Pulsey E swell from TC Cody extends into the weekend and early next week with lots of wind changes to work around

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Wed 12th Jan)

Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • Increase in pulsey E/NE swell Thurs with light S'ly winds all day after an undersized start
  • E/NE swell holds Fri with light morning winds, tending NE in the a'noon
  • E/NE swell boosts a notch Sat, with fresh NE winds developing, generating local NE windswell
  • E/NE swell down a notch Sun with a brief window of light morning winds possible before a S'ly change 
  • Stronger E swell Mon, with light winds expected
  • E swell holds Tues AM, slowly eases, with mod/fresh S'ly winds developing
  • Short range S to S/SE swell building Wed, likely peaking Thurs before easing with SE winds


Small, weak surf in the 1-2ft range was reported across the region yesterday. A slight kick in size was reported on the Hunter with a few 2-3ft sets later in the a’noon. Conditions were OK with light/mod NE winds. Surf has remained on the sleepy side today with just a very modest increase in E/NE swell, topping out in the 3ft range on the Hunter, more generally 2ft+ across most of the f/cast region. A weak trough has brought a S to SE change to the region, more noticeable in the southern part of the f/cast region. This trough will quickly fade out bringing a more variable flow from later this a’noon into tomorrow morning. 

Still a bit under-sized but some sets starting to show

This week (Jan 12-14)

Current ASCAT (satellite windspeed) passes show a healthy fetch of E’ly winds flanking TC Cody as drifts south/south-east of the area between Fiji and New Caledonia towards the North Island. Compared to model forecasts Monday strongest winds were still slightly in the swell shadow of the South Pacific Islands which has meant a slightly sleepy start to this swell event. 

A weak trough has once again stalled between the Central/Hunter coasts, bringing a brief interlude of S’ly winds. This trough then fizzles out and moves south as a weak area of low pressure, with a strong high tracking well south in the Tasman bringing a period of N’ly winds before the next (weak) S’ly change Sun. 

Short term and  tomorrow looks a little funky wind-wise with a residual  light S’ly flow, possibly light SW inshore early north of the Harbour, before winds become light SE/NE in the a’noon. A muscling upon is expected later in the day, after lunch as longer period E/NE swell fills in. That should see a few 2ft+ sets through the morning (tidally affected) before stronger 3ft+ sets fill in through the a’noon.

Fri morning now looks like the best of the working week for conditions with a light/variable flow, most likely NW and continuing mid period E/NE swell with 3ft+ sets. It will be pulsey and tidally affected so keep that in mind. N to NE winds will begin to freshen during the day, confining cleanest waves to northern corners. 

This weekend (Jan 15 - 16)

Another pulse of E/NE swell is expected Sat. The tropical low has several phases of “flaring” up as it transits the wide open South Pacific swell window. Absent a series of wave buoys in the Pacific these pulses will be a bit rubbery as far as timing goes. Stronger E/NE swell in the 4ft range should be in the water early in the morning with a slight muscling up pre-lunch seeing 3-5ft surf. Again, expect tidally influenced surf, with Tuesday’s  full moon increasing amplitude for the morning high tide.  Winds will be mod/fresh N to NE, lighter inshore early. Expect a portion of NE windswell to fill in during the a’noon.

Sunday morning winds are expected to drop out and tend light NW to WNW, offering up great conditions for the beachbreaks. That window won’t last long with another trough induced S’ly change in the neighbourhood. We’ll finesse timing on Fri but current modelling has the change in before first light on the South Coast, into the Illawarra around dawn, with a window of clean conditions in Sydney extending into the morning on the Hunter.  Expect a mix of 2-3ft NE windswell and better quality E/NE-E mid period swell with Saturdays pulse easing a notch. Once the S’ly change is in, clean conditions will be confined to more sheltered corners and Bays.

Next week (Jan 17 onwards)

Looks like a good start to the new week. Sunday’s weak S’ly change peters out quickly, leaving a light SW flow Mon morning, as new longer period E swell fills in.This is generated by an intensification of the low as it approaches the North Island Saturday, (see below). That offers clean 4ft surf with strong sets, possibly building a notch into the 3-5ft range with a light/mod E’ly breeze in the a’noon.

A stronger S’ly change is expected Tues , as another trough works it’s way north, this time linked to a low pressure system passing well to the South. Pulsey, but strong sets in the 4ft range are still expected from the E on Tues, with best conditions at sheltered breaks.

By Wed we’ll see a mix of easing E swell and new S to S/SE swell, mostly short range and short period as the trough quickly enhances SE winds through the lower Tasman along a new high pressure ridge. Expect surf to build into the 3-5ft range Wed, with mod/fresh SSE winds.

We’ll need more model guidance before we make a call with any confidence for the rest of next week. EC has a much weaker fetch than GFS, suggesting a smaller round of S/SE to SE swell Thurs and Fri. 

A long E’ly fetch in the South Pacific through the latter part of next week is at the edge of the swell window for Central and Southern NSW . There’s some suggestion of a new tropical low forming between Vanuatu and Fiji so we’ll keep eyes on that and update Fri.

Check back then for the latest update.



dannyz's picture
dannyz's picture
dannyz Thursday, 13 Jan 2022 at 12:22am

this is epic for the middle of summer

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Thursday, 13 Jan 2022 at 7:30am

The new pulse of groundswell has arrived..

FrazP's picture
FrazP's picture
FrazP Thursday, 13 Jan 2022 at 6:00pm

Small this morning but really ramped up now. Solid well overhead sets now and Cronulla usually dips out with NE swell, although it is looking real E. Must be big on the more NE exposed beaches. Kurnell Buoy showing 4.3m @ 12+ seconds. Swell punching bigger than expected Steve?

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Thursday, 13 Jan 2022 at 6:36pm

It's stronger in some places than others but based on my obs looks about bang on.
It's going to be a pulsey swell, so there will be some "pumping" phases of the swell.

channel-bottom's picture
channel-bottom's picture
channel-bottom Thursday, 13 Jan 2022 at 7:32pm

Solid for the late even with a high tide, maybe 5-6 foot on the sets. Nor-east facing beach, south and east facing were pretty wonky.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Thursday, 13 Jan 2022 at 8:49pm

Manly good 3-4ft this arvo (odd bigger bonb), fun!

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops Friday, 14 Jan 2022 at 10:33am

4-5 & pumping on dawn, seemed to have faded a fair bit by 8 and got weird and rippy.
Crazy sea mist too!

jordan.mar's picture
jordan.mar's picture
jordan.mar Friday, 14 Jan 2022 at 10:35am

Tide killed things around home in Wollongong for me after work. Banks not good on high and lots of backwash

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Friday, 14 Jan 2022 at 11:03am

Yep pumping when I took the report photos, by the time I got out a really fun and super rippable 4ft or so. Sooo fun!

FrazP's picture
FrazP's picture
FrazP Friday, 14 Jan 2022 at 11:11am

4ft here this morn and then seemed to fade out. Crowds outrageous.