Back to the small stuff, though there's a few options

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Monday 12th July)

Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • Steadily easing size Tues with light winds
  • Extremely inconsistent SE groundswell Wed/Thurs, with light winds tending N'ly and freshening, then going NW
  • Small surf Fri with a minor S'ly swell
  • Tiny surf Sat
  • Flukey S'ly swell Sun, easing Mon, with fresh offshore winds
  • Small/mod S'ly swells for much of next week

Recap

Large windy surf peaked around the 10ft+ mark on Sunday. Conditiions were blustery Saturday as early SW winds (with smaller E’ly swells early) swung strong S’ly and the swell increased steadily. Size eased slowly through Sunday with much better conditions as winds became light. Today’s managed clean 4-5ft+ sets early on with light offshore winds and weak afternoon sea breezes. 

Amazing Sydney barrels on Sunday (photo Craig Brokensha)

This week (July 13 - 16)

Now that the weekend’s low has cleared our swell window, and the Tasman Sea is devoid is swell generating activity, we’re having to look further afield for swell prospects.

Tuesday will see a slow decline in E’ly swell from the current event, still 2-3ft+ at open beaches early (mainly north from Sydney) but a longer wait for the sets than the last few days. Size will then become smaller during the day.

Late afternoon (or more likely overnight Tuesday) the leading edge of several long period SE groundswells are expected to make landfall, originating from a complex series of polar lows well south and south-east of New Zealand over the weekend.

Despite the tricky swell source and the large travel distance, we should see intermittent 3ft+ sets at exposed spots throughout parts of Wednesday, possibly even into Thursday morning. But there will be extremely long breaks between waves - don’t be surprised if the ocean becomes near-flat for ten minute stretches. It's not a high confidence event so don't go planning any major surf activity around it.

Elsewhere, there’s not much new swell to look forward to. A small cut-off low south of Tasmania on Tuesday will generate a small, brief flush of south swell for late Thursday (South Coast) and Friday - but it’ll only favour south swell magnets and probably won’t top much more than an inconsistent 2ft+ at a handful of spots, with most locations remaining very small as the long range SE swell fades.

As for conditions, light winds on Tuesday and early Wednesday will gradually freshen from the north in the afternoon, trending NW into Wednesday ahead of a windy spell from Thursday onwards as a series of fronts push quite far north in latitude, bringing W/NW gales by late Friday.  

This weekend (July 17 - 18)

The weekend storm track looks dynamic but it’s all in the wrong position for Southern NSW. 

A strong frontal sequence across the SE corner of the country will be detached from polar latitudes - and thus reliable swell sources - so we’re looking at gusty W’ly tending W/SW winds across the region, but with no proper swell generation occuring in any of our usual southern swell windows. 

The only area of interest looks to be one of my favourite flukey swell sources - south-west gales exiting eastern Bass Strait. They probably won’t develop until late Saturday, so expect tiny residual surf all day, ahead of a possible kick in short range S’ly swell on Sunday, with ballpark 3ft sets at south swell magnets - a little bigger through the Hunter - but tiny elsewhere thanks to the acute direction.

More on this in Wednesday’s update. 

Next week (July 19 onwards)

Sunday’s local S’ly swell will ease early next week, and the long term guidance is suggesting a fairly bog standard frontal progression below the Tasman Sea through next week, providing standard winter south swells for much of the week, though nothing amazing.

Comments

billie's picture
billie's picture
billie Monday, 12 Jul 2021 at 6:18pm

I think the surf peaked on Sunday around 12 foot, maybe more.

There's a photo of a dude riding a bomb at my local, I personally dodged 10 others the same size. Sunday lunchtime.

evosurfer's picture
evosurfer's picture
evosurfer Monday, 12 Jul 2021 at 6:30pm

Yes I agree billie the surf at my local definitely peaked Sunday morning
absolutely huge. Im sure I was paddling to the horizon over the top of
10ft sets plus plus plus. Very exciting paying for it now though.

lost's picture
lost's picture
lost Monday, 12 Jul 2021 at 6:33pm

The only thing bigger than the waves the last few days has been the crowds. Where the hell did everyone come from ?

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Monday, 12 Jul 2021 at 6:34pm

You don't remember last lockdown?

lost's picture
lost's picture
lost Monday, 12 Jul 2021 at 10:51pm

Seems worse or maybe my memory has faded. Probably also because people gravitated to protected corners with slightly smaller surf or maybe cause it was school holidays and everyone would normally be elsewhere. I’ve been working cough cough from home for some time and had gotten used to relatively un crowded mid week gentlemen’s hours.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Tuesday, 13 Jul 2021 at 6:09am

Yeah same, but it's all gone back now with the WFH crew now local. And yeah it'd also be because options were limited on such a big swell on the weekend.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Monday, 12 Jul 2021 at 6:33pm

Yep, think Ben's got a little mixed up, not much size late Saturday but heaving 10ft+ Sunday morning.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Monday, 12 Jul 2021 at 6:55pm

My bad.. was in a bit of a rush this arvo.

greg-n.williams's picture
greg-n.williams's picture
greg-n.williams Tuesday, 13 Jul 2021 at 6:58am

Def. peaked on Sunday up here surfed a protected [email protected] 6ft++ on sets. Today was still 4 to 5ft sets with the NorEaster coming up around midday to finish off the mint morning offshores. Not too crowded with no Sydney(greater)holiday drop-ins in the local lineups. its been an incredible run surfing 12 days straight in GR8 waves with clean conditions, the body now can get a well deserved rest!

geoffrey's picture
geoffrey's picture
geoffrey Tuesday, 13 Jul 2021 at 12:48pm

still heaps of swell

FrazP's picture
FrazP's picture
FrazP Tuesday, 13 Jul 2021 at 6:05pm

Yeh, still great waves in just overhead range today. Crowds fn absurd at Cronulla. 100s on each decent peak. Path still also packed with people driving down, seemingly trying to give, or catch, covid and extend the lockdown. Clearly many not giving a rats about the 10km limit or common sense.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Tuesday, 13 Jul 2021 at 7:14pm

New E pulse tomorrow as well.

nemeakes's picture
nemeakes's picture
nemeakes Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 10:11am

Really!? When!!

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 10:19am

Should be arriving right about now. Hopefully 3ft sets into the arvo. 

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 1:09pm

Very user friendly 2ft(+) sets every 6-8 minutes on the south coast.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 1:19pm

Just came back in from a paddle. New east energy is there, inconsistent 2-3ft sets.

sean killen's picture
sean killen's picture
sean killen Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 3:46pm

Really might get a surf in this arvo .. cheers guys for the update..