The South Swell that refused to die

15 Jul 2011 0 Share

Unknown charging a beachbreak beast on the Central Coast of NSW on Monday July 11.

Unknown charging a beachbreak beast on the Central Coast of NSW on Monday July 11.

Northern Beaches Bombie 10 foot and brooding on Monday July 11.

Northern Beaches Bombie 10 foot and brooding on Monday July 11.

Swell Wrap
July 11-15, 2011.
Words By Ben Horvath.
 
Much has already been written about the phenomenal 10-day run of overhead southerly groundswell that coincided with the end of winter school holidays in NSW. There was mainstream news coverage on all the major free-to-air TV channels, the Telegraph ran a front page shot of Coastalwatch forecaster Benny Mac bailing on a solid closeout set at Bronte mid week, and Coastalwatch has run no less than six Standout Session video features focusing on everywhere from southern Tassie, the Coal Coast. Sydney's Northern Beaches, the Central Coast and northern New South Wales point breaks
 
The July 5-11 swell wrap we posted on Monday morning focused on the multiple pulses of south groundswell through last weekend and the epic Tuesday July 5 through Friday July 8 preliminary pulses.  This feature covers "Mental Monday" and the rest of this outstanding second week of south groundswell that refused to die.
 
A lot of over excitable crew have been busting calls like - "Best Winter Ever," but of course they have a short memory, because Winter ‘07 is the historical benchmark that will take a hell of a lot of beating – possibly the best six week period of surf in Sydney since surfing magazines and websites have been documenting swells.

 No one around at this well known southern Sydney reef on Monday. You would think it must have been pumping for days.

No one around at this well known southern Sydney reef on Monday. You would think it must have been pumping for days.

July 2011 certainly can lay claim to being right up there with the best fortnight of consistent overhead swell during a school holiday period in NSW though that's for sure.
 
Monday July 4 was the only surf less day during the entire fortnight winter grom break. By Tuesday July 5 it was three-four foot and offshore, sunny and pretty much flawless, and it pumped all last week. If you haven't perused last week's swell wrap check it here.

Coastalwatch's Ben Mac taking the escape route on a Bronte bomb.

Coastalwatch's Ben Mac taking the escape route on a Bronte bomb.

After an exceptional weekend of waves Monday July 11 dawned sunny, crisp and surprisingly uncrowded. I surfed flawless cylindrical four foot Cronulla Point with just a handful of others for a good hour and a half. By late morning it was five-to-six foot and very crowded. After lunch it was six-to-eight foot and top to bottom stand up tubes. Veteran tube-riding aficionado Steve Hare said, "It was without doubt the best day in years, probably the best Point day since June 07." Terapai Richmond was the standout emerging from several Hawaiian sized chambers.

It is not often you can tackle deep water power like this off Sydney.

It is not often you can tackle deep water power like this off Sydney.

In the eastern suburbs Bronte was lining up like a northern NSW point break at times, complete with sand churning bowl sections. On the northern beaches Dee Why Point and Long reef Bombies were the focus. Some solid 8-10f foot waves were ridden off Long Reef by Damien Hardman, Hayden Cox and the usual tow crew. On the Central and Hunter coasts certain south facing reefs peaked in the 10 foot plus range. The swell started easing late in the afternoon, but was still a solid six foot plus early on Tuesday morning.
 
Tuesday was also an exceptional day to be a surfer right up and down the NSW coastline. Solid three-four foot south groundswell lines made their way right up to Snapper. The North Coast points were still firing in the four-six foot range, whilst Sydney and surrounds was sunny, offshore all day and still a thick five-six foot plus.


Wednesday July 13 was freezing but still very worthy of a session or two. The maximum temperature in Sydney was a very chilly 12 degrees, but with plenty of four-five foot ruler-edged lines, plenty of hardcores braved the icy offshores.
 
Thursday was slightly bigger again, back up in the four-six foot range at times, but the morning offshore gave way to freshening south winds during the afternoon taking the edge of conditions and finally signaling that the party was coming to an end.
 
As I punch out my summary after an early morning surf check on Friday morning July 15 revealed wind effected three-four foot leftovers I can't help but reflect on how school hols are usually a frustrating time for older surfers. There are generally frothing groms everywhere, mid week crowds are usually at a premium and I for one often flick my daily surf routine during school break unless it is exceptional. This July things have been different. I enjoyed numerous uncrowded Cronulla Point sessions and even a sneaky island session or two minus the usual masses - I guess because it has been pretty cold and there have been that many waves to go round in the last fortnight that even the frothing groms have been surfed out.

Coastalwatch chief forecaster Benny Mac said, "The longevity of this swell episode was linked to a very large, complex low that became established beneath the Tasman Sea last Wednesday July 6. The low complex remained anchored deep beneath New Zealand; its eastward migration inhibited by a large downstream high centred over the Pacific Ocean. The low was reinforced by a succession of polar storms and frontal systems tracking beneath the continent this week, sustaining a gargantuan low pressure system that’s still occupying a vast area of the Southern Ocean below the South Island."
 
Lets hope the swell consistency we have enjoyed for just on 3 months now continues until winter's end, because historically August can be testing at times, as stiff westerlies have been known to keep swell at bay for days and sometimes weeks on end.
 
Bottom line is we are in no position to complain. We have enjoyed a great run of waves way back since mid April really.

- Ben Horvath

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