Surfing in the winter can be a bit of a pain at times, cold air, freezing winds and water temperatures that give the new meaning to the term ‘ice cream headache’. On top of that, you have to contend with trying to surf! All of this can be compensated by the fact that Winter can produce some great waves. As a Widemouth Bay Surf School, we have put in the water time during the winter and think we can offer some advice.
Here are OA Surf Club’s top 5 tips on making the most out of the winter waves and how we feel you can make surfing more enjoyable at this time of year…
Having a good winter wetsuit is key for surfing in the winter. Keeping your core warm will not only make you last longer in the surf but it will also help you surf to the best of your ability. Get yourself a suit that is at least 5mm thick in the body and 3mm thick in the arms/legs, anything less is going to hinder your surfing time. Nowadays with the technology of the materials in the wetsuits you could easily wear a 6mm suit in the winter and still comfortably paddle around(and be super warm!!). We recommend having a hood integrated into your wetsuit if you can afford it, definitely no cold water leaks…
Booties, Gloves and a Hood
These sometimes get mistaken for accessories but in the winter months, they are essential for a decent amount of time in the water. You want the boot to fit well for flexibility but not be too tight, for winter surfing we recommend 5mm boots. The gloves will need to be flexible for all the paddling you’ll be doing and again range in thickness from 2mm to 7mm so you can be as warm as you like! Wearing a hood not only protects you from the cold but from surfers ear too – no more brain freeze!
If you haven’t got the luxury of a van or living close to the beach then you will have to get changed in the elements. This is sometimes the easiest way to get cold after unzipping your warm wetsuit! Having a changing robe is an essential way to keep warm, there are so many different makes and styles out there but we would definitely recommend having one that is waterproof on the outside and fleecy on the inside.
Cold water wax
I might seem strange if you are new to surfing but there are different types of wax for different water temperatures. Before the winter season, it is always worth dewing your board, giving it a clean and re-waxing with a new bar of cold water wax. You don’t want to spend the winter slipping off of your board on every wave and ruining a surf so having cold water wax essential, the wax is generally softer so you can keep your grip in the cold.
Thermos flask/ travel mug
Essential in life, not just for surfing!! Buying a good quality thermal mug means your tea(or coffee) will still be warm when you get out of the sea and need warming up!