Easing swells into the weekend with some S pulses ahead

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)

Sydney Hunter Illawarra Forecast by Steve Shearer (issued Wed May 22nd)

Features of the Forecast (tl;dr)

  • Easing swells Thurs with light winds
  • Possible small bump in S/SE swell Fri with nice morning winds
  • Light winds now expected for the weekend 
  • Small S’ly groundswells this weekend, slightly bigger Sun
  • Bigger S’ly groundswell Mon with light winds
  • Light winds next week as high pressure moves into Tasman with some small S swells


Energetic S/SE swell yesterday offered up a few morning options with 3-5ft of surf and morning offshores which groomed some of the S’ly bump before winds clocked around S’ly. Slightly better angled SE swell in the 3-4ft range today with morning offshores again trying to clean up the S’ly lump and bump. Some long period S swell is currently making landfall from a polar low with sets to 4-5ft at direct S facing beaches and reefs. Another day of S’ly winds is ahead once the morning offshore breezes clock around. 

Better angled swell is seeing more energy into sheltered spots

This week (May 22-24)

Dominant high pressure has ever so slowly drifted NE up over the Victorian/NSW interior, with winds slowly easing as the low which was in the Tasman exits stage left. Another reinforcing high cell moves in from the Bight later this week, with a small trough off the NSW coast disrupting the S’ly flow. Local swell sources dry up but polar lows better aimed at Pacific targets will send some long period S swell up the pipe over the weekend and early next week before a more subdued outlook takes hold.

In the short run we’ll see easing swells through tomorrow, with a small blend of S/SE around to E/SE swells holding 2ft (occ. 3footer) surf at exposed breaks and easing S swells to 3ft early. Cleaner conditions should be more widespread as the ridge breaks down and local pressure gradients ease, allowing a longer offshore period through the morning before light S’lies kick in. 

Similar winds Fri so nice and clean at least until late morning. Small again, with just a minor SE swell to 2ft at best across exposed stretches. We may see just a small bump in size midday as a fetch lingering near the South Island sends some SE swell our way. No great size but keep an eye out for a few 2-3ft sets.

This weekend (May25-26)

A small trough we mentioned in Mon now looks to stall out off the Central NSW Coast this weekend, bringing a light/variable tending SE flow even though a high sits near Tasmania. That's good news for local surf conditions with morning offshore breezes tending to light S-SE breezes in the a’noon. Long period S swell in the 14-16 second period band should offer up some 3 occ. 4ft sets at S facing beaches with some bigger sets possible on the Hunter.

Local winds feeding into the trough look just strong enough to produce some short period S/SE-SE swell ion the 1-2ft range but we’ll revise that on Fri. 

Similar winds Sun with lingering clean conditions well into the late morning or lunchtime. S groundswell looks to be a smidge bigger than Sat with more consistent 3-4ft sets at S facing beaches bigger on the Hunter and reliable magnets. Much smaller away from S facing beaches.

Next week (May 27 onwards)

High pressure finally moves into the Tasman early next week so we should see light winds to start the week. S-S/SE groundswell from the slowed forward movement of a polar low gyre as it enters the New Zealand corridor should send some nice 4 occ. 5ft sets to S facing beaches, albeit with a wait for sets.

A weak front later Mon may supply some small S swell into Tues, along with easing S groundswell. Winds should be good, offshore tending to a’noon NE seabreezes.

Light winds should occupy the rest of next week. Small S swell from the front and a poorly aligned fetch near NZ send some more small S-S/SE swell our way later Wed into Thurs - likely to be in the 2-3ft range.

Looks like easing surf into next weekend as high pressure moves into the Central Tasman, with a trade flow in the Coral Sea sending some small E swell to the sub-tropics and not much happening south of Seal Rocks.

We’ll see how it’s looking on Fri.

Seeya then.


FrazP's picture
FrazP's picture
FrazP Wednesday, 22 May 2024 at 12:29pm

Was onshore and quite blown out here this morning at 7.30 FR. Plenty of swell though

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Wednesday, 22 May 2024 at 12:46pm

Some longer period S in the water from one of those polar lows too.

john_c's picture
john_c's picture
john_c Wednesday, 22 May 2024 at 1:51pm

On the pump again!

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 22 May 2024 at 1:57pm

Endless run of south groundies.

brownie48's picture
brownie48's picture
brownie48 Wednesday, 22 May 2024 at 3:18pm

And horrible south winds every morning to go with it at exposed locations. Worst autumn ever if your local faces south

john_c's picture
john_c's picture
john_c Wednesday, 22 May 2024 at 3:40pm

Been offshore W/SW most mornings on the Nth Beaches

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Thursday, 23 May 2024 at 8:24am

Not enough for the true south magnets but, they've been raw and ridgey.

I concur it's been a very average autumn.

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout Thursday, 23 May 2024 at 8:18am

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Thursday, 23 May 2024 at 3:41pm

Hard to believe this is May: