So I have noted a lot of you, yes you, have not been surfing right through winter. While I kind of enjoy the emptiness I feel some of you need a bit of advice and a bowl of Readymix… So here are some top tips to survive winter gleamed from years of suffering. Words: Steve England • Photos: Sharpy
01 // Buy a good suit
Sounds obvious but I still see people in the wrong wetsuits or complaining they are cold. Pick the right suit for your water temperature. Err on the side of warmth if you have a choice. As always fit is key so try them on! Check the neoprene thickness and distribution. If you are a hot blooded paddle machine you may get away with a thinner suit, if not get a proper winter suit. Click here
02 // Boots
A good pair of boots is a must. Yeah they are a pain, yes they are expensive, although there are good budget versions. Leaky boots lead to freezing feet and make you feel cold. Warm boots make life much easier and nicer!
03 // Changing Mats
Swear by these now. Years of changing on ice are gone. Try the grass mats/bags which have artificial grass mat insulation. They are lush! They make a massive difference to changing, pre-surf warmth and recovery from the cold as they insulate your feet and prevent heat seeping out. Click here
04 // Get your old suit repaired
If you need a new suit fair enough, but check out your old one. Could it be repaired and used as a second suit? Quality wetsuit repairs are amazingly cheap and well worth the effort.
05 // Use outer shells
Often getting out of the car is half the battle in winter. A good cold water surf jacket is a must. Three quarter length and waterproof they keep you warm and happy. If you are already cold and miserable it makes changing a huge effort. Same with shoes and trousers. Any fool can be uncomfortable, wise men and women surf longer.
06 // Hand warmers
In really cold snaps try hand warmers. You can recharge them and put them on your kidneys or in pockets after a surf. They will help you warm up fast and get ready for a second or third session.
07 // Use a changing robe
The best invention in cold water surfing in the last few years has been the extreme changing robe. Microfibre are good, but a Dryrobe really protects in harsh environments. You feel warm as soon as you put them on, and they will last you years. Click here
08 // magnetic hook
Dry your wetty faster on the road. Just use the hook to hang it from your boot, or inside your van! Click here
09 // Get fit
Being unfit can be the death of surfing in winter. You can’t paddle so well with all that rubber, and it’s a harsh environment. If you aren’t fit it’s a struggle, you get less waves, get less fit as a result and it’s a downwards spiral of frustration to Sundays spent in pubs. Surf everything you can from one foot up. Swim between surfs or get our surf fitness book and Power Stroke cords and get a routine going. It pays off, trust me! Click here
10 // take a flask
Nothing warms you quicker and gives you more energy than hot chocolate or even better a warm high protein drink. But you’re welcome to enjoy the classic hot beverages if you prefer. Click here
11 // Rinse kit with hot water
Fill your Rinse kit with warm water for an after surf shower, or fill a hot water bottle. Put the water bottle in your clothes while you surf. When you get out it’s a warm water shower and your clothes will be warm! Click here