More swell from the E/NE incoming next week, with a few quiet days before then

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Fri 7th Jan)

Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • E/NE swell holds Fri AM, tending to NE windswell in the PM and easing, with NE winds
  • Morning peak in NE swell Sat, easing during the PM. Continuing NE winds, easing later.
  • Small surf Sun and into early next week
  • Short range S to SE swell Wed with mod/fresh SE winds
  • Rebuild in E/NE swell from tradewinds Thurs, muscling up a notch Fri and into the weekend, with N'ly winds becoming established


A punchy, consistent signal of 3-4ft surf from the E/NE has maintained energetic lineups since Wed. Winds have been the fly in the ointment with mod/fresh E to E/NE winds yesterday, tending a little more NE through today. Slightly better conditions have been reported on the Illawarra down to the South Coast. In short, if you can tolerate scrappy surface conditions there’s been a lot of surf on the menu.

Won't win a beauty pageant but it is surfable

This weekend (Jan 8 - 9)

Southerly change is off for Sat, pushed back to Sunday. There’s no structural change to the pattern, with NE winds being drawn from a high in the Tasman into a series of inland troughs which are linked to the tropics. The more proximate NE fetch off the coast, migtates E on Sat.

We’re looking at a slight increase in NE windswell o/night leading to 3-4ft surf in the morning, possibly a notch larger on the South Coast. Expect mod/fresh N to NE winds, with a chance of windspeeds dropping a notch during the a’noon.

The S’ly change is due in Sunday, before first light on the Illawarra,  dawn in Sydney, with a chance of a brief window of light NW winds on the Hunter before the change hits. Expect leftover NE swell in the 2ft range, easing further during the day.

One caveat applies for the Hunter Coast- the trough is weak and could stall somewhere on the Central/Hunter Coast, with a slim chance of light NW to N winds extending further into the day. Check your local wind obs Sunday.

Next week (Jan3 onwards)

We’re looking a couple of small, weak days- best for beginners- to kick off next week in the f/cast region. Sundays weak, troughy change will dissipate with the N’ly flow becoming re-established at lower levels than current speeds. A light/variable flow Mon morning with surf well below 2ft is on the menu, with winds tending NE through the a’noon.

Tuesday repeats the dose as far as surf heights go. Tiny surf in the 1-1.5ft range suitable for beginners. There’s more uncertainty over winds on Tues as another trough moves into the region. A weak E’ly flow is likely, which may tend more S to SE in the  a’noon depending on the position of the trough. S’ly winds are more likely on the Illawarra Coast, light NE to E winds on the Hunter. Thats not set in stone with the trough looking a bit flukey. We’ll finesse timing on Monday.

Tuesday’s trough moves off the South Coast into the Tasman, potentially forming a small surface low. With a large high moving through well south of the Bight, a SE fetch is expected to form in the Lower/Central Tasman overnight Tues and into Wed. Winds are mostly aimed at Central/Southern NSW, leading to a building trend in short/mid period S/SE to SE swell through Wed. Size won’t be anything dramatic, up into the 3ft range by close of play and accompanied by S/SE to SE winds. 

This swell is likely to persist at similar levels into Thurs. With winds tracking around into a general E’ly pattern, more E/SE through most of the f/cast region.

By Thurs the wave climate will come under the influence once more of the tropics, with a broad Tradewinds band being accelerated by a tropical low drifting South from area between Fiji and Vanuatu (see below). While this fetch is primarily aimed at targets to the north, radial spread from such a large fetch will see swell from the E/NE start to build across the region.

Size will be modest, with surf building into the 3ft range through Thurs.

Friday and into next weekend (15/16 Jan) we’re expecting a muscle up in size and period as stronger swell trains make landfall, generated by the tropical low as it tracks through the South Pacific swell window. Again, these swells will be stronger in the north of the state and into SEQLD but the fetch is board enough and strong enough to see surf build into the 3-4ft range Fri, possibly building a notch into Sat. 

A N’ly flow is likely to re-develop later next week into the weekend.

Longer term and the tropics remains active. At least one major weather model suggests another potential cyclone in the Coral Sea. High pressure is continuing to track through at a typical Summer latitude, well south of the Bight. That suggests a continuing block on the Southern swell window with swells from the E and NE into the medium/long term.

Check back Mon for a full update and have a great weekend.


evosurfer's picture
evosurfer's picture
evosurfer Friday, 7 Jan 2022 at 3:03pm

Will the wind ever go offshore feels like its been onshore forever.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Friday, 7 Jan 2022 at 3:09pm

The position of the sub-tropical high pressure belt is very south Evo, which is putting temperate NSW in the firing line of constant onshores.

sean killen's picture
sean killen's picture
sean killen Friday, 7 Jan 2022 at 4:41pm

Onshore is keeping the crowds down .. one positive

geoffrey's picture
geoffrey's picture
geoffrey Friday, 7 Jan 2022 at 7:54pm

no wind down south today.

jordan.mar's picture
jordan.mar's picture
jordan.mar Saturday, 8 Jan 2022 at 11:11am

Winds marginal this morning. Clean conditions, just a bit of a lumpy swell. Looks as if the energy from last night and this morning has already dropped. I know the tide isn’t helping either though.

evosurfer's picture
evosurfer's picture
evosurfer Saturday, 8 Jan 2022 at 12:04pm

Anybody knows what's has happen to WAMS hasn't been updated since Wednesday.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Saturday, 8 Jan 2022 at 12:07pm

Our upstream data source (NOAA) is experiencing issues.. hopefully they'll sort it out ASAP.

channel-bottom's picture
channel-bottom's picture
channel-bottom Saturday, 8 Jan 2022 at 6:42pm

Still possible to score in Sydney. 2-3 foot nor east rights, bugger all wind. Solo sesh for half an hour before being joined by 3 others for another half hour. Heaps of waves to go around. Only came in because of the approaching storm.