Lots of activity around the compass with sizey S groundswells next week

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Wed 8th Nov)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Mod/fresh N-N/NE winds all week- possibly lighter on Thurs
  • NE windswell slowly builds to sizey levels from Fri, likely peaking Sat PP/Sun AM
  • Small amounts of E/NE’ly tradewind swell filter down from South Pacific late next week into the weekend
  • S’ly change likely Sun, possible offshore window early
  • Multiple S swell pulses next week, starting small on Mon/Tues, becoming sizey long period groundswells Wed/Thurs
  • More S’ly swells on the radar next weekend
  • Background E/NE swell from South Pacific tradewinds persists at low levels


Just small surf since Mon with size in the 1-2ft range mostly and the Hunter hoovering up some extra size from some residual S/SE swell, up in the 2-3ft range. Clean conditions early before N/NE winds kicked up and freshened. Similar winds today, with a small NE windswell on offer to 2ft at best and the Hunter continuing to show some occ. sets from the SE to 2-3ft.

Small mixed bag on the Hunter

This week (Nov 8-10)

The pattern established on Mon is now well entrenched with a slow moving high in the Tasman slowly being squeezed on the western flank by approaching trough systems. A weak ridge up the sub-tropics has a lighter E’ly flow with stronger N-NE winds south of the MNC down to the South Coast. We’ll see this pattern with increasing NE windswell in Central NSW and some workable trade swell in the sub-tropics. A strong frontal progression is expected to provide a series of S swells next week. 

In the short run and there’s no change to the outlook. Mod N’lies tending fresh N/NE in the a’noon through Thurs and Friday. 

One small caveat is a troughy area tomorrow which may see a lighter E-E/NE flow about the Sydney/Central Coast region. Barely worth working around though with just small NE swells and minor E/NE swell mixed in to 2ft.

Friday should see an uptick in size as NE windswell starts to build. 2-3ft surf is expected, perking up a notch for the arvo session into the 3ft range as the NE fetch starts to lengthen up the NSW Coast. There should be workable options at the usual NE windswell hotspots.

This weekend (Nov 11-12)

No great change to the weekend f/cast. Fresh N-N/NE winds continue into Sat with building NE wind swell as the primary swell trains. That should see size creep up from 3ft to 3-4ft in the a’noon,  a notch bigger at least South of Sydney.

Still some uncertainty over the timing of a wind change on Sun with EC suggesting a SW-S change after lunch while GFS models a morning NW tending W/NW flow before a S’ly change by lunch-time, tending SE in the a’noon. We’ll finesse that on Fri. There should be plenty of NE windswell to work with as the fetch increases O/night then moves slowly away during Sun. A peak in size in the 3-5ft range is likely for the early, easing slowly during the a’noon. Surf quality will depend on the wind changes but there are good odds for a period of rapidly improving conditions through the morning.

Next week (Nov 13 onwards)

Sunday's trough advances up the coast Mon, possibly stalling on the MNC. An onshore S/SE-E flow looks likely across Central NSW.  We’ll see a pattern change in swell direction as the first of a series of S swells makes landfall. This first pulse is mostly short period stuff from a front passing SE of Tasmania and some strong winds out of Bass Strait. Onshore 2-3ft surf at S facing beaches looks likely. 

Longer period S swells are expected as follow-up pulses as a series of powerful fronts with gale to severe gale W-SW fetches move through the Lower Tasman (see below). 

Winds look tricky under a funky, troughy pattern. Likely tending N’ly on Tues and into Wed before a possibly troughy change. Expect revision on that front.

Surf-wise, a small long period pulse Tues looks to be in the 3ft range at S facing beaches bigger at swell magnets.

Followed by a much more significant pulse Wed with swell periods in the 15-17 second band. That would suggest some real size at S facing reefs and magnets, possibly up in the 6ft range or bigger, grading smaller away from direct S swell exposures. We’ll update on Fri.

Further ahead another frontal intrusion is expected later next week, possibly tracking on a similar path through the lower Tasman, or even pushing NE right up into the Tasman Sea. More S swell either way. 

Tradewinds in the South Pacific corridor will favour the sub-tropics and we may see that tradewind belt enhanced by a tropical depression or even TC, although any system looks to dissipate as it enters our swell window proper. Either way, a small persistent signal of E/NE swell is expected.

Lots to keep track of so check back in Fri ands we’ll see how it’s shaping up.

Seeya then. 


DeathToCompSurfing's picture
DeathToCompSurfing's picture
DeathToCompSurfing Wednesday, 8 Nov 2023 at 6:36pm


sean killen's picture
sean killen's picture
sean killen Friday, 10 Nov 2023 at 5:42am

What a let down this morning.. 2ft dribble..hopefully some more energy later ..yesterday was fun before the NE .kicked in ..3ft+ on sets..

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Friday, 10 Nov 2023 at 7:05am

Think that storm yesterday, as fun as it was, put a lid on size as it switched off the windswell engine around 3pm and it stayed off all night - mostly very light NWers overnight.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Friday, 10 Nov 2023 at 7:19am

Yep, full shut down.

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly Friday, 10 Nov 2023 at 1:09pm

3ft down south.