Weak S swells with a better E swell later

James KC

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by James Casey (issued Wednesday 19th May)

Best Days: Thursday, Tuesday onwards


  • S Swell to fade into Thursday
  • Another weaker S swell for Friday but with ordinary winds
  • Small leftover S swell for the weekend and start of the week
  • Larger E swell for mid next week 


Yesterday we saw a new S swell arrive early with 4ft sets along the coast, larger for the Hunter. Winds were offshore for the morning before tending onshore from around the middle of the day and into the afternoon.

Today we had a more inconsistent swell with the longer period but bigger with 3-5ft sets. Waves were clean early before a light ENE breeze puffed up this arvo. All in all it was a decent day of waves. 

The end of this week

The S has already started to fade this afternoon but it’ll continue to fade into tomorrow (Thursday) starting off around 3ft and easing to 2-3ft by the afternoon for south facing beaches. Winds will again keep conditions clean with westerly winds ahead of a S’ly change later in the afternoon.  

This south change, associated with a cold front further south, will bring a small reinforcement of S swell arriving late on Friday. Don’t expect much from this S pulse with winds being too zonal with the front. It’ll be no more than 2-3ft at S swell magnets late, smaller elsewhere. Conditions will be best early with a bit more of an offshore breeze before becoming windier out of the S/SE by the time the swell begins to fill in by the afternoon. 

The weekend

The S swell will linger around the 2-3ft mark at S swell magnets early on Saturday and with better winds it’ll be the pick of the weekend. The swell will fade into the afternoon as winds swing more onshore in the afternoon. 

The S swell will fade out into Sunday with just small to tiny waves on offer in that 1-2ft range. There’ll also be a bit of SE windswell added to the mix but still waves will be small. Winds will be SW early and tend more SE into the afternoon so the morning will be your best bet if you want to surf.

Next week 

Monday isn’t looking much different with a bit more SE windswell and less of the S swell. Winds will be light and offshore early before tending NE in the afternoon.

This is where it gets a bit more interesting with indications of a decent E swell will to fill in late Tuesday into Wednesday next week. While not aimed best for S NSW we will see some of the energy. This swell will form in the Tasman, with a low north of NZ whipping up some SE windswell and some longer period E swell from the southern flank of the low.

It’s looking like it’ll last a few days with the initial pulse being up around 4ft on Tuesday before a larger stronger pulse arrives later in the week with wave heights up around 4-6ft. 

It will depend on the movement of the low though but at this stage it’s looking decent. We’ll keep an eye on it and update you on Friday.


Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython Wednesday, 19 May 2021 at 4:29pm

FROTHING!!! Huey, we love you!

Paddledamnit's picture
Paddledamnit's picture
Paddledamnit Wednesday, 19 May 2021 at 8:25pm

Huey Lewis and the Surf News!

It's hip to be [shacked] Square (video coming soon!!!)

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly Wednesday, 19 May 2021 at 5:31pm

No comments on local winds for the E swell - perhaps stiffening northelies on Tuesday ahead of westerlies on Wednesday, maybe...
Overall love your work James ;-)