Surf Season - The best time to surf?

surf season calendar

Quite often you can read the question of when is actually the best time to surf in the different countries. So e.g. when is the surf season in Bali, Sri Lanka or in Costa Rica?
// scroll to the season table

When is the surf season in a specific country?

Of course, this question is not always answered flat rate, since good waves depend on a few factors that are also quite weather-related. And in times of climate change, we all know by now that the weather and the seasons are starting to shift a bit.

But on the basis of the historical statistics and the discussions with the various Surfcamp providers and Surfschullehrern locally one can say at least in which period of the yearly one has high chances on good surfable waves in the appropriate countries. When there is usually the best time to surf, you will find below in the table.

For example, in Morocco and the Canary Islands in summertime, there are always strong trade winds that hit the coast, which means that in the summer months in the Canary Islands and on the mainland in Morocco, there are no such good waves.

How do you get good surfable waves?

In order to understand how useful and good waves are created for surfers, we first have to make a little digression in the matter of wave science.

The following important factors influence whether and when good waves arrive at the coasts:

  • Wind direction: Together with the Groundswell, wind direction is one of the two most important factors in wave formation. For example, when a strong wind bangs directly on the coast, ie a strong onshore wind, it usually destroys the wave formation and there are no clean well surfable waves. However, if the wind blows mildly to moderately offshore (offshore) direction, then the waves often build up especially nice and clean and are then very well surfable.
  • Wind force: In all countries and in all spots (except the North and Baltic Sea) you do not need strong winds on the coast to bring good waves. Light winds do not disturb the wave formation, but too strong winds, or even storms can destroy the waves formed by the swell (one speaks of "blown waves").
  • Strength of the groundswell: The stronger the underwater movement in the sea, the bigger the waves can be created. But some spots, e.g. In smaller bays, too, it can not produce good waves if you get too much incoming swell.
  • Swell direction: The direction of underwater wave motion in the ocean also plays a big role where good waves meet the coast.
  • Wind-protected coastal formation or Bay: At some spots, rocks lying in front of the bay in the water help to protect a coastal formation away from the wind, the spot and the rolling in waves from strong winds
  • Tides: At some spots the waves build up, e.g. better between low-tide (lowest point at low tide) and mid-tide (medium level at high tide), at other spots again only during the low tide period, ie between high tide (highest level) and low tide (lowest level)

As you can see, a number of important sea and weather factors play a major role in the creation of clean, well surfable waves. Therfore the best surf season in a country can not be defined as 100% based on season or months.

Overview of the surf season and recommendation for the different countries

Country or Islands Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Okt Nov Dec
France yes yes yes yes yes     yes yes yes yes yes
Spain (North) yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Spain (South) yes yes yes yes yes       yes yes yes yes
Portugal yes yes yes yes yes     yes yes yes yes yes
Canary Islands yes yes yes yes       yes yes yes yes yes
Morocco yes yes yes yes         yes yes yes yes
England yes yes yes yes yes       yes yes yes yes
Ireland yes yes yes yes yes       yes yes yes yes
Iceland yes yes yes yes yes       yes yes yes yes
Scottland yes yes yes yes yes       yes yes yes yes
Denmark yes yes yes yes yes       yes yes yes yes
Indonesia     yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes  
Australia yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
New Zealand     yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
India and Sri Lanka yes yes yes   yes yes yes yes yes   yes yes
South Africa yes yes yes yes yes       yes yes yes yes
Senegal yes yes yes yes yes yes     yes yes yes yes
California yes yes yes yes yes     yes yes yes yes yes
Mexiko yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
El Salvador     yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Nicaragua     yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Costa Rica yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Panama       yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Brazil yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Barbados yes yes yes yes yes       yes yes yes yes
Bahamas yes yes yes           yes yes yes yes

 

In the following article you can read how to find a suitable surfcamp for your surf-level and your needs.

And if you are a beginner in surfing you should read the next article about where learn to surf as a beginner.

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