Tips To Keep You Warm When Surfing In Cold Water

surfers under Golden Gate BridgeJust because the warm weather is ending does not mean that you have to hang up that surfboard for the season. As any surfing enthusiast knows, you can keep riding those waves all year long. Of course, when that water starts getting cold out there, it means that you have to take measures to keep yourself warm. Protecting yourself from the cold doesn’t require all that much effort and it helps you stay safe out there while giving you the chance to squeeze in a bit more time on your board.

Get yourself a good wetsuit.

To keep your body warm when the ocean is a bit chilly, find yourself a wetsuit that offers a good fit and that you can easily move around in. Do not assume that just because a suit is thicker that it will be the best option. Why not? Because often those really thick ones are not functional because they restrict your movement too much. It’s up to you to see what thickness works best for you, ultimately you’ll want something that doesn’t cause chafing, isn’t too difficult to get in and out of, fits you tightly in all the right places, and tight at the neck to keep the cold water from rushing in. And keep in mind that you might need to a pair of good surf booties and a hood when the water gets too frigid.

Change in a warm place.

Some surfers change into their wetsuits near the water, but smarter surfers master the art of changing while still in their vehicle. Why? Because it is warmer there and exposing your bare body to the cold outside versus the controlled temperature inside your car is the difference between starting out cold and starting out warm. Sure, it’s not exactly easy to get changed in the car – especially if you have boobs – but once you figure it out, you will be thankful that someone suggested it to you…even if it can be a little frustrating trying to get changed in that cramped space.

Warm up the suit before you hit the water.

I know that I just told you to get changed in your car, so this tip might seem to go against that but hear me out. When you get in the ocean, that cold water is going to rush in and chill you, which then takes a little time to warm back up, right? So, if you have some warm water with you that you can use BEFORE you hit the ocean, then you can kind of eliminate that warming back up period, right? Now, you can accomplish this one of two ways. The easiest is to just pour it into your wetsuit in the parking lot before you put it on. Of course, if you do this then you cannot put your suit on in the car unless you have something like the Honda Element with the hard, plastic floors. So, if you’ve gotten dressed in the car like I suggested, you can just pour the hot water on yourself. Yeah, it’s not as effective as pour it into the wetsuit, but still a decent way to do it.

Switch to a longboard.

No matter what you normally surf on, consider switching to something that is bigger like a longboard when the water is cold. The reason for this is that the larger boards give you better buoyancy, which means that you do not spend as much time getting cold in the water because you are submerged as much. So, just switch to a thicker, bigger board during the colder water months and you can stay in the ocean for longer periods since it will take you longer to get so cold that you need to get out of the water.

Sitting still is your Achilles’ heel.

Much like the mantra “just keep swimming” from the movie Finding Nemo, you need to avoid the urge to be still while out on the water. Even if you are tired or trying to work up the energy to catch another wave, just paddle around in a circle slowly or something so that you keep moving. Because when you stop moving, the chill will start to move in as staying active is part of what keeps you from getting too cold out there. You will keep your blood pumping, which keeps your body warm, which results in the water in your wetsuit staying warm instead of getting chilly.

Shawna Newman

Shawna currently lives in Las Vegas where she gets in lots of great hiking at Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire State Park. When she has time, she visits National Parks in a quest to visit each one in the U.S. Shawna’s favorite outdoors activity is hiking and her favorite National Park (so far) is Badlands National Park in South Dakota.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.