Stacks of fun surf ahead

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Fri 15th Apr)

Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • Fun east swell holding through the weekend and most of next week
  • Intermittent southerly groundswells in the mix too
  • Generally light winds for the next few days
  • Extended period of sizeable south swells from Thursday onwards, sometimes windy too


Thursday's south swell came in a little under expectations, more around the 3-4ft mark at south facing beaches, and up to 4-5ft at more reliable swell magnets like the Hunter. Conversely, trailing easterly swells from the latter stages of TC Fili punched a little higher than expected, reaching 3-4ft on Thursday and 3ft today. Winds have been generally light and variable with weak sea breezes though the Hunter copped a residual onshore flow on Thursday. Size is now slowly easing across all coasts. A smaller pulse of new S'ly swell is expected to glance the coast this afternoon.

This weekend (Apr 16 - 17)

Looks like more of the same for the next few days.

The new S'ly swell due this afternoon will ease through Saturday but yet another south swell is due Sunday, from a powerful front/low that tracked under Tasmania this morning (see below). It's not very well aligned, but should still rebuild size into the 3ft range at south facing beaches through Sunday (some locations may see a lag in the early morning). Reliable south swell magnets could push another foot or two higher though for a brief period.

As always, surf size will be much smaller at beaches not open to the south. And we can expect smaller surf from the south on Saturday from the pre-existing energy.

Also in the water over the weekend will be intermittent E'ly swells, sourced from a developing trough in the central/northern Tasman Sea. It's currently aimed into SE Qld but will slowly push south over the coming days, and align a little better within our swell window (though, with a little less fetch width and strength). This should keep most open beaches humming with occasional 2-3ft sets. 

Conditions are looking good both days with light variable winds and sea breezes. So hit up the open beaches and get stuck into a wide range of fun options.

Next week (Apr 18 onwards)

The northern Tasman trough will push close to New Zealand from Saturday into Sunday and strengthen a small fetch of gale force easterly winds within our swell window. 

As such, we'll see a small pulse through Monday that should lift surf size into the 3ft, maybe 3-4ft if we're lucky, with size then maintaining this range through Tuesday and Wednesday. A brief pulse of embedded bigger surf is possible Wednesday morning (from the developing gales later Sunday) but I don't think it'll push above 3-5ft tops.

Elsewhere, and more long period southerly energy will glance the coast early next week, though sourced from much less favourably aligned frontal systems in trhe Southern Ocean. This will cap surf size at an extremely inconsistent 2-3ft at south facing beaches through Monday and Tuesday.

Looking further ahead, and the Tasman trough will weaken temporarily around Tuesday, off the west coast of New Zealand's North Island, but model guidance suggests the broader pattern may re-establish a new E/NE fetch to the NE of the North Island around Wednesday, generating a short lived E/NE swell for NSW around next weekend (size in the 2-3ft+ range).

However there is a much more dominant pattern shaping up for the longer term. An amplifying Long Wave Trough just to the west of Tasmanian latitudes early in the week will initially lie on the periphery of our swell window for a few days, but should slide more favourable east by Thursday, allowing strong fronts to race up the western Tasman Sea.

This is expected to generate a sustained period of large, and sometimes wind affected southerly swells from Thursday onwards, holding through the weekend and the first half of the following week.

So, lots to look forward to!

See you Monday. 


sean killen's picture
sean killen's picture
sean killen Saturday, 16 Apr 2022 at 6:33pm

Best waves with insane banks today scored some memorable ones..2hr for me .. my mate 4.5 hrs this morning .. frothing for tomorrow

mibs-oner's picture
mibs-oner's picture
mibs-oner Saturday, 16 Apr 2022 at 11:31pm

Sounds like you were killen it Sean!

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Sunday, 17 Apr 2022 at 12:43pm


batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink Sunday, 17 Apr 2022 at 2:19pm

At the central coast local the waves were 2’ at 11.30, maybe odd 3’er. Within an hour I was ducking under regular strong 3’ to 4’. Kept finding myself too far in, paddled out further and still had to duck dive walls.

Fun, but not many cigars. A tricky little beachie and have to re-wire after the poundings it took the last 2 weeks. Big tidal range probably didn’t help, was so hard to be in ‘the spot’, and there was no tolerance at all.

Mcface's picture
Mcface's picture
Mcface Sunday, 17 Apr 2022 at 6:23pm

I got some gems during that pulse batfink as it hit a preferred bank on the NBs. Few classic 3 turns to the beach. Didn't look like much once the wind was into it. Keep it coming

KieranRegan's picture
KieranRegan's picture
KieranRegan Sunday, 17 Apr 2022 at 9:34pm

My name is Kieran Regan and I love to surf 2 foot slop

FrazP's picture
FrazP's picture
FrazP Monday, 18 Apr 2022 at 4:37pm

Great 4ft pulse yesterday arvo. Bit windy but no complaints. Unfortunately banks at Cronulla are non existent atm.