Nothing major ahead but enough for a surf most days

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Fri 22nd Sep)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Small amounts of E/NE swell filtering down from tradewinds provide a small, background signal over the weekend
  • Mix off S’ly swells Fri with easing S-SE winds
  • Small mixed bag Sat with an a’noon bump in new S swell- light SE winds for the a'noon
  • Better quality S swell persists Sun with light/variable morning winds, tending N/NE in the a’noon
  • Small E/NE swells continue next week bumping up a notch Tues/Wed
  • Small mixed bag of swell sources into the medium term- enough for a grovel most days


Swell from the E yesterday morning supplied some clean 2ft surf with the occ. 3ft set. A stiff S’ly change then pushed through the region in the morning with the clean conditions confined to sheltered corners and some short range S swell being whipped up through the late a’noon. A brief window of cleanish conditions under SW winds was mostly confined to the Northern Beaches with a mix of small E/NE swell and S swell to 3-4ft offering up a few options. Most other beaches were wind affected with a quality wave hard to find. The S’ly winds have bought much cooler conditions after a spring heatwave. 

No great quality but enough energy for a surf

This weekend (Sep 23-24)

High pressure drifts over Southern NSW tomorrow, with winds generally easing although we’ll likely still see a S’ly slant to winds across S facing beaches. Morning land breezes across areas north of the Harbour should get most of the way towards cleaning up surface conditions. Winds will tend light E’ly through the a’noon so surface conditions should be workable if you aren’t too fussy. S’ly swells will ease back from today with  around 2-3ft on offer tomorrow morning, mixed with a small signal of persistent E/NE to 2ft. Slightly better quality S swell should add 3ft sets in the a’noon. 

That pulse should hold in for Sun with light/variable morning winds extending well into the day before NE seabreezes kick in. Nothing amazing on offer but a few workable 2-3ft beachies around across S exposed breaks, biased towards the low end. Worth a paddle if you can find a decent bank. 

Next week (Sep 25 onwards)

Not a great deal of action on the radar for next week but enough swell energy from various sources to get a surf most days. High pressure elongates and drifts NE into the Tasman with a light NW- N’ly flow expected for Mon morning and a small mixed bag of leftover S and E/NE swell filtering down from the tropics. That should top out around 2ft at open beaches- enough for a grovel. N’lies look to freshen in the a’noon.

A tradewind band thickens up in the South Pacific over the weekend and tilts more E/NE as winds feed into a long trough. That should see E/NE swell bump up a notch into Tues and Wed. Travel distance and modest swell periods will shave off most of the size but we’ll see 2ft, occ. 3ft sets albeit with long waits for sets. Flukey winds around a trough on Tues with early light winds tending variable to light SE through the day being lost likely. We’ll finesse that outlook on Mon.

Light/mod S-SE winds Wed with some small S swell likely to develop through the day. A brief fetch out of Cook Strait Mon, may add some small E/SE energy into the mix. None of these swell sources on their own look strong but together it should maintain some fun, peaky beach break options through Wed into Thurs. 

We may see a stronger front linked to a robust low late next week bring a moderate pulse of S swell Fri into Sat. The high pressure belt is now looking mobile, typical for spring, with a NE movement into the Tasman bringing N’ly episodes, potentially generating some NE windswell next weekend for Grand Final day. 

If you can stay nimble there’ll be enough small options to keep wet into the coming week.

Check back Mon for the latest and have a great weekend!


Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout Saturday, 23 Sep 2023 at 10:20am

Interesting little article (smash Esc key or equivalent on load to subvert paywall).

- Bondi Beach is about 25 metres broader than it was this time last year
- Manly is 26 metres wider
- Coogee is 22 metres bigger
- Maroubra has grown by a generous 42 metres in the past 12 months
- Clovelly, which sits within a narrow cove, is five metres broader.
- North Narrabeen is the undisputed king of beach growth, adding a whopping 59 metres of sand since last year.

“If you crunch the data from the last 36 years, this would have to be the lowest in terms of wave height,” Harley said. “Waves are something like 25 per cent lower than we’d normally see. Surfers have been suffering for the past few months.” The beach width data was gathered by CoastSnap, a global citizen science project that encourages people to use the cameras on their phones to take regular photos of their local beach from the same location.

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink Monday, 25 Sep 2023 at 7:11am

North end maroubra, which in June last year had the least sand ever, literally none, now has about 60+ metres on it.

GreenJam's picture
GreenJam's picture
GreenJam Saturday, 23 Sep 2023 at 1:59pm

hmm, yeah, CoastSnap - just saw a new set up for this (sign and mobile phone holder) at a northern sunny coast headland lookout I frequent. I immediately thought 'more visual pollution in a natural setting'. But then can also see the positive in gathering more beach-change data. Just felt the whole signage thing could have been done quite a bit less intrusively. A bit of a blight on the natural setting

sean killen's picture
sean killen's picture
sean killen Sunday, 24 Sep 2023 at 12:10pm

Where we were surfing in April ( out the back take off area) now running and walking in the same spot’s insane how many sand has built up ..waves nth end are breaking 40-50 m further out ..great article sprout cheers