Wind and waves for the rest of the week

James KC

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by James Casey (issued Wednesday 17th March)

Best Days: Swell wise there are a few bigger days late Thursday/early Friday and Saturday but winds are looking ordinary to say the least, onshore for the next week. 


  • Fading long period S swell from polar low
  • New mid period E/SE swell to build towards weekend, pulsing and swing more E late Thursday into Friday before pulsing again on Saturday
  • Winds will be E/SE and fresh to strong. Tending more E/NE on Saturday afternoon but still strong. Brace yourself for a bumpy to choppy week of waves. 


Yesterday was small but those onshore winds didn’t turn up till late for most places so there were clean waves out of the SE with light offshore winds. Almost everywhere from the Hunter to Illawarra had a period of SW to NW winds so there were nice conditions to be had. 

Today the swell generated by the polar low earlier in the week has filled in. It’s travelled a long way so there are some lulls between sets but it is powerful and thick when the sets arrive. It took a little while to fully fill in but it reached the 6ft+ mark for the Hunter, 4-6ft for Sydney and 3-5ft for the Illawarra. Unfortunately fresh to strong SE winds limited your options but if you were creative you would’ve found somewhere worth while out there.

Into the Weekend

Well the long period S swell will start a downward trend this evening and into tomorrow as a new ESE swell begins to fill in. This new ESE swell has been generated by winds propelled by a trough interacting with a ridge of high pressure out in the Tasman. It looks set in too as this high remains fairly stationary sitting over the nations SE.

The first pulse of swell is being generated by strong winds west of NZ’s North Island. The second pulse has a bit more promise due to it’s longer fetch. It is whipping around NZ’s North Island with stronger, more persistent and more widespread winds generated to the NE of the North Island. 

This system looks to generate plenty of waves into the weekend with a nice pulse on late Thursday into Friday and again on Saturday. Generally speaking waves will build from 3-4ft Thursday morning to 4-6ft on Friday morning to 5-6ft+ on Saturday/Sunday before a slow downward trend into the new week.

Now that doesn’t sound too bad but I haven’t mentioned what the winds are doing. Our old friend the wind. Long story short it’s not looking great. 

A coastal trough interacting with the same ridge that’s generating swell further out to sea will mean we have fresh to strong onshore winds for the life of this swell event. 

While the optimist might hope that the amount of rain expected with this system could create a few windows of opportunity. I think that’s a possibility but you’ll need to be an opportunist.

Looking at the models it really looks like winds will remain fresh to strong out of the E/SE for the next few days before on Saturday they begin swinging around to the E/NE. Winds will ease on Sunday and remain out of the E/NE. 

Expect choppy to bumpy conditions, if you’re lucky you might find a lumpy window either side of a squall but it’s not going to be pretty. 

You’ll need to surf protected corners but at least there are a few waves to go with the onshore breeze.

Next Week

Next week the swell will begin to ease but winds won’t be onshore anymore. The blocking high that was sitting over Tassie for much of the week will begin moving E as the coastal trough deepens and shifts further S.

Winds will swing around to the N/NE and strengthen towards Wednesday ahead of a cooler W/SW change.

Waves will start at 4ft out of the E on Monday but ease towards 2-3ft and more out of the E/NE but the time winds swing around to the W/SW with the cooler change. 

Anyway we are getting a bit ahead of ourselves now, let’s keep an eye on things and go into more detail on next week’s waves on Friday. 


vbabin's picture
vbabin's picture
vbabin Wednesday, 17 Mar 2021 at 5:25pm


sean killen's picture
sean killen's picture
sean killen Wednesday, 17 Mar 2021 at 6:16pm

Blue bottle fest .. already at local hopefully so windows in the mornings ahead..