Fun options over the weekend with a S swell spike next week- still watching expected TC in the Coral Sea next week

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Fri Jan 19th)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Fun S swell and E/NE swell combo this weekend with light winds tending NE in the a’noon
  • Increase in E/NE swell later Sun, extending into Mon
  • S swell spike Mon, holding into Tues morning before easing
  • Still tracking potential  tropical cyclone in Coral Sea next week, limited surf potential at this stage for temperate NSW but stay tuned for updates


Small but fun swells from the Eastern quadrant chugged away yesterday in the 2-3ft range with morning offshores providing very nice surface conditions until winds swung S through SE after lunch. Super clean again this morning under a synoptic W’ly flow with size down a notch but still offering up mostly 2ft surf with the occ. bigger 3ft set. Winds are set to swing SE again through the day. A small kick in S swell is expected in the a’noon with quality degraded by SE winds.

Bit of a wait for the sets but nice and crispy under offshore winds

This weekend (Jan 20-21)

Not much change to the weekend f/cast. A compact low is tracking SE away from Tasmania with a nice slingshot fetch in the process of entering the Tasman adjacent to the Apple Isle. A retrograding fetch in the South Pacific is currently active and expected to send some fun surf out way over the weekend.

Small mixed bag for Sat, with S swell slightly dominant to 2-3ft (bigger by a notch on the Hunter and other reliable S swell magnets) mixed with E-E/NE swell to 2ft. Light morning winds should offer clean conditions before NE seabreezes kick up in the a’noon. 

A weak trough across the region Sun should see a more variable flow - likely W-NW through the morning before tending E/NE-NE in the a’noon. Morning clean conditions with a similar mixed bag of fading S swell and a slowly building E/NE swell to 3ft+ through the a'noon. A late S’ly change should reach Jervis Bay by close of play, Sydney after dark. 

Nothing too incredible but there should be plenty of fun options across beachies and reefs this weekend.

Next week (Jan 22 onwards)

The new high moving in from below the Island continent and an angled trough now looks like providing a much stronger S’ly flow into Mon, with the fetch extending along the South Coast into the lower Tasman (see below). As modelled we’re on track for a fast rising spike in S swell through Mon- likely into the 5-6ft range- under fresh S’ly winds. That will combine with swell from the E/NE, expected to bump up a half  notch to 3 occ. 4ft on the sets. 

Plenty of size from the S into Tues morning , in the 4-5ft range at S facing beaches, with E/NE-E swell to 3ft+, slowly easing. The firm high pressure ridge will hold S-S/SE tending SE winds at moderate strength so you’ll need to seek shelter.

Looking into mid week and all eyes on the Coral Sea where a tropical cyclone is expected to be resident. Uncertainty over track remains high with GFS favouring a slide down the sub-tropical ridge to the SE while EC is favouring a coastal crossing on the NQLD coast. Neither of those outcomes are favourable for swell production for temperate NSW so only small amounts of E/NE swell are likely (if anything into next weekend).

More likely is a swell from the Southern quadrant as a front pushes under Tasmania later next week. 

Under current modelling that looks to supply some small S swell pulses Fri into next weekend. 

Low confidence of course due to the cyclone so expect revisions on Mon- hopefully upwards.

Until then, have a great weekend!


etarip's picture
etarip's picture
etarip Sunday, 21 Jan 2024 at 7:05am

Northerlies, northerlies and northerlies…

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Sunday, 21 Jan 2024 at 10:30am


sean killen's picture
sean killen's picture
sean killen Sunday, 21 Jan 2024 at 2:54pm

Nice spike this arvo light winds waves had some punch

Parko_70's picture
Parko_70's picture
Parko_70 Sunday, 21 Jan 2024 at 9:03pm

Definitely picked up early evening, at a spot I was at. Usually would have a crowd when it starts to turn on, but it was just myself and one other punter out on it.

sean killen's picture
sean killen's picture
sean killen Sunday, 21 Jan 2024 at 9:15pm

I was solo for 2hrs at my local till one guy paddled out went over falls and went in much to my delight..I think everyone wrote it off this morning..35c 3ft occasionally 4ft NE swell light winds beach packed no one surfing..awesome day

Parko_70's picture
Parko_70's picture
Parko_70 Monday, 22 Jan 2024 at 1:48am

Yeah, it was the same where I live, some crew out before 11am but it was pretty tame, occasional head high but mainly 2 feet. Full of beachgoers throughout the arvo with the heat but noticed the swell started to build but it was pretty straight looking at my local. Looking at the swell direction and period I knew the spot 5 mins drive away would be starting to produce some good solid ones late, especially if the winds were good. Luckily it was, but I was expecting a few more crew out. The other guy didn't stay long either, lol. The paddle out wasn't easy with the sweep and took a couple of poundings getting out. I got a few, then copped one almighty beating at the end of the session and called it for the day. A couple of guys turned up for a real late one when I was back at the car. They probably would have scored a few.

etarip's picture
etarip's picture
etarip Monday, 22 Jan 2024 at 5:49am

Wind dropped then swung west for about 2 hours. Paddled out at what’s usually the busiest spot locally. Swell was building with a couple of solid ones washing thru. 2 guys out.
Fun little session, a bit affected by the high tide.

Mcface's picture
Mcface's picture
Mcface Monday, 22 Jan 2024 at 9:08am

Can confirm I had a tasty solo sesh on my stretch of coast also. Took the gamble at a fickle spot which is a bit of a walk in and was duly rewarded.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Monday, 22 Jan 2024 at 9:13am

Arvo session looked sick but I had other duties, bummer!