Looking juicy this weekend as low tracks down the coast

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Surf Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Mon Apr 1)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Small peaky NE swell Tues with conditions improving Tues PM as winds shift offshore
  • Small flush in S swell Wed, another small pulse Thurs 
  • SW tending S/SE winds Wed
  • Freshening SE-E/SE winds Thurs
  • Building SE-E/SE swell Fri with fresh onshore winds as trough/low tracks close to the coast and moves southwards
  • Solid surf Sat with improving winds as low drifts south
  • Possible great waves Sun with offshore winds
  • A few days of really fun E swell and light winds next week
  • S swell likely later next week


Small, clean fun over the Easter weekend with small, pulsey S to S/SE swells both days holding surf in the 2-3ft range at S exposed breaks with light offshore mornings and a’noon seabreezes. Still a few long-lined sets from the S/SE this morning with size to 3ft at S swell magnets and dreamy Autumn conditions. 

Still some strong sets on the Hunter this morning with dreamy conditions

This week (Apr 1-5)

We have a weak high in the Tasman which has been responsible for light winds and settled conditions over Easter. That will change mid-week as a much more dynamic pattern unfolds. A complex inland trough low tied to tropical sources exits the coast as a strong high moves into the Bight. Following that a coastal trough in the Northern Tasman then deepens, likely into a surface low which may drift southwards bringing strong E swells to the entire region, possibly followed by a return S swell as the low gets captured by an approaching front. Details below. 

In the short run NE windswell looks a little undersized compared to Fridays notes but we should still see some workable 2ft (bigger on the South Coast) surf under fresh N’lies. Winds will switch NW then W likely around or just after lunch, so that will be the session to aim for. By close of play we’ll have offshore winds across the region and rapidly easing NE windswell. 

Wed sees winds shift SW then SE as the low quickly scoots away to the SE. A fetch of gales out of Bass Strait later Tues will bring a flush of S swell to S facing beaches in the midday/a’noon, showing better from Sydney northwards with some 2-3ft sets. Not much elsewhere.

SE winds Thurs will hamper wave quality but there will be some small S swell in the water to 2-3ft with some bigger sets at magnets if you are really keen. Through the a’noon we will see the surface trough off the North Coast and extending NW/SE through the Tasman start to develop with SE-E/SE winds south of the trough line freshening. That may lead to some local windswell increasing in the a’noon but it will be accompanied by strengthening onshore winds so you’ll have to be hardy to have a crack at it.

That onshore E/SE-E flow continues into Fri and as the trough deepens, possibly into a closed surface low, and moves south we’ll see a steep increase in stormy swell sfrom the same direction. Expect size in the 3-4ft range early building to 5-6ft through the day with a possibility of more size if the low deepens faster than current models estimate. Sizey and straight onshore is on the menu.

This weekend (Apr 6-7)

Expect revisions on size, timing and most importantly local winds this week so stay tuned but the broad pattern has good model agreement leading to increased confidence.

By Sat morning we should see a surface low hugging the coast and tracking southwards. A broad infeed across SE and NE quarters of the low will see a range of swells trains incoming over the weekend, with plenty of size expected. We’ll peg it for now in the 6-8ft range but bigger surf is definitely possible. As the low tracks south we’ll see winds shift from E/SE-SE to S-SW then W/SW. That looks to occur during Sat so stay tuned as we update that through the week. Big surf should rapidly improve as winds shift offshore through Sat.

Under current modelling Sunday should be a cracker of a day with offshore winds most of the day (light a’noon seabreezes are possible) as the low continues south or stalls out on the far South Coast somewhere. Expect size to have come off the boil but still holding in the 3-5ft range, and slowly easing through the day. A wide range of good/great surf is likely Sun.

Next week (Apr 8 onwards)

Model divergence kicks in early next week with GFS suggesting a stalled trough line and continuing E’ly infeed across a very broad fetch suggesting a few really fun days of E’ly swell early next week with light winds.

EC has the E’ly fetch retreating into the South Pacific with smaller, but still fun E swell.

Both models have been favouring an outcome where the low remnants get picked up a cold front and a return S swell is generated later next week. 

With so much dynamism at play, expect revisions through the week.

Check back Wed for the latest.


Stu2d2's picture
Stu2d2's picture
Stu2d2 Monday, 1 Apr 2024 at 2:54pm

More exciting than a bells wrap up..