Every surfer needs a reliable set of tools that he or she can ride with through the strongest tides. And we’re not only talking about surfboards here. A lot of people would think that it’s the only vital tool a surfer needs. It is, of course, the most vital but there’s one item that always gets pushed off the list: surf watches.
Surfers, especially professional ones, need a watch that can help them navigate and even predict the tides. The ocean, after all, can be very treacherous. Good thing there are surf watches that can withstand and even predict the greatest of tides. But by surf watches, we don’t only mean Casio or Rip Curl. In fact, if you’re a luxury watch lover, you can always showcase your Rolex or IWC while riding mighty waves.
Surfing as a Sport
There’s no place to work out than the outdoors. If you’re looking for a place to work out that’s free, nature has all the answers for you. There are a bunch of outdoor activities you can try like mountain climbing or simply running. But if you’re looking for more thrill or if you’re a fan of the waters, then surfing just might be the right sport for you.
Like any outdoor sport, surfing pulls you closer to nature than any other workout. The surfing subculture doesn’t only focus mainly on the laidback lifestyle of surfers but also the conservation of the ocean. This motive helps protect not only the oceans but the entire 70% of the Earth’s surface. That’s why it’s not hard to admire the sport and its subculture in the first place. Not to mention, surfing allows for a whole body workout. It helps the mind and the body work together to help you be quick on your feet, literally. This sport will also make you want to travel around the world and surf just about any tide that can come your way. So, if you do get into surfing, expect a lot of out-of-town weekends and even out-of-the-country adventures every once in a while.
The Importance of Surf Watches
While it takes quite a while to master the sport, there are still a lot of lessons you can take away from every fall, like patience and perseverance. With all these considered, it’s evident that surfing is a serious sport. It’s not something you decide to get on with and walk away from so easily. Once you get on it, though, it’s almost impossible to turn your back and walk away. The more you fall, the more you’ll want to stand up. And every challenge as such requires the right tools and equipment to help you learn along the way. From learning how to ride the tides to predicting when the tides come, it’s almost impossible for a surfer not to have a timekeeping and tide tracking device with them at all times.
Surf watches play a bigger role in surfing than most people would expect. Like any other sport, surfing requires performance tracking, and a reliable surf watch can change the game with just this feature. Surf watches also help a surfer track tides on certain surf spots, check weather conditions, and even monitor water temperatures. These timepieces aren’t only used to flaunt. They are actual devices that can help a surfer master the sport as well as stay safe in the most treacherous places on earth.
How to Pick the Right Surf Watch
Any speciality watch comes with its perks and features that can be used by professionals on certain careers. This time, we focus on surfing and the important factors we’re looking for in a surf watch. Keep in mind that not all surf watches are created equal and it’s not a one size fits all situation. What works for one doesn’t mean it would work for everybody. In fact, different surfers have different preferences when it comes to their own timepiece. So we’re breaking down everything you should consider before letting you make that purchase.
The first thing any surfer looks for in a watch is its depth rating. With the sport happening in the middle of the vast ocean, it’s only rightful to have a watch with decent water resistance. Surf watches should be water resistance to at least 50 metres. If possible and if you’re willing to splurge a little in exchange for a better depth rating then you might as well go for watches with a water resistance of 300 metres or more. Dive watches that can double as surf watches, such as a Tudor Pelagos or Omega Seamaster, have water resistance between 500m and 1200m.
We can’t stress enough how durability is one of the most important factors you should be looking for in a watch. Waves can take a toll on both the surfer and his equipment. Not to mention, there are other factors you should consider like the probability of encountering rocks, sand, and salt in water while surfing.
If you’re looking for a surf watch, look for the one with the best durability and invest in it. Durable sports watches that come to mind include Casio G-Shock and Seiko Prospex. Hard-wearing materials, shatterproof crystal, and shockproofing all play huge parts in making your surf watch a reliable one.
But it’s not only the watch head you should be considering. Take a close look at the strap or bracelet material as well. Most surfers prefer rubber straps while others take great caution while wearing fabric straps.
Some surfers prefer watches that can provide certain data relative to the sport. These data include real-time and pre-programmed tide graphs, moon phases, as well as wind speeds. This information, while not as useful to everyone else, can be of great help to surfers in order to be safer before and during a surf.
Other data like top speeds, wave counts, and distance travelled also help to improve a surfer’s performance. If you’re looking for performance improvement, it’s best to opt for a timepiece that can help you track these data real-time and over time.
Aside from surf data, just like any other sport, surfing requires certain performance trackers. Stopwatches, countdown timers, and alarms can be of great help when tracking surf times and more.
As we’ve mentioned beforehand, the ocean can be a treacherous place. While surfing is as thrilling as it looks, it can also be pretty dangerous especially when you’re not properly equipped for it. To make sure you know where you are or to keep you on the map while surfing, look for a timepiece with a GPS function, such as the Suunto 7. This can help you navigate from vast nothingness back to civilisation as easily as possible.
Dual or Multiple Timezones
Surfers can be quite the jet-setter at times. A lot of surfers look forward to riding the tides of just about any sea possible not only for the clout but also for experience. Others do it with the motivation to promote ocean conservation or tourism. If you’re the type to do this, watches with dual or multiple timezones can definitely keep you grounded with information. Track times from two or more places simultaneously with ease through these special timepieces.
Not all but certain smartwatches, including Suunto and TAG Heuer Connected Modular watches, have capabilities that can be of great help on certain aspects. For one, if they have wi-fi or Bluetooth connectivity options, then it probably also has app integration. Most apps allow data cloud to help you store previous records or track tides better. Smartwatch functions also include having your smartphone right at your wrist. Since we can’t bring our phones with us while in water, a smartwatch is the closest you can get to have it with you at all times.
A lot of people take this into great consideration especially since, at the end of the day, the display options allow you to keep time efficiently. There’s no right or wrong answer if you’re stuck between an analogue or a digital watch. It all boils down to what you’re most comfortable using and what’s more efficient for you. While most digital watches also include a wide variety of helpful functions, some analogue watches provide more accurate time reading. But don’t fret because there are watches that include both analogue and digital functions for those who want to get the best of both worlds.
Every watch comes with certain battery lives that are limited to its functions. The most functions it has, the shorter its battery life probably is. But don’t fret. Most watches with numerous functions are equipped with the battery life that can last if used right. If you don’t need certain functions, there should be options to turn them off to keep the battery from draining quickly.
At the end of the day, the type of surf watch you choose to rely on your personal preference. From its style, functions, down to its comfort level and even size — the right surf watch shouldn’t be something you’d want to wear and use.
All things considered, the surf watches come at different price ranges. The greater the depth rating, the more expensive it is. The more features it has, the more expensive it can get. Consider the budget you have and see the best options for that price range. We assure you, there are great watches out there no matter the budget you decide to settle on.
Timing is Everything in Surfing
Anyone can argue that timing is something that can’t be taught in any sport. Every sport has certain things to consider to be able to time actions right. When it comes to surfing, there can be a lot of missed opportunities if you don’t time your actions right. But with the right use of technology, time can be harnessed in a way that’s advantageous to any surfer.
Forecasts like tide graphs as well as wave periods can help improve your timing. With some surf watches equipped with this technology, it surely is easier to get updated and have vital information at the tip of your fingers. With the help of your equipment, you might be able to time a satisfying and even a winning ride.
15 Best Surf Watches to Check Out
To help you navigate the tides, we’ve listed all the best surf watches today. Their functions range from simple timekeeping to more advanced functions. Nevertheless, these watches all have charms of their own. From stunning depth ratings to reliable functionality, here are the best surf watches to track and catch tides with in no particular order.
1. Suunto Watches
The greatest thing about Suunto relies on the fact that they produce visually appealing watches that provide just about any information anyone needs. Made for the outdoor, Suunto watches represent the best of sports smartwatches. The brand’s line of watches, from their most affordable to their high-end models, come with great features.
A lot of outdoor enthusiasts looking to Suunto for reliable watches. Their timepieces, like the Suunto 7, are perfect for the beginner surfer given the GPS and timing functions as well as a depth rating of 5 ATM, or 50m. This means that the watch safely functions with short water submersion as in a pool. Most Suunto watches have smartwatch capabilities that let you let go of your phone while you learn how to surf. The Suunto 9 has a barometer feature to help provide storm alerts.
When it comes to the watches’ design, they’re mostly sleek and modern. They are perfect not only for the streets but also for the outdoors. They can be rugged with the right strap choice and are perfect for the active lifestyle as seen in the design of Suunto 3. They also have a decent battery life that could last up to two days without charging.
2. TAG Heuer Connected Modular
The TAG Heuer Connected Modular collection comes with the best of Swiss watchmaking and modern-day functionalities. The watches from the collection, just like Suunto, is powered by Wear OS. The user interface design is a fruit of a collaboration with Intel. If this alone doesn’t sell the watch to you, then we should take a quick look at its functions.
The collection features timepieces with water-resistance of 50 metres, fine-brushed titanium case, fixed titanium bezel, and grade 2 titanium caseback. It’s the true example of lightweight durability that comes with its material.
It has a very customisable face with sports and fitness tracking as well as smartwatch functions. Anyone with a heart for design will love this collection from TAG Heuer. The modular comes in various designs and strap variations such as ceramic, rubber, calfskin, or titanium strap.
3. Casio G-Shock
It’s undeniable that Casio G-Shock has some of the world’s toughest — if not the toughest — watches in the world. The ruggedness of each timepiece is loved by many sports and outdoor enthusiast everywhere. No matter your profession, there’s a G-Shock for you.
Surfers can rejoice as much with G-Shock watches made for the ocean. For one, the Casio G-Shock Gulf Master (GWN-1000) comes with Triple Sensor that allows for accurate altimeter, barometer, compass, and thermometer functions. It also has a tide graph and moon age data. The GWN-Q1000 features the same functions plus a sunrise and sunset data.
Casio also made a line of G-Shock watches specifically designed for surfers called the G-LIDE with all the functions you’re looking for in a surf watch. It boasts a depth rating of 200 metres as well as high and low tide times.
4. Rolex Submariner
The Rolex Submariner is popular not only to watch enthusiasts but also to professionals. Professional divers love the Submariner for its incredible depth rating. Thanks to Rolex and its unrelenting research and development, a modern-day Submariner now has a depth rating of 300 metres. This also makes it a popular choice among surfers.
When you’re always riding the tides, you tend to lean toward the better water resistance. Despite this watch providing only the basics of timekeeping such as hours, minutes, seconds, and date, it remains a popular choice for such great quality. The watch’s 904L stainless steel material is easily one of the most durable out there. Not to mention, it comes with a sapphire crystal for optimum scratch resistance.
The Submariner comes in various colourways such as with the classic black dial and bezel (Ref 116610 LN), gold case (Ref 116618LN), green dial (Ref 116610 LV) and many more.
5. Tudor Pelagos
Tudor, a subsidiary of Rolex, comes with a Submariner-inspired timepiece with a water resistance that exceeds its inspiration. The Tudor Pelagos is a favourite among dive and surf enthusiast for its whopping 500m water resistance. It’s hard not to fall for this timepiece with its simplicity and quality.
This titanium dive watch comes with a straightforward design that provides the most basic information. But its accuracy exceeds any other watch as it is an officially certified chronometer by COSC. The power reserve lasts up to 70 hours through a movement that functions at 28,800 beats per hour.
6. Omega Seamaster
The Omega Seamaster follows a military standard when it comes to waterproofing. It boasts up to 1200 metres of water resistance and chronometer certification. The collection itself has various subfamilies for different styles and functions that range from three-hand timepieces to chronograph functions.
This collection from Omega is popular among those who live for the sea such as divers and surfers for its depth rating as well as durability. The Seamaster timepieces come in various designs that fit the lifestyle of just about anyone and features durability that no other brand can replicate.
7. Seiko Prospex
Since launching its first dive watch in 1965, Seiko has been unrelentingly providing us with high-quality dive watches at a relatively reasonable price. The range consists of timepieces perfect for any adventure on and underwater. They not only provide a wondrous depth rating but also great accuracy that helps in keeping recreational divers and even surfers safe.
The Seiko Prospex Sea collection comes with various functions such as chronograph and dual time features. With depth ratings of up to 200 metres, not only do these timepieces perfectly work underwater but can also endure the stress of being worn while riding big waves.
8. Breitling Superocean
The Breitling Superocean not only comes in a durable stainless steel case and a water resistance of up to 2000 metres but also with a multitude of hues and colours that make it appealing to anyone. The fresh design on the timepieces take inspiration from the colours of the ocean and makes it a perfect companion for any activity relating to it.
These certified chronometers from Breitling come in either three-hand dial design or chronograph. They also come in various strap designs that make them comfortable to wear especially on tedious activities such as surfing.
9. IWC Aquatimer
IWC surely knows how to design a classy watch with great functions. The elegant flair on the IWC Aquatimer undeniably speaks for the brand’s design ideals. They come in either black or silver with a unique double bezel. This complex timepiece comes with ease of use and is one of the most celebrated dive watches in the market today.
These timepieces come with 300 metres of water resistance as well as Sapphire crystal for optimum scratch resistance. They also come in various colours such as with a black dial, a blue dial, and a clean white dial. It also features different case colours such as gold and grey.
10. Citizen Eco-Drive Bluetooth
Sustainability meets elegance and functionality with the Citizen Eco-Drive Bluetooth. This light-powered timepiece heads straight to the future where cable-charging and battery replacement doesn’t exist. It has the elegance of an analogue watch with smartphone connectivity. It can also easily be done just installing the Eco-Drive Bluetooth app on your phone and connecting it to your timepiece.
This timepiece from Citizen boasts typical smartwatch functions such as dual time, alarms and notification, smartphone search, and light level indicator. All these prove useful especially whether you’re trekking in forest or surfing all day.
11. Longines Hydroconquest
As one of the early adopters of Supercompressor cases in the 1960s, Longines has a proven track record of affiliation with the great depths of the sea. The Longines Hydroconquest is no stranger to that with a water resistance of up to 300 metres and design that embraces the basics of timekeeping.
There’s a certain elegance to these watches that make them quite a compelling choice for surfers. The collection includes a chronograph model as well as three-hand dial design. These timepieces boast the best of Swiss watchmaking that focuses on the future rather than the past without disrespecting its predecessors.
12. Tissot T-Sport
The Tissot T-Sport, as its name suggests, is one of today’s best analogue sports watches. The collections’ Seastar 1000 subfamily, in particular, makes a great case for surf watches. It boasts 300 metres of depth rating as well as a chronograph function for optimum time tracking down to the 100th of a second.
Tissot also comes up with elegant designs that allow surfers to easily transition from a weekend on an island to a business meeting or a nine-to-five without compromising on style. The Tissot T-Sport boasts of the durability of a sports watch with the elegance of a dress watch, which is not usually the case in most sports watches.
13. Garmin Forerunner 935
The Garmin Forerunner 935 is a triathlon watch perfect for all your sports needs. It features your basic ABC function (altimeter, barometer, compass) as well as fitness trackers to keep you on your goals. It also has a GPS function to keep you from getting lost from your trail and mobile connectivity that’s necessary for most smartwatches these days.
Surfers will love this watch because it can be used to measure their best and worst times and makes a great tool for performance improvement.
14. Nixon Base Tide
As its name suggests, the Nixon Base Tide is a straightforward timepiece that tells tide data in the simplest, most efficient manner. The watch comes in a retro design that is having a renaissance as of late so you won’t have to worry about it being outdated.
Your comfort comes first with this watch as it is equipped with a 22mm custom injection moulded ultra-soft silicone band. The custom-moulded polycarbonate is a durable choice for case material. Moreover, the simplified LCD display veers away from the unnecessary and focuses only on the most important functions, especially underwater. With a depth rating of 100 metres, it truly is one of the simplest surf watches you can ever get.
15. Rip Curl Rifles Tide Watch
Just like the Nixon Base Tide, the Rip Curl Rifles Tide Watch focuses only on the necessary information. The watch features 500 pre-programmed tide locations that can be seen on a graph or detailed display. It has an alarm, stopwatch, and countdown features as well as a light function for optimum reading.
The watch is made of lightweight polyurethane so it’s definitely durable with a water resistance of 100 metres. The rubber strap of the watch is just an added bonus to its already appealing overall functionality.
Learning how to surf is not as easy as just standing on a surfboard. It requires a great deal of effort that goes with regular practice. You would also need determination because you’re bound to fall more often than you’ll be able to get on your feet. You may also get hurt along the way, but its fruit will be so sweet once you learn how to ride the waves. Before you decide you’ll start surfing, here are a few tips to consider as a beginner.
Find a good surfing coach/school
Perhaps, you already know how to surf. Maybe you’ve already gone out to an adventure on your own. A good surfing coach won’t let you go through all these without having to learn the basics first. No, we’re not talking about how to stand on a board or how to balance yourself when on water. There’s more to surfing than just that and only a good coach will be able to teach you that. Not anyone can master the ocean, but there are a lot of good coaches who can teach you enough to be confident in it.
Use a beginner’s surfboard
Beginner surfboards are often looked down upon by newbies in the sport. But it should be understood that these surfboards are made for the exact reason they’re called such. They help beginners make learning how to surf easier and help them get ready for the more advanced waves. Whether it’s a soft-top surfboard or a pop-out surfboard, these boards help with the stability and comfort a new surfers needs.
Surf a beginner’s wave
We know you’ll be itching to ride the big ones once you begin surfing. But don’t be too excited as it takes a lot of practice before you get there. Take it easy by starting with a beginner’s wave first. A smooth, steady wave will help you get accustomed to the waves and in no time, with dedication, you’ll be able to surf more challenging waves.
Get used to wiping out
Any surfer — pro or beginner — falls. It doesn’t matter what wave you’re on or what your level of expertise is, you will fall over and over again. But that’s the thing about surfing. You have to get used to all those falls because, in those, you will learn.
In anything you do, having fun is a definite key to success. Surfing is no different. There’s no point in learning how to surf at all if you’re not having fun doing it.
Timing the Tides, Catching the Waves
Not all surf watches are made equal. Some are made to withstand the depths of the ocean and some are made to help improve performance. Despite all these difference, however, every watch comes with functions that help guide surfers through the tremulous tides and embrace its crashing waves. The water-resistance of these watches will assure the other functions remain reliable even on the stressful roars of tides. The tide alerts can help surfers predict the highs and lows of the tide and even the duration of how long it lasts. The GPS keeps you on the map despite being drawn to the vastness of the sea. And last but not least, smartwatch functions keep you connected no matter where you are.
No matter the functions are, the choice of which surf watch to use all depends on your personal preferences and level of expertise. So, which one do you believe works best for you?