Surf forecast guide

The surf forecasts are designed to make it as quick as possible to decide when and where to get the very best surf.


"4ft" means head high set waves.

There are many ways that people measure surf height and it gets confusing. Some measure from the front, some from the back, some the wave face, some not, and surf forecasts often give a broad range of heights, like "2-4ft".

To keep things simple and useful we use the average that UK surfers use, and give one height, which is the height of the set waves.


Recommended spots will be higher quality surf than the region average.

Surf quality is determined from many variables and ranges from poor, ok, good, excellent to epic. To make it quick and easy to find the best surf, quality is also colour-coded from grey to bright green, like this:

6 am0ftFLAT
9 am3ftPOOR
12 pm3ftOK
3 pm3ftGOOD
6 pm3ftEXC
9 pm5ftEPIC


Wave period (or interval) is the time between successive waves, in seconds.

Under 7 seconds: This will be pretty junky surf. You can surf 5 sec swells but paddling out is kinda crazy (you get thru one wave and immediately get hit by the next) and catching waves is tricky because you have so little time to position and paddle into the wave. But it can be done if you're desperate!

8-12 seconds: If there are light winds locally, this will be fairly long distance, lined-up swell. There will be some lulls (smaller waves) followed by sets (groups of bigger waves). Good surfing.

12+ seconds: If there are light winds locally, this will be long distance, lined-up swell, with well defined lulls (smaller waves) followed by sets (groups of bigger waves). Great surfing.

18+ seconds: Very long distance, super lined-up swell, with long lulls (smaller waves) for up to minutes at a time, followed by very obvious sets of much bigger waves. Superb surfing: plenty of time during lulls to paddle out, plenty of space and time between waves to get into position and catch a wave, and perfectly formed lines of surf. Crowded spots can get challenging, as a 20s period means just 3 waves a minute, and there will be lulls between sets of waves.


This is the wind speed and direction at the beach / reef.

To avoid confusion about wind direction, we show compass direction and wind arrows, like this:

22 mph

Sheltered spots (with a cliff / harbour wall / pier) can have good quality surf in strong winds. If a forecast says Good quality surf but also 25mph winds, it means the spot is sheltered from the wind. Don't be put off by the wind strength - trust the quality rating.


Tide times are adjusted to British Summer Time so they match your watch or mobile - no need to add or subtract an hour.

Also, tide times are adjusted for every beach, they are not times for a local port - no need to adjust tide times from ports to each beach. Tide times are accurate for every beach.


Recommended spots will be the ones getting the best quality surf.

Regional surf forecasts give you the average surf in each region and recommend when and where to go for the very best surf. Click on a recommended spot to see the detailed forecast for that spot, like this:

Recommendations are based on a calculation that looks at many variables, including winds, wave spectrum, wave focus, refraction, shelter and local knowledge.


At-a-glance view, showing the best days to go surfing.

QuickView is colour coded so you can see in an instant which days look promising. See at a glance whether to dig deeper into the forecast or whether to give it a miss.

Detailed view, showing the best time to go surfing.

DeepDive gives you a detailed view of the surf conditions every three hours for the next 7 days. Simple colour coding lets you see exactly what time the surf will be best.

Notifications so you never miss a good day!

FlashReports are packed with decades of UK surfing experience. You get advance notifications for not-to-be-missed days and sessions when there's a window of opportunity for great surf that others won't know about.

A unique calculation of the quality of the surf, displayed simply.

QualityCheck is determined using 7 different variables, every three hours, seven days a week. We do the complicated maths so you don't have to.

Clear recommendations on the best beaches to surf each day

BestBeach draws upon sophisticated computer modelling, combined with over 30 years of UK surfing experience, to give you clear recommendations on the very best beaches to surf for the conditions.

Spot-specific, detailed forecasts for every major beach and reef in the UK.

We combine local knowledge, bathymetry and computer modelling to give you an accurate forecast tailored to every beach.


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