Small, clean week of S swell to round off autumn

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Mon 29th May)

Forecast Summary (tl;dr)

  • Long period S swells from below the continent Mon
  • Small S swell pulse Tues PM, holding into Wed
  • Flukey SSE ground-swell on the cards for Tues
  • Modest rebuild in S swell Fri with winds tending N’ly
  • Mid sized S swell Sat with NW-N winds
  • S’ly change Sun, possible increase in short range S swell 
  • Stronger S-SE swells into next week with onshore winds
  • Potential for low pressure off Mid North Coast next week- E/NE swell a possibility. Check back Wed for updates


A few fun options over the weekend with Sat seeing some 2-3ft surf at most S facing spots, bigger 3-4ft on the Hunter with clean morning conditions. Sun eased back initially before a nice pulse of longer period S swell provided some 3ft sets through the a’noon with a W’ly flow. Clean S swell this morning with long lined sets to 3ft across most of the region, a bit straight for most of the beachies.

Some long, straight lines of swell this morning

This week (May 29- June 2)

Very wintry looking synoptic chart as we exit autumn with a large high moving in over the continent with active cold fronts tied to low pressure systems tracking into the Tasman Sea. That pattern will extend through most of the week before a high cell drops into the Tasman Friday, with stronger frontal activity expected over the weekend and into next week.

In the short run and we’re looking at another clean day brushed by W’ly winds with small S swell trains in the water. Initially in the 2ft range with a small kick in size in the a’noon to 2-3ft as mid period S swell from todays frontal passage makes landfall. 

Tuesdays small pulse extends into Wed morning before easing through the day, and we’ll see winds tend more pre-frontal W/NW-NW through the day. Maintaining clean conditions at S facing beaches where there’ll be some 2-3ft surf early, easing in the a’noon.

Similar winds for Thurs morning - W/NW-NW before a front and leading edge of a high pressure cell bring a SSW-S flow in the a’noon. Not much in the way of surf is expected. Small S swell leftovers to 1-2ft through the morning at S facing beaches, becoming tiny (and wind affected!) in the a’noon.

Friday should see winds tend N’ly as a small high cell rapidly moves into the Tasman off the Central/South Coast of NSW. Early NW winds will tend mod NNE through the a’noon. Thursday’s front is notch stronger than today’s and should see S swell rebuild to modest levels, up to 2-3ft at S facing beaches in the a’noon.

This weekend (June 3-4)

It depends on how quickly the high moves away into the Tasman but there are good odds we’ll see morning land breezes Sat, possibly even tending more W/NW-W through the day as a trough/front approaches from the W. Longer period S swell from the passage of a deeper fetch Thurs should provide some 3-4ft sets at S facing beaches, bigger 4-5ft on the Hunter. Easing during the a’noon.

A S’ly change later Sat or overnight sees winds from the S-SSE through Sun with a high cell moving SE of Tasmania during the day and a strong front pushing NE into the Tasman. Models are divergent with EC suggesting a stronger S’ly fetch and increasing short range S swell during Sun. GFS has a weaker front, with smaller S swell (2-3ft) and winds tending SE through the a’noon as the high pressure ridges up the coast. We’ll see how it looks Wed. 

Next week (June 5 onwards)

The front is expected to spawn a small surface low centre in the Eastern Tasman near New Zealand (west coast of the South Island) on Sunday and this low broadens to a broad gyre which remains slow moving around New Zealand for at least the first half of next week (see below) while a high remains well SE of Tasmania. The initial SSE-SE swell push will be associated with onshore winds Mon with size likely in the 3ft range.

Onshore winds will persist through Tues and into Wed as the high remain slow moving. There’ll be no shortage of swell with the slow moving fetch supplying pulses of S-SSE swell as it remains anchored off the South Island, aimed back into the Tasman.

Expect size in the 3-5ft range through Tues, likely extending into Wed. Winds should start to improve by degrees by Wed/Thurs as local pressure gradients ease.

We’ll be watching during this time frame a potential low pressure trough off the North Coast/Mid North Coast. This may generate E-NE swells for Central NSW and it certainly has the potential to develop into a major swell producing system if it winds up.

Thats all a fair way off so for now, it’s back to small S swells as we round off Autumn.

Check back Wed for the latest.






Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Monday, 29 May 2023 at 3:19pm

Just saw a set hit Manly that must have originated from the storm-force fetch linked to yesterday afternoon's monster swell in Vicco.

It lined up the whole beach and was 3ft from South Steyne to Queenscliff, one big line! Crazy. 20s set I imagine.

billie's picture
billie's picture
billie Monday, 29 May 2023 at 7:17pm

One set every 90 minutes!

tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden Monday, 29 May 2023 at 7:54pm

Craig I turned the corner for the school pick up and saw a thick 4 footer at about 3pm, couldn’t believe it. Might be a few around tomorrow with background east swell bringing a few other locations into the mix

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Monday, 29 May 2023 at 8:04pm

Yep, swell was fairly consistent in the end until halfa after the tide turned, then got to a slower 2-3ft.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Monday, 29 May 2023 at 8:08pm

There it is, the buoy is hitting over 17s..

And the MHL buoy, 19.1s!

tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden's picture
tylerdurden Monday, 29 May 2023 at 8:11pm

I think it got a fair bit bigger in the late morning/early afternoon because there weren’t any sets like that when I was out there in the morning. Maybe just a tide thing

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Monday, 29 May 2023 at 8:12pm

Yeah looks to arrived early-mid arvo.

brownie48's picture
brownie48's picture
brownie48 Tuesday, 30 May 2023 at 12:40pm

A lot bigger this morning at south facing spots, very long straight lines