An analytical theory is developed for the wave setup and setdown induced by obliquely incident waves on an impermeable swell-built beach profile. The wave setup and setdown are found to decrease as wave obliquity increases. The incorporation of wave obliquity in wave setup and setdown formulation offers the physical reality in engineering applications. The general solutions presented in this paper yield the limiting case of normal wave incidence and the result is consistent with the classical theories published. The present theory is primarily applicable to the spilling and plunging breaker,across the surf zone, within which wave amplitude is assumed to be linearly related to the local water depth. Experiments were conducted in a large-scale wave basin to compare with theoretical results and especially to investigate the applicability of this assumption to the case of obliquely incident waves. The dimensionless setup versus the distance offshore within the surf zone is found to depend on wave breaking angle and the shape of the beach profile; and it has a non-zero value at the original shoreline position. This implies that the original shoreline will advance landwards, and that the extent of this movement can be related to wave angle at breaking and the beach profile under consideration. The results of the present theory are in good agreement with experimental data and field measurements available. (C) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.