What are the best times to surf?

The thought of paddling out into the cold ocean might tempt you to wait for the afternoon warmth before kitting out in your wetsuit and heading out for a surf. But truthfully, afternoons aren’t the best time of day to surf. In fact, they’re probably the worst! While there are favorable times and seasons, there are several factors that play a role when it comes to catching some gnarly waves.
One thing’s for sure – you definitely don’t want to miss out!

The Best Time to Surf

Any old-school surfer will tell you straight off the bat that the best time to ride waves is typically early morning and at sunset. Let’s just say that that’s the standing rule of thumb, and for good reason.

best times to surf

Love it or hate it, no one wants to surf in cold, choppy conditions and end up having a terrible time out in the water. That is why sunrise and sunset are the ideal times to chase those cookers and barrels. Scared of missing out? You’ll never miss an epic wave session again if you stick to this advice.

Sunrise brings an exceptional water swell, leading to perfect waves. Add to that, just being out there first thing in the morning, you’re likely to be one of few in the water. Let’s face it, when you’re trying to crush it out there, the fewer waves you need to compete for, the better!

Mornings and evenings also mean less wind as opposed to strong afternoon winds, but it’s still a good idea to check the weather each day before you go surfing. Wave heights and dangerous swells could be something to avoid for safety, especially if you’re a grom.

The Best Season to Surf


Many might think that peak season is the way to go, but history will show you that it’s actually the earlier and later parts of the seasons these days that bring the cookers!

Summer is without a doubt the most popular season to surf for obvious reasons, the water isn’t freezing cold! Also, the days are longer, the surf vibes are in the air, and generally, you can catch a cracking swell with light wind and the sun shining down on you.

Wind swells can still be expected, but they’re far lighter than during Spring. Checking the weather forecast is non-negotiable before surfing, no matter which season it is, and it’s always wise to stay on top of hurricane swells.


While surfing in the fall is a little colder, the good combination of swells bringing great beach breaks is all the convincing you need to hit out into the water this season. It's also a significant time of year to experience crisp mornings and offshore winds. Bonus point for the decrease in tourists taking up space in the water, allowing you to enjoy more waves.

Why Surfing is Better in the Mornings and Evenings

No Queues:

If you have just loaded up your caddy with suit and surfboard at 7 am, the odds of lining up to get in the water are few. True, other surfers are doing the same and heading out there first thing, but the number is still far less than peak time when you’ll just be overwhelmed from the outset.


If you’re after a quality surf at your local break, the wind speed and direction are crucial.

The most favorable surf spots privilege offshore winds or no wind at all. You can expect this kind of quality at dawn and dusk when the temperature of the water equals the temperature of the surface of the earth. Once morning breaks, both of these temperatures diverge, and onshore winds will dominate. That’s when choppy waters and fast-breaking waves start appearing.

By midday, there’s no trace of glassy water, and the main thing to consider is that calm and offshore winds visit dawn and dusk.

Your Health:

Move aside waves, step in health! Did you know that early morning sun provides great health benefits, including Vitamin D, detoxification, mood elevation via serotonin, immunity and digestion improvements, and protection against multiple skin problems? Nope? Well, there you have it! Another reason to get an early start in the water, to be exact, is between 6 am and 10 am.

Perfect Start to the Day:

Starting the day with exercise is already mood-enhancing. Starting it with the satisfaction of riding the perfect waves outdoors in the water will be an unforgettable start and set you up in the best way to approach your day.

Why Dawn and Dusk are the Best Times to Surf

Dawn patrol is a thing! You don’t want to get all caught up amongst regular beachgoers on your surf mission, so beat them by hitting the shore at sunrise. We know it’s not easy to set an early morning alarm, but once you’re there and you’re in the water, you’ll forget all about the time!

Dawn and dusk waves are the best because of the wind conditions. Offshore winds are much lighter at dawn and dusk. Not only will you be riding the best waves of your life, (okay we’re going with best case scenario here), but it also allows for smoother breaks. Waves are far harsher for surfing during the afternoon.

Other advice is to scout out a few forecasting sites that are reliable and easy to navigate. Surfers peruse these trusty sites for all information about the size of the wave right through to the period and energy in a specific location. Major forecast indicators include:

  • Wave height
  • Wind direction and strength
  • Tidal movement

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. In short, mornings and evenings are the best time!

You could also get lucky midday if you happen to drive past and see epic waves brewing, but for any more questions about when you should surf, connect with us and let’s catch the best wave together!