4 main things to pay attention: reading the forecast

Norbert Ferenczi
23 of February 2023
4 main things to pay attention: reading the forecast

Surfing always starts with preparation and one of the main parts is to figure out how the waves are going to be at your desired surf spot.

While the ocean is pretty unpredictable and you only know it for sure once you get there, there are a few good applications to check in advance.

On Magicseaweed, Windguru or Windy you are gonna find many signs and marks. It might seem like this is all from ancient Egypt but in this article we gonna make things easy for you and introduce the 4 main things you must check before you hit the road and save some petrol!

If you are a beginner of reading forecasts I would recommend to use, “Magicseaweed” since this app provides you with a 5 star range of ratings and colored marks too for the wave size and wind! 

Swell (how big are the waves)

Very important to pick our surfspot compared to our surf level so the main thing you want to see is how big the waves are.

Highs of around 0.3-0.5 m(light blue color) can already give you some fun waves under which it is mostly considered flat. 0.5-1.5 m(blue color) is the range where you can really have some fun and still not be too dangerous for an intermediate surfer.

Above 1.5 m(dark blue color) you already have to be confident of wave riding and holding your breath in case you wipe out or the big set breaks on you. Last but not least most of the beach breaks are becoming almost  not surfable above this range and you only gonna find those good old closeouts breaking down into foam rapidly. 

Nazaré, Portugal


Lots of people who are not into surfing think that a surfer loves the wind because that creates the waves.

The funny fact is that actually the opposite surfers mostly like the less wind possible to have clean waves. There are different kinds of winds Onshore (from the sea) Cross shore (along the sea) and the one we actually like because it makes the waves taller and more rideable is Offshore (from the beach).

To know if the wind is ideal is also mandatory to know which direction facing the surf spot so you can track down with the arrows.

Or an even easier option is to look for the colors ! Green means ideal Yellow means moderate Red is a no go.

Period between waves

The longer period simultaneously will cause better quality of waves. The waves are gonna get more powerful and for beginner surfers the best advantage is the more time between waves to catch your breath.

If you are looking for a decent surf you are looking for numbers above 10s but under this range until 6s you can still have fun , under this number you must be a very optimistic surfer to smile during your session.

The tide

For this to be accurate you must know what kind of tide works best for your beach. This info you can get from the applications or talk to any local surf school and they will be happy to deliver you the answer!

At the MSW app you can track the tide if you scroll down to the bottom , you will see a big green wave.

Top of the green wave is high tide and the bottom of the green wave is low tide. 

Magicseaweed forecast

At the end all surfers like to complain about all of these conditions , we never put ourselves as the responsible for our poor performance so I would recommend once you decide to paddle out just do your best, focus on your performance and be adoptive of any conditions to bring out your best!