Plenty of size and wind for Father's Day weekend, slowly settling into next week with better options

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Fri 2nd Sep)

Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • Minor E'ly swell Fri into weekend
  • Vigorous S’ly flow kicks in Fri as low forms off N
  • Late kick in local S swell Fri, 
  • Plenty of large S swell Sat, tending more SSE-SE on Sun with fresh S to SSE winds both days, protected spots only
  • SE-ESE swell from Tasman low persists Mon, eases Tues, with a last pulse from the SE-ESE Wed
  • Long period S swell now downgraded a notch- expected Mon PM, peaking Tues, easing Wed with light winds
  • NE windswell likely Thurs PM, peaking Fri 
  • Looking to the S by next weekend for more swell as fronts push through, stay tuned for updates


More small surf yesterday with light winds, a mix of S and small E swell in the 2ft range. Today is providing slightly bigger surf, 2ft+ with some 3ft surf on the Hunter, a mix of S and inconsistent E/NE swells. Early light winds are now in the process of being over-ridden by strong S’lies as a front pushes through with an unruly weekend ahead as a low forms off the North Coast. 

Few nice beachbreak options before the S'ly hit

This weekend (Sep3-4)

Complex and dynamic weekend ahead, with an upper trough, surface trough and front forming a surface low in the convergence off the North Coast. The initial front now feeds into a deepening trough line off the Mid North Coast (separate to the developing surface low off the North Coast ) which amplifies the fetch of S/SE winds adjacent to the Central NSW Coast.

That will see an upgrade in size through Sat, and some pretty atrocious conditions- strong S’lies tending strong SSE-SE during the day. Super sheltered spots only. Sizewise, we’re looking at hefty locally generated S-SSE swell building from 3-5ft, up into the 4-6ft range, bigger 6-8ft on the Hunter. Much smaller surf at protected locations with a small amount of E’ly tradewind swell adding some inconsistent 1-2ft energy, likely hard to discern in amongst the sea state and local windswell.

Size holds into Sun morning with a very raggedy day expected for Dad’s Day. Solid 5-6ft of local SSE swell, bigger 8ft on the Hunter with fresh/strong SSE winds will require finding as much wind protection as you can. Swell direction will tend more SE-E through the day as the surface low off the North Coast deepens and consolidates a wind field on it’s southern flank (see below).  This fetch is more directly aimed at targets north of Seal Rocks but there’ll still be substantial size on offer through the region, biggest in the north. There should be a slight but noticeable easing in wind through the a’noon, with a tilt to the S as the low moves away. That will improve surface conditions at sheltered spots. 

Next week (Sep 5 onwards)

Bit of a downgrade for next weeks surf prospects. Firstly, because the S’ly flow remains more stubbornly entrenched through Mon and Tues- although we should start seeing morning land breezes develop at least by Tues morning. Secondly, the deep polar low outbreak now really winds up a little further E (favouring California!) so we’re more exposed to sideband energy rather than the main course.

We’re still looking at plenty of size from the Tasman Sea low Mon, which is expected to slowly drift towards the North Island late Sun into Mon. A mod/fresh S’ly flow and 6ft of surf from the SE-ESE, will slowly wind back during the day. Best surf at protected locations. 

There’ll be some small long period S’ly swell in the water Mon, with a much more substantial pulse Tues, in the 4-5ft range, well down on what was expected Wed. A morning offshore breeze will tend to light SSE-SE winds through the day, so there will be clean options early although a bit of leftover bump and lump is likely at exposed spots.

Into the middle of next week and we’ll still have substantial swell from the SE-ESE, with winds extending out from the West Coast of the North island down to Cook Strait. High pressure moving E of Tasmania is expected to maintain a ridge- although weak and with a troughy boundary layer generating a light wind regime. Wednesday looks alright- with 3-5ft of SE-ESE swell and light winds. 

By the end off next week we’re looking at a freshening N’ly flow off the NSW Coast, strongest towards the South Coast, and into Bass Strait. That should see developing NE windswell through Thurs a’noon, becoming quite sizey Fri (3-4ft) and a window of cleaner conditions possible late Fri or early Sat as a new front and low approaches bringing NW through W’ly winds. 

Looks like a series of fronts and possible lows by next weekend but we are back to our Old La Niña friend: the dynamic, troughy outlook in the Tasman Sea. That reduces confidence in the medium term outlook as models struggle to resolve the troughiness. With nothing concrete on the maps for now, we’ll come back Mon, with changes to report on no doubt.

In the mean-time have a great weekend, especially all the Dads out there!


Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython Friday, 2 Sep 2022 at 2:00pm

Ho hum..Come on Huey!!!

evosurfer's picture
evosurfer's picture
evosurfer Friday, 2 Sep 2022 at 4:01pm

Looks and sounds very much like the last swell didnt really happen and
was pretty much onshore the whole swell. I need a Bali trip

groundswell's picture
groundswell's picture
groundswell Friday, 2 Sep 2022 at 6:17pm

I know a couple of spots that should be ok to good next week, but i think they might get more crowded these days than when i last visited there.
If cronulla point is second or even third reef se swell and blown out by southerlies or south easterlies its on.4-8 second tubes, maybe ten if you back door the takeoff where its already super fast.
A place i miss, but i'll probably trip out going back there with all the changes to the towns.

Best thing about east coast, waves around nearly every corner, not 200kms apart like the rest of oz.

evosurfer's picture
evosurfer's picture
evosurfer Friday, 2 Sep 2022 at 9:43pm

Interesting groundswell I think I know where your thinking and 100% correct
about the east coast abundance of decent surf spots in reasonably close proximity.

jordan.mar's picture
jordan.mar's picture
jordan.mar Saturday, 3 Sep 2022 at 11:46am

So the winds are more South West right now than S or SE, think it might change soon, but hopefully not. Just north of Wollongong

greg-n.williams's picture
greg-n.williams's picture
greg-n.williams Saturday, 3 Sep 2022 at 3:12pm

Sat. blown out with strong east/soueasters, swell is building but messy as with these winds (even in very protected spots). Maybe t'moz!

MrBungle's picture
MrBungle's picture
MrBungle Sunday, 4 Sep 2022 at 4:58pm

SW Saturday and today for the early south Illawarra area at least. Got some fun wedgy drainers on the low tide yesterday, today was unorganised and wonky but still worth a paddle after a week of no swell.