Lots of surf this week with improving conditions

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Mon Sep6)

Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • ENE tradewind swell pulses at low levels through this week though overshadowed by stronger S’ly swells
  • Large S swell Mon, easing Tues with fresh S'ly winds, abating through Tuesday
  • Longer period S swell fills in Wed, eases Thurs with good winds
  • Small S pulse Fri
  • Small S swell Sat, easing Sun, stay tuned for revisions

Recap

Swells from across the compass rose since Friday's F/cast. Sat saw small levels of NE windswell, at the lower end of f/cast expectation with generally 2-3ft surf, and light NE winds, which tended NW late in the day. Sunday was small most of the day with small signal of E/ENE tradewind swell in the 2ft range. A very swift rise in local S swell occurred late in the day (after dark in most places) as a complex low and cold front moved offshore from the far South Coast. That has seen wave heights rocket up into the 6ft range at S exposed spots, bigger 8ft+ on the Hunter, with small levels of E swell providing backup energy in more sheltered spots. Conditions are wild with strong SW to S’ly winds across Central/Southern NSW.

This week (Sep 6-10)

Plenty to look at on latest ASCAT (satellite windspeed) passes. A complex low in the Central Tasman is driving severe gale to storm force winds adjacent to the Central NSW coast and this is whipping up a large, local S swell, currently building across the region and expected to peak late today/this evening in the 6-6ft range, bigger 10ft on the Hunter. Surfing is being confined to more sheltered spots where size is in the 3-5ft range.

To the East a persistent, broad E’ly tradewind fetch is slowly contracting Eastwards, although windspeeds have been increased along the northern flank of a large high by an area of low pressure. This system has really been a better swell producer for areas north of Seal Rocks but background mid period E’ly energy will chug along for a few days, yet, in a very slowly diminishing signal. Most notably in more sheltered areas. 

This E’ly energy is likely to be completely swamped by more strong S’ly energy however, so take the E’ly swell predictions with a grain of (sea) salt. 

Wave heights will back down from overnight peaks through Tuesday but it’s still going to be a large and woolly day, likely overpowering most open stretches for the early with 6-8ft surf expected, bigger 8ft on the Hunter. Morning winds should be offshore, as the low and frontal system migrate further E towards New Zealand and pressure gradients ease, although mod/fresh S’lies are still expected through the midday to a’noon session. Seeking shelter from the wind will mean sacrificing size but there should be plenty of fun to be had in more sheltered spots with the energy on offer.

By Wed, a large high that is now in the Bight will begin nosing out into the Tasman, with more settled wind conditions expected. Models show a small cell breaking off the main high pressure cell, which is likely to lead to NE seabreeezes developing but offshore breezes should extend through the morning, becoming variable through the midday.

This is good because another strong pulse of S swell is expected to fill in Wed. This swell will be generated by a deep low centred around 50S which is expected to track south of Tasmania, with a slight NE wobble as it transits the Tasman on Tuesday. This is a powerful storm, with storm force winds and a large area of seas in excess of 30ft, and as a result swell periods will be in excess of 15s which will produce some real bathymetric focussing effects on deepwater reefs through Wed PM as swell trains get tripped up. Based on current modelling I think we can upgrade this swell to 6ft sets through Wed PM at S facing beaches, smaller 3-5ft away from direct exposure. Bigger 6-8ft surf is possible at select bommies and reefs with straight S exposure, not to mention Cloudbreak when it reaches there on Fri.

Wednesdays pulse then backs down through Thurs with early 3-5ft surf, easing back through the day. Solid surf at S facing beaches early will be primo with all day WNW to W winds expected as high pressure drifts NE and Central NSW comes under the synoptic  influence of a cold front sweeping below the country. Thursday looks really good for most open beachbreaks and exposed reefs.

The initial winds in the cold fronts sweeping below the Tasman Wed/Thurs are very zonal but more favourable S’ly component winds are in the tail end of the fetch as it transits the Tasman, pushing up as a weak front through early Fri.

A small pulse of S swell is expected Fri from this source, likely in the 3ft range, though there is some model divergence on the strength of the fetch so revision is likely.

Winds look great to end the working week with light offshores tending to light E’ly seabreezes. 

This weekend (Sep 11-12)

Small fun waves on offer for this weekend, especially Saturday with leftover S swell and some stray E swell, all up offering some clean 2-3ft beachbreaks with with a light NW pre-frontal flow expected, possibly tending to freshening NE winds in the a’noon.

Sunday is under a bit more dispute. A front is expected to push a S’ly change up the coast. 

GFS anchors this front to a large and powerful low in the lower Tasman, while EC has a much more modest front pushing into the Tasman.

At any rate, Sunday is likely to start off small with freshening NW winds so if you’ve got plans for a go out best to make them for the early.

Next week (Sep 13) and beyond

We can rule out action from the East next week, and models are diverging on activity from the South, although a very active storm track in the Southern Ocean below Australia suggests more swell activity for the region from this quadrant, details to come.

S swell is expected Mon 13, large according to the GFS scenario, much more modest according to EC.

With so much swell expected this week, we can afford to set our focus on the short term and come back later on Wed and have a look with fresh eyes at next week.

 

Comments

DeathToCompSurfing's picture
DeathToCompSurfing's picture
DeathToCompSurfing Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 5:21pm

Pretty good spring

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 6:29pm

It's keeping me busy, thats for sure.
swell coming from just about every source possible.

tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 6:51pm

I’m not a paid up subscriber on here so I don’t know what was said in the notes...but it seemed like there must have been a decent amount of east in the swell this arvo. Had a look at the primary and secondary breakdowns of swell, mainly S with a small background E swell. But the S swell was only 9.8s which means it would be unlikely to get into S corners.
I’m a wuss so I always over call it but I reckon there were 4ft sets (maybe bigger) getting into the south corner of Manly tonight, must mean that the swell charts are wrong??
What does that mean for tomorrow’s dawn session Freeride?

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 6:53pm

Well time to sign up then? It's been discussed since last week.

Longy2229's picture
Longy2229's picture
Longy2229 Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 7:12pm

Maybe time to put the comments behind the paywall too for those of us that are subscribed ;)

ODeals's picture
ODeals's picture
ODeals Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 9:38pm

The first rule of tight arsery is don't talk about being a tight arse...

tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 6:59pm

Or go to Magicseaweed maybe?
Just had a quick look, they called it 85deg (nearly due east) at 11s at 6pm tonight, that’s what I saw tonight, slightly (majorly?) different to the Swellnet algorithm

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 7:01pm

Give him a week of Forey notes and camera access / bill me for it
That may stop him arguing about faarkn swell directions

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 7:01pm

We've got it, 0.5m @ 12.3s from 84. Model has undercalled but Steve has the expect size in notes.

tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 7:05pm

Big difference for the dawn session if you intend on being the first guy in the water which I usually am. MS says bigger from the east, same period and direction...for free!
BTW, Craig you were nice to my son and his mate recently in the surf, much appreciated

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 7:09pm

Thanks! Better than the grumpy local eh ;p

And you can get this for free in our site as well.. https://www.swellnet.com/reports/australia/new-south-wales/northern-beac... Click the advanced tab (far right) and also in a table below the FC graph.

tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 7:21pm

You’re not a local Craig but nice all the same.
That “advanced” still says 0.5 east at 12.3, with predominant swell from the south...MS calling it much bigger from the east (which it was) with a combined S swell, not the other way round. Toss of the coin but occasional 6ft close out south corner Manly is not a 9.8s south swell with background 0.5 east swell.
It’s ok, still got to wait for the first crack of light to work it out but maybe the algorithm can do with a bit of tweaking

geoffrey's picture
geoffrey's picture
geoffrey Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 7:28pm

algos can only do so much. they are only computers. the forecaster notes are well worth the money.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 7:36pm

We've got 0.5m, MSW has 0.9m. You ain't getting 6ft surf off a 0.9m swell either.

And the swell is predominant from the south, I surfed a semi-exposed south facing spot today and it was 4-6ft (1.5-2x overhead) with even larger waves on the south magnets (6-8ft - 2-3x overhead).

Is your 6ft, 2x overhead (12ft face) or like head-high (for a 6ft person)?

We can't do much about the raw model output though a higher-resolution version (coming) will help those small discrepancies on more distant swells.

tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 7:30pm

But when the “surf forecast” algorithm is different to the forecaster notes then that represents a problem doesn’t it?
Maybe intentional to encourage the punters to sign up?

geoffrey's picture
geoffrey's picture
geoffrey Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 7:37pm

i write algos for a living (not anything to do with ocean forecasting) and even though they are generally far better than human decision making, all of them have obvious and well documented weaknesses. the forecaster notes are well worth the money. they give you an edge.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 7:40pm

Not at all, it's the RAW output we're dealt with, but shows the value of the Forecaster Notes in assessing the actual storm generating systems out there, with the algorithm more of a guide.

Also our automated FC has more size then MSW's for Manly.

We've got 8ft (3x overhead) south facing, and 4-6ft (1.5-2x) open beaches (ie east facing spots). MSW has 3-4ft and they forecast in face feet so that's 2ft for Manly. massive undercall.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 7:38pm

.

tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 7:40pm

As I said, I’m a wuss but a straight hander from the south corner to the corso with every punter cleaned up is not possible with a 0.5 east swell nor a 9.8 S swell as called by Swellnet.
No big deal Craig, as a new local (there’s a stack of them around here as I’m sure you’re aware) you’re working it out

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 7:45pm

What? With a 12.3s period from the east it is. As you'd know any swell from the east with a period more than about 9s comes in straight as.

tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 7:54pm

Sorry mate, a 0.5m east swell ain’t gonna produce a double overhead 200m close out no matter what the period.
A 3-4ft (1m) east swell at 11s as predicted by MS might just. Anyway, food for thought with your algorithm!
In the 25 years I’ve been here I’m still learning

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 8:01pm

I had a beginner friend surf the south corner late and this was her report..

"The sets were quite big, like 3-4ft but the ones in between were small"

If she saw a proper 6ft set coming down at her I'd hear about it.

Anyways, back to MSW. They've grossly undercalled this big south swell. Seeing as their wave height range is actual face height, at Bondi which got to 8ft (3x overhead as our model had) they've only got 6-9ft. That's in our scale 3-4.5ft (head-high to 1.5x overhead).

In summing up, yes we know the flaws in the WW3 model that's currently running, it is under-representing the background east swell (as did MSW) but this is complimented by Steve's notes which have the correct expected size.

The next few days are looking great so enjoy! Will use my 13 years of non-local knowledge to outwit the crowds ;)

tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 8:08pm

Might have to revisit your “beginners” assessment.
Every 15 mins there was carnage but what would I know.
Isn’t it funny how every few years there comes along a punter who owns the joint but obviously when it’s time to buy scuttles off to the suburbs? The rest of us just outlast them.
Meggsy? Haven’t seen him for awhile but sure had a mouth when he was here. JP? Drives in every day!

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 8:13pm

Haha, well If I could buy beachfront Manly (never in 5x lifetimes) I would still live back in the burbs. Peace and quiet, parking, not get stuck surfing the same beach like a lot of crew do. I'm out, have a good one.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 8:14pm

Also next time say hi, seriously and I can explain more of the model stuff to you.

savanova's picture
savanova's picture
savanova Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 8:15pm

I think theres a bit of this going on https://giphy.com/gifs/southparkgifs-3oz8xSSfPn6zRSjJPa

tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 8:18pm

It’s pretty easy, spread your surfs out between N Steyne, Queenscliff, Freshy, Curl Curl and further north while simultaneously neither acting like an entitled local talking loudly to your mates nor being standoffish...makes living within walking distance to the beach quite pleasant

evosurfer's picture
evosurfer's picture
evosurfer Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 9:24pm

If anybody believes in magic seaweed forecast your on magic mushrooms
and believe the earth is flat.

jordan.mar's picture
jordan.mar's picture
jordan.mar Tuesday, 7 Sep 2021 at 9:43am

I agree, avoid it like the plague

eastcoastbuoy's picture
eastcoastbuoy's picture
eastcoastbuoy Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 9:30pm

tylerdurden - stop embarrassing yourself .

tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 9:43pm

Yep, shame on me for disputing the Swellnet algorithms with a real life visual disparity. And yes, MS period and direction are very unreliable, ignore them and go with Swellnet’s all the time

jordan.mar's picture
jordan.mar's picture
jordan.mar Tuesday, 7 Sep 2021 at 9:43am

I think you just think 3 ft is 6 foot because you’re a pussy

billie's picture
billie's picture
billie Thursday, 9 Sep 2021 at 11:19am

You didn't reply so I assume you're one of those kooky carpark cronies. I have never seen any of you when it's over four foot but you police the two foot beachies because you can. Kooks. Give me two minutes in the ring with ya

Supafreak's picture
Supafreak's picture
Supafreak Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 10:07pm

@tylerdurden , I encourage you to sign up , it works out at 21 cents a day . The forecast is usually pretty reliable and having a 16 day outlook gives time to plan

pancakecollaroy's picture
pancakecollaroy's picture
pancakecollaroy Monday, 6 Sep 2021 at 10:17pm

where do you guys get those high-res wind forecast maps?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Tuesday, 7 Sep 2021 at 8:06am

The calendar says spring is in, but the last few days have felt more like the August we didn't have.

jordan.mar's picture
jordan.mar's picture
jordan.mar Tuesday, 7 Sep 2021 at 9:31am

A lot more south in the swell this morning than I expected. 2-3 ft in a protected corner and that’s being generous. Still had some fun though.
Hope that onshore wind this arvo doesn’t put too much wobble on it for tomorrow morning :)

jordan.mar's picture
jordan.mar's picture
jordan.mar Tuesday, 7 Sep 2021 at 9:33am

Also, can someone stop this entitled manly wanker from harassing Craig? Let the bloke do his job. He isn’t always gonna get it right. No forecaster ever does 100% of the time. Or else they would be able to predict the future and then wouldn’t need to predict the weather as would make better money elsewhere.

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink Tuesday, 7 Sep 2021 at 12:20pm

The east swell was definitely no bigger than 3-4’ at the local east swell spot. Just saying.

Thegrowingtrend.com's picture
Thegrowingtrend.com's picture
Thegrowingtrend.com Tuesday, 7 Sep 2021 at 6:04pm

Next time you surf look inside and learn the rules.
Covid might mean more people in the water but it sure as shit doesn’t mean you can drop in.
Unless I’m going left and you can all go and get f&[email protected]

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Tuesday, 7 Sep 2021 at 7:00pm

Aghh bummer :(

Montygoesbananas's picture
Montygoesbananas's picture
Montygoesbananas Tuesday, 7 Sep 2021 at 6:06pm

Guessing it was the 12-13 sec sse swell wrapping around the headland, not much energy from east showing on the wave buoy. I surfed between queensie and n Steyn this morning first thing and was 3-4 foot with occasional 5 foot sets but would be a foot or two smaller south end easy unless it came up (but buoy says went down)
https://www.mhl.nsw.gov.au/Station-SYDDOW

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Tuesday, 7 Sep 2021 at 7:00pm

Def good east sets in the mix. Inconsistent but there for sure.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Tuesday, 7 Sep 2021 at 7:05pm

How many Kilojoules in the set waves Mr Durden ?

billie's picture
billie's picture
billie Tuesday, 7 Sep 2021 at 7:17pm

Hey Tylerburdenonsociety, do you hang out with that Wazza kook by any chance?

mick-free's picture
mick-free's picture
mick-free Tuesday, 7 Sep 2021 at 11:50pm

Tyler if you had the notes you could have cross referenced the models with Steve’s forecast. Due to the location of the high and the tradewind swell the fetch was directed pre-dominately Qld and then filtered down the coast. Eg Port Mac had forecasted 1.5m NE increasing to 1.8m and increasing period Sunday lunch. The models had Newcastle graded smaller and then smaller to Mantown and further down the coast. It was still there Monday morning here at Boomerang which had 8-10 foot of south swell but had a 3 foot NE swell hitting into the rocks south end. Conditions which are dangerous for the paddle out. Anyway back to Sunday. The bulk of the NE energy arrived lunchtime mid north coast and there were 6 foot sets running throughout the afternoon albeit inconsistently. In my experience these long range trade swells sometimes over perform at different stages eg dip isobars and there are often pulses in the swell train. This system lost its structure a bit compared to when it was first modelled on GFS. So thse swell was in the water 3 hours north on Sunday but not Monday. Are you sure you not seeing refracted South Swell? That was a significant swell event Monday morning here. Crowdy head buoy had sustained wave heights at 4.5m at 13 secs.

It’s good to have the models as a guide but they are not gospel. Hence notes top up your bank account.