May 24 - 30, 2020: Issue 451


Storm Swell: May 2020

A deep and complex low pressure system is bringing large southerly surf to exposed parts of the New South Wales coastline. This low is expected to linger in the region over the next few days before slowly moving away to the east.

Surf conditions with waves exceeding 5 metres in the surf zone, are likely for exposed coastal areas of the South Coast, Illawarra and Sydney Metropolitan districts during the remainder of the weekend. These conditions may produce localised damage and coastal erosion to these areas. Coastal areas exposed to a southerly swell will be most susceptible. Beach conditions in these areas could be dangerous. The Bureau of Meteorology has also issued a gale and wind warning.

Snow has also been falling across the Central Tablelands and Blue Mountains since Thursday night and these icy conditions are set to persist for most of this week, with the BOM forecasting temperatures in Sydney averaging from 12 to 18 degrees.

On Friday the first of the large sets of waves being driven by winds against the coast arrived with the dawn, inspiring experienced surfers to take to and test out their favourite spot. However even those familiar with how the water moves at their beach found the conditions too extreme with many not making it out the back through the large breaking swell and returning to the sand.

By lunchtime Friday the wind was still strong and the waves breaking from just beyond the headlands, making a white wash all the way in to the beach-ocean edge but slightly smoother although lumpy in places waves out the back or just off reefs. Residents at Avalon Beach were stoked watching multiple World Champion surfer Kelly Slater catch 10 foot - 3 metre waves at Little Avalon - this great video posted on Facebook by Zac Miles, VID HERE, showing one of the clearest captures of this regular in action. Mr. Slater hadn't surfed Avalon for a while, and broke two boards in the process, but was still happy enough to spend time talking with local 'groms' once he came in. The local youngsters weren't the only ones thrilled with him being among the crew, older residents (their dads?) stating it was a 'bit of a treat to see the legend in action' here again.

All day Saturday the combers rolled in, with people sharing photos of BIG waves towering over oceanfront rock pools or breaks that were working well and those catching a few waves. The rides weren't as long on some beaches as they were on others, but the drops from the lip at places like North Narrabeen meant this swell is only for a handful of the proficient with the right equipment.

A few captures from South Avalon headland taken mid afternoon, low tide, yesterday - the 4th or last, 5th wave in these sets was the one caught:

This gentleman was the only one still out at Little Avalon - the 10 or so surfers then out at Avalon Beach were out beyond the pool at South end - a fair way out. These two shots, half a second apart, indicate the size of the waves via the size of the human.
A few more wave indicators:

Some Sequences

Photos by A J Guesdon