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Can You Surf In Winter?

   May 6th, 2020   Posted In: Articles   Tags:

Can You Surf In Winter?

Ah, the age-old, er, season-old question of ‘Can you surf in winter?’. You know, for some, surfing in winter may seem completely insane. While to others it may seem thrilling and refreshing. I mean, come on, think about the lack of people who surf in winter, right?! Helloooo to more waves for yourself.

With all of that being said, I did just kind of answer the question of ‘Can you surf in winter?’. So, yes, in short terms you 100% can surf in winter. It basically just comes down to if you want to expose yourself to chilly to freezing water temps. And of course, if you have the right gear for surfing in winter.

Gearing Up For The Cold

As I previously mentioned, surfing in the winter is acceptable as long as you’re properly geared up. Now, depending on where you live, your wetsuit gear for winter surfing may vary. For us East Coasters (especially Maryland, New Jersey, New England, etc.), winters can be kind of brutal. Massive snowstorms along with consistent freezing temps could mean slushy waves and water temps that dip as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit. I also realize that these winter water scenarios are similar to that of the Midwest, i.e. the Great Lakes.

can you surf in winter

Do you surf in winter weather like this? If so, make sure you’re geared up!

West Coasters also know what I’m talking about when I mention snow, slush, temperatures that make you shudder just thinking about them – all wrapped into a perfect ocean wave. Unless of course, you live closer to the equator.

Wetsuit Gear for the 30’s & 40’s (Fahrenheit)

Don’t let slush or absurdly cold water temps hold you back from catching a wave (or 10, remember, chances are there are fewer people out in the water in the winter). Here’s what you should gear up in:

– A 5/4mm wetsuit to 6/5mm hooded fullsuit. You should especially look for a wetsuit that has a warm/quick-drying poly fleece lining. A lot of wetsuits on the market today automatically come equipped with a high-end lining that keeps you toasty in these freezing temps.

5mm to 7mm wetsuit gloves. No one likes cold hands. Period. And those mitts of yours will certainly be plunging into the cold water while paddling. Keep them protected with a pair of gloves, especially a pair with sealed/sealed & taped seams and a poly fleece lining.

5mm to 8mm wetsuit booties. Along with cold hands, no one enjoys cold feet. Look for wetsuit boots with sealed & taped seams as well as a poly fleece lining for serious warmth and comfort. We also recommend wearing a pair of wetsuit socks for even more protection from cold elements (oh, and they make boot entry/exit much easier).

Wetsuit Gear for the 40’s & 50’s (Fahrenheit)

These types of water temps make surfing in the winter a little more enjoyable:

5/4mm wetsuit to 4/3mm wetsuit. If you’re surfing in 40 to 50 degree Fahrenheit temps, consider a 5/4mm wetsuit with a hood. If you’re surfing in 50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit temps, consider a 4/3mm fullsuit. Regardless of thickness, you definitely want to look for a fullsuit with sealed or sealed & taped seams as well as a poly fleece lining. Be on the lookout for full wetsuits with smooth skin panels which helps to add warmth and block the wind.

– 5mm wetsuit booties. This thickness works great in 40 & 50-degree water temps, especially if the boots have sealed/sealed & taped seams and a quick-drying lining.

– 5mm wetsuit gloves. Again, keep those hands of yours toasty while paddling by choosing a wetsuit glove in this thickness.

– A wetsuit hood. Did you know that a lot of body heat escapes from your head? It’s true. A wetsuit hood in these water temps will help to keep your head and ears not only warm but protected.

Temps beyond 59 degrees Fahrenheit isn’t much in the winter range anymore, so keep that in mind.

Final Thoughts on Surfing in the Winter

Pending your cold tolerance, your passion for surfing, and if you’re properly suited up for the occasion, surfing in the winter is a totally acceptable thing. And people like doing it. Not only is surfing fantastic exercise, but it’s also great for the mind and soul, no matter the season.

Lauren (LoLo) has been turning words into blog posts for Wetsuit Wearhouse since 2014. She learned to surf for the first time ever in Costa Rica but she gravitates more towards SUP. When she's not scouring the web for travel deals, you can find her either hiking, running, gardening, tending to her animals, or reading a good book outside on a beautiful day.

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7 Comments

  • Al says:

    Hi LoLo / Team,
    I am 59 and overweight. I always snorkel on top of the water and never had a wetsuit. I will be going to the Big Island this Feb and according to what I can find water temp is between 73-78 F and thinking I may need one for this trip – not sure of thickness and suit size. What do you recommend? Is a two piece better for my size?
    Height 66″
    Weight 245 #
    Chest 51″
    Waist 51″
    Hips 47″
    Neck 16″
    Inseam 28.5″

    Thanks,
    Al

  • Laura Lister says:

    Can you advise me? I am 78 years old and find my pool a bit too cold. I would like to purchase a wet suit jacket that is very flexible and easy to swim and do aerobics in. Since swimming helps arthritis, movement is very important. I do not do straight laps, but various exercises worked into a lap. Also – I am overweight so I do not want anything “sexy”.

    What do you think?

    • Crysta Goff says:

      I’m going to send you a private email, Laura. (:

    • John Gross says:

      Hi make sure it has a full zipper they can be hard to get off at your age,you dont want a full suit or a pull over that you may need helping getting on and off,i just checked ebay theres a xxxl camo jacket full zipper,25$bid 15 shipping.looks new.
      And you can use as out of water jacket if its super cold.they really hold heat in shockingly so.
      Because of how hard they are to remove you might want to start with hood gloves and feet.try searchs like neoprine gloves socks hood.jacket check ebay cheap.also thift stores often have wetsuits for like 20$

  • Marco says:

    Hello,

    I read your blog in a quick and non efficient way. I didn’t find the answer I was looking for. I found your views very interesting, points are great too, thank you for your post. It helped me understand a little into what I was looking for. I hope you carry on with your views and different ways of wording your initial subject/subjects. Enjoy reading your book in hot summer days, it’s when you’re most alive in the most ways you can be.

    Regards,
    Marco

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