There’s very few worse things you can be told in the world than that you just missed an epic session, where the blue sky was out in full force, the winds were steady and there weren’t too many other surfers on the sea.
Days like these are among the best for surfers, whether they are beginners or more experienced, but they can be easy to miss if you don’t know what to look out for.
The direction and strength of the wind, the calmness of the waves, even the amount of sunlight are all factors to take into consideration when understanding the best possible time to catch some waves, not only to have fun, but also to have a great learning experience.
The time of the day can make the difference between an epic session where you controlled the waves and improved as a surfer, and one where you struggle to stay on the board or can’t even paddle out because of the height of the waves and heavy winds.
There are however some key pointers that can make every surfer’s life easier that we have listed below that explain when these requirements are most likely to be at their best during not just the day, but also throughout the year, to ensure you can surf safely and at your own pace.
What Is The Best Time Of The Day To Surf?
With the light off shore winds and smoother perfectly shaped waves, the dusk and dawn rule for surfing is the best option.
The lighter winds in the early morning and early evening around sunset and sunrise are usually far calmer and easier to surf on than the choppier and more robust onshore winds that are more so seen in the afternoon.
Another big benefit of surfing at these times is avoiding crowded lineups and any potential surfers already on the waves.
A great part of surfing is enjoying the waves at your own pace, so seeing an open and spacious clear blue sea is never a bad thing.
These times also work great as a beginning or end to the day.
It may seem like a horrible idea to be getting out of bed so early, but once you’re out amongst the smooth waves feeling the salty fresh air against your face, you will feel glad you did.
Outside of dusk and dawn, surfing at night can be very beneficial and rewarding, however always keep in mind most places restrict surfing at night, and only do this if it is a surfing spot you know very well so you don’t crash into any unexpected rocks that you couldn’t see.
Rather than sticking to a firm routine you can also tell when conditions are most optimal for a good surfing session yourself.
If the wind outside feels decently light like it wouldn’t be heavy enough to produce choppy waves, and if you are able to see swell in the water, and of course if the sun is making a bright appearance, chances are the conditions for surfing will be perfect.
Keep in mind predicting this also requires a certain amount of luck since weather can change so quickly, however you can always stay tuned to your region’s surf forecast to get the most reliable indications of what the day’s conditions will be like.
Best Times For Beginners and Experienced Surfers
Dusk and dawn are great options for all kinds of surfers looking for a thrilling session, however there are some times of the day that could be more beneficial depending on what kind of waves you want to go up against.
The early morning is especially good for beginners who can use their bigger boards to enjoy surfing on the light and calm waves at their own pace, as opposed to the afternoon when the waves pick up a bit more alongside rising temperatures.
Tide tables can be a great way for beginners to know of other parts of the day where conditions are great, the table indicates the tide level in a particular area with lower tides making waves faster and more hollow, while higher tides produce friendlier waves, grating a good indication as to when conditions could be perfect throughout the day.
Experienced surfers may want to challenge their abilities with more hollow waves where they can get barrelled.
If this is the case, or you’re just looking for some decent waves that aren’t too still, you can try and score a ‘middle of the day’ session that can produce the best results with the temperature being at its highest, along with swell in the water and light to steady wind levels, making for a super fun session.
Best Times Of The Year To Surf
Time of the day is one thing, but are there really better times of the year to be surfing than others?
This is of course very dependent on where you live in the world, some areas can provide suitable weather for surfing all round, however the best months are often in the winter when waves tend to be bigger and the swells are more reliable.
The winter preference is shared in most popular surfing areas, California and Hawaii for example can be surfed all year round, however they are at their most optimal in the winter months to gain the best and most memorable experiences.
For a smooth and enjoyable surfing session, dusk and dawn are definitely the most optimal times where the waves will agree with you most, however everyone enjoys surfing differently, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different times and spots to find the best possible time for you to happily cruise among the waves.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is A Surfing Spot Important?
Having your own personal surfing spot can help you know what time is best to visit the more you become accustomed to it.
Soon you will be able to tell off by heart when the waves in your designated spot are optimal and what times the crowds arrive, so it is always worth finding one to make any surfer’s life easier.