Lots of size this weekend from the S/SSE, with winds from the same direction

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Wed Nov 24 )

Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • E'ly swell over-lapped by building NE swell Wed PM, peaking Thurs, easing Fri
  • Late kick in new S swell Fri PM
  • Large S swell on the cards for Sat, with fresh S to SSE winds
  • S swell tending SSE on Sun, with S to SSE winds easing, surf easing Mon
  • Looks like a quiet period ahead for most of next week with small E'ly swell, stay tuned for revisions


Plenty of chunky, short period energy since Mon, with Tuesday seeing surf in the 3-5ft range, generated by a southwards moving trough, which disputed during the day. Winds were generally from the SE/ESE, with a small window of more favourable SSW winds on offer for those who could pounce on the wind change. Today has seen surf ease from that source with mostly 2-3ft surf. Winds are now tending NE and freshening as a big high drifts out in the Tasman Sea, and an approaching interior trough system tightens the pressure gradient.

This week (Nov 24-26)

Not much change to the f/cast for the rest of the working week.  Large slow moving high and approaching trough system, leading to NE winds through today, tomorrow and into Friday before the trough exits on the Far South Coast and brings a vigorous S’ly change with a large swell event for the weekend. 

Expect freshening NE winds tomorrow, likely in excess of 20 knots through the a’noon. Proximate winds to the Central NSW Coast are expected to see NE windswell in the 2-3ft range through tomorrow.

That pattern extends into Fri morning, with winds expected to tend N’ly, then NW, before the trough winds up and winds tend to the S’ly quarter. That change is likely during the early morning, possibly before first light on the South Coast, extending up into the Sydney basin not long after. Small circulations along the trough line could see areas of SW winds through Fri in the f/cast region. If you can track one of those windows down there’ll be some NE windswell in the  2ft+ range at favouraby angled breaks, smaller elsewhere. 

Gales develop off the NSW South Coast through the a’noon, and this is likely to see a late kick in size through the region, up into the 4-5ft range at S facing beaches, but with strong S’ly winds you’ll need to find some shelter and lose a lot of that size. 

This weekend (Nov 27-28)

Lots of S quarter swell and wind from the same direction this weekend. With the trough extending out from the NSW South Coast towards the South Island, and a long fetch of S/SSE gales developing through the lower Tasman,  there’ll be no shortage of size. How big? 

S facing beaches Sat are expected to push up into the 6-8ft range, bigger 8ft on the Hunter. With fresh S’ly winds though, you’ll need to find more protected locations with much smaller size, unless you’re willing to take on the few spots exposed to the swell that can handle the wind. It’s not quite a pure directional S swell, with the angle being more SSE, there will be enough size to light up more protected Bays, albeit at smaller size.

Sunday sees more of the same: plenty of mid period SSE swell, easing slowly during the day, with winds doing the same, as the trough system, drifts away and  dissipates during the day.

Expect early size in the 6ft range, bigger 6-8ft on the Hunter, dropping back during the day and mod/fresh SSE winds tending SE during the day. A window of lighter SSW winds is possible/likely in the Sydney basin north of the Harbour. Otherwise, you’ll need to get out of the wind Sun and sacrifice size, depending on how sheltered the break is.

Next week (Nov29) and beyond

Downwards trend through Mon and into next week, as a weaker high pressure system drifts into the Tasman, at a slightly higher latitude than the previous system, with weak troughs off the sub-tropical NSW Coast.

With pressure gradients slackening we’re looking at a week mostly of light onshore winds.

Monday sees good potential from leftover SSE/SE swell with plenty of residual swell in the 3-4ft range, easing during the day. Light SE winds may tend to land breeze inshore early, before a light SE/ESE flow. 

Expect a regime of small, weak E’ly swell from Tues-Thurs next week, with light onshore winds, possibly tending to morning land breezes. Models are suggesting size in the 2ft range and there’s no reason to modify that with a pulsating weak E’ly fetch through most of the Northern Tasman Sea.

Longer term and into next weekend, the background signal of small E’ly swell is expected to continue as high pressure drifts over New Zealand. GFS model suggests a small, troughy feature in the Central Tasman towards the end of next week, which may offer an increase in more ENE swell into next weekend, but with no other models interested in it, we’ll flag it for now and check in on Fri to see how it’s shaping up.


jordan.mar's picture
jordan.mar's picture
jordan.mar Wednesday, 24 Nov 2021 at 1:46pm

btw yesterday in wollongong winds in the arvo were non existent, perfect late arvo glass off

joesydney's picture
joesydney's picture
joesydney Wednesday, 24 Nov 2021 at 8:05pm

Yesterday 12-2pm was great fun

DeathToCompSurfing's picture
DeathToCompSurfing's picture
DeathToCompSurfing Thursday, 25 Nov 2021 at 5:13pm

Fark this La Niña is a dud compared to the last