Quiet weekend and start to next week with a chunky NE swell on the radar for mid next week

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Fri 16th Sep)

Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • NE windswell Fri with winds clocking NW through the day
  • Tiny weekend ahead- Sat marginally bigger with small NE swell, with offshore winds both days
  • Looking very quiet Mon-Tues, small S swell signal at S swell magnets, tiny elsewhere
  • Chunky NE windswell building Wed, possibly becoming sizey Thurs/Fri- low confidence on specifics, check back Mon for details


Mostly SSE swell through yesterday, the last gasp of the current swell regime, with size to 2-3ft, bigger 3ft on the Hunter. Winds were lighter N’ly than forecast, with speeds suppressed by a coastal trough which brought rain. That system has moved offshore overnight leaving a sunny day with NW winds and a fun-sized NE swell in the 3ft+ range, slightly bigger 3-4ft on the Hunter. The weekend is still looking very quiet, details below. 

Sunshine and fun peaks from the NE to end the working week

This weekend (Sep 17-18)

Still, no major change to the weekend f/cast. A complex low linked to multiple troughs and cold fronts is now approaching from SW of Tasmania. A main coastal trough linked to an Indian Ocean NW cloud band is clearing the area with a mostly offshore flow across the weekend and no major swell sources on tap. 

Expect a continuing N’ly element to winds through Sat morning,  NW at first, then easing through lunch-time before a new surge in W/NW winds in the a’noon as the next front pushes through. Lingering NE-E/NE winds through the Tasman will hold a NE swell in the 2ft range, possibly a few 2-3ft sets across well exposed beaches, before easing back in the a’noon. There’ll be some fun, small wave options around.

Nothing much happening Sunday, just small traces of leftover NE swell, a tiny signal of background E swell, all in the 1 to occasional 1.5ft range under brisk offshore winds. If you can find a shallow sandbar you may find a rideable wave but bring the appropriate board for the tiny surf on hand. Fishing and diving gear may be more appropriate.

Next week (Sep 19 onwards)

Bit more action on the radar for next week, after a slow start. It’s a complex, troughy brew to start the new week. Weak high pressure will be over interior NSW with the remnants of the complex low still making it’s way into the Tasman. That will see continuing NW to W winds and tiny surf.

A trough line extends off the coast Tues, leading to light/variable winds  with continuing small surf, mostly small S swell from weak frontal activity pushing into the lower Tasman. Winds look light so we’re not expecting any size- just a 1-2ft swell at S swell magnets, negligible elsewhere.

By Wed things start to look juicier. One of the inland troughs starts to coalesce into an inland low, as an upper trough moves into the area. That energises the NE infeed as high pressure drifts into the Tasman (see below). 

Expect an increasing NE wind through Wed, with a corresponding build in NE windswell, likely up into the 2-3ft range.

A further increase is expected Thurs, as winds continue to intensify into the trough. 

We’ll need to keep a fair amount of wriggle room here due to the enhanced instability. EC, in fact,  develops a small closed low off the Hunter Coast on current runs, which would see a strong boost in E/SE swell in addition to NE swell through Thurs/Fri.

It’s likely the trough or low will clear the coast Fri and move away, bringing an offshore flow to the end of the week, with surf easing into next weekend.

Troughiness also extends into the South Pacific and we’ll be watching the development of a possible low NE of the North Island late next week. Models are shifting around on this and it’s still a bit dicey how much of the fetch will be in the swell window, versus being shadowed by the North Island. It’s a better aimed source for the sub-tropics, but we’ll flag it for now, as a potential source of long range E swell possibly late next weekend or early week beginning 26/9. 

In the mean time the incredible amount of troughiness across the Island continent, and extending into the Tasman and South Pacific means low confidence in synoptic outcomes- there is simply too much atmospheric instability for models to deal with on medium scale time horizons.

The upshot is, it’s likely we’ll see significant revisions come Mon, so check back then for the latest .

Until then, have a great weekend!


Greenballs's picture
Greenballs's picture
Greenballs Friday, 16 Sep 2022 at 3:29pm

Good job

conrico's picture
conrico's picture
conrico Friday, 16 Sep 2022 at 5:57pm

For once (in the last 3 years), I feel lucky to live in Victoria not NSW

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Friday, 16 Sep 2022 at 6:52pm

Cooking today, once that tide filled in and the low moved offshore and strengthened, the sets poured in. 3-4ft and clean as with a couple of sneaky 5ft bombs! What a day.

sean killen's picture
sean killen's picture
sean killen Saturday, 17 Sep 2022 at 5:39am

Cracking waves this arvo .. it got better and better through out the day..

FrazP's picture
FrazP's picture
FrazP Sunday, 18 Sep 2022 at 9:53am

Unexpected size in this neck yesterday. We normally miss out on ne swell. Inconsistent but happy days.