Down on the backside
Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 31st May)
Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)
- Large clean surf easing from Tuesday onwards
- Low point by late Thurs, early Fri
- Building S'ly windswell late Fri, peaking Sat with improving conditions
- Small clean leftovers Sun
Large windy swells affected Southern NSW over the weekend, though in general size came in lower than expected, and there were reasonable periods of SW breezes through the morning. A number of exposed coasts maxed out around 8ft+ on Saturday (parts of Northern NSW reached 10-12ft), before easing steadily through Sunday though surf size was much smaller at most other regions. Overnight Sunday, a new SE groundswell pushed into the region and we’ve seen clean, powerful waves today with size again back up into the 8-10ft range at the swell magnets - though quality was significantly better than that seen over the weekend.
This week (Jun 1 - 4)
The fetch responsible for our current large swell has reached a peak, and is now slowly easing and rotating out of our swell window. This means we’ll see a gradual decrease in wave heights from Tuesday onwards.
That being said, with a travel time of around 1.5-2 days from the fetch near the SW tip of New Zealand’s South Island - which still had active gales this morning (see below) - this means we’re looking at plenty of size for the next 24-36 hours.
Tuesday morning should still manage 6ft+ sets at south facing beaches (smaller elsewhere, dependent on exposure) and even Wednesday should be somewhere between 3ft and maybe 5ft early on, easing to 2-3ft through the afternoon.
Conditions will remain clean with light synoptic winds and weak sea breezes.
With little activity in any of our swell windows over the coming days, Thursday will then see a low point in surf size, easing from 2ft+ to 1-2ft at south facing beaches, smaller elsewhere. A small long period S’ly swell generated by migrating fronts in the Southern Ocean may provide a late pulse in energy to south swell magnets - showing more so on Friday - but I’m not expecting much.
Gusty S’ly winds are then expected to develop throughout Friday as a cold front pushes through into the western Tasman Sea, driving southerly gales adjacent the South Coast. Early morning will start off very small with W/SW winds but late afternoon could see 3-4ft+ low quality windswell at south facing beaches.
This weekend (Jun 5 - 6)
Friday’s front will be quickly moving and should generate a short-lived south swell for Saturday morning. Our surf model is a little optimistic at the moment, calling for 6ft sets at south facing beaches but the low periods and directional nature of the fetch allows for some caution, so we’ll probably see a peak closer to 4-5ft ahead of a steady easing through the day. Expect smaller surf at beaches not open to the south.
Conditions look OK for most coasts with winds reverting back to the SW or maybe W/SW however some regions may feel the lingering effects of overnight southerlies through the morning.
Small clean leftovers are then due on Sunday with light winds and weak afternoon sea breezes.
Make the most of Saturday!
Next week (June 7 onwards)
The Friday front is is expected to stall near New Zealand over the weekend and may induce a trough of low pressure over the North Island. It’s a low percentage event, but we could very well see a small E/NE fetch develop just north of the swell shadow (by Sunday), which may bring about a small E/NE swell for Southern NSW mid-next week. But, now it’s probably my turn at being overly optimistic.
The next major trend in synoptics is for an amplifying Long Wave Trough across the SE corner of the country early/mid next week, which suggests some punchy south swell mid-late next week.
More on that in Wednesday’s update!