How will winter 08 rate?

9 May 2008 0 Share

Fairy Bower, Manly

Fairy Bower, Manly

As we are now only a few weeks out from winter 08. Many Sydney surfers areundoubtedly pondering whether 08 could possibly match the epic winter of 07?

Recent models and weather conditions seem to suggest we are currently locked into a different pattern surf and weather wise than 07. There have been no cut off east coast lows since late summer/early autumn really.

There was a promising period of east swell during the recent school hols, but most days were onshore except the two standout days April 26 and 27 - the Anzac Day long weekend. Anyone who surfed on the East Coast of NSW last winter will remember one of the greatest seasons on record, probably the best June/early July in recent history, definitely since June 83 and arguably ever.

A bird's eye view

Ours

Ours

On the 13/07/07 Coastalwatch took to the air on the beaches north from Sydney airport during one of many winter 07 swell events, to record the images you can see here. The most noticeable feature in all the pics on this day is the fact that there were very few surfers out despite the quality conditions.

How do you explain it? Simple. The surf had been insane for the month prior, so all but the hardiest souls were calling a day like that a lay day. We had that many standout images on file of winter 07 that we have never had the chance to run these shots previously. Hopefully 08 dishes up a few more of these winter "Lay-days" for Sydney surfers.

For the record don’t forget you can access all our archived surf reports in our Surf Report History section under late drop on our homepage.

A comprehensive archive of every single CW surf report since 2002 is available. The day these shots were taken - July 13 was a clean 3-5ft out of the ESE. Winds were offshore WSW all morning before shifting SE. The day before was a solid 6-8ft plus with WSW winds. Explains the lack of people huh.

Remembering the waves of winter 07

South Head looking toward the city.

South Head looking toward the city.

A combination of factors contributed to the reality that June 07 will be remembered as one of - if not the most consistent month of waves ever.

Firstly, the normally consistent month of May was abysmal on the East coast. WA, SA Vicco and Tassie were drenched in consistent high quality surf during May, whilst on the east coast of oz the normally magnificent month of May was pitiful. Respected, experienced observers had no hesitation in calling it the worst May in memory.

The prolonged flat spell was due to a series of large high pressure systems lodging themselves in the Tasman during May according to Coastalwatch head forecaster Ben Macartney. Ben said,” A long wave trough near WA formed. All the southern ocean storms tracked up into WA and SA, before being deflected SE towards Tassie by the blocking highs in the Tasman.”

The Joey.

The Joey.

Mona Vale.

Mona Vale.

Narrabeen

Narrabeen

Long Reef.

Long Reef.

Dee Why

Dee Why

Fairy Bower.

Fairy Bower.

Lines pouring into Bondi, Tama and Bronte.

Lines pouring into Bondi, Tama and Bronte.

Sam McIntosh at Ours.

Sam McIntosh at Ours.

Video
Ours: Winter 2007(new window)

An intense series of low pressure systems generated large swells for the southern states in May, but the blocking highs kept those lows away from the East coast’s swell window until all hell broke loose on Friday June 8 when that now famous first East coast low intensified off the Hunter on Friday June 8.

There were three highly publicised East coast lows that bombarded the coast with 8ft+ waves within 14 days. There were also two other lows that slipped off down the coast a little, generating less publicity, but delivering arguably cleaner 6-7ft + swells.
There were in fact 8 separate low pressure systems that penetrated Sydney’s swell window in June (that is if you include the small to medium Sth that hit on June 1 and 2.) That’s an unbelievable average of two low pressure systems a week sending swells our way.

A whopping 510.6mm of rain fell on Sydney, making it the second wettest June on record. There were 16 rain days, and only 140 hours of sunshine out of a possible 300. The average maximum temperature of just 16.8 degrees was the coldest June in 18 years. All of the above can of course be attributed to the series of east coast lows that also delivered the epic waves.

“Ours” broke more days in June and early July than it did in 2006. Sydneys big wave proving grounds like Dee Why Point, Fairy Bower and Cronulla Point pumped for days on end in June and into early July

June 07 is the new benchmark. What will winter 08 deliver? Stay tuned and keep your expectations low, that way you can't be disappointed. Besides we are all about to find out in less than 3 weeks. - Ben Horvath.

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