Cold water surfing offers unique challenges and rewards for those who are willing to brave the icy conditions. While the thought of paddling out in freezing waters might not sound appealing, the experience can be exhilarating and lead to some of the most memorable moments in your surfing journey. However, it’s essential to be well-prepared and follow some guidelines to ensure you stay warm, safe, and have the best possible experience. In this article, we’ll explore various tips for surfing in cold water, from choosing the right gear to looking after your body during and after each session.
1. Invest in the right wetsuit
A high-quality wetsuit designed specifically for cold water surfing is a must. Look for a suit with a thickness of at least 4/3mm, with some experienced cold water surfers opting for 5/4mm or even 6/5mm wetsuits for extra insulation. Additionally, consider investing in a wetsuit with a built-in hood to protect your head from the cold.
2. Don’t forget your booties and gloves
Cold water can wreak havoc on your extremities, so don’t forget to invest in a good pair of surf booties and gloves. These will help to keep your hands and feet warm, allowing you to maintain better control of your surfboard and reduce the risk of injury.
3. Use a leash
A leash is essential in cold water, as it ensures that your surfboard remains attached to you at all times. This is particularly important if you’re surfing in a remote location or if there’s a risk of being swept away by strong currents.
4. Warm up before you hit the water
Cold water can make your muscles stiff and prone to cramping, so take the time to stretch and warm up before entering the water. A dynamic warm-up routine, including exercises like jumping jacks, high knees, and leg swings, can help prepare your body for the demands of surfing in cold conditions.
5. Keep moving
Once you’re in the water, try to keep moving as much as possible to maintain your body temperature. Paddle around, catch waves, and stay active to prevent your muscles from becoming too cold.
6. Know your limits
Surfing in cold water can be more physically demanding than in warmer conditions. Be aware of your limits and don’t push yourself too hard. If you start to feel overly cold, fatigued, or unwell, it’s time to call it a day and head back to shore.
7. Dry off and warm up immediately after your session
As soon as you exit the water, remove your wetsuit and dry off as quickly as possible. Layer up with warm, dry clothes, and consider using a towel or changing poncho for added warmth. If you have access to a warm shower or hot tub, make use of it to help restore your body temperature.
Surfing in cold water can be a challenging yet rewarding experience, offering a unique perspective on the sport we all love. By following these tips and investing in the right gear, you can ensure that you’re well-prepared to tackle the cold waves while staying warm, safe, and comfortable. Remember to always respect your limits, and don’t be afraid to call it a day if conditions become too harsh. With the right mindset and preparation, you’ll be ready to ride the waves and make the most of your cold water surfing adventures.