Plenty of swell- although down a notch- with improving conditions ahead

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

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

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Plenty of S’ly swell Sat with more pulses of S/SE swell incoming- S-SE winds easing Sat and tending NE in the a’noon
  • More strong S/SE  swell Sun with some small E swell in the mix, with winds tending N’ly and freshening
  • Strong surface low in sub-tropics brings fun E/NE swell Mon, peaking Tues, easing into Wed 
  • N’ly winds Mon, with a S’ly change Tues
  • Small S swell mid next week, easing quickly
  • More S swell on the radar for next weekend


Windy, ragged short range S swell built to 4ft or so yesterday under fresh S’ly winds. Today is coming in a bit under-sized early in the 4-5ft range, bigger 5-6ft on the Hunter under continuing fresh/strong winds which are now tending more SE. Buoys are showing longer period S swell now propagating up the NSW Coast with a corresponding building trend expected although surface conditions will stay poor under fresh SE winds. 

Raggedy under SE winds and still building from the South

This weekend (Oct 28-29)

We’ve still got the building blocks in place for large swells across most of the Eastern Seaboard, with a large high , powerful frontal system, and deepening trough (still expected to form a surface low) in the Northern Tasman currently in play. E'ly swells from this system will be down a notch but still offering up significant swell energy.

That will continue to see see a moderate SE flow tomorrow until the high drifts out into the Tasman with winds then shifting light NE in the a’noon.

Plenty of size tomorrow from the S with sets to 6ft at S exposed breaks, bigger 6-8ft on the Central and Hunter coasts and some deepwater reefs even bigger, although it’ll be doubtful whether they clean up enough to be surfable. Worth keeping an eye on through the a’noon as the local sea state settles down. A general easing trend in S swell trains should be offset by more S/SE swell in the a’noon holding solid sets.

Sunday morning should be clean under light W/NW-NW winds before winds clock N then N/NE and freshen in the a’noon. Size will have eased a significant amount o/night with quality mid period S/SE swell offering 3-4ft sets, bigger 5-6ft on the Hunter. The broad fetch of winds feeding into the surface trough/low in the Northern Tasman Sea will see some E-E/NE swell filtering down in the a’noon to 3ft. 

Next week (Oct 30 onwards)

The evolution of the surface low in the sub-tropics is complicated and running a little behind schedule, but as we suggested on Wed we’ll see the remnants of severe TC Lola drift into and become absorbed into the large low centre over the weekend as it approaches the North Island. There’ll be some E/NE infeed into the low over the weekend which will supply some small E/NE swell Mon, with a bigger swell from that direction Tues as the low intensifies near the North Island.

Expect a 3-4ft combo of S/SE swells and E/NE swell through Mon with N’ly winds, light NW in the morning and becoming fresh in the a’noon as a trough approaches.

Tues looks good for a peak in E/NE swell to 3-5ft (mostly 3-4ft with the occ. set) and a NW-W flow before a S’ly change as the trough pushes through.

That trough produces a brief S’ly fetch but not much size is expected, likely in the 2-3ft range Wed, with residual E/SE swell from the decaying low near the North Island.

Easing swells are then on offer for the rest of next week.

There is some suggestion of a trough spawning a compact low East of Tasmania next weekend with a possibility of a S swell but considering the model disagreement and time span involved it’s hard to have much confidence in it.

We’ll see how it looks on Mon.

Until then, have a great weekend!


yodai's picture
yodai's picture
yodai Friday, 27 Oct 2023 at 4:11pm

Hopefully this large swell may improve banks along the coast that have been suffering long term straight handers and closeouts ,except for a couple of crowded spots (free ride?)