Small and clean for Easter with a more dynamic outlook from mid next week

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Fri Mar 29th)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Size bumping up a touch Fri from the south with light winds
  • A little more S'ly energy Sat, hopefully persisting Sun, though low confidence (both days light winds)
  • Small surf early next week-mostly from the S-S/SE
  • Fun peaky NE swell Tues/Wed with conditions improving Wed as winds shift offshore
  • Dynamic outlook from mid next week - spike in S swell likely later Wed into Thurs
  • Large E-E/SE swell possible into next weekend as trough/low forms in Tasman 


S-S/SE swells held size in the 3ft range at exposed spots yesterday but quality was mediocre under a nagging S’ly flow. Conditions are a notch better today under light land breezes with some 2 ft surf (bigger 3ft sets on the Hunter) on offer. Light winds are expected today, tending to variable seabreezes in the a’noon with a few bigger sets likely late in the day as new S’ly swell makes landfall.

A few surfable S'ly lines on the Hunter this morning

This weekend (Mar 30-31)

It’s quite a bland synoptic outlook with a large area of high pressure moving into the Tasman and becoming slow moving as it weakens. So, no action from the East. In the absence of that source we’ll be relying on small S’ly pulses over the Easter long weekend. 

Not much change for Saturdays outlook. We’ll see light offshore land breezes for the morning (mostly W-NW), tending to light NE seabreezes in the a’noon . Todays energy gets boosted a notch by a small increase in longer period energy but there won’t be a great deal of size in it- 2 to occ. 3ft at S swell magnets.

That swell eases slightly into Sun with some small reinforcements from the S/SE generated by an ice shelf fetch mid-week. As Ben noted on Wed, it’s a flukey source so keep expectations pegged low. All in all, conditions will be favourable for S swell magnets over the weekend but keep froth in check due to the low confidence in swell strengths.

Next week (Apr 1 onwards)

S/SE swell should hold in at low levels into Mon with some inconsistemnt 2 occ. 3ft sets, easing during the day to a low energy a’noon. We’ll see the N-NE flow kick up in the a’noon as high pressure moves into the Tasman and an inland trough/low complex moves towards the coast. We probably won’t see any workable NE windswell until Tues but some just rideable windslop is possible by close of play Mon.

Freshening NE winds o/night into Tues should see some NE windswell develop to 2 occ. 3ft through Tues morning. Early fresh N’lies will shift NW then W as the trough/low approaches the Gippsland coast. There’ll be a window there of rapidly improving conditions through the day as winds shift offshore. Models are divergent over the proximate NE fetch with EC suggesting it lingers while GFS shunts it eastwards. Probably best to factor in an easing trend through the a’noon.

From Wed onwards we’ll see a much more dynamic pattern in the Tasman. The inland low will exit near the Gippsland coast and conjoin with a front as a major new high pushes in behind from the Bight. As the low moves eastwards we’ll see SW-S winds in the swell window, leading to a spike in new S swell through Wed and into Thurs, provisionally into the 3-4ft range at S facing beaches but with revisions likely on size and timing.

A trough further north in the Tasman is then expected to deepen and focus a strong SE-E/SE fetch across the central /northern tasman later next week.  This has the potential to form a surface low off the North or Mid North Coast and generate large swells from the E-E/SE late next week into the weekend. We may see a few stormy, onshore days if this system comes off. Too early to have any confidence in size or timing but we’ll pencil in the potential for 6-8ft surf next weekend with uncertain winds and see how it looks on Mon.

Until then, have a great Easter weekend!


Max Wax's picture
Max Wax's picture
Max Wax Saturday, 30 Mar 2024 at 7:43pm

Any update on the sse groundswell?

tail high to the sky's picture
tail high to the sky's picture
tail high to the sky Saturday, 30 Mar 2024 at 9:18pm

I wouldn't bother Max, it was elbow to elbow stuff this morning.

ThatGuyJay's picture
ThatGuyJay's picture
ThatGuyJay Sunday, 31 Mar 2024 at 11:03am

Surprisingly strong but flukey S sets on a far south coast swell magnet on Saturday arvo. Head high sets every 15 mins or so. Slow but glorious.

Hazrus's picture
Hazrus's picture
Hazrus Sunday, 31 Mar 2024 at 9:21pm

Just sooooo crowded in Syd NB last few days.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Monday, 1 Apr 2024 at 8:44am

I've found uncrowded options, just thinking outside the square a little.