Nice swell combo ahead, from the east and south

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Ben Matson (thermalben)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Mon April 15th)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Nice mix of S'ly and E'ly swell on Wed with light winds most of the day (keep an eye out for a pulse late Tues)
  • Easing swell combo Thurs with early light winds


Strong SE swells over the weekend maintained 4-6ft sets on Saturday, easing to 3-4ft on Sunday and still managing to produce good 2-3ft waves this morning. Winds have been mainly light so conditions have been generally clean.

(Please note: FC Notes will be variable in delivery this week as Craig is on paternity leave and Steve is covering Margs)

This week (April 16 - 19)

Easing swells will continue into Tuesday, with generally light winds maintaining clean conditions. You’ll have to head towards the south-friendly swell magnets as there won’t be much size on offer at sheltered beaches. 

Late afternoon, the leading edge of a new long period S’ly swell will make landfall, though we’re not expecting wave heights to peak until Wednesday. This swell will be generated by a strong frontal pushing south of Tasmania overnight, though it was downgraded a little in the latest model runs, so I have pulled back size estimates from Friday’s notes. 

Beaches with good southerly exposure should pick up slow, inconsistent 2-3ft+ sets on Wednesday (maybe even a small pulse late Tues too), though the most dominant swell on Wednesday will be long range E’ly swell generated late last week from a sub tropical low positioned south of Tonga (see below).

This should provide long-lined, better quality 2-3ft sets to most beaches - and once again, this E'ly swell is also due to nose into the coast late Tuesday, so keep an eye out for a possible evening session.

The combo of both swells should make for some very nice peaky beachies on Wednesday that might punch another foot higher at times when the swell trains merge together.

Wednesday’s looking nice and clean all round too, with light variable winds and weak sea breezes. Book in a session if you can. 

Gradually easing swells from both sources on Thursday morning should still allow for a window of fun (though slightly smaller) beachies with early light winds, though freshening southerly winds are expected throughout the day so you’ll need to get in early for the most size and best conditions. 

Friday’s looking a little dull with generally small leftovers and moderate southerlies winds about the coast, and the risk that a small low may form off the South Coast (which could accelerate wind speeds).. but there probably won’t be any significant new swell from this source until the weekend, just a small increase in local short range energy on Friday is about the best we can expect for now.

This weekend (April 20 - 21)

We’ve got a bit of an ordinary weekend ahead, especially given what’s been on offer in recent times.

A low developing off the South Coast on Friday holds most of the new swell potential, as we’ll otherwise see minor energy from distant, flukey sources including some peripheral southerly swell from poorly aligned Southern Ocean fronts. 

If Friday's low strengthens as modelled, Saturday will see bumpy 3-4ft surf at south facing beaches and small average options elsewhere under moderate to fresh southerly winds. Note: there is some timing difference between the models on this low, some of which have this southerly swell coming up on Friday, others have it on Saturday. Either way, it doesn’t look to offer anything spectacular in the surf department just yet.

Whatever swell we see on Saturday will ease back on Sunday with improving conditions as winds become light.

I’ll refine the weekend outlook in more detail on Wednesday.

Next week (April 22 onwards)

Right now there’s nothing special on the cards for next week, with the storm track generally aligned outside of NSW’s swell window. As such we’re expecting low swells from peripheral sources - generally smallish mid-period south swells from the Southern Ocean, which will generally favour south swell magnets for the most size, and one or two bigger pulses within the mix. 

Tuesday and Wednesday are on target for a decent push from this pattern with possible 3-4ft sets on offer, but we really need a few more days for things to firm up. 

See you Wednesday!