Winter is the time for empty line ups, plenty of swell and offshore winds. The gear is so good these days you only really feel the cold when you are getting changed, but a good poncho and change mat can help that too. So even though you don't even really want to go outside, let alone go in the ocean, here are our tips to making winter surfing fun!
1/ MAKE SURE YOUR GEAR IS UP TO IT!
There is no point heading down to the beach and going out and getting pounded by a 6 ft set wearing just your 3/2 with holes in it, the fun will be taken out of it pretty fricken quickly! We recommend a 4/3 thickness suit and booties (minimum), the further south you go hoods, gloves and even 5/4 hooded suits become standard. The other thing is if your wetsuit doesn't fit it isn't going to work, so even more than normal fit is key in the winter. If your 4/3 still has another season or two left in it, check it for any holes and wear which can be repaired inexpensively with a wetsuit repair kit.
Check out our winter steamers here
This is by far the worst bit! If you can change at home or work before you hit the beach do it, and after the session if you have a surf cover for you car seat just head home to the warmer climes of your house to get changed. Use a changing mat at the beach, this will keep your feet warm and also stop sand getting into your suit before you have even surfed. Be organised! Nothing worse than coming in, it's freezing and your undies are inside out, your socks are sitting in your wetsuit bucket, and your shoes are still laced up. Wrapping your clothes around a hotwater bottle while you're out there so they are toasty warm when you come in.
Nothing beats a Change towel as well!
Ever picked up a dripping wet wetsuit? Heavy huh! Well you add to that booties, gloves, hoods etc and you have just added near to 6 - 8 kegs to your summer surfing weight! Go for something a bit thicker with a little more volume in the winter to compensate for this. Winter generally means bigger waves too so a step up as always a great addition to the quiver.
Our boards can be viewed here.
Before you head out make you sure have had enough food and hydration to fuel your session. Surfing in the cold can take it out of you and hydration especially is very important for keeping you warm. Try to be warm before you head out, if you start shivering you are on the back foot from the start.
5/ OK SO NOW YOU'RE OUT THERE
In the winter the key is actually keep moving rather than sit around. You stay still you'll get cold, plain and simple, so paddle around every few minutes to keep the blood flowing, this will increase your time in the water.
Check out our curated collection of winter surfing favourites here.