by Ben Horvath


The first 6 or so months of the year were pretty much par for the course wave wise in and around Sydney. There were good weeks and bad weeks, and a handful of standout days as you would expect in autumn and early winter. However, by the second half of July things deteriorated noticeably, so much so, that the back half of winter was without doubt the worst in recent memory in terms of swell activity, or should I say lack thereof.

The warmest July on record, was followed by the warmest August on record, which in turn resulted in the hottest winter on record. In recent weeks you could say it has also been an unusually warm start to spring too.

Dominant high – pressure systems have generally been pushing the majority of cold fronts well to the south for the past two months. The beautiful unseasonably warm weather has not been kind to wave hunting junkies in Sydney and surrounds.

Waves at last!

Thankfully all that changed rather dramatically on Monday September 16 when Mother Nature finally unleashed a brief bout of swell and rain producing havoc.  Around 57 mm of rain and howling NE winds battered Sydney and surrounds during Monday afternoon and evening.

As a result we awoke to a strong pulse of peaky, short range NE swell that exceeded all forecast expectations on Tuesday morning.

The initially lumpy E/NE swell peaked at a solid four to six foot across Sydney and the south coast on Wednesday morning, before easing a tad during the afternoon. Coastalwatch chief swell forecaster Benny Mac said, “The swell’s origin was a close range NNE fetch that briefly reached gale force strength on Monday night and Tuesday morning, setting up a localised spike in NE energy predominantly affecting the southern half of the NSW coast.”

There were plenty of chunky 4-5ft plus ENE peaks ridden right up and down the Sydney and southern NSW coast on Wednesday. Gusty offshore NW winds eventually cleaned the swell up during the day, delivering fun, peaky beachies on the afternoon incoming tide.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were a smidgen smaller, but way cleaner due to the predominantly straight offshore all day westerly wind regime.

Definitely the best week of waves in recent months.

Good Indo

Based on the general lack of waves in Sydney and surrounds this August/September i would argue that August/Sept and October are the best months to book an Indo or Maldives surf trip.

Most hard core Sydney surfers enjoy the consistent autumn/winter swells and predominantly offshore winds at home, but by late winter/early spring swell consistency generally eases, the water is at its coldest, and early season crowds come out of the woodwork as onshore sea breezes set in.

Several experienced Indo charter boat captains told me late season last year was best, and if you look at the standout Sept 3 swell this year and current forecasts for upcoming weeks Sept/Oct 2013 is looking like the most consistent time of year in Indo again.

Tengirri surf charters have had a great couple of trips and to see what waves have been doing in the in the past month or so:

All below photos courtesy of Tengirri Surf Charters

Written by:
Ben Horvath

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