Is It Better to Surf at Low Tide or High Tide: What Is the Best Time?

Consistency is the key to enjoying surfing. Whether you surf on a high or low tide, consistency in your ability improves your chances of catching waves.

What’s more, as the tide rises and falls it draws different types of waves into the mix. High tide might bring a swell that breaks right at shore as well as larger wave sets out in deeper water whereas low tide often generates shorter rides with more subtle power.

Along with consistency and patience for better waves, it’s important to know whether you’re a peak or bottom surfer before going out. Bottom surfers enjoy riding lower-powered waves while peak riders want to get up higher on their board and ride down-the-line to catch bigger longer rides from greater heights over less distance.

You can easily tell a bottom surfer from a peak rider because the bottom surfer’s board is lifted higher in the water. The peak rider’s board, on the other hand, will be more parallel to the surface of the water.

A common mistake among beginner surfers is trying to catch waves they’re not suited for.   If a rider spends too much time on the inside of the priority zone, they will often find themselves catching smaller waves that are not big enough to get off the bottom.

Finding good waves is all about timing and knowing where to go at any given time, so it’s important you know when each spot breaks best. The best way to do this is to watch more advanced riders who have an idea which waves they should be catching.

What tide is best for beginner surfer?

The best tide to go out and learn how to surf is during a low tide. Low tides are the easiest time to catch waves because you don’t have as much surge in the water.

When there isn’t too much surge, it’s easier to control your board and stand up while riding in on waves without getting pushed around by currents as much. This is why low tides are best for beginners because you can enter the water with your board and start paddling around to get comfortable without having to worry about getting sucked in by a current or overcome by the strength of an incoming wave.

This question shouldn’t be confused with knowing when a certain spot breaks best .   When we talk about tides, we’re talking about the gravitational pull on the oceans water which creates a rise or fall in sea levels. Low tides are when there is minimal lunar tidal influence, while high tides occur when there is maximum lunar tidal influence or “spring” tide (the term refers to the full moon’s gravitational force).

Surf forecasting  tools like and Surf Forecast Pro are great for predicting tides , however, the best way to predict a swell is by using intuition and experience of when the best days to surf are by noticing patterns on your own.

Is low tide bad for surfing?

In most cases, low tides are not bad for surfing because they’re generally in the middle of a swell when it’s breaking the hardest. You can still catch waves on a low tide, although you may experience more current-induced turbulence and have to maintain better posture to avoid getting pushed around by surges as you paddle around waiting for waves.

However, low tides may cause a lull in the amount of waves breaking if a high tide is coming soon or if a storm front just passed through before the swell. Under these conditions, low tides can be bad for surfing because spots with shallow breaks where large wind swells are most likely to penetrate will have less water to break over.

Surf forecasting tools will give you swell height, period, direction and how much that swell is expected to penetrate the coastline . So if there’s a low tide during this time, it may still be safe to go out and surf because the storm swell can still break but just not as hard.

On the other hand, if there’s no rise in sea levels, the storm swell may be broken down significantly and not be worth going out to ride. In this case, high tides are best for surfing because there will be more water at the right spots during a high tide vs. no tide at all which causes offshore winds and poor weather conditions to kick in quickly.

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