James KC

Swell to slowly ease into the weekend

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by James Casey (issued Friday 7th May)

Best Days: Saturday, Sunday, Monday


  • Plenty of swell out of the E/NE from today until Sunday
  • Winds will swing S/SW this afternoon cleaning up the bumpy conditions at southern corners
  • Winds will stay offshore all day Saturday, with plenty of swell it’ll be the pick of the week ahead
  • Light and variable SW winds early on Sunday will mean north facing beaches will be the cleanest and pick up the most of the E/NE swell 
  • Sunday afternoon will see winds swing around to the E/NE 
  • A strong front will move through late on Monday/early on Tuesday bringing strong S winds and a new mid period S swell for Wednesday and Thursday
  • Another S change will move through on Friday with frontal activity providing a long period S swell for the weekend 


The swell started to build out of the E yesterday with some solid waves on offer by the afternoon. Unfortunately winds were out of the SE for most places making it a little bumpy and unruly. 

This morning the swell is up with some 6-8ft sets on offer. It’s a bit of a mess out there though with lots of water moving and not many clean waves to be had. S/SE winds are only light but they aren’t allowing the chop, bump and wobble to subside. Keep an eye on it from the middle of the day as winds should swing offshore and allow the clean up of waves to begin. 

Into the weekend 

Strong winds on the southeastern flank of the low have already created the largest of the swell as we see waves peak up around the 6-8ft+ mark this morning, closer to 8ft+ for the Illawarra and South Coast. Unfortunately it’s wild out there, without many decent options. It’ll be best to wait for a decent offshore breeze to iron out the wobble and lump in the surf. 

This offshore breeze will present itself by the early afternoon today as a SW breeze builds into the afternoon as the low moves east away from the coast.

Tomorrow is looking to be the day with an offshore breeze continuing all night and waves still solid. Winds will continue out of the W/NW all morning with a light onshore breeze puffing up for the afternoon, more NE for the Illawarra and Hunter and lighter and more variable for Sydney. Wave heights will still be solid, 6ft+ for Sydney and the Hunter, more like 6-8ft+ for the South Coast, easing a little throughout the day.

Sunday will see the swell drop off a little more, starting at 4-5ft for Sydney, 6ft+ for the South Coast and easing into the afternoon. Winds will be out of the W/SW early tending E/NE in the afternoon. Enjoy the clean mornings conditions and if you are keen for an arvo surf hit the more protected northern corners for cleaner conditions.

Next week

Monday will see the last of the E/NE swell from the low filter in around that 3ft range, 3-4ft for the Illawarra. Winds will be W/NW for much of the day meaning there’ll be some clean options on offer. With smaller conditions and the offshore winds keeping things clean there’ll be more options than were on offer over the weekend.

Models have come into alignment regarding the strong cold front. It looks set to roll through Monday evening into the early hours of Tuesday morning. It will initially add a new S windswell to the mix combining with an E swell thanks to the trade swell setup north of NZ. Winds will be strong out of the S so southern corners will be your best bet.

Wednesday will see a stronger mid period S swell fill in throughout the day, largest by the afternoon up around the 3-4ft mark for S swell magnets. This swell will form to the southeast of Tassie, on the western flank of a low associated with the strong front. 

The charts suggest Tuesday will have larger waves but it isn’t picking up on the longer period S swell and mixing it in with the shorter period windswell. 

Unfortunately the winds aren’t looking great for Wednesday though. Winds look to be fresh out of the E/SE and tend more E/NE in the afternoon. Winds look better early for the Illawarra and tend more NE late in the day. All in all it looks like there’ll be some bump on it. 

Thursday looks to have a nice offshore breeze in the morning before stronger N winds filter in ahead of another S change for Friday. There should still be decent waves on offer for Thursday with that mid period S swell hanging in around the 3ft mark. 

Friday will see that S change move through with frontal activity passing under Tassie. There looks to be a long period S swell for the weekend but it’s a little too far out to say. Tune in on Monday for an update. 


thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Friday, 7 May 2021 at 1:31pm

Lottolonglong's picture
Lottolonglong's picture
Lottolonglong Friday, 7 May 2021 at 4:46pm

Stretching tonight

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Saturday, 8 May 2021 at 7:58am

Great action at Shark Island this AM.

joesydney's picture
joesydney's picture
joesydney Saturday, 8 May 2021 at 9:21am

Just cooking out there this morning - 6am south maroubra as good as it gets.

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake Sunday, 9 May 2021 at 6:09pm

What a great weekend for the warriors.
On Friday I was thinking about taking Monday morning off, but after double sessions both days I'm pretty much rooted. Forecast spot on except the winds stayed off shore all weekend starting SW this morning, and late this arvo after the rain passed it was back to the W/NW.
Not an onshorey in sight.
Gotta love autumn. (and ya mum)