Winter W'lies ahead with strong S swell for the end of the week
Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Mon 30th May)
Forecast Summary (tl;dr)
- Last pulse in quality E swell late Mon/ holding Tues AM before easing with freshening NW tending W’ly wind
- Small leftover S swell in the mix Tues AM
- Small spike in S swell Wed with strong W’lies winds
- Stronger S swell Thurs with SW winds easing during the a’noon
- Longer period SSE swell pulse Fri with light winds
- Easing S swells all weekend, better Sat, with offshore winds both days
- More S swell next week, possibly sizey at the end of the week
What a tricky weekend of surf with a wide range of wave heights across the region as various swells made landfall. Saturday was the more “even” day with a fairly wide spread of 3ft surf across the region under light offshore winds and a weak seabreeze. A cold front Sunday morning produced a spike of S swell which registered 2-3ft to 3ft, mostly from the Central Coast to Hunter. E/NE swell from a southwards tracking Coral Sea low produced 4ft surf from the Hunter to Sydney region with the Illawarra seeing much less size- a few inconsistent 2-3ft sets if you are lucky. This morning has seen continuing S swell, bigger 3-4ft across S facing beaches- with smaller residual E swell, filling in through the a’noon. Lighter morning winds are now tending NW to N in response to approaching cold front/low pressure system. Hope you got some in amongst that tricky swell-scape.
This week (May30-Jun 3)
Another dynamic week ahead but a bit more straightforwards in the sense that all the incoming swell will be from the S- once the current E swell pulse peters out through tomorrow.
A cold front will push into the region overnight with a complex low pressure gyre forming from the front and remnants of the current low which drifted down from the Coral Sea. That system will drive gales across various area of the Tasman Sea, initially out of Bass Strait and adjacent to the Southern NSW Coast, then extending southwards to form a long fetch through the lower Eastern Tasman Sea. The system evolves a bit faster than models indicated Fri, which will put a cap on wave heights but we’re still in for a nice blast of wintery S swell.
In the short run and fresh overnight N’lies will tend more NW through the morning, before clocking around more W’ly through the day. Leftover E swell should see some 3-4ft sets if you can find somewhere out of the N’ly biased wind. A few small NE windswell sidewinders can’t be ruled out but this is more likely a novelty add on to existing swells. Residual S swell will also be in the mix at S exposed breaks with some leftover 2-3ft sets. By the a’noon, swells will be easing right back from all sources as W’lies groom the ocean.
Hard-core W’ly winds are expected Wed, possibly at low end gale force. Expect tiny/flat surf through the morning with our old friend- the Bass Strait gale- to supply fresh S swell after lunch. These almost pure W’ly fetches out of Bass Strait are remarkable at producing S swells for the NSW coast but there is a point below which there is too much swell shadowing and they don’t show. Usually on the Illawarra. North of there, expect surf to build into the 3ft range through the a’noon. A later SW tilt to the wind is on the cards.
Thurs will see a much more solid S swell increase, as the fetch adjacent to Tasmania kicks in. Expect very directional S swell to build into the 3-5ft range at S facing beaches, bigger 6ft on the Hunter, which hoovers up all the size from those directional South swells. SW winds should be fresh early, but ease during the a’noon as pressure gradients begin to slacken on the coast.
Friday looks to be the best day of the week. Straight S swell is augmented by longer period SSE swell from the deep southern fetch extending down from near the South Island (see below). In addition to that happy news, which will see solid 4-6ft surf across a wide swathe of S exposed breaks, we’ll see lighter winds. A light W’ly flow early with a weak N’ly breeze through the a’noon. Pencil in Friday if you can.
This weekend (June4-5)
Another frontal push across NSW is expected this weekend with plenty of offshore winds. This should start out NW to W/NW Sat before tending true W’ly for the rest of the weekend.
Surf-wise we’re still looking at plenty of energy Sat morning, in the 4-5ft range at S facing beaches, but that size will slowly ease back during the day.
Sunday is a mop up day with leftover S swells in the 2-3ft range early, dropping back below 2ft through the a’noon.
Next week (June 6 onwards)
More S swell on the menu next week, although there’s some substantial model divergence between the leading models so we’ll be revising this through the week.
Fresh offshore winds are likely Mon and it’s likely to be a tiny day with just residual S swells below 2ft.
GFS suggests a front and low in the Tasman Sea Mon, which sees a small S swell increase Tues, with SW winds.
EC model puts the low back later Tues, suggestion a Wed increase in S swell.
Models then suggest much stronger fronts, with another low possibly in the Central Tasman, suggesting a much more solid run of S swell into the end of next week.
We’ll just flag now a possible trough/low situation on the Mid North Coast mid next week as a potential ECL precursor. GFS is interested, EC not at all.
Check back Wed and we’ll run the ruler over it afresh.