Small fun beachbreaks this week with a juicier E swell on the radar next week

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Mon 24th Jan)

Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • Small kick in E swell Tues, holding Tues AM then easing with light morning winds
  • Long range inconsistent E swell Thurs , easing through Fri with N'ly winds, light inshore early
  • Small E swell pads out the weekend with N'ly winds Sat, variable Sun
  • New E swell Tues next week as tropical low drops into South Pacific swell window, holding Wed. Check back Wed for wind outlook
  • Watching Southern Ocean for cold front and the tropics next week for future swells, stay tuned for updates


Quite a few fun waves over the weekend with size hovering in the 2-3ft range, from a variety of small E’ly swell trains. Quality was mixed- most of the region has seen a continuing SE flow, with the Northern Beaches seeing a more favourable morning offshore breeze which extended into the mid- morning session.  Today has continued the trend with size holding in the 2-3ft range, slightly bigger 3ft on the Hunter and light winds, SE through most of the f/cast region with lighter WSW winds north of the Harbour. A week of small beachbreaks beckons with typical summer wind patterns. Details below. 

Nice fun in the sun beachbreaks

This week (Jan 24-28)

Our Summer blocking looks similar to how we left it on Friday. Weak high pressure now sits East of Tasmania, smearing out across the lower Tasman towards New Zealand. A trough of low pressure has drifted south-westwards from the South Pacific into the area west of the North Island and looks a touch healthier than it did during Friday. ASCAT (satellite windspeed) passes over the last 24-36hrs showed a well aimed but compact fetch of mostly strong winds aimed at NSW.

In the short run, with the high drifting away the ridge over the Central NSW Coastline breaks down leaving a regime of light winds: land breezes early, tending to light E to NE seabreezes. 

Swell from the E generated by the weak low is expected to push surf up into the 3ft range later Mon, holding into Tues with the change of some bigger 3ft+ surf at exposed breaks. Plenty of fun beachbreaks should be on the menu.

That same mid period E swell slowly weakens through Wed, with leftover energy in the 3ft range on a slow easing trend through the day, with similar light land and seabreezes offering up good conditions for the open beachbreaks. A few minor S swell trains from a passing front may supply some 1-2ft sets at the most exposed S swell magnets but it’s a marginal swell source and unlikely to be apparent at most spots.

The pattern turns N’ly through the latter part of the week as a reinforcing high slips into the lower Tasman and immediately interacts with an approaching inland trough.

Leftover E swell should see a lazy signal of 2ft surf, with some longer range E swell filling in through the morning Thursday. This is a swell we mentioned last week, and while it’s a long way away and the strongest winds were aimed to the south, it’s still expected to produce some inconsistent 3ft sets, possibly a notch bigger at noted E swell magnets. Expect this swell to fill in Thurs morning and ease into Fri, with inconsistent 2-3ft sets slowly winding back into the 2ft range during the day. 

N to NE winds will kick up through the a’noon on both days, likely reaching the 15-20 knot mark so you’ll need a bit of wind protection for the a’noon session.

This weekend (Jan 29 - 30)

Not a great deal of action expected this weekend. The charts will be looking good as low pressure steams around the corner from New Caledonia and drops into the slot but we won’t see swell from that until the following week.

Small E swells are expected to hover around the 2ft range both Sat and Sun. 

Mod N’ly winds are expected Sat, tending NE in the a’noon.

On Sunday a weak trough on the Central NSW coast brings a flukey wind change, likely light NW to N ahead of the trough and light S to SE around the trough line. We’ll finesse that wind outlook on Wed or Fri. 

Next week (Jan 31 onwards)

As mentioned above a tropical low, potentially another cyclone, forms between Vanuatu and New Caledonia later this week into the weekend, emerging from behind Grand Terre and dropping into the South Pacific slot Sunday, with a supporting fetch of E’ly winds having developed between New Cal and the North Island on the weekend (see below). 

Models are still divergent over the strength of the tropical low, with EC favouring a much more modest system, while GFS has a severe gale force or even storm force low/cyclone.

Nonetheless there’s a lot to like either way, with an excellent cradling high east of New Zealand and an expected SW movement back towards the East Coast early next week. 

So, while we’ll need a bit more model guidance to get a good handle on wave heights, we can expect Mon to remain small with Tuesday seeing the first pulse of very good quality E swell. 

Winds still look a bit flukey with the clearance of the trough. That may see a light N’ly flow Tuesday before winds tend S/SE to SE Wed.

We’ll pencil in size building to 4-5ft during Tues, and extending into Wed at least at similar sizes. Depending on the strength and track of the low size could easily get an upgrade.

Longer term and we’re keeping eyes on a potentially strong front pushing East of Tasmania later next week, with S swell potential.

The tropics remain active with a monsoonal surge still ongoing later next week and more potential for tropical low development in the Coral Sea.

Check back Wed for a full update.



Dan87's picture
Dan87's picture
Dan87 Tuesday, 25 Jan 2022 at 10:20am

Surprisingly solid this morning! Wish I brought out a bit more volume.. really fun if you could scrape into em.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Tuesday, 25 Jan 2022 at 10:27am

Yeah chunky at Manly, I'm out for a coupla with another BCC being cut out. Aghh. Hopefully back for mid-late next week's swell!

Dan87's picture
Dan87's picture
Dan87 Tuesday, 25 Jan 2022 at 11:47am

Shit, that sucks. GL
I'm just trying to get my fitness back after covid!

jordan.mar's picture
jordan.mar's picture
jordan.mar Tuesday, 25 Jan 2022 at 11:48am

Heard I missed out at my local this morning from a mate. Said solid 3-4 ft from what he described. Some of us have to go to work :( North of Wollongong

sean killen's picture
sean killen's picture
sean killen Tuesday, 25 Jan 2022 at 8:35pm

Had some fun / solid ones this arvo at my local .. nice punchy swell , next weeks forecast is looking awesome too .. geez the swell has been really consistent ( maybe not winds) this summer , plenty of waves ol la nino has delivered..

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Tuesday, 25 Jan 2022 at 8:39pm

Ha, La Niña (opposite is El Niño), have you not read it enough on the site ;)

sean killen's picture
sean killen's picture
sean killen Tuesday, 25 Jan 2022 at 9:02pm

Haha yep correct Craig should not comment after good waves and 8 beers started Australia Day drinking too early..