Generally downgraded outlook this week but the weekend is looking good

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Mon April 22nd)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Small surf Mon/Tues with a minor S swell easing Tues under clean conditions
  • Minor background E/NE swell Wed-Fri offering up the occ. 2ft set
  • Winds shifting W’ly Wed before a SW-S change in the a’noon
  • S’ly winds Thurs with an increase in raggedy S swell
  • S swell improves a little Fri as winds ease
  • Clean conditions Sat with quality S swell on offer
  • Easing surf Sun with light winds
  • Small to start next week
  • More S swell on offer later next week


S’ly winds hampered wave quality over the weekend with a window of cleaner conditions Sat morning about the best of it. Size hovered in the 2-3ft range, a bit bigger on the Hunter. Today has seen cleaner conditions with light morning winds and workable 2ft surf across the beachies, a notch bigger at swell magnets. 

A few workable options to start the week

This week (Apr 22-26)

We’ve got a dominant (1035hPa) high pressure cell sitting just north of the Victorian border, bringing settled conditions and light winds to Central/Southern NSW and strong but easing SE winds in the sub-tropics where a trough of low pressure in the Coral Sea is currently active but dissipating and moving East. Some frontal activity to the south is poorly positioned and aligned but we will see a stronger frontal intrusion into the Tasman later this week, although not with an accompanying Tasman low as suggested on Friday.

In the short run we’re looking at a couple of quiet days to kick off the week. A small glancing blow of S groundswell tomorrow should provide some 2ft sets at S facing beaches (3ft at the best magnets) tiny elsewhere under clean conditions through the morning with W-NW breezes tending N’ly during the day.

Not much on offer for Wed with traces of leftover S swell and minor E/NE swell to 1-2ft at best at open beaches. We will see early NW winds tend W’ly as an interior low approaches, with a cold front sweeping through in the a’noon and winds shifting SW-S through the a’noon. We may see a small increase in short range S swell late in the day, but it will be minor and poor quality. Not worth working around. We’ll see some minor E/NE swell show through the day offering up the occ. 2ft set.

S’lies on Thurs as the front sweeps into the Tasman and a new high pressure ridge builds along the coast. The frontal fetch will generate an increase in mid period S swell for Thurs, from 3-4ft up to 4-5ft at S facing beaches during the day. You’ll have to lose a fair bit of that size to find shelter from the wind but there will be workable options around for Anzac Day with winds laying down in the a’noon. In the mix will be some minor E/NE swell filtering down from the tropics, offering the occ. 2ft set.

Similar size S swell for Fri although with the high still in the Bight S’ly winds will remain in place. We should see a morning SW flow, at least north of the Harbour, offering up some semi-clean options. Elsewhere, slightly messy 3-5ft surf from the S, easing a bit through the a’noon. Nothing amazing but a surf on offer.

This weekend (April 27-28)

We should see cleaner, Autumn conditions establish over the weekend. Saturday is looking good at this stage. A secondary fetch following the front slingshots into the Tasman later Thurs on an already active sea state and this should supply a nice strong pulse of S swell. Expect solid 4-5ft sets Sat, with some bigger waves at S swell magnets and winds look prime. Light offshore W’ly tending NW then light N-NE seabreezes in the a’noon.

Easing surf Sun as that pulse eases with some nice clean 3ft surf for the morning, dropping through the day. Light offshore winds through the morning with weak a’noon E’ly breezes.

Next week (April 29 onwards)

High pressure moving into the Tasman early next week suggests a quiet start to the week with light winds and small swells.

Small, background swells Mon and Tues with light winds.
We may see a S’ly change later Tues or into Wed around a weak trough with some stronger frontal activity moving well south in the lower Tasman.

That frontal activity suggests some moderate S swells later next week.

We’ll see what the troughy area does- it’s worth keeping an eye on for any signs of low pressure development, especially considering the time of year.

Check back Wed and we’ll update with all the latest information.