These days, with modern weather technology, you can see a good swell coming days in advance, and plan accordingly. It can be pinpointed almost to the hour when the forecast swell is going to peak, when the tides are going to be the best and when the winds are going to be optimal. For the best forecasts check
Then when it comes to the actual day, a day that good surf is guaranteed, there are still timing plans to be made.

This shift consists of the first surfers in the water, with many paddling out in the dark. These surfers are often trying to squeeze in a few waves before clocking in at the office, and are often tense and stressed, and hussling to get as many waves as possible.
First Shift: The Dawn Patrol
During the course of a good day at any particular surf spot, there are busy times and quiet times, and planning around these times can also be helpful in your wave count.
First shift surfers do not give many waves away, and are often resentful of people who have the luxury of a day at the beach.
Second Shift: Late Morning
A less intense, somewhat lazy time to go surfing, the late morning shift is usually relaxed and social, with plenty of waves for everyone and an easy vibe in the water. The last morning surfers are usually for students, trustafarians and the unemployed, and there is no pressing need for high wave counts. This is a good time to go surfing.
Third Shift: Lunch Time
Surfers race out of their offices, or head out from board rooms and race down to the beach to get a few in the hour-long lunch time break. These surfers are also chasing wave count, and are not going to give any space to people who have the day off or who do not need to work.
Fourth Shift: Afternoon Session
Another relaxed session, this is for surfers who have been cruising around all morning, waiting for a good time to go surfing, and haven’t a care in the world. The lunchtime surfers are back in the office, the late morning shift is finished, and those surfers are tired.
Many people have left the beach by now as well. This is another good time to get your wave count up quickly, and to not feel too much pressure from the crowds. The afternoon session usually results in these surfers hanging around at the beach afterwards, chatting in the car park, talking with friends about boards and the conditions, and watching the last desperate crew racing down to catch a few in the last shift of the day. In Norway, however,  the sun stays out for so long that these shifts become redundant. Surfing in Norway -
Fifth Shift: Sunset Session
For the few surfers who haven’t managed to fit in anything during the day, and who have been watching the cams and reading the reports all day of how good the waves are. These surfers are possibly the most tense, and are chasing their wave counts against the dying of the light. Forget about any chit-chat or any tolerance in the water, they just want to get a couple before the sun goes down and don’t want to hear how good it was earlier or what they missed. If you’ve had a good session already, the Sunset Session is the one to miss. It is unfriendly, and the one session where everyone hassles to get his or her fair share. 
*** Sixth Session: Full Moon Fever
In some locations, where the water is warm and the waves break close to shore, there are some surfers who venture out under the full moon. These surfers are guaranteed an uncrowded session, but this is fairly dangerous for sharks, and very rare. Most notable location for Full Moon Sessions is Snapper Rocks, on the Gold Coast of Australia. See some night surfing here -