Enough swell sources to keep things ticking along with tricky, troughy winds next week

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Fri 27th Jan)

Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  •  S’lies Fri with some small S swell expected
  • Long period SSE-SE groundswell expected later Fri, peaking Sat, easing Sun
  • Fun sized E swell over the weekend from fetch near North Island
  • E swell extends into next week with some fun pulses, models divergent on winds check Mon for updates
  • Tricky wind outlook next week as troughs/lows form off NSW Coast, stay tuned for updates


Plenty of fun waves yesterday with more Groundhog Day E swell to 3ft across the grounds, clean early under light land breezes before NE winds kicked in before a late S’ly buster hit the Sydney region just before dark. We’ve got a small mix of residual E swell to 2ft or so, mixed with a small short range S swell signal. A rare SSE-SE groundswell is just showing on Tasmanian buoys and should be in the water across the South Coast later this a’noon, the rest of the f/cast region through tomorrow. 

Small, clean options out of the S'ly flow

This weekend (Jan28-29)

Weak high pressure is rapidly moving SE into the Tasman in the wake of yesterdays trough, which has stalled just north of the Hunter coast. E’ly fetches are still bubbling away near the North Island with more small E quadrant  swell expected over the short/medium term. A long range, rare SSE-SE groundswell is just starting to show on Tasmanian buoys.

Get in early tomorrow as the window of offshore winds now looks briefer than it did on Wed. A mix of long period SSE-SE and E swell should see some fun 3ft surf, with a few spots pulling in 3-4ft sets out of the SSE-SE. Expect NE winds to kick up and freshen with a strong wind warning now made for the region. That’ll generate some small NE windswell through the a’noon, around 2ft for Sydney, bigger on the South Coast.

NE winds blow through Sun, with only a brief period of lighter NNW-N winds expected inshore early. Expect a blend of NE windswell to 2-3ft, easing SSE-SE groundswell with inconsistent 2-3ft sets early, and small leftover E swell to around 2ft+. If you can get out of the wind there’ll be some surfable options. Winds may drop out late in the day as a trough extends from the inland onto the coast but you’ll need to be onto it with a higher likelihood of lighter winds on the South Coast to Illawarra.

Next week (Jan30 onwards)

Variable winds are expected early Mon, with a trough bringing a S’ly change, currently subject to model divergence. Expect more small blended E and NE swell to 2ft or so. We may see a late kick in new E/SE swell to 3ft from a Cook Strait fetch over the late weekend (see below) but Tues is a better bet for this.

Winds on Tues will depend on the trough. If it washes out we’ll see light onshore E’lies. If it deepens expect a stronger S’ly flow. Both outcomes are possible so check in Mon for the latest update. Fun sized E/SE swell supplies 2-3ft sets with quality dependent on local winds.

Very tricky outlook from mid next week as troughs linger in the Northern Tasman and off the NSW Coast. We may see the coastal trough deepen into a small low, off the Mid North Coast or North Coast. That may generate some small E/NE swell later next week, in conjunction with another fetch developing near the North Island bringing a small boost in wave heights Fri.

A much larger complex low approaching from the Bight and stalling near Tasmania looks to intensify N’ly winds along the NSW Coast late next week, with potential for increased NE windswell, possibly sizeable.

We may see S swell as the low moves into the Tasman late next week.

Out in the South Pacific a large sub-tropical low slowly retrogrades back towards Australia first week of Feb. While this is better positioned for the sub-tropics small amounts of long range E swell are likely for the f/cast region second week of Feb.

Given the poor model agreement and run to run inconsistency it’s likely we’ll be back Mon with serious revision for all these swell sources so don’t set plans in stone just yet. There will be waves but we might have to duck and weave around tricky local wind changes.

Check back Mon and have a great weekend!


adamwolf's picture
adamwolf's picture
adamwolf Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 1:02pm

Not sure if this is happening to anyone else but my surf forecast on SN keeps showing out of date forecasts, says the swell at Newcastle coming in from ENE with NE winds today and tomorrow etc. Happening on my phone and computer. Not sure where the bug is but just heads up.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 2:05pm

Agh, they're correct but the south swell energy is hidden, click the advanced tab and you'll see it.

And winds are tricky with the trough in the region, the coarse resolution modelling hasn't picked up this little low that's formed off Sydney very well.

adamwolf's picture
adamwolf's picture
adamwolf Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 2:06pm

Thanks for that Craig! Love ya work.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Friday, 27 Jan 2023 at 2:12pm

Thanks Adam.

etarip's picture
etarip's picture
etarip Saturday, 28 Jan 2023 at 1:28pm

Saw you getting a fair few waves yesty arvo Craig. Looked like you were having a stack of fun. Was on the next peak over pushing the grom into a few.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Sunday, 29 Jan 2023 at 3:32pm

Ahh how good! Yeah had a ball out there. Also a window of 45 mins when it was perfect with no one. In Manly. Ha.

sean killen's picture
sean killen's picture
sean killen Saturday, 28 Jan 2023 at 8:28pm

How’s the pulse today .. caught a few of us out .. ( inside beatings) ..is it hanging around tomorrow morning?? Need a reef break if so..

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Saturday, 28 Jan 2023 at 9:13pm

Seemed to run a little behind (peak this a'noon) so good chance some sets still on offer in the AM before easing.
Pretty flukey, long range source so get what you can get.

sean killen's picture
sean killen's picture
sean killen Sunday, 29 Jan 2023 at 10:04am

Despite the wind still some chunky peaks.. only 3 out .. heaps of fun ones

jordan.mar's picture
jordan.mar's picture
jordan.mar Monday, 30 Jan 2023 at 10:49am

Was really hoping to see some of that ESE energy come in today. But as is usually the case, looking like it’ll come in while I am at work tomorrow and the next day. Fingers are crossed for something rideable in the arvos