NE wind swells get replaced by S'ly swells next week with tricky winds

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Fri 10th Nov)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • NE windswell builds Sat PM, hangs around Sun PM
  • Fresh N/NE winds Sat, S’ly change Sun with a small offshore window possible (more likely on the Hunter)
  • Small amounts of E/NE’ly tradewind swell filter down from South Pacific late week into the weekend
  • 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 into next weekend
  • Possible NE windswell and E/NE swell late next weekend


Mostly NE windswell with traces of other E’ly swells fluctuated between and 2 and 3ft yesterday, cleanest early under light winds before N’lies kicked up. Overnight storms disrupted the NE windswell engine and this morning is a weak but peaky 2ft, not great but offering a few fluffy peaks under morning light winds.

A bit fluffy, but some fun to be had

This weekend (Nov 11-12)

Mod/fresh N-NE winds continue into Sat and an increase in size is expected as windspeeds in the proximate fetch ramp up in response to an approaching trough. A brief window of lighter N/NW-N winds before they ramp up with 2-3ft surf building into the 3-4ft range by close of play under fresh N/NE winds.

A S’ly change Sun now looks to arrive in the wee hours across the Illawarra and around or just before sunrise in Sydney, with a window of lighter W winds on the Hunter. Early SW/S winds south of the Hunter will shift S’ly then S/SE through the day. A morning peak in NE windswell is expected with surf to 3ft, dropping back a notch during the day. Smaller amounts of E/NE swell to 2ft from the top of the high will be in the mix as well. 

Next week (Nov 13 onwards)

Sundays troughy change looks to wash out quickly on the way up the NSW Coast, leaving a residual S-SE flow across the region, with winds dropping out to light E’ly breezes during the day. Scrappy short range S swell looks to provide some unremarkable 2-3ft surf at S exposed breaks. Possibly some better quality south of Jervis Bay under developing NE winds.

Much stronger frontal activity in the Far Southern Tasman tied to a deep, slow moving low will provide long period S’ly groundswell pulses next week, although winds are looking very tricky around a weak, troughy pattern and the fetch looks a tad more zonal (W-E) than it did on Mon.

Winds should tend N-NE on Tues although a troughy change may pass Jervis Bay around lunchtime-time and reach the Illawarra on dark. Expect revisions there. Surf-wise a small long period pulse fills in mid morning, mostly offering 2-3ft sets at S facing beaches with a few magnets hoovering up the odd bigger set.

Stronger S swell arrives Wed with winds looking very variable around a stalled trough line. Likely we’ll see variable winds throughout the f/cast region, from light N-NE on the Hunter to a more SE flow south of Sydney. Don’t be surprised though if those wind outlooks don’t change over the weekend. Long period S swell should be in the water early morning on the South Coast, arriving mid-late morning around Sydney. With swell periods in the 16-17 second band we can expect some juice and outliers from swell focussing at S facing reefs. We’d mostly expect 3-4ft surf at S exposed break, with bigger 4-5 and even a few 6ft sets possible at those swell magnet reefs. Surf quality will depend on winds, so stay tuned for updates.

S’ly winds look likely for Thurs as the trough is displaced by a front. Expect mod/fresh S/SW-S winds and S’ly groundswell slowly easing with some building short range S swell building to 3-4ft, bigger on the Hunter. Protected spots will be much smaller.

Tasman Sea continues to generate at least small S swell pulses into the end of next week. 

A strong high moving into the Tasman before straddling NZ next weekend also looks to build E/NE winds in the Northern Tasman and more local NE winds off the NSW Coast, suggesting another round of NE windswell and E'ly swell later next weekend.

There’s some suggestion from GFS that remnants of a TC or tropical depression may drift south from Fiji into the swell window and may supply some long range E’ly swell in the medium term. Low confidence in that outcome.

We’ll see how it all looks on Mon, until then, have a great weekend!


Panman's picture
Panman's picture
Panman Friday, 10 Nov 2023 at 3:43pm

A mixed bag but better than nothing

sean killen's picture
sean killen's picture
sean killen Friday, 10 Nov 2023 at 4:39pm

Only small but clean this morning..had one of the most memorable sessions ever ..15-20 dolphins shared the waves for 1/2hr even had a drop in off one of them it was amazing..only 3 surfers in and 20 legends of the sea dominated the line up ..I wish I had some footage of it ..incredible experience..

billie's picture
billie's picture
billie Friday, 10 Nov 2023 at 10:45pm

Good onya champion!!!! One of those special mornings

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Saturday, 11 Nov 2023 at 3:16am

That's sick!

sean killen's picture
sean killen's picture
sean killen Saturday, 11 Nov 2023 at 6:05pm

35 yrs of surfing definitely in the top 10 ..

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Sunday, 12 Nov 2023 at 7:44pm

Sick LAGO today, pulse in swell to 4ft on the sets and glassy with minimal CO.

Max Wax's picture
Max Wax's picture
Max Wax Sunday, 12 Nov 2023 at 8:53pm