Lots of little swell sources popping up in the Tasman as troughy pattern persists

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Fri 24th Nov)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Small mixed bag of S/SE-SE swells Sat, continuing into Sun with some developing NE windswell
  • Small long period S swell pulse Sun PM, easing Mon
  • Small flush of S swell Tues, easing Wed but onshore winds a problem
  • Another troughy, unstable week next week potential for NE-E/NE swell as trough approaches
  • Still uncertain potential if trough forms surface low in Tasman mid/late next week- potential for some S-SE swell but low confidence
  • Troughy pattern persists so check back Mon for revisions due to volatile/changeable synoptics 


Workable swells have continued with Thurs seeing a blend of S/SE-S and E swells to 2ft, 2-3ft by the a’noon. Conditions were clean or at least cleanish under a morning SW flow that tended S-S/SE during the day. Quite similar conditions this morning with rainy/troughy weather leading to light/variable breezes tending NE during the day and a workable small blend of swells to 2-3ft. Nothing amazing but enough for a shred or a glide.

The Hunter doing it's job as a swell magnet

This weekend (Nov 25-26)

Not a great deal of action likely this weekend. High pressure is straddling Tasmania with the remnants of a front lingering near New Zealand with an off-axis fetch. A coastal trough and an inland trough maintain unstable conditions with a developing N-NE flow over the weekend.

Sat should be the best of it with a small blend of S and S/SE swells offering up some workable 2ft surf with cleanest conditions in the morning under a light/variable flow before N/NE winds kick up to mod/fresh strength in the a’noon.

Smaller swells Sun morning as S swell trains ebb away, with minor levels of NE windswell likely. Similar winds with light morning NW breezes tending N/NE although we may see some lighter patches of wind as as trough line oscillates near the coast. Minor curve ball with traces of long period S swell glancing the coast in the a’noon from a polar low skirting the ice shelf. Some 2-3ft sets at reliable S swell magnets can’t be ruled out with outliers possible. Most beaches will be a combination o small swells in the 1-2ft range.

Next week (Nov 27 onwards)

Models have been all over the shop trying to resolve the very troughy, unstable pattern next week so keep in mind confidence is low and revisions are likely before you make plans.

An initial trough moving off the Gippsland coast over the weekend looks to form a small surface low East of Tasmania Sun, tracking east across the Tasman early next week (see below). That should bring a S’ly change Mon and a small flush of S swell Tues.

Mon looks to be a small blend of long period S swells glancing the coast, with S swell magnets 2-3ft, tiny elsewhere and S-SE winds making conditions messy at locations exposed to the swell.

Tues should see the small low in the Tasman generate mid period S swells up to 2-3ft across a wider swathe of S facing beaches. Winds look very iffy with another large high south of the Bight strengthening an onshore flow- likely SE tending E’ly and with some strength to it. 

From mid next week things look dynamic as a complex trough approaches from interior Victoria and NSW. That’s likely to see increasing NE-E/NE infeed into the system across most of the NSW Coast, focussed on Central NSW. Building swells from that direction are likely.

An offshore flow is then possible late Wed or Thurs as the trough moves offshore and forms a surface low. Again, models have been all over the place with the position of this low.

So we’ll pencil in a potential window of improving local NE-E/NE swell later next week and hope it holds on Mondays f/cast.

Then we’ll be looking at the low itself with the return flow of winds across the southern flank of the low for potential S-SE swell. At the moment, potential looks diminished as the low races away but we’ll check that out on Mon.

No change to the troughy pattern as we move into the medium term so keep tabs on the notes here as synoptic conditions under such instability are highly volatile.

Check back Mon and have a great weekend!