E'ly tradewind swell filters down this week with a mid week window of clean NE windswell

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Mon Feb 12th)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Nice waves all round Monday with light winds and an easing mix of still-strong south swells
  • Fun trade swells holding all week, stronger through the second half and into Sat
  • NE windswell Tues, decent window early Wed with NW-W winds before a SW tending S'ly change
  • Small S swells Thurs, easing Fri
  • Small E tradeswell holds in next week, likely at minor levels though
  • Small S swell pulses likely Mon-Wed next week
  • Nothing major on the radar, could see some small surf for a while


Plenty of size on Sat with S quadrant swells in the 3-4ft range, a notch bigger on the Hunter. Not much quality to it under a mod/fresh S-SE flow. Winds lingered into Sun morning before laying down from mid/late morning and strong S swells topped out at 6-8ft at S magnets, although most beaches were considerably smaller. Quality has improved into this morning with light morning winds and 4ft sets at S exposed breaks. Winds are expected to tend NE and freshen through the a’noon. 

Clean sets on offer this morning

This week (Feb 12-16)

Not much change from the way things looked on Friday. Large high in the Tasman directing plenty of E’ly-SE’ly tradewinds through the Coral Sea and South Pacific slot. Typical summer wind pattern with NE winds developing across temperate NSW, tending more E-E/SE in the sub-tropics. A moderate front and trough disrupts the pattern mid week before the next reinforcing high resets the ridge late this week. To the north the monsoon trough remains active but there’s no real developments which impact our surf potential as far as cyclones go in the short/medium term. 

In the short run we’ll see fresh N-NE winds through tomorrow whipping up NE windswell into the 3ft range by close of play.

Wed morning looks good for NE windswell to a similar size with the advancing trough seeing winds shift NW then W/NW before the S’ly change hits Sydney around lunch-time, the Hunter by school break-up time.

Not much strength in the change- by Thurs we’ll see weak SE winds shifting more E/SE-E at light paces in the a’noon. There’ll be some small S swell in the water to 2-3ft at S facing beaches and small E/NE swell filtering down from the tradewind fetch to 2 occ. 3ft.

Light E’ly tending NE’ly winds pad out Fri with reasonable odds for a morning land breeze with E-E/NE’ly swell perking up a notch to a more consistent 2-3ft and easing S swells. Nothing amazing but should offer up some fun beachies to wrap up the working week.

This weekend (Feb 17-18)

Looks like a light/variable flow this weekend, especially Sat as a broad troughy area hovers over Central/Southern NSW. Light land and seabreezes are expected. Fun sized tradewind swell chugs away at 2-3ft through Sat.

Wave models are suggesting that tradeswell to ease a notch into Sun as the fetch retreats eastwards, down to 2ft or so. We’ll pencil that in for now and see how it looks through the week. Light winds expected again, likely tending to light NE seabreezes in the a’noon. Should be another day with some workable beachies on offer. 

Next week (Feb19 onwards)

E’ly tradewinds continue into next week, although they do look to soften in the Coral Sea as a tropical depression near Samoa drags the fetch to the SE,  so we may see that tradewind swell signal become marginal in temperate NSW. I’d expect it to hold in the 2ft range at least into mid next week- enough for a grovel.

A moderate/minor strength front passes into the Tasman later Sun/Mon (see below), which looks to supply some small S swell pulses, likely later Mon and into Tues. We’ll fine-tune specifics through the week but at this early stage it looks unlikely to exceed 3ft (bigger at S magnets).

Back to high pressure in the Tasman with winds shifting NE through next week, , possibly with some minor NE windswell.

Otherwise, looking longer term, nothing major on the radar.

Check back Wed and we’ll see how it’s shaping up.


CoyoteLovely's picture
CoyoteLovely's picture
CoyoteLovely Wednesday, 14 Feb 2024 at 6:47am

Whoever does the daily surf updates for Newcastle needs a lesson in wave heights. Constantly says its 3-4ft when its clearly 1ft and under , even for the exposed beaches. Consistently unreliable.

ryn_kng's picture
ryn_kng's picture
ryn_kng Wednesday, 14 Feb 2024 at 7:50am

Just read your comment after posting. 100% agree has got so bad the last few months. Understand it's pretty dynamic and hard to get right but this is consistently wrong. Pain in the ass when you use this tool to plan your morning around

gunther's picture
gunther's picture
gunther Wednesday, 14 Feb 2024 at 4:31pm

I always halve the report and add a foot

ryn_kng's picture
ryn_kng's picture
ryn_kng Wednesday, 14 Feb 2024 at 7:41am

Don't know what region the person doing the newy report is looking at. they have been so off the last few months. Today 3-4 ft 5/10 more like 1ft maybe 2 on the sets. 3 /10 should have stayed in bed

sean killen's picture
sean killen's picture
sean killen Wednesday, 14 Feb 2024 at 8:53am

My local pumping 1-1..5ft report 3-4ft there at 735am

Mcface's picture
Mcface's picture
Mcface Wednesday, 14 Feb 2024 at 9:20am

You guys are making me feel better about heading into work. Was spewing when I read the morning report as I was leaving home this morning.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 14 Feb 2024 at 9:27am

I think the low tide was masking some of the size. Strong but inconsistent 3-4ft sets here in Manly when earlier looked 2-3ft.

ryn_kng's picture
ryn_kng's picture
ryn_kng Wednesday, 14 Feb 2024 at 10:06am

Newy report said 3-4 ft. The sunrise photos that were posted at 8am show something like 2ft max.

CoyoteLovely's picture
CoyoteLovely's picture
CoyoteLovely Wednesday, 14 Feb 2024 at 3:07pm

Thanks Craig. I would ask that the Sydney forecast not be bundled in with Newcastle . Either omit it or teach the person ( I presume local) to write a proper update

I know from experience that even the central coast wave heights differ greatly from Newcastle in same swell for beaches of similar direction and exposure. The difference from Sydney would be no different

It was 1ft here in Newcastle, there was no masking of the swell.

Montygoesbananas's picture
Montygoesbananas's picture
Montygoesbananas Wednesday, 14 Feb 2024 at 1:15pm

Manly was def 3' with the occasional bigger one this morning, seemed to be pulsing on and off again though with long waits at times before the bigger sets

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 14 Feb 2024 at 1:23pm

Yep just came in, some super fun glassy 3-4ft sets.

S'th change right on cue as well.

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly Wednesday, 14 Feb 2024 at 5:34pm

The daily Newcastle photos definitely don't justify 3-4ft, can be shadowed up that way.

Anyways good to see some trade swell action for temperate NSW, it was pushing 3ft down south and I don't think it was leftover wind swell as there was quite a wait.