Large S swell settles down quickly through Sun, with improving conditions
Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Fri 1st Apr)
Forecast Summary (tl;dr)
- Large S swell Fri/Sat as storm force low sits off coast. Huge seas and gale force S'lies confine surf to only a few spots Fri, winds tending more SW Sat
- Easing through still solid surf Sun AM, becoming small and user friendly in the a'noon with offshore winds, tending to seabreezes in the a'noon
- Small and clean Mon, even smaller Tues
- Possible S swell Wed, with S'ly winds likely
- Short range E/SE swell likely to build in Thurs with onshore winds
- Short range E/SE swell peaking Fri with onshore winds
- E/NE swell likely next weekend as cyclone and cradling E'ly fetch form in the Coral and Tasman Seas
Surf has been solid from the S, as a deep Tasman low winds up, with plenty of strong S to SW wind accompanying the swell. Yesterday built into the 6-8ft range across exposed stretches of coastline, with smaller surf in more protected locations. Today has maintained that size, with a steep building trend expected through the a’noon, as a result of storm force winds developing around the SE flank of the low. Strong to gale force S’ly winds are confining surf to more protected locations.
This weekend (Apr 2-3)
The Taman low deepens this a’noon, with a corresponding rise in surf through the later a’noon, up into the 12-15ft range at exposed Southern breaks.
Swell is now expected to peak in the early hours of Sat morning at similar size and winds are strong to low end gale force SW, tending W’ly through the a’noon.
That will offer a window of improving conditions at Big Wave Spots, albeit under strong offshore conditions, which will make any offshore bombies hard to ride.
For most recreational surfers, it’ll be spectating from a vantage point or heading to the most sheltered novelty spots. Through the a’noon, we’ll see a settling and slow easing in size, likely with sets to 8-10ft, becoming more inconsistent and tidally affected.
The easing trend becomes more pronounced overnight Sat into Sun, due to the low tracking towards the Gippsland Coast and weakening quickly. That will see a much more settled ocean Sun morning with sets to 6ft, possibly a few leftover 8ft sets for the early, before size ramps down rapidly through the day. Winds look favourable for a large range of S and SE facing breaks, with NW to W/NW winds through the morning, likely tending to light NE sea breezes through the a’noon. By the a’noon we’ll be down to size in the 2-3ft range at S exposed breaks.
Next week (Apr4 onwards)
Very quiet and small start to next week now expected. The remnants of the current Tasman low will be located off the Gippsland coast, still with some structure but not generating any meaningful swell. High pressure will have slipped underneath the low, with a regime of weak pressure gradients across most of the state. That will see light winds Mon, W to NW early, tending to sea breezes in the a’noon. Not much surf is expected, around 1-2ft at the most exposed S facing breaks, smaller elsewhere and only suited to beginners.
That small size extends into Tues and likely Wed as well. Winds remain light and variable Tues with a potential small trough seeing early SW winds tend more SE through the day.
That small trough is likely to linger Wed, seeing winds tend S through the day. A front will pass through the lower Tasman and the leading edge of a new high pressure ridge will likely build through the day.
Things get very much juicier by Thurs next week, although allowing for the long lead time it’s likely we’ll be revising any calls made now.
The trough off the NSW Coast is expected to deepen and in conjunction with the large high moving at Tasmanian latitudes, create a large SE to E’ly fetch aimed at Southern NSW. This is likely to see a fairly rapid increase in size from the same direction, along with onshore winds through Thurs. Lets pencil in 4-6ft of size based on current modelling.
This size ramps up further Fri as the fetch matures.
Whilst this is occurring a potential Tropical Cyclone is expected to track in a S’ly direction through the Eastern edge of the Coral Sea (see below). Models have been shifting the track around in recent runs so that is still unclear, although it seems most likely the system will slide off the sub-tropical ridge to the SE, past New Zealand. The so-called “graveyard”.
What is much more reliable is the cradling fetch of E to SE winds which develop through the Northern Tasman and Southern Coral Sea later next week. While these winds are better aimed at sub-tropical areas, we can expect to see a maintenance of swell from the eastern quadrant later next week and into the weekend. It’s likely surf will ease off the peaks from the more proximate fetch late next week but build sometime next weekend from the E/NE as the more distant swell trains make landfall.
Onshore winds look to ease into next weekend as the high drifts away and pressure gradients close to the coast slacken.
Check back Mon and we’ll dial in these developments.
Until then, have a great weekend!