Surfing in the cold is hard work. Not only does cold water surfing bring physical challenges, but is also strains us mentally. It can be really difficult to motivate yourself to jump into freezing waters, but as we all know, the feeling after a surf is always worth it. These tips aim to make surfing in the cold far less daunting, allowing you more time in the water.
Amazing shot by Chris Burkard
Get changed at home or out of the wind
Getting changed at home offers you the luxury of doing so in front of the fire or heater, an experience you could almost call pleasant (assuming your wetsuit is dry.) If you don’t live close to the beach, getting changed behind a tree, behind the car, or somewhere that is protected from the icy gust’s will make the task a whole lot easier. Often it is the wind that really chills us, rather than the resting air temperature.
Wear a hood
From the first day I wore a hood, winter surfing was never the same again. Though not the most attractive fashion accessory, wearing a hood means no more ice-cream headaches, no frozen ears, and a whole lot more heat and energy retained. Hoods are usually inexpensive and can be found in most surf shops. They are quite possibly the most valuable piece of equipment any cold water surfer can have.
Take a skipping rope
The main goal for anyone surfing in cooler conditions is to simply be warm. What better way to warm up then a short bout of high intensity exercise! As soon as you hop out of the car, grab out a skipping rope, and skip for one to two minutes. I guarantee that you will warm up almost instantly, making that cold and soggy wetsuit less daunting to enter. If you don’t have a skipping rope, go for a short sprint. This will get your blood flowing and heated, raising your internal thermometer. Not only is this a quick and natural way to heat up, but it also aids your cardiovascular fitness.
Bring a hot water bottle (and a thermos)
Before you jump in your car, fill up a hot water bottle and wrap your towel around it. As you are getting changed, or after your surf, unravel your towel and wrap it around you. This is the ultimate ‘on the go’ luxury for surfers. On a side note, bringing a thermos containing hot liquids will heat you from the inside out. Just remember that tea and coffee can act as diuretics, causing fluid loss, so don’t forget to drink plenty of water also.
Get a good wetsuit
This of course is a no brainer. If you want to be warm in the water, get a high end wetsuit. Just like many things in this world, the more money you spend, the better quality the product. Make sure the suit fits you snugly, and is designed for the conditions you aim to surf in. A tip here is to buy winter wetsuits out of season, as often they are getting rid of “old” designs, and can be cheaper.
Instead of floating around aimlessly and picking up the odd wave here and there, give yourself a set time limit and try and catch as many waves as possible in that time. This will keep you moving and your heart rate up, increasing your circulation and keeping you toasty. Not only will this keep you warmer but you will probably find you are most focussed and efficient and end up having a better surf because of it.
Focus on positives
Admittedly, surfing in the cold is really difficult, however there are positive elements to these tougher conditions. Often, the waves become heavier, the crowds drop and surfing becomes much more of an “adventure.” Try to focus not on what is difficult with cold water surfing, but how lucky you are to experience a raw connection with nature in one of its most wildest moods. This is something that a lot of people will never get to do.
Article by Ruby at thesurfbox.net