Slow moving high next week leads to small Summer-style surf

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Fri 3rd Nov)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Small mixed bag Sat, tending to short range E’ly windswell in the a’noon
  • Onshore E’ly winds increase Sun with junky E’ly swells up a notch
  • Onshore winds at least until mid next week with marginal E/NE-NE swells (size dependent on low pressure troughs)
  • NE windswell builds a notch from mid next week, with NE winds
  • Small amounts of E/NE’ly tradewind swell filter down from South Pacific late next week into the weekend


Residual S-S/SE swells (and some leftover E sets) hung around in the 3ft range at S facing beaches, a notch bigger on the Hunter with clean conditions early before lingering S’ly winds kicked up, remaining light enough to surf most of the day. Clean conditions again this morning with S-S/SE swell down another notch- under 2ft at most beaches with S facing beaches still hoovering up the odd 2-3ft set and the odd set from the E, a little more consistently on prime S swell territory like the Hunter. Light winds this morning will tend to light a’noon seabreezes. 

Still some small fun S/SE swell favouring the Hunter

This weekend (Nov 4-5)

We’ve got some more clarity now on how the unstable, troughy pattern will resolve over the weekend. Generally speaking, winds look lighter now on Sat, tending to light/mod E’lies through the day with morning land breezes likely, although we may see a light, lingering S-SE flow south of Sydney. Winds should be light enough for post-lunch surfing if you aren’t too fussy. Late in the a’noon winds should kick up a notch from the E/SE-E as a small, troughy feature moves off the Central Coast, so don’t leave it too late if you want a surf. Surf-wise, there’ll just be a small signal of leftover S/SE swell in the water throwing up a few 2 footers with some short range E’ly swell perking up to similar size in the a’noon.

Onshore E’ly winds increase on Sun as the large high moving through the Bight starts to enter the Tasman and builds a ridge up the coast, feeding into the inland troughs. Junky, onshore short range E’ly swells will be surfable and in the 3ft range but expect quality to be right down the low end of the scale. There is a chance we could see some patches of lighter winds and semi glass offs around rain bands- might be worth keeping an eye on if you’ve got time to observe and react to local conditions. 

Next week (Nov 6 onwards)

We’ll see that onshore flow through most or all of the working week under present modelling as the slow moving high occupies the Tasman- although it does weaken through the early part of next week.

Along with the small troughy area moving away we should see light winds Mon, tending NE and beginning to freshen Tues. 

The small localised E swells looks to hold in the 2ft range Mon, easing back Tues and replaced by marginal NE windswell in the a’noon.

That NE windswell looks to be persistent under the slow moving pattern with high pressure drifting towards New Zealand. We should see an uptick in size through the second half of next week. Nothing major but up into the 2-3ft range by Fri.

Through this period tradewinds start to fill out the South Pacific slot between New Caledonia and the North Island. This will favour sub-tropical regions for E swell but the fetch is broad enough that small levels of E/NE swell will filter down from this region and add to the NE windswell likely by Fri and extending into next weekend.

The trade flow is enhanced by another tropical development linked to a Westerly wind burst (WWB) extending from PNG longitudes into Fijian areas. This WWB is creating a long, angled trough through the South Pacific Convergence Zone and squeezing onto the large high as it moves slowly in New Zealand longitudes. At the moment there’s no indication of cyclogenesis in the trough line but we’ll keep watching and report back Mon. For now, small amounts of tradewind swell filtering down from the South Pacific slot looks like the most likely outcome with a continuing NE flow.

We’ll see how it looks on Mon.

Seeya then and have a great weekend!


Greenballs's picture
Greenballs's picture
Greenballs Sunday, 5 Nov 2023 at 6:07pm

Newcastle surf camera down

Wong's picture
Wong's picture
Wong Sunday, 5 Nov 2023 at 10:31pm

Westerly Wind burst, that's the first I've heard of that. What is it?

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Monday, 6 Nov 2023 at 9:30am

A phenomenon associated with El Niño where W'ly winds blow from PNG longitudes into the Pacific and set in train classic El Niño traits, like warm water off South America.