Can You Surf In Winter?
Can You Surf In Winter?
Ah, the age-old, er, season-old question of ‘Can you surf in winter?’. You know, for some, surfing in winter may seem completely insane. While to others it may seem thrilling and refreshing. I mean, come on, think about the lack of people who surf in winter, right?! Helloooo to more waves for yourself.
With all of that being said, I did just kind of answer the question of ‘Can you surf in winter?’. So, yes, in short terms you 100% can surf in winter. It basically just comes down to if you want to expose yourself to chilly to freezing water temps. And of course, if you have the right gear for surfing in winter.
Gearing Up For The Cold
As I previously mentioned, surfing in the winter is acceptable as long as you’re properly geared up. Now, depending on where you live, your wetsuit gear for winter surfing may vary. For us East Coasters (especially Maryland, New Jersey, New England, etc.), winters can be kind of brutal. Massive snowstorms along with consistent freezing temps could mean slushy waves and water temps that dip as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit. I also realize that these winter water scenarios are similar to that of the Midwest, i.e. the Great Lakes.
West Coasters also know what I’m talking about when I mention snow, slush, temperatures that make you shudder just thinking about them – all wrapped into a perfect ocean wave. Unless of course, you live closer to the equator.
Wetsuit Gear for the 30’s & 40’s (Fahrenheit)
Don’t let slush or absurdly cold water temps hold you back from catching a wave (or 10, remember, chances are there are fewer people out in the water in the winter). Here’s what you should gear up in:
– A 5/4mm wetsuit to 6/5mm hooded fullsuit. You should especially look for a wetsuit that has a warm/quick-drying poly fleece lining. A lot of wetsuits on the market today automatically come equipped with a high-end lining that keeps you toasty in these freezing temps.
– 5mm to 7mm wetsuit gloves. No one likes cold hands. Period. And those mitts of yours will certainly be plunging into the cold water while paddling. Keep them protected with a pair of gloves, especially a pair with sealed/sealed & taped seams and a poly fleece lining.
– 5mm to 8mm wetsuit booties. Along with cold hands, no one enjoys cold feet. Look for wetsuit boots with sealed & taped seams as well as a poly fleece lining for serious warmth and comfort. We also recommend wearing a pair of wetsuit socks for even more protection from cold elements (oh, and they make boot entry/exit much easier).
Wetsuit Gear for the 40’s & 50’s (Fahrenheit)
These types of water temps make surfing in the winter a little more enjoyable:
– 5/4mm wetsuit to 4/3mm wetsuit. If you’re surfing in 40 to 50 degree Fahrenheit temps, consider a 5/4mm wetsuit with a hood. If you’re surfing in 50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit temps, consider a 4/3mm fullsuit. Regardless of thickness, you definitely want to look for a fullsuit with sealed or sealed & taped seams as well as a poly fleece lining. Be on the lookout for full wetsuits with smooth skin panels which helps to add warmth and block the wind.
– 5mm wetsuit booties. This thickness works great in 40 & 50-degree water temps, especially if the boots have sealed/sealed & taped seams and a quick-drying lining.
– 5mm wetsuit gloves. Again, keep those hands of yours toasty while paddling by choosing a wetsuit glove in this thickness.
– A wetsuit hood. Did you know that a lot of body heat escapes from your head? It’s true. A wetsuit hood in these water temps will help to keep your head and ears not only warm but protected.
Temps beyond 59 degrees Fahrenheit isn’t much in the winter range anymore, so keep that in mind.
Final Thoughts on Surfing in the Winter
Pending your cold tolerance, your passion for surfing, and if you’re properly suited up for the occasion, surfing in the winter is a totally acceptable thing. And people like doing it. Not only is surfing fantastic exercise, but it’s also great for the mind and soul, no matter the season.