Welcome to Winter- South swells and Westerly winds ahead

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Wed 1st June)

Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • Small spike in S swell Wed with strong W’ly winds
  • Stronger S swell Thurs with SW winds easing during the a’noon
  • Longer period SSE swell pulse Fri with W/NW to NW winds, freshening in the a'noon
  • 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


The leftover E swell eased quickly though yesterday with a few 2-3ft sets in the morning dribbling away to not much by the a’noon, under brisk W’ly winds. Gales out of Bass Strait yesterday have produced a small, refracted S swell signal which is producing some clean 2-3ft surf at the typical S swell magnets today, particularly north of the Sydney basin to the Hunter. Stronger S swells are en route.

Small S lines starting to show with winter Westerlies

This week (Jun1-Jun 3)

Could not be a more apt synoptic pattern for the first day of Winter. Brisk westerly winds and a complex low pressure gyre in the Tasman Sea, with multiple cold fronts and a deep S’ly fetch of gales extending down to 55S have ushered in the first day of Winter. Multiple swell trains are now being generated by this complex cold outbreak, with different period signatures set to impact different areas of the coast. Due to the broad spectrum of swells trains, there should be something for everyone. 

In the short run and we’re looking at much bigger, but very directional S swell through Thurs, primarily generated by the more proximate  fetches to the NSW coastline. That will favour areas in the north of the f/cast region, which should see 3-5ft of S swell, bigger 4-5ft on the Hunter. Winds will tend WSW, then SW and S/SW as the frontal progression moves into the Tasman Sea. Expect much smaller surf away from S facing beaches and areas south of Illawarra.

Friday looks a much better bet for the region as a whole as longer period energy from the deep S’ly fetch makes landfall. This will have a longer period and better direction so should have a much more even spread of wave heights across the region, although S facing exposures will still see the biggest surf. Expect strong surf in the 4-6ft range, building to 5-6ft during the morning. Some bigger sets at deep-water adjacent reefs can’t be ruled out, especially with favourable W/NW to NW winds expected. These winds will be in response to another approaching frontal system and will likely freshen during the a’noon. Friday still looks the goods. 

This weekend (June4-5)

No great change to the weekend f/cast. More cold front activity maintains W’ly winds all day Sat and these winds will have a more NW to W/NW tilt through Sunday.

Swells will be on the easing trend over the weekend with Sat having plenty of leftover energy from Fridays long period swells. 4-5ft surf from the south will slowly wane through the day, back down into the 3-4ft range by close of play. Still a great looking day with all day offshore winds.

Sunday will be a mop up day as the swells continue to wane. A few 2-3ft sets are on offer early but by lunch-time these will be few and far between and by the a’noon surf will drop below 2ft, likely tiny by close of play.

Next week (June 6 onwards)

The winter pattern rolls straight through into next week with more cold fronts, Westerly dominated winds and swells from the S.

We’ll start next week tiny to flat with W’ly winds grooming an ocean devoid of swell.

By Tues small amount of S swell should push up wave heights into the 2ft range at S facing beaches.

Models are still divergent on the strength and timing of these fronts so confidence is very low on specifics this far out.

By mid next week Frontal activity is likely to see another round of S swell in the Tasman, possibly sizey into Thurs/Fri.

Pencil in SW winds and increasing S swells through Thurs/Fri and likely extending into next weekend at this stage. We’ll come back Fri and see how we are shaping up for size and timing.

Seeya then.


wiggy_piratej's picture
wiggy_piratej's picture
wiggy_piratej Wednesday, 1 Jun 2022 at 6:36pm

Ken oath

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Wednesday, 1 Jun 2022 at 7:27pm

Morning bodybash:

Waves  1'
App temp -3 degrees
Water temp 21 degrees
Wind gusts 102 km/h

Wild times

MrBungle's picture
MrBungle's picture
MrBungle Friday, 3 Jun 2022 at 11:49am

Some surprisingly big lumps around this morning. Scored some ok waves but nothing amazing, a little all over the place. Good to feel some power behind the sets though. Contrast between water temp and air is crazy at the moment, so cold getting out, makes you want to jump back in.