Words and photos by Ben Horvath.
As most Sydney residents were busy mopping up after the wettest March morning in nearly 30 years, surfers dusted off their bigger boards and tucked into the first solid swell of autumn 2012.
Heavy rain and howling southwest to south winds on Thursday morning March 8 caused traffic and transport chaos all over Sydney and surrounds as flash flooding closed roads and railway lines and muddied the waters on our beaches.
The rain was caused by a low pressure system in the Tasman Sea that intensified as it moved back towards the NSW coast early on Thursday morning March 8.
Observatory Hill recorded its highest daily rainfall - 109 millimetres - in almost five years. Lucas Heights, SW of Cronulla, received the highest in Sydney - 134 millimetres in the 24 hours to 9am.
It was Sydney's wettest day since June 9, 2007, when ''the Queen's Birthday East Coast Low'' delivered a macking 10ft SE swell and dumped 112 millimetres of rain.
The rain was too intense to contemplate going for an early morning surf on Thursday, but by mid to late morning as the Tasman Low drifted SSE, winds shifted SW, the skies cleared and the swell cleaned up.
By late afternoon water surface conditions were quite smooth and the swell was a chunky 4-6ft with solid 8ft bomb sets.
As the skies and roads cleared heaps of crew ditched work early to enjoy what was arguably the biggest afternoon of waves so far this year.
Southern corners right up and down the NSW coast were the pick, but by late in the day some of the more open stretches cleaned up.
South of Sydney was solid. Some well known reef and point breaks on both the Leisure and Coal Coast were a chunky 6-8ft plus on the sets. Cronulla Point and Lurline were the pick of the southside.
Here's a few shots from around the beaches...