to surf or not to surf

That is the question! Pitching your ability against the power of the ocean is what surfing is all about.  Only you know your own ability but there are a few things you can do to suss out what the ocean is going to throw at you.

One of the most frustrating, and equally most important, aspects of surfing is trying to predict conditions out on the water. These predictions are called surf forecasts. There are loads of websites that write up surf forecasts, some even 10 days in advance. As a club we use Magic Seaweed, but others like Wind Guru and Surfline are available. Although these websites are not always 100% accurate it is worth checking them out to get a general idea of what to expect. Still not convinced by the forecast? See how it's looking through the webcam at the Beach Ballroom.


sound like gobbledygook?

If you want to really understand how to read a forecast - check out our chapters about tide, stream, wave and rips - but here's some quick tips for those who don't have time and don't have a meteorology degree. There are four basic things to look at: swell height, swell direction, swell period and wind. Other things like tide play an important factor and are talked about in our theory pages. 

Swell Height

This is the height of the swell in deep water, usually measured in metres.

Swell Direction

This is the direction from which the swell is coming on a compass. 

Swell Period

This is the amount of time between breaking waves in seconds, the longer the better.


The direction and strength of the wind will affect the speed and shape of the wave.