Plenty of fun over the weekend with more beachies on tap next week

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Fri Feb 16th)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Fun trade swells boosting into Fri/Sat on a nice pulse
  • E trade-swell holds in Sun, easing during the day
  • Light winds tending N-NE all weekend 
  • Small pulsey E tradeswell holds in next week with some bigger embedded pulses possible later next week
  • Small S swell pulses likely Mon-Wed next week
  • More small S’ly pulses on the radar next weekend
  • Still monitoring tropics, looks active but nothing specific on the radar


A mix of S and E swells yesterday saw surf in the 3 occ. 4ft range with a nagging S to S/SE flow not helping much in the way of surface conditions. It’s cleaned up today with light winds, tending to a’noon seabreezes and around 3ft of SE swell, and some E/NE swell coming in a bit late and inconsistent in the 3ft range on the sets. It’s expected to show some more signs of life through the a’noon.

A bit slow but a few clean sets on the beachies this morning, more energy expected this a'noon and tomorrow

This weekend (Feb 17-18)

High pressure belt remains strong with cells lined up to enter the Tasman. A monsoonal low in the Gulf of Carpenteria is generating a long cloud band down the east coast. A long, broad E’ly tradewind fetch extends from the Coral Sea into the South Pacific with the tail of the fetch in Tahitian longitudes. 

No great change to the weekend f/cast- winds still look OK, with light morning land breezes (NW-W) both days tending to a’noon NE breezes that shouldn’t exceed 10/15 knots. A bit of bump but generally surfable through the day. The trough we were expecting now looks to hover around Jervis Bay/Ulladulla so variable winds around that area. We may see that trough oscillate a little on Sun and bring some patches of SE-E wind to the Illawarra but it should remain light if that happens.

E/NE-E swell from the long tradewind band offers up 3-4ft surf through Sat, although be prepared for some pulses and soft/slow patches due to the travel distance and nature of the fetch (showing diurnal variation). 

That swell looks to slowly level of and soften further through Sun, so best get in early.

There will be traces of S swell both days, slightly bigger Sun but only really showing the odd set at S facing beaches.

Next week (Feb19 onwards)

A frontal system tracking under Tasmania has a wide but zonal fetch over the weekend, with a secondary front following with a better aligned fetch. That will send pulses of mid and longer period S swell wrap for Mon/Tues. Likely in the 2-3ft range Mon a’noon and holding at that size Tues morning (bigger 4ft sets at S magnets) before easing.

Winds will be swirling around a stalled trough through Mon and Tues so expect a light/variable flow clocking around the compass, likely tending to light E’ly breezes Mon and more NE on Tues. 

Through this period and in fact most of next week we’ll continue to see small, pulsey E-E/NE swells coming off the deep E’ly fetch.  A tropical low in Samoan longitudes drifts SE and is not a significant swell source. There will be ups and downs in size as the fetch fluctuates but 2 occ. 3ft sets look likely through the first half of next week. 

We may see some larger embedded pulses as a tropical low drifts southwards from New Caledonia through the South Pacific slot next week but models are divergent over the strength of that low so we’ll pencil in the possibility of larger 3-4ft surf later next week (nothing that should need a step-up) and see how it looks Mon.

Winds shift N’ly later next week - from Wed-Fri, tending more NW Fri or Sat as a front approaches.

This front brings a S’ly change late Fri or Sat and some new S swell with it. EC has a stronger frontal system with some short range S swell likely over the weekend and mid period S swell filling in behind it while GFS has a weaker system, decaying as it enters the Tasman and not much behind it all.

It’s likely we’ll see some sort of S swell next weekend but we’ll take a look with fresh eyes on Mon.

Tropics are still looking active into the end of model runs although with nothing specific to talk about at the moment. Check back Mon for that too.

Seeya then and a have a great weekend!


sean killen's picture
sean killen's picture
sean killen Saturday, 17 Feb 2024 at 8:51pm

Had two sessions waves when they came odd bomb here and there .good winds water is amazing temp ..