Best Hours for Surfing in Charleston
While Charleston isn't the first destination that comes to mind with many surfers, it still makes for an excellent surfing experience. The best, and really only, beach to surf in Charleston is Folly Beach. Folly Beach is located 10 miles from downtown and is nicknamed "The Edge of America", as it is the eastern most point of the continental US.
When it comes to surfing in Charleston, timing and the hours you plan to surf are important factors if you want to catch the best waves of the day. Every swell and destination is different, but typically the mornings are the best hours to surf in Charleston. The wind is usually lighter and tends to pick up midday, but this isn't always true. We are occasionally blessed with days with no-wind and days with off-shore wind that keeps the surf groomed.
More important than the wind in Charleston, are the tides. Folly Beach is basically unable to be surfed at low tide. Ideally, you try to catch the incoming tide (mid-tide to high tide). Our sandbars need a little more water than most and the incoming tide will add a little more size to the waves. There are a lot of variables and you won't always get the wind or the tide right, but when it all comes together its magical.
The best place to look at the tide table is through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) website. There you can find the times for the most recent and next high and low tides, as well as the height predictions.
It's also important to note the beach traffic during prime season. Traffic is heaviest in mid-afternoon. Most local surfers take note of this, which is another reason why you will find many of them surfing during morning hours. Weekdays are obviously better for surfing then weekends due to the reduction of crowds.
So set your alarms and plan to wake up early to catch the best waves of the day. Follow the tide charts and be mindful of the beach traffic, and you are sure to have a nice, relaxing Charleston surfing experience.