S pulses leading into Easter with pockets of OK wind available

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Mon Mar 25th)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Small Mon AM with light winds, small bump in S swell in the a’noon under NE breezes
  • Moderate S swell pulses Tues/Wed with light/mod S-SE winds 
  • Low points Thurs
  • Another pulse Fri with improving winds
  • Small S swells sat with light winds
  • S/SE swell Sun with light winds
  • Small S/SE-S swells to start next week
  • A few potential swell sources on the radar for next week, check back Wed for latest updates


A fun weekend of small, mostly clean surf with Sat seeing 2-3ft surf from the S/SE, a notch smaller on Sun. Swell magnets hoovered up an extra foot or so of size and light winds were mostly favourable to those locations. Similar size today, around 2-3ft at S exposed breaks, a notch bigger on the Hunter with lovely clean conditions under offshore breezes and sunny skies. NE winds are expected to kick up this a’noon, with a fresh pulse of S swell filling in. 

Clean lines on the Hunter

This week (Mar 25-29)

We’ve got an extensive high pressure belt  with weak cells in the Tasman and near Indian Ocean and a stronger cell in the Bight. Compared to summer high pressure we’re seeing a slight seasonal shift northwards in the belt although later in the week the strong high in the Bight does move towards Tasmania at a more typical summer latitude. For now, frontal activity is being allowed to track in a more favourable manner for S swell production so we’ll seea week of small/moderate S swell pulses leading into the Easter weekend. Read on for details.

In the short run we’ll see an increase in S swell o/night early morning with size to 3-4ft at S facing beaches for first light, smaller elsewhere. A trough will bring a weak SW-S flow early, tending S then light SE/NE in the a’noon. That’s likely to make surface conditions bumpy but workable if you aren’t too fussy.

The trough lingers off the Hunter coast into Wed so we’ll see a light S-SE flow contionue with morning SW breezes likely north of the Harbour to Central Coast. Easing surf from the S will be on tap with 3-4ft sets early at S exposed breaks, dropping away through the day to 2ft or so. Much smaller away from S exposed breaks.

The approaching high sets up a weak ridge so we’ll see that light SE flow continue through Thurs and into Fri with morning land breezes likely north of the Harbour Thurs and becoming more widespread into Fri as the ridge weakens. Thurs looks like the low point of the week with just 2ft or so at S exposed breaks.

Friday looks more energetic as the next pulse of S swell fills in. None of the fetches are especially well aligned for the East Coast but they will be operating on already active sea states so there’s reason to believe they may out perform wave model predictions. Friday should see surf back into the 2-3ft range with bigger surf at select magnets and the Hunter.

This weekend (Mar 30-31)

Winds looks favourable this weekend as high pressure moves NE of Tasmania and weak pressure gradients sit along the South to Central NSW Coast. Lingering land breezes both mornings should tend to light E to NE seeabreezes in the a’noon.

Surf-wise we’ll see continuing swells from the S. They should be small on Sat, in the 2ft range at S facing beaches as Fridays pulse ebbs away and some stray long period swell wraps in.

Sun looks a little more interesting. A stalled low well to the S of New Zealand Wed/Thurs with a fetch adjacent to the ice shelf supplies some inconsistent but high quality S/SE swell to 2-3ft with some 4ft sets possible. These swells do tend to over perform across the f/cast region but there won’t be anything requiring more than a standard shortboard.

Next week (Apr 1 onwards)

S/SE swell looks to persist into Mon, although likely with an easing trend, under light winds.

More small S swell is on the menu next week but there are some potential curve balls in the mix. The low we spoke about on Fri near the North Island now looks to develop in the swell shadow of the North Island but there's still a chance we may see something off the West Coast to Cook Strait.

We may see a trough develop off the Central NSW coast early next week with a possibility it may deepen into a useful source of SE swell.

Models are offering mixed messages about the strength of the southern ocean storm track with EC favouring a much broader and stronger fetch next week, offering more energy available to wrap into the Tasman Sea. 

We’re also tracking the potential evolution of an inland trough and low next week and while there is nothing concrete on the radar set-ups like this do offer raw material for low pressure development in the Tasman, potentially ECL’s or other types of low pressure system.

We’ll see how all that shapes up on Wed.


etarip's picture
etarip's picture
etarip Monday, 25 Mar 2024 at 9:55pm

Banks are looking decent at the local too! Hopefully some of the S swell gets around the corner. Will be perfect for the groms. Love autumn.