Easing swells for the rest of the week with an onshore pattern ahead

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Wed 1st Nov)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Easing swells Thurs, mostly from the S with a light/lingering S’ly flow
  • Light winds Fri with small leftovers for the beachies
  • Small mixed bag Sat, tending to NE windswell in the a’noon
  • Bigger NE windswell Sun
  • Onshore winds at least until mid next week with moderate E/NE-NE swells (size dependent on low pressure troughs)


Absolutely pumping yesterday as a large E’ly quadrant swell (hindcast article here) co-incided with offshore winds from a front, leading to a fast rising swell which started in the 5-6ft range and quickly built to 6-8ft, 10ft in some areas. S’ly winds kicked up in the a’noon, confining clean waves to protected Bays and Points. Swell has settled right down today with a mix of inconsistent E’ly swell to 4-5ft and some S’ly swell to 3-4ft. Not much in the way of conditions with early onshore winds widespread- ranging from S’ly on the Illawarra to E/SE’ly on the Hunter with the Northern Beaches seeing the cleanest conditions for the early.

Sets steamrolling into Manly as the swell built yesterday morning

This week (Nov 1- Nov 3)

The deep Tasman low near the North Island has now dissipated and left the building with a small low in the Central/Southern Tasman supplying some S swell and an even smaller trough of low pressure off the Far North Coast. This pattern remains slow moving as large high slowly approaches from South of the Bight and multiple inland troughs supply unstable weather. 

In the short run, S swells from the front and small low in the Tasman will supply a small signal of fun-sized S swell tomorrow with 2-3ft sets at S facing beaches, a notch bigger on the Hunter, where traces of longer period S swell from under the continent will add a little energy to the mix. Leftovers from the E swell event will add a few 2ft+ sets early before dropping right back. Early winds should be light and SW across most of the region, tending to light SE-E/SE winds in the a’noon. 

Light/variable winds continue into Fri under a weak, troughy environment with a’noon sesabreezes. Small S/SE swell from the dissipating low in the Southern Tasman will supply a few 2ft sets, bigger 2-3ft on the Hunter. Another glancing blow from longer period S swell wrap looks to make landfall in the a/noon, with S swell magnets on the Hunter and lower MNC likely to see some 2-3ft sets. Most beaches will be low energy and in the sub 2ft range. 

This weekend (Oct 28-29)

The unstable troughy pattern continues into the weekend with Sat seeing an onshore E/NE-NE flow, likely with a period of NW breezes early, especially south of Sydney. A small mixed bag of leftover S swell trains to 1-2ft is on the menu, with some developing NE windswell in the a’noon.

Still some uncertainty over the size of NE-E/NE windswell Sun with some model runs suggesting the infeed into a trough could ramp up size into the 3-4ft range. If so, we’ll expect a fresh onshore flow from the same direction making surface conditions very unappealing. We’ll take a last look at it Fri but winds will be onshore any way we slice it.

Next week (Oct 30 onwards)

Onshore winds continue into next week and look pretty established as a large high pressure cell drifts E of Tasmania on Mon. They’ll be E’ly in nature, with strengths determined by any small troughs of low pressure which bud off the coastal trough (see below). Low end estimates of 2-3ft with a possibility of larger 3-4ft surf if the infeed into any trough occurs.  Quality is likely to be low in the general onshore flow.

NE winds look to increase through the end of the week as the high moves towards New Zealand and another trough and frontal system approach. Thats suggests a continuation or increase in local NE windswell late next week.

We may see some S swell later next weekend depending on the evolution of a frontal system moving into the lower Tasman. It doesn’t look like much at the moment but we’ll see how it shapes up during next week. 

We’re still looking at instability and increasing convection along a line from the Solomon’s to Fiji- more for interest sake than as any swell generating system at this stage. We’ll update that on Fri as well.

Seeya then.