Back to a more typical week of small Summer surf

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Mon 14th Feb)

Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • Pumping Mon with light winds and strong E/SE-SE swell
  • Fast easing leftovers Tues AM, with NE winds developing
  • Small, weak surf Wed/Thurs with NE winds
  • S'ly change Fri
  • Small amounts of S'ly groundswell on the weekend with best winds Sun AM
  • Watching the tropics for cyclogenesis next week


It was an active weekend with a series of swell trains making landfall. Saturday was undersized through the morning with mostly 3ft surf before a late kick in stronger 4-5ft surf under a S’ly wind flow. Swell from TC Dovi kicked on Sunday with 4-5ft surf reported across the region under an easing onshore flow that allowed a few spots to open up.  Today has seen clean and pumping surf in the 4-5ft range with the odd 6ft, all under a light offshore flow which is now tending NE. A complex weekend of overlapping swell trains and onshore winds but there were some good/great sessions if you could join the dots.

Tasty waves to start the week

This week (Feb14-18)

STC Dovi really floored the accelerator over the weekend, speeding through the swell window and steam—rolling New Zealand. Absent the stalling over the North Island the tail end of the swell has now been cut short so we’re looking at a steep easing trend and a week of small surf as high pressure moves a little more northwards than it has so far this La Niña Summer. Under the influence of the high pressure belt it’ll be a week of N to NE’ly winds and a small blend of E’ly swell trains.

In the short run and we’ll be well past the peak and on a steep incline downwards tomorrow as the last of the SE-E/SE swell ebbs away. A few 3ft sets early- possibly 3-4ft at noted swell magnets- dropping back into the 2ft range during the day. Early light NW winds will tend NE and freshen during the day. 

Wed is more of the same. There’s a trade flow in the Coral Sea, too far north to be of much use for temperate NSW, so a typical weak summer pattern of short period E’ly swell in the 2ft range is on the menu. Similar wind pattern to Tues. 

Expect more of the same Thurs, perhaps with a slight nudge upwards as E/NE tradewind swell filters into the region. Don’t expect much though, it’s unlikely to exceed 2ft by any significant margin. A trough does enter the southern part of the region on Thurs, so we’ll be looking at flukier winds, with a S’ly change possibly extending into the Illawarra after lunch. We can dial that in on Wed.

That S’ly change becomes entrenched through the region on Fri, anchored to quite a strong cold front and low passing through the Southern Tasman Sea. Friday looks very ordinary with the same small swell and fresh S to S/SE winds. We’d expect a slight kick in short range S’ly windswell through the a’noon but it’s nothing worth working around.

This weekend (Feb 19 - 20)

We’ll be welcoming back S swells this weekend, generated by the front/low passing well to the south of Tasmania. S’ly winds will spoil the party Saturday morning but with a weak high moving into the Tasman quickly we should see a rapid easing in wind strength Sat, leaving a light SE/NE flow through the a’noon.

Expect some longer period S’ly swell to fill in through the a’noon, with 2-3ft sets at S facing beaches, bigger 3-4ft on the Hunter and other select S swell magnets. 

With high pressure tracking quickly across the Tasman we’ll be back to a N’ly flow Sunday. That will favour S facing beaches which should see some early 2-3ft sets, easing back during the day, as N to NE winds increase. Reasonable odds for some workable NE windswell building in the a’noon. Nothing amazing but a few fun options at S facing beaches early and sidewinders later in the a’noon as the NE windswell kicks in.

Next week (Feb 21 onwards)

Not much to get excited about to start next week. A few small NE leftovers are likely Mon, as another trough works it’s way north with a flukey wind pattern likely before the change. 

A much stronger S’ly change kicks in Tues according to current modelling, likely to whip up a fast rising S to S/SE windswell as the trough increases windspeeds along the front edge of a new high pressure ridge. That will see fresh S to S/SE winds and surf building from the same direction. 

Further ahead and the high looks to set up a blocking pattern next week, with models toying with the idea of another potential cyclone in the Coral Sea later next week. We’ll keep tabs on that and monitor for surf potential but at this stage it’s a way off in the distance, with a chunk of small, onshore surf expected later next week.

Check back Wed for a fresh update.


sean killen's picture
sean killen's picture
sean killen Monday, 14 Feb 2022 at 5:32pm

Swell is dropping very quickly especially on the low tide today.. fun while it lasted, got two great sessions in yesterday and today..

evosurfer's picture
evosurfer's picture
evosurfer Monday, 14 Feb 2022 at 11:30pm

Does anyone else think this hyped swell was somewhat underwhelming.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Tuesday, 15 Feb 2022 at 10:19am

We/Steve didn't overhype it and it looks like it cam in bang on forecast. 4-5ft+ E/NE swell later Sunday and 4-6ft of E/SE swell on Monday morning.

vbabin's picture
vbabin's picture
vbabin Tuesday, 15 Feb 2022 at 10:48pm

Monday was 4ft E no more…
That predicted 4-6ft ESE pulse never happened, sunday was the peak 4-5ft+ and monday was just the leftover of that E swell
Local faces E so got most of the swell but sometimes even you guys can be wrong ;)

FrazP's picture
FrazP's picture
FrazP Wednesday, 16 Feb 2022 at 9:19am

A few that ran over me were well over 4ft. Not many, but enough to keep the pulse rate up. Definitely no complaints with the run of swells we have had.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 16 Feb 2022 at 9:57am

Yeah I surfed Freshy (rare) and was solid 4-5ft sets with a couple of 6ft sneakers.

sean killen's picture
sean killen's picture
sean killen Tuesday, 15 Feb 2022 at 7:07am

I’m happy we are getting waves in summer above 2ft water 24c .. a few years back it was , grovel, swim ,mal surfs..

MrBungle's picture
MrBungle's picture
MrBungle Wednesday, 16 Feb 2022 at 8:14am

Yeah you’re right. We are still getting decent swell at least every two weeks and E swells are way more workable for most coast lines.