10 Cold Water Surf Tips

Winter surfing can be tough, so hopefully these 10 cold water surf tips can make your next frigid session a bit easier. An unfortunate reality of surfing in temperate climates is that the waves are often best in the winter, right when the water is coldest. Anyone who has ever trudged to the beach in a blizzard has surely encountered the following remark: “what, you’re surfing? It’s winter.” Yes, winter surfing can be brutal, but by following a few cold water surf tips, the icy barrels will be more than worth it.

  1. Buy good gear: This is easily the most important of all the cold water surf tips. The importance of good gear cannot be stressed enough. When there are icicles floating in the water, a wetsuit full of holes simply will not cut it.
  2. Buy Appropriate Gear: This is just as important as buying quality gear. It doesn’t matter how nice your 3/2 is, if it is snowing and the water is 37 degrees, you’re going to need a 6/4, boots, gloves, and a hood. Case closed.
  3. Use a thicker board: Most cold water surf tips focus on keeping you warm, but this one focuses on helping you surf. As temperatures drop and your wetsuit gets thicker you add weight and lose mobility. Using a thicker, more buoyant, surfboard can help offset the cumbersome layers of rubber.
  4. Use The Right Wax: Wax companies make a cold water wax for a reason. Warm water wax loses tack in cold water. A good cold water wax will give the proper grip.
  5. Don’t enter the surf cold: Entering frigid water in January with a low core temperature is not a good idea. Even with today’s incredible modern wetsuits, it is still a good idea to be nice and warm before you surf. Blasting the heat on the drive to the beach isn’t just a great cold water surf tip, it’s common sense.
  6. Vaseline: This is only applicable for hardcore surfers that paddle out in extremely cold conditions. If the air is below freezing and the winds are howling, a bit of Vaseline on the face can take the sting out of winter’s harsh grip.
  7. Warm Water Cooler: This is a great cold water surf tip for thawing out your fingers before you drive home. Cold water often leaves surfers with “ice claws” that make even the most mundane tasks extremely difficult. A cooler full of warm water in the trunk can bring mobility back to your digits and may even allow you to start the car without looking like a Parkinson’s patient.
  8. Take your wetsuit off inside: Unless you live really far from the beach there is no reason to stand half naked and wet in a snowy parking lot. Can you say shrinkage? What about hypothermia?
  9. Dry your wetsuit: No, don’t throw it in the dryer! Let that thing drip dry in the house somewhere. There is nothing worse than putting on a wet winter suit.
  10. Buy an extra suit: This cold water surf tip is understandably elitist, but if you can afford to never put on a wet wetsuit again, you probably should.
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