Nothing substantial for a while, possible juicier S swell on the radar next weekend

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Fri Jan 26th)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Mod S-S/SE swells Sat with onshore SE winds, easing and tending NE in the a’noon
  • Light winds Sun morning tending onshore with small S-S/SE swells
  • Small mixed bag Mon-Wed next week with NE winds- typical  summer grovel surf
  • Potential for stronger S swells next weekend - check Mon for latest revisions
  • Tropics remains active but nothing concrete on the radar for temperate NSW- small E swells developing next week for NENSW


Nice mixed bag of short and longer period E quadrant swells yesterday with the longer period E/NE swell coming in over expectations in the 3ft+ range at times under clean morning conditions. Groomed conditions this morning under a light offshore flow and although surf has dropped a notch there are still some fun sets to 2ft (occ. bigger one) out of the eastern quadrant. A stiff S’ly change will tend fresh from the SE through the a’noon as a trough makes it way north across the region.

Only small this morning but lovely surface conditions

This weekend (Jan 27-28)

A frontal passage under Tasmania linked to a parent low now looks to have a more muscular and slightly better aligned fetch associated with it. That should give us more S swell to play with through Sat- up in the 3ft range at S exposed breaks, bigger on the Hunter- although there’ll be lots of shorter period swell trains in the mix and winds look second hand in the morning. Early SE winds should lay down to variable breezes by lunchtime and tend NE in the a’noon, opening up S facing beaches for some clean or semi-clean surf.

We should see lighter winds for Sun morning before a general onshore E/SE-E tending E/NE flow. Small S swells through the morning topping out around 2ft at S exposed breaks. Nothing amazing Sun but there should be a grovel around, best in the morning.

Next week (Jan 29 onwards)

Not much happening to start the new week. High pressure moves quickly into the Tasman, with winds shifting NE and freshening during the day. A  front passing into the Tasman Sun is likely to leave some small S swell trains in the water for Mon, in the 2ft range at S facing beaches, bigger 3ft on the Hunter and arriving through the morning. Small E-E/NE swells to a similar size will be joined by some NE windswell in the a’noon.

The low pressure consolidating near New Zealand and an off axis fetch on the west coast of the North Island now looks very weak and poorly aligned so not much at all, if anything is expected from this source. 

That leaves the small blend of NE and E swells to carry through in the 1-2ft range into Tues and likely Wed. Variable/light onshore winds Tues extend into Wed before a S’ly change through the day, with no real strength behind it. Keep the grovellers and high volume boards handy.

Later next week we should see a stronger series of fronts pass through the lower Tasman. A weaker front Wed may bring some small S swell later Thurs into Fri but a much stronger system tracks NE into the Tasman Thurs/Fri (see below) with a wide band of gales suggesting a more substantial S swell event sometimes next weekend. Too far out to have any confidence in specifics but pencil in a S’ly groundswell next weekend, potentially with N’ly winds.

Further ahead and the tropics remains active with a long monsoon trough extending from the Coral Sea out into the South Pacific Convergence Zone. Strongest winds are the monsoonal surge nor-westers along the top of the trough but there are signs more favourable E’ly winds will develop along the bottom of the trough later next week, favouring sub-tropical regions.It's possible we may see a cyclone form in the Fijian region but modesl suggest a track away from our swell window and limited surf potential. We’ll keep tabs on that over the weekend and see how it looks on Mon.

Seeya then and have a great weekend!


sean killen's picture
sean killen's picture
sean killen Sunday, 28 Jan 2024 at 12:53pm

Lunch session punched well above expectations 3occ 4ft peaky .

Mcface's picture
Mcface's picture
Mcface Monday, 29 Jan 2024 at 7:09am

Yeah was 4ft on the sets last night at a south facing reef where I was, with quite a bit of water moving around too. An unexpected pleasant surprise. Been a few bigger than expected days recently - good if you're onto it.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Sunday, 28 Jan 2024 at 1:32pm

Bit of a pulse down here too. More so mid-late morning, but it was noticeably bigger than earlier.