Slow weekend, more exciting next week

James KC

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by James Casey (issued Friday 30th April)

Best Days: Tuesday, Friday and into weekend as the low shifts off the coast


  • Friday to Saturday small to tiny waves with light winds early, seabreezes in the afternoon. High tide will slow things down mid morning
  • Sunday, Monday, Tuesday building NE windswell
  • Wednesday will see that start of a more complex low form off the east coast and provide plenty of swell out of the E/NE and E/SE for the end of the week and into the weekend


Yesterday we saw the swell hang in around that 2ft mark on the sets. With light winds in the morning conditions were nice but the high tide certainly slowed things down. An afternoon seabreeze made it a little bumpy.

This morning it was a little smokey due to hazard reduction burns out west. We had small to tiny waves on offer, around that 1-2ft mark at S swell magnets, smaller elsewhere. 

Into the weekend

For waves over the weekend Saturday (tomorrow) we’ll be relying on this lingering S swell and a new weak NE windswell. The blocking high in the Southern Tasman is preventing any new S swell to be felt but directing the NE winds to create the little windswell. 

Winds will be lighter and offshore in the morning for both Saturday and Sunday but increasing to a stronger NE breezes by the afternoon. Protected northern corners will have the cleanest options.

As mentioned earlier, the high will direct these NE winds that will persist long enough to start creating a bit of NE windswell. I wouldn’t expect too much from it but it should provide more than the fading S swell. 

Expect waves to be tiny to flat on Saturday morning but increasing to 1-2ft by Sunday thanks to the NE winds providing a weak but surfable option, best for northeast swell magnets in the morning with the offshore winds. 

Next week

We will see the pattern continue on Monday as winds remain offshore in the morning and tend NE by the afternoon. This will be the last day of it as a S change moves through on Tuesday morning. 

The S change will move through in the early hours of the morning for the Illawarra and Sydney but not reach the Hunter until the mid morning. This means for the Hunter there will be a window of light SW winds for the early, ahead of the stronger S winds.

Wave wise, Monday will see the E/NE swell continue to build as a trade swell setup is established with E trade winds to the north of NZ. While not perfectly aimed for our region we will still see waves from it with 2ft waves on Monday, best in northern corners protected from the NE seabreeze. 

Tuesday will see the E/NE swell peak around the 2-3ft mark. With S winds north facing beaches will pick up the most of the surf and have cleaner conditions under the southerly flow. Expect a bit of a SE windswell to be added to the mix too although it’ll be fairly junky and weak. 

Later next week

A region of low pressure will strengthen as an easterly trough low forms by the evening on Wednesday so expect showers and SE winds. The surf will remain in that 2-3ft range as a larger swell is set to move in over the coming days. 

There is still a little model disagreement on the movement and strength of the low from Thursday onwards but there looks to be plenty of solid swell out of the system. 

At this stage there looks to be a decent E/NE swell to be generated out of the eastern flank while there’s a potentially larger E/SE swell to come from the southwestern flank. These swells will combine and provide 4-6ft waves towards the end of the week. 

Winds look to be strong and onshore to the south of the low on Thursday while to the north of it SW winds will clean conditions up. 

The low looks to begin moving off the coast on Friday allowing winds to ease a little and tend more SW and then W for the weekend as the low shifts further east towards NZ. This should be the best few days of waves for the week with plenty of swell and winds allowing clean conditions. At this stage it looks like it’ll be largest on Friday and ease a bit into the weekend.

Once the swell from the low fades out, an E swell will fill the void thanks to the trade swell setup to the north of NZ. Basically there doesn’t look to be any shortage of waves over the coming week and a bit.

In summary next week is certainly looking busier than this weekend so make sure you save some fuel in the tank.