Back to small summer grovel surf with some pockets of good winds at least

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Wed Jan 24th)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • E-E/NE swell with a slow fade out Wed
  • S-S/SE swell slowly eases Wed as winds shift E through NE
  • Small workable NE windswell this week from Wed-Fri- expect a few ups and downs but remaining generally rideable, possible pockets of good winds Thurs AM and Fri AM
  • Small S-S/SE swells this weekend with SE winds
  • Small and weak next week with possible small S-SE swell later next week


Mixed swells from the S/SE and E held in the 2-3ft range yesterday, bigger 3-4ft on the Hunter with mostly ordinary surface conditions under an onshore flow. Similar mix of swells this morning with south quadrant swells tending more SE and a few E sets maxing out with a few 3ft sets. Nothing too special about surface conditions with an early N’ly flow (NW-N/NW in a few spots) confining clean surf to northern corners.

Few workable peaks this morning with niggling N'ly winds

This week (Jan 24-26)

After an extended period of eyes on the tropics there’s not too much to get excited about as the current E swell event winds down. We’re still waiting for TC Kirrily to form (already called by the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre) and when it does it’s expected to take a straight SW-W/SW track into the NQ coast, crossing around Townsville tomorrow evening. No swell of any significance is expected from this system south of the border- with only marginal swells showing at a few spots in QLD (mostly north of K’gari (Fraser Is)). Absent that, with weak high pressure in the Tasman we’ve only got marginal, local wind swells to keep wave zones active this week, and into next. Let’s take a look.

In the short run and NE winds off the coast extending up into the sub-tropical zone reach a peak tonight as a trough approaches. We should see 2-3ft of NE windswell for the morning with early NW winds tending W then light SE-E as the trough washes out over the area. Should be some clean fun surf on the offshore part of that wind cycle.

Another resurgence of N’ly winds off the coast Thurs night doesn’t look as well aligned but should offer up some 2ft surf into Fri along with some background E swell to a similar size. A front passing under Tasmania drives a synoptic offshore flow through the morning - likely NW tending W/NW before winds shift S’ly then S/SE after lunch. Again, small, clean options during the offshore part of the wind cycle.

This weekend (Jan 27-28)

Nothing to get too frothed up about this weekend. A trough line moves north through Sat, directing a weak S/SE-SE fetch in the Central Tasman that will likely be good for a couple of feet of windswell from that direction. The front under Tasmania will send some modest mid period S swell up the coast, filling in during the a’noon with some 3ft sets at S facing beaches. Don’t expect much quality though with mod SE winds in the morning clocking around E through E/NE in the a’noon. They should ease up in the a’noon though as pressure gradients slacken.

That general onshore flow extends into Sun, at light paces. Not much swell to work with unfortunately. Just some small leftover S swell offering up a few 2ft sets easing during the day and small, weak E/SE windswell to 1-2ft at best. 

Next week (Jan 29 onwards)

High pressure in the Tasman to start next week with a typical summer NE flow along the f/cast region. Not much strength to it under current modelling so not much surf to look forwards too.

Likely the first half of the week will be a real grovel with NE windswell less than 2ft, as an optimistic scenario.

An off axis fetch adjacent to New Zealand that we mentioned on Mon now looks weaker, although EC is still suggesting a moderate windfield with a stronger fetch all the west coast of the North Island, which may supply some workable SE swell later Wed into Thurs. 

Under GFS scenario it would be marginal less than 2ft during this period.

That fetch may reinvigorate later next week after the passage of a front under some modelled scenarios, offering more small S-SE swell into late next week and the weekend. 

Probably best to keep expectations pegged very low for next week- we’ve definitely got a few small, weak days to get through which may extend into the medium term.
Let’s see how it look on Fri.


mibs-oner's picture
mibs-oner's picture
mibs-oner Wednesday, 24 Jan 2024 at 9:12pm

Can we get Kiama cam looked at please?!

sean killen's picture
sean killen's picture
sean killen Thursday, 25 Jan 2024 at 11:02am

Scored a few crackers this morning conditions perfect

flow's picture
flow's picture
flow Thursday, 25 Jan 2024 at 11:27am

Where are you Sean? Nothing too specific.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Thursday, 25 Jan 2024 at 1:20pm

Still long-period 3ft east sets in the mix. Even rare bigger one.

sean killen's picture
sean killen's picture
sean killen Thursday, 25 Jan 2024 at 9:07pm

Centy coast ..flow

flow's picture
flow's picture
flow Friday, 26 Jan 2024 at 10:55am


Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout Friday, 26 Jan 2024 at 11:17am

Is that an Aus flag stick in the island reef?

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Friday, 26 Jan 2024 at 11:20am

I think there's an annual SI Australia Day party on the island at low.

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout Friday, 26 Jan 2024 at 11:43am

Oh nice one!