Winter is no longer coming, for it is truly and unmistakably already here in the Northern Hemisphere! This means no more sun tanning or short sleeved shirts; no more open-toed shoes or long, warm days! But does it really have to mean no more surfing? Is surfing really a warm weather sport?
We believe that surfing is not weather dependent and that no matter where you are and what time of year it is, as long as you have a swell, you can ride that thing until you’re happily ready to put your feet back on the sandy beach! Today, we’re giving you 7 tips on how to make sure you’re having a great time while surfing in winter.
Never Ride Alone
Surfing in winter is a little bit more dangerous than riding in the summer time. The waves are gnarlier, and the cold can take you by surprise. You can be feeling great at one moment, and then, all of a sudden, you’re feeling weak, cold and seeing dark spots. Don’t surf alone! Grab a mate and face the cold together! It’s also much more fun this way!
Petroleum Jelly is Your Best Friend
Petroleum jelly, or Vaseline as it is commercially known, creates a barrier between your skin and the environment. It keeps water from entering and leaving your skin, which means that it helps the skin stay moisturized and prevent it from freezing, as the petroleum jelly doesn’t freeze under normal temperatures. Put on a thick layer on your face and shine on!
Wear Appropriate Clothing
Do we really need to remind you to wear appropriate clothing when you’re out surfing in winter? A good neoprene suit is essential and without it, you can kiss the waves good bye! This is one area where we recommend that you splurge. It can last you for years and it can make the difference between an awesome surf session and a horrible one. Also, remember to wear ear pods, surfer’s ear is a nasty disease that surfers get because of exposure to cold water!
A good pre-surf session workout will do wonders, no matter the season, but it’s particularly great in the winter time. It gets your heart pumping faster, sending more blood to the extremities, warming them up, it warms up your muscles and it keeps your brain alert. A little yoga for stretching or Pilates is perfect!
Keep On Moving
When you’re in the water you need to keep on moving, no matter what. Paddle, switch positions, rub your hands together, move your feet and everything you can to create motion and keep you warm. Don’t idle away, because you will start freezing and there’s no way to remedy that except to get out of the water.
OK, how do you keep warm during your surf session, you may ask? Aside from moving all the time, there are other tricks, let’s call them, to help you warm up. One of them is to tuck your hands under your armpits whenever they’re not doing anything! Another good, albeit gross way to warm up is to pee inside your suit. It may sound messy, but it truly works, just remember to wash your suit when you get home!
Listen to Your Body
The first moment when your body will hit the cold water is going to serve as quite a shock to you! That is the moment when you need to push yourself and not give up and go back to dry land. But once you’ve passed that moment, you need to listen to your body and follow its cues. If you feel that you’re getting too cold to function properly, there’s no benefit in pushing yourself, you’re only going to feel bad and that’s not the purpose of surfing!
Set Up a Warm Changing Spot
Having a warm place where you can change from your neoprene suit is a must when you’re surfing during winter time. If you’re with friends, it helps if one of you heats up the car before jumping in to change. Remember, the moment you stop moving, you will feel the cold in your bones and the only way to stop shivering is to get warm as soon as possible.
Make Post-Session Plans
When the surf is over, it’s nice to make some plans afterward to warm up and reflect on the session. In the summer, you can just hang out on the beach or go home and chill, but in the winter time, the first option isn’t really available and the second option is not as much fun as going out with friends is!
Don’t Consume Alcoholic Drinks
It’s a myth that alcohol keeps you warm! It actually creates a false feeling of warmth, while your body is getting colder! Not to mention the fact that alcohol dehydrates you! When you’re out in cold waters, you want to have your mind clear and your senses sharpened. If you must, you can have a drink after the surf is over, but don’t overdo it, you don’t want to lose the memories of the awesome surf session you’ve just had!
Have you ever tried to surf cold waters? How about a surf camp in the UK to get your blood pumping during this cold holiday season?