Weather News

Big surf comes to Sydney

Felix Levesque, Saturday February 3, 2024 - 12:15 AEDT

A very large southerly swell, more typical of the winter months, had moved into the Sydney coast overnight. 

Onlookers watching surfers brave the large swell. 

A powerful cold front which crossed the lower Tasman Sea on Thursday and Friday generated very large waves that reached the Sydney, and southern NSW coast, early this morning. Significant wave heights rapidly climbed to around 4.5m in Sydney this morning, with a maximum wave height of 7.2m also reached by the offshore buoy at 8am.  

Significant wave heights recorded this morning, as of 9am, with the Sydney buoy well exceeding other nearby buoys. (Manly Hydraulics Laboratory)

With plenty of Sydney beaches overwhelmed by the large surf, offshore reefs started to feather and break, with most local surfers opting for the few point breaks dotted around the beachside metropole. 

Distant offshore reef waves breaking as the huge swell moves over them. 

A common occurrence this morning: surfers scrambling for deeper water as large set waves broke large. 

The aftermath of a huge wave sweeping across the point, with onlookers watching from the safety of dry land. 

While the actual size of this swell is expected to have either peaked, or peak this morning, a longer period groundswell will overtake this current swell this afternoon. This combination of a new, powerful groundswell, with the slowly fading swell from this morning, will make for hazardous conditions on south facing beaches. The long period nature of this new swell will make it more energetic, but sometimes lully, meaning that the surf will ebb and pulse as each new set comes around. This will make for particularly dangerous and strong rip currents forming, and bring the risk of large waves sweeping over coastal rock platforms. 

A set wave reeling across the rock shelf. 

Surf will remain large early tomorrow morning, although quite noticeably smaller than today. The swell will be moving northwards, bringing a lingering hazardous surf warning to coasts from the Hunter to Byron coasts.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2024

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