Another round of chunky NE swell later this week

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Mon 19th Sep)

Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • 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, becoming sizey Thurs/Fri- winds still flukey Thurs, likely offshore Fri
  • Check back Wed for specifics
  • Possible S swell Sat, peaking Sun- low confidence due to model divergence
  • Looks like another few quiet days next week


Friday’s better than expected NE swell hung in at fun levels for Sat with size in the 2-3ft range and offshore winds most of the day. Sunday saw much smaller surf, mostly 1-2ft with exposed coasts seeing a smidge more size, with clean conditions under offshore winds.  Surf has dropped further into today with just a tiny signal of swell in the 1ft range with light offshore winds.  A couple of quiet days ahead with more action from mid-week onwards. Read on for details.

Babyfood in the sunshine today, better days from mid week

This week (Sep 19-23)

We have a typical looking Spring pattern with a weak high over the NSW interior and some flabby fronts passing South of Tasmania. An approaching trough series and inland low adds action mid-week as it tightens the pressure gradient with a more southerly located low, developing a N’ly fetch off the NSW Coast and another round of chunky NE windswell. Models are still divergence on the fate of the low once it moves into the Tasman, but there’s reasonable odds for a return serve of S’ly swell over the weekend as it does so.

In the short run and a small amount of S swell generated by the frontal activity pushing past Tasmania will be in the water tomorrow morning with size around 1-2ft at S facing magnets.  Worth a look with light land breezes early, but expected winds to turn around and start to puff up N’ly before tending NE and freshening through the day.

That will mark the start of this next NE windswell episode. Expect freshening NE winds through Wed and a bog standard NE windswell pushing up into the 3ft range during the day. 

Things get juicier on Thursday as the inland low approaches and the NE infeed strengthens in much the same way as last weeks fetch did (see below). That will see a boost in size and quality with surf building from 2-3ft into the 4-5ft range (bigger on the South Coast). There’s still a question mark over winds as the low approaches the coast. Models are still divergent, but we may see winds drop out, tend variable or even light SE before trending N’ly again. We’ll finesse those winds on Wed as we get a clearer picture on how the approaching low will behave.

Friday looks great, a bit of rinse and repeat of last Friday with potential to be even better. As the low clears the coast we should see a widespread offshore flow develop, although there is still some troughy pockets which may spell some flukey winds, particularly  on the Hunter. Otherwise, with offshore winds and strong NE windswell in the 4-5ft range with size slowly rolling off through the day. Pencil in Friday, it definitely looks the day of the week.

This weekend (Sep 24-25)

Should be some fun leftover NE swell Sat, with the remnants of the low and an approaching front bringing an offshore flow through the morning. As the day progresses and the front pushes NE, expect winds to tend SW, possibly even S’ly. Short period S swell is likely to build in with the front, although no great size is expected- nothing bigger than 3ft at S facing beaches.

Plenty of model divergence around Sunday so keep expectations pegged. EC model has a much weaker front merging with the remnants of the low, with the fetch weaker and more mobile. That suggests a small S swell Sun, with winds easing quickly, tending to NE breezes. 

GFS has a stronger system with S swell in the 3-4ft range at S exposed breaks, easing during the day. Early SW-S winds lay down and tend to sea breezes as the complex low drifts away during the day.

Next week (Sep 26 onwards)

Very similar pattern to this week. Mon sees small leftovers in the 1-2ft range with a weak, troughy pattern in the Tasman Sea and inland troughs bringing unstable weather. 

Expect very small surf to set in Tues, with faint background swells holding surf in the tiny, 1ft range or so, with light winds. 

That pattern of tiny surf and light winds looks set to hold into Thurs/Fri of next week .

There’s some signs of frontal activity pushing through late next week which could offer some S swell by next weekend but it’s too far out to have any confidence in anything concrete at this stage. 

Plenty of on the radar this week, so check back in Wed for the latest.


dannyz's picture
dannyz's picture
dannyz Monday, 19 Sep 2022 at 7:46pm

epic! if this friday is anything like last friday then bring it on!!

Anthony Gale's picture
Anthony Gale's picture
Anthony Gale Monday, 19 Sep 2022 at 10:22pm

Wasnt last Friday all day wezzos

sean killen's picture
sean killen's picture
sean killen Tuesday, 20 Sep 2022 at 8:41pm

Last Friday was some of the best waves and conditions I’ve had in a while.. still frothing off it