Tide Times: know when to surf | Photo: Shutterstock

Tides have a deep impact on surfing.

The rise and fall of sea levels affect the quality and the way waves break on the shores.
Tides are the result of the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the Moon and the Sun with the rotation of the Earth.

Check the tide times, tide tables, and tide charts for your local surf spot.

Tide Times and Currents in the United States of America

What are Tides?

There are three tide timings in the world.

When you get almost two equal high tides and two low tides in one day, you're experiencing a semi-diurnal tide.

When spots get two uneven tides a day - two high tides and two low tides - that is called mixed tide. Coastal regions with a diurnal tide experience only one high and one low tide each day.

Tidal period is the length of time between successive high or low tides

These tidal periods change from spot to spot, but tides usually have a fundamental period of 24 hours 50 minutes (lunar day), or 12 hours and 25 minutes.

Tides influence current flow and, therefore, waves and their power to generate surf.

Extreme high tides may produce waves that break on shore, while extreme low tides may drain water from the line-up resulting in dangerous close-outs.

Earth Tides: Sun and Moon affect the tidal process

When Sun, Moon, and Earth are aligned, we get spring tides, with high waters higher than average and low waters lower than average. This happens roughly twice a month, on New Moon and Full Moon.

Neap tides work the opposite way. When the Moon is in the first or third quarters, tides will be less extreme, which means there is no big difference between high and low tides.

Learn how the moon and sun affect tides and surfing.

The Rule of Twelfths is a rule of thumb for estimating the evolution of the tidal period in time. In the first hour, the depth of water only changes by 8.33 percent.

Types of Tides

Diurnal Tide

Diurnal Tide: only one high and one low tide in a day

Semidiurnal Tide

Semidiurnal Tide: almost two high tides and two low tides in one day

Mixed Tide

Mixed Tide: two uneven tides a day

Tide Times in Your Country

Where do you surf? When is the next low tide?

Check the tide times for your country by consulting the official national meteorological data:

Costa Rica
Fiji and South Pacific
South Africa
United Kingdom