Fun clean waves for the short term; wind, rain and building size long term

Ben Matson picture
Ben Matson (thermalben)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Wed 4th May)

Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • Fun clean beachies Thurs, easing Fri/Sat
  • Building S'ly swell Sun, peaking o'night then easing Mon
  • Interesting though likely wind affected E/NE swell mid-late next week onwards 


Inconsistent E/NE swells maintained 2-3ft waves on Tuesday, becoming a little stronger in the 3ft range today. Winds have been generally light and variable with sea breezes. 

This week (May 5-6)

Just a quick update today as I’m filling in for Steve who’s covering Margs.

We’ve got more of the same for the next few days, if anything with a slight improvement on the surface as a frontal passage brings westerly winds to the coast. 

Our current source of E/NE swell has remained steady out in the South Pacific, and although there’s a chance for a slight pulse from today, size should persist in and around the 3ft mark. A gradual easing trend will then set in on Friday, though early morning should still see a few stray 3ft sets, down to 2ft by the afternoon. 

This weekend (May 7-8)

Easterly swells will bottom out a little on Saturday though remain quite fun with clean 2ft sets at exposed beaches under a moderate W/NW breeze. A minor pulse is likely into Sunday (from a brief strengthening south-east from Fiji at the moment) but it’ll be very inconsistent at best, and probably won’t generate much more than stray 2-3ft sets at the regional swell magnets. It won't be a swell to work around. 

A deepening cut-off low right over the top of Tasmania on Friday looks to be slow moving into Saturday, and will remain outside our swell window until Saturday night at the earliest - and even then just a thin fetch of W/SW gales exiting eastern Bass Strait. 

By early Sunday we should see a secondary S/SW fetch off the SE tip of Tasmania, and both sources will lead to a a building trend from the south throughout Sunday.

Early Sunday morning may be undersized, but we should see an upwards trend by mid morning and the afternoon should produce good 2-3ft waves at south facing beaches, with bigger sets across the Hunter and at reliable south swell magnets. A bigger peak in size is expected overnight (or early Monday) but if the evolution of this low is brought forward in future model updates, we could see an upgrade in this outlook.

With the low remaining to the south, local conditions should be clean all weekend under a westerly breeze.

Next week (May 9 onwards)

Sunday’s south swell should show best early Monday with 4ft sets at south facing beaches, a little bigger across the Hunter but much smaller elsewhere, better influence from residual but easing E’ly swells. Conditions should be clean under a weak pressure pattern.

The main feature on the synoptic charts for next week is a deepening coastal trough across Northern NSW and SE Qld that’ll gradually envelop the greater East Coast by mid-week. As a minimum, this should lead to a punchy increase in short-mid range E/NE swell from about Wed/Thurs onwards, though local winds are likely to be an issue. And, expect quite a bit of rain too.

It’s still quite some time away though and we’ll see the models move around between now and then, but for now the long term outlook is shaping up to remain quite active from the eastern quadrant.

See you Friday!


Chris Buykx's picture
Chris Buykx's picture
Chris Buykx Thursday, 5 May 2022 at 6:01pm

Erm.. Im gonna say it first. Black Nor Easter!
Right, I will just leave that there

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Thursday, 5 May 2022 at 6:23pm

Good pick up.

Now to hop aboard the model roller coaster.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Thursday, 5 May 2022 at 6:32pm

hahaha.....I said it all day Chris, ask my wife.

evosurfer's picture
evosurfer's picture
evosurfer Wednesday, 11 May 2022 at 10:44pm

Been back from Bali 3 weeks Friday and have had 2 ordinary surfs
and I can surf everyday although Cronullas banks dont exist at all
to be honest but wow. Surfed between 5-8hrs in Bali for 2 weeks
from 3ft-8ft bombs offshore and warm. Thats why Bali rocks and
our east coast is back to normal which in general is often not very good.

FrazP's picture
FrazP's picture
FrazP Thursday, 12 May 2022 at 9:00am

Evo, some of those an hour south of us or more have been getting it pretty good. Been for a drive twice and scored. Might be the same today. I watched it for 15mins this morning and did not see a wave break that was remotely rideable - and our dawn reporter says 3ft - and the 8am says rippable right at the Alley. I must be at the wrong Cronulla beach.