Check out the key tips to keep you surfing and stoked longer in the water this winter.
Words by Steve England
1. Do not skimp on your winter wetsuit. It is your armour.
Here is the real test: if you have good wetty, you will look forward to pulling it on as you will be warmer in the sea than you are out. If you are not hot, ask why and get a better a suit.
The UK and Ireland have the best supply of wetsuit brands in the world. Pick up suits, check where the rubber is distributed, check the build quality and try them on. The number one reason for cold is poorly fitting wetsuits. Even with stretchy neoprene, you need the right cut. All suits are different cuts. Find your perfect fit.
2. Get your old wetsuit repaired.
You will not believe the quality of the repairers out there or how little they charge for working their magic.
3. Wind chill kills the thrill.
Number one cause of abandoned sessions and lame excuses is wind chill. You know the score; you go to the beach, it doesn’t look like a 10, you feel a bit nippy, and it’s off to the pub. Remember this thought; one weekend missed means two weeks out of the water to the working population. Two weekends missed that’s three weeks out. Unless you have amassed great water skills and are supplementing fitness that is going reduce your surfing enjoyment over the long term.
Get yourself a decent coat: windproof, long, waterproof and a Carve hoody.
And get yourself a heavy duty changing robe. They are amazing and well worth the money.
4. Get good boots.
Nothing kills a session faster than cold, numb feet. Invest in a decent pair there are lots of options. If yours are leaking mend them or buy a new pair.
8. Stay fit.
If you are struggling with fitness, a cold water surf will soon find out your weaknesses. Paddles are longer, waves are heavier, and it is harder to get to your feet in the cold. In lots of rubber the more you exert, the more energy you will use. From there it is a fast downward spiral to a lousy surf. One bad surf leads to a decrease in enthusiasm, and its downhill from there. Get swimming, get to cross fit, do surf specific exercises – jump ups, push ups especially. Check out our fitness books here.
9. Take a flask.
Dig into hot coffee, tea or soup while you wait for tides, or as soon as you get out. Hot beverages are a life win in winter.
5. Use changing mats.
Second to robes in keeping you warm while changing, use them, they work. I find it hilarious standing on my luxury recycled neoprene changing matt watching people suffer on gravel, mud or trying to balance in buckets! Keep your feet warm, your clothes dry and protect your suit while changing. There are a lot of options out there for purpose-made mats/bags. They can protect your car boot too.
6. Dry your wetsuits.
No one normal likes getting into a wet wetsuit and there is no need these days. Get yourself a Dry Bag and dry your wetty in the office, van or car. No room to hang them at home? It doesn’t matter with a Dry Bag – you can dry your wetsuit anywhere.
Use with magnetic wetsuit hooks in vans. For mobile and home use try the GoDry wetsuit hanger.
7. Take a warm water shower with you.
Either a portable shower or fill a trusty hot water bottle with hot water. Keep the water bottle in your clothes, so it warms them up for when you get out of the surf. There is nothing quite like sliding into toasty warm clothes post-surf.