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If you’re looking to check the surf conditions in Croyde then Magicseaweed Croyde is an essential tool. In this quick guide to MSW Croyde, we’ll tell you how to find out the wave height, the swell period, the tide and the wind direction, the 4 essential elements to understanding the surf conditions.

Surf height in feet is the first metric used to measure the overall surf conditions at Croyde Bay. The way waves are measured by Magicseaweed are from the trough (the lowest point) to the peak (the highest point).

Wind direction is a very important component of surf conditions. The difference between an offshore wind and an onshore wind, or a gentle breeze and a stronger wind, can make or break a day’s surfing.

An offshore wind direction occurs when the wind travels from the shore or land, towards the sea. Off shore breeze helps the waves form a good shape, break more slowly and form the ideal shape for surfing.

Conversely an onshore wind direction occurs when the wind blows from the ocean towards the land. Onshore wind direction is the worst wind direction for surfing. The waves become blown out, break and form white water very quickly. The shape of the wave is flattened and surfing is often not fun or possible in blown out wind conditions.

Finally for a widely underestimated factor in determining the quality of the waves to surf on any given day, the swell period.

The swell period, or wave interval, is a measurement, in seconds, of the period of time it takes for 2 wave peaks to pass through 1 fixed point. The swell period is a vitally important factor to the quality of the waves on any one given day as, it measures the quality of the incoming waves.

The best quality waves are generated by ground swells hundreds of miles off the coast. 

Applying this to wave quality is easy. Short swell periods of < 10 seconds usually indicate that the surf is local or regional and has been generated by local winds or regional currents. A low swell period correlates to low quality waves.

When you see a longer period of 13 seconds or more, as well as light offshore winds, the chances of pumping powerful surf is on!

how swell period effects surfing conditions