It can be quite overwhelming and look complicated indeed, but with a little knowledge under you belt, you’ll be able to pick your days quite easily!

🌊 SWELL SIZE (feet or meters)

  • Generally speaking the perfect size for beginners is 1 to 2ft.
  • For intermediates: 2-4ft waves are best as it gives you more face of the wave to progress your skills on.
  • You should keep an eye on the ‘Swell Period’, because it’s a lot more indicative of the actual wave size (see the next point).

Te Arai Swell Size: you need waves, but not as big as other beaches. 1ft or even 0.3-0.5m is plenty for beginners.

Side note: a 2ft wave, whilst looks and sounds small, is measured from the back of a wave and when you are actually in the surf, can seem quite big and intimidating!

WAVE HEIGHT - HOW TO READ A SURF CHART - AOTEAROA SURF

 

🌊 WIND DIRECTION (degrees, letters or arrows)

  • The perfect wind is no wind.
  • The second perfect wind is offshore: offshore = blowing from the beach to the sea.
  • These provide cleaner, more rideable waves.
  • A low onshore wave is even ideal for a beginner as it will crumble (create white wash) and much easier to get onto.
  • Low winds are okay.

If it’s blowing from left or right (cross shore) go against the wind and find a sheltered spot.
The wind direction on the charts refers to the direction the wind is coming from, not going to.

Te Arai Wind: No wind is ideal, on the East Coast the perfect offshore is a W, SW and even a S (as the point protects it) wind. NW = The wind is blowing from the NW (cross shore) is not great

WIND DIRECTION - HOW TO READ A SURF CHART - AOTEAROA SURF

 

🌊 SWELL PERIOD (seconds)

  • This is the time in seconds between each wave.
  • Short period (4 to 10 sec) – small waves with less energy.
  • Long period (10 to 25 sec.) – bigger, well organised waves with more energy.

Te Arai Swell Period: with regards to Te Arai, where there is a lot of time generally it is cleaner surf, when a short amount of time, the water is more of a washing machine. Over 7 is good, under 5 is poor, over 10+ is amazing, 18+ probably too big for a beginner.

SWELL PERIOD - HOW TO READ A SURF CHART - AOTEAROA SURF

 

🌊 WIND SPEED (kph, mph, knots)

  • You want light winds. Anything from 0 to 10kph is ideal.
  • No wind to very light wind means it doesn’t matter as much on the wind direction
  • Note: 1knot – 1.8kmh.

Te Arai Wind Speed: Low to no winds is ideal 0 – 10kph.

WIND SPEEED - HOW TO READ A SURF CHART - AOTEAROA SURF

 

🌊 TIDE (measured vertically)

  • Every break has its favoured tides.
  • As you get to know a beach and its sandbanks you will come to understand how tides play a big part – for now a good rule of thumb is not right on the low tide.
  • When you find yourself in conditions you like and you’ve had a good session, go to the weather forecast app of your choice (we recommend Marine Weather), examine and try to remember the exact values retrospectively.

Te Arai Tide: An ideal tide for Te Arai is mid – high for beginners. A high tide means fatter, slower, more easily rideable waves but sometimes right on high can mean that they are too difficult to catch.

TIDE - HOW TO READ A SURF CHART - AOTEAROA SURF

 

🌊 SWELL DIRECTION (degrees, letters or arrows)

  • The direction from which the swell is coming can be expressed in degrees or cardinal points.
  • As a general rule of thumb, a coastline facing west will get bigger waves if the swell comes from W, instead of NNW. That’s why the angle of a swell is so important.

Te Arai Swell Direction: Te Arai receives distant groundswells and the ideal swell angle or direction is NE. As a beginner this is not something vital to look at.

SWELL DIRECTION - HOW TO READ A SURF CHART - AOTEAROA SURF

 

🌊 SAND BANKS

  • Sand banks are important to keep an eye on as your surfing progresses.
  • When the waves are breaking from either the right to the left, or left to right in a slow, clean manner, (as opposed to dumping / breaking all the way along the wave at once) this means a good build up of sand under the water or a good ‘bank’.
  • Sand banks are moving and changing constantly, sometimes staying for months on end, other times lasting only a day or two, depending on the weather and tides.

Te Arai Banks: Te Arai’s beach break provides left and right handers. Look for an a-frame shape that peels either to the left or to the right.

SAND BANKS - HOW TO READ A SURF CHART - AOTEAROA SURF

A few last tips I found useful:

  • A left hand wave is a wave peeling to the right when you are looking at it from the beach
  • A right hand wave is a wave peeling to the left when you are looking at it from the beach
  • Left hand waves are easier to surf for ‘natural’ footers (right foot at the back of the board)
  • Right hand waves are easier to surf for ‘goofy’ footers (left foot at the back of the board)
  • The above point is because you have your stomach facing toward the wave as you ride along the face, giving you more control of the board.

& MOST IMPORTANTLY – relax, smile and always have fun!

 

Te Arai Summary:
Te Arai has some of the most clean, consistent waves on Auckland’s East Coast (rideable swell with light / offshore winds).

The best conditions reported for surf at Te Arai Point occur when a Northeast swell combines with an offshore wind direction from the West-southwest or no to very low winds from any direction.

For now use Marine Weather (its handy, all in the one spot graphically for up to 8 days ahead).

NEWS & OFFERS

BOOK SURF LESSON NOW!