It was the best of waves, it was the worst of waves. But what time of day is the best time to go surfing? It seems as though everywhere you go the general rule of thumb is that the waves are best in the early dawn. That can be true but it's important to remember when you talk waves you're really talking weather, opinion, and beach. All of which can fluctuate.
So what makes the morning swell so good? It tends to be a bigger, heavier wave. If you aren't an experienced surfer this isn't necessarily a good thing. It's also a little less crowded in the morning time. This can make for a more peaceful session and start to your day.
If you fall into a beginner or intermediate level of surfing perhaps you could benefit from the smaller afternoon swell. As a surfing instructor I always recommend to my first time clients they try Santa Monica or Zuma Beach in the afternoon so that the fun level is maximized and those frustrating bigger breaks are saved for when they have built up a little more experience.
Lastly, and my personal favorite time of day is the sunset session. Sitting in the water while the sun drops down under a pink blanket of clouds... there's nothing like it. The swell tends to pick up at the end of the day as well making for the perfect balance of the days waves.
So whatever time of day you choose always remember to surf safely and be considerate of everyone out there.