Do you like surfing? Do you also like watches? Do you like watches that tell you about your surfing? Oh, are you in the right place! For many people, adding numbers to things is extremely helpful, especially if you’re trying to improve at those things. Want to know how far you’ve surfed this morning? Want to know your top speed? Want to know how far you rowed and how fast your heart was beating while you were doing it? There are a million watches and apps that can help you. But since there are so many, many good ones get lost in a sea of similar products. So without further ado, here are six of the best watches for surfing.
Yes, you might think that a “surf watch” should be made by a surf-centric company, but you could be wrong too. When it comes to smartwatches, Apple basically has a stranglehold on the market, and it’s for good reason. Besides the fact that the Apple Watch Series 8 has GPS (and can also be purchased with a mobile phone), heart and temperature sensors, emergency SOS, collision detection and fall, and is swim proof, there are some fantastic apps that it connects specifically for surfing. For example, Dawn Patrol, a free app that tracks your session. It counts your waves, lets you view them on a map, gives you your max speed, measures wave time, records distance traveled, and has sharing options so you can brag to your friends. If you don’t care about health features and want to save $100, check out the Apple Watch SE ($250).
Apple also just launched the outdoor-oriented Apple Watch Ultra ($800) which features a more rugged design, better GPS accuracy, dive computer capabilities, and improved battery life. While there aren’t any surf-specific features that give it the edge over the Series 8 or SE as a surf watch, it’s one hell of an outdoor gadget.
Buy the Apple Watch Series 8 here.
The Apple Watch may be the most popular surf watch, but the Garmin Instinct is truly the queen of all surf watches. While it doesn’t have the variety of smartwatch capabilities that the Apple Watch has (it can function as a basic smartwatch, pairing with your phone for notifications), when it comes to surfing and water sports, this thing can’t be beat. With solar charging and 28-day battery life, you’ll never have to put off a session because your watch needs recharging. GPS lets you track wave count, distance and speed, health monitoring tells you when you’re at your best, and the watch can even pair with surf cameras to upload clips of you surfing directly on your phone.
Check the price on Amazon and REI.
Rip Curl is a true, proven surf brand. It’s been in the surfing game since 1969, when Doug Warbrick and Brian Singer started making surfboards in Torquay, Victoria. Since then, he’s waded into all things surfing, including surf-specific watches like the Search GPS. It has tide tracking, records your number of waves, top speeds, distance traveled and time spent in the ocean, and it’s water resistant up to 330 feet – which, of course , means that no matter how far you’re pushed next time you surf Jaws, you’re unlikely to damage the thing. You can also connect your GPS watch to the Rip Curl Search app or website to relive your session with location maps, image sharing and graphs.
Nixon was founded in Encinitas with a strong focus on the youth lifestyle. The “youth lifestyle” in Encinitas relies heavily on surfing, and Nixon’s watches reflect that. The Base Tide Pro is a simple, clean watch with a simplified negative LCD display for easy reading underwater. It shows future (as well as past) tide times, which is really handy when planning the next time you’ll call “sick”. Other handy features include sunrise/sunset data and a wave counter. Did we mention it’s made of ocean plastic?
Another surf watch from Rip Curl, the Rifles Tide Watch, does a LOT. It keeps track of high tides, low tides and future tides with 500 pre-programmed tide locations in the graph or detailed view. Unlike many watches with all sorts of capabilities, it’s sleek and lightweight, which is a plus if you’re wearing it under a wetsuit. And it’s water resistant to 330 feet, so you know… Jaws. For those with smaller wrists, check out the Rifles Midsize Tide watch, all the same features but in an even smaller package.
Casio’s G-SHOCK has been with surfers for a long time. The G-Lide is the latest addition to the lineup and like many of its predecessors it packs just about everything you need. An on-screen tide graph provides vital condition information. It also has lunar data capability and is water resistant to 650 feet, which is way deeper than you’ll ever need to go.
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