Is onshore wind good for surfing?

Onshore wind blows from the ocean or water towards the land in the same direction as the incoming swell. This can affect breaking waves and lead to messy or even stormy conditions, less clean open faces and fewer peeling waves.

But this can be the perfect training ground for more advanced surfers.

To properly answer ‘is onshore wind good for surfing’ we first need to understand a bit more about onshore wind.

Some onshore winds can be better than others

Different directions of onshore wind can be better than others depending on lots of variables like whether it’s a beach, reef or point break, swell direction, shelter from wind and even your level of ability and the manoeuvres you’re trying to complete.

If you’ve got a large cliff or break wall to shelter behind, onshore winds may not even affect the waves. This all depends on how onshore the winds are and if they are blowing across or directly behind the incoming swell.

Personally, I’ve always preferred surfing forehand vs backhand in onshore waves because you can generate speed just that little bit quicker and react to incoming sections much quicker.

Direct onshore winds

Direct onshore winds are going in exactly the same direction as the swell. These can often be the hardest winds to deal with, and finding shelter can be tricky because you need to find spots that need considerable-sized waves to even begin to break.

Bends in river mouths and estuaries can often light up in huge swells and have enough angle to be partially offshore when main-facing beaches are completely unsurfable.

Cross onshore winds

Cross onshore winds are often referred to as just ‘cross onshores’ by many surfers. Unlike direct onshore winds, there are often beaches, reefs or point breaks that give you a bit of shelter when the wind starts blowing.

You also won’t have to sacrifice as much swell size as a simple kink in the coastline or beach can provide the angle required to negate cross-shore winds.

As many amateurs to advanced surfers know, surfing with the wind blowing towards you really helps your board stick to your feet, which can help with snaps, airs and floaters.

Head over to our guide on offshore vs onshore wind to find out more about how you can take advantage of the wind to find better surfing conditions.

When onshore winds are good for surfing

  1. If you want to avoid crowds
  2. Trying a famous spot
  3. You are trying to improve your aerial repertoire or try out some new surf tricks
  4. Find some gems in the junk
  5. Less than 30mph
  6. You know a spot (secret spot link) that can handle the wind
  7. Softer sections mean easier landings

When you should probably give it a miss

  1. If you’re looking for barrels
  2. If you are a beginner surfer
  3. If there has been heavy rain
  4. If the winds are over 30mph

In conclusion, is onshore wind good for surfing? If you want to escape the crowds and have a bit of fun onshore winds can be a great way to surf with only a few others. If the wind gets over 30mph maybe give it a miss and if you’re trying to nail those air reverses, an onshore day at your local could be just the thing.