How to Read a Surf Forecast

The tool I use to check surf conditions is surf-forecast. Get the mobile app, search for your spot and see the Overview to get better idea of the location:

This picture will help to analyze the Forecast:

Left to right:

  1. The wave size3-6ft are great, 6+ft are for experienced surfers. Nevertheless you can have fun on smaller waves, just be sure to get a bigger board, as an example I use a 7'4" midlength on ≤3ft conditions, but any long/funboard will do
  2. Swell periodat least 8s is ok, 15+s is great. Swell period is a time between waves, it also tells us the quality of the waves. Long-period ground swells accumulate more energy, travel faster and can cope with local winds and currents. Under 4s means it's a wind-generated swell and is no good.
  3. Swell direction
  4. Wind speed and directionoffshore or very light wind is good for surfing, and is marked green. Orange is when it's stronger or onshore, red is when it's too strong. Wind is very important, strong wind will chop the waves.

There is an overall star rating which combines all factors above.

The last important thing is a tide. This is because the seafloor takes part in forming waves is different depending on it. Some spots are better during high tide, some during low tide and others are good either way. This is one of the first things to check at a new spot.

Other notes:

  • Point/Reef breaks mean the wave breaks predictably in the same direction, while Beach break waves break randomly in different places
  • Don't forget to use the SPF, recommendation is Australian Gold Botanical

Happy surfing! 🤙