Posted on September 6, 2019 by Doug Robichaud
The words you never want to hear from another surfer when pulling up to a surf break is, “you just missed it, it was firing an hour ago”. These words truly break a surfers heart. The thought of just missing out on the best surf conditions is what we (surfers) fear the most. To avoid this situation entirely, you need to know the best time of day to surf.
The best time of day to surf is generally in the early morning (around sunrise) and in the late evening (around sunset) when there is swell in the water. However, if you are skilled enough to read surf reports like a surf scientist then you can discover pockets of good surf in the middle of the day and score a solo session at a usually crowded surf break.
This reason is specific to surfing in the early morning. If you’re paddling out at dawn or sunrise, the chances that you will be able to catch a few set waves with only a few heads out are exceptionally high.
The trick to beating the morning crowds is to wake up before the sun rises, throw on a wetsuit, and arrive at your local spot for first light. For most surfers, getting up at the crack of dawn is a necessary evil that we must face to ride our fair share of waves. Another way to avoid crowded lineups is to surf on the smaller days between big swells. These days can still offer you super fun waves without the hassle of a crowd.
Light offshore winds are the most important reason for why the surf is better in the morning and evenings. As a basic rule of thumb, the winds are typically lighter in the morning, stronger in the afternoon and occasionally become light again just in time for a beautiful sunset session. Always remember that light offshore winds will provide your local breaks with clean and perfectly shaped waves and gusting onshore winds will provide you with poor and choppy waves.
Even though it might be extremely difficult to leave your warm, comfortable bed in the morning, it will be worth it. Same goes for sunset sessions. Most of us work long hard days, but to start or end your day with a tranquil surf session will be rewarding.
As mentioned earlier in this article, the surf can be super fun in the middle of the day. When all the stars align (surf conditions), your local surf breaks can magically start firing when you least expect it. For surfers, these odd hour sessions are some of the most memorable ones because they occur less frequently and tend to be uncrowded.
To score an epic ‘middle of the day’ surf session, you need to diligently follow the surf forecast for your region. If there is swell in the water and the report reads that the wind levels will remain light into the afternoon, there is a good chance the surf will be super fun in the middle of the day.
Another way to score good waves in the middle of the day is simply by luck. Sometimes, you’re driving by one of your favorite spots and decide to see what the surf looks like, and voilà, the winds are light and the waves are pumping with only a few people out.
Simply put, the best time of day to surf is in the early morning and late evening. The surf is the best at these times because the winds are calm during the beginning and end of the day.
If you go surfing early enough, like for sunrise, you have the opportunity to catch your fair share of waves before the crowd shows up. There are times when the surf can be good in the middle of the day, you just have to stay tuned to your region’s surf forecast and know which conditions work best there.
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