

Stu2d2's picture
Stu2d2's picture
Stu2d2 Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 4:48pm

What coast do you live on (just as a reference).

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 4:26pm

Open aspect beach down south still 6ft just now but lully and howling NE'r

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 9:12pm
etarip's picture
etarip's picture
etarip Monday, 8 Mar 2021 at 6:50pm

S facing beach on S coast was 3-5ft and clean this mrng. Dropped pretty quickly from 10am and then the wind went more NE and turned it to poo. Good forecast - played out pretty well imho.