Growing up on the shore on the East Coast made me have a special connection with the water. A sort of longing that can’t keep me away for too long. All of my favorite memories include windswept hair and sandy feet. Early September is usually when people get their last swim in, the ocean is incredibly warm but overly crowded with tourists, or Benny’s as we name them at the Jersey Shore. It’s summer’s last bittersweet kiss. Sometimes I savor in the memory of a night swim when the ocean is calm with a group of friends (sorry mom). But as we splash through the night, our surf inclined group discusses how they are looking forward to the end of the summer season.
Unfortunately, if you’ve been to the Northeast in the dead of winter, you know how brutally cold it can get. Picture a lot of windburns and the (likely) potential of frostbite. Now, imagine these conditions by the ocean and amplify them by 20. It’s cold. Regardless, all the locals know that that’s when the ocean has the best swell and conditions, Mother Nature’s sadistic twist on a great pastime.
If you’re looking to get your feet wet, here are our crucial tips to staying warm, but more importantly alive.
Invest in a Quality Suit
Do not by any means skip out on this. Purchase a chest zip suit as they don’t let as much water in. Above all, invest in thermal lining for liquid seams for warmth. This will keep you in the water longer and will keep you from feeling numb long after finishing your surf session.
Do not forget a hood, ear plugs, boots, a warm hat, and gloves. Throw in a pair of thermal shorts or a rash vest for an added layer of protection from the cold.
Do Not Cross Mother Nature
Listen to us. She will win every time. People lose their lives every year in winter surf sessions. If you’re a beginner or don’t think you can handle a big swell, sit this out until the ocean calms down. Don’t surf in the dark, especially in the winter in fear of getting lost in the tide. The beaches don’t have lifeguards past Labor Day Weekend, so please, please, please be smart and cautious.
Every Calorie Counts
Your body uses a lot of energy in the cold, so eat plenty of complex carbohydrates. Not to mention this will also keep you warm.
The Water Bottle Trick
This applies to many sports. I do this whenever my friends and I take a ski/ snowboarding trip to the mountains. But, I believe this is even more important for winter surfing. Heat up a water bottle and wrap it in the clothing you plan on changing into. Then wrap your clothing with a blanket to preserve all the heat. Therefore, you’ll have a warm pair of clothing to change into.
Never Stop Moving
From the second you get out of your house to the second you hit the water. Stretch, the last thing you want in the cold water is an injury. Warm up your muscles, point blank. Once you’re in the water, when you stop and relax is when you will feel cold. Keep moving, can’t stop won’t stop.
There is Strength in Numbers
This is just as important as not testing Mother Nature. Surf with friends, do not EVER go into the ocean alone, especially in the winter. Moreover, your company to each other will keep your mind off the cold.
Fire it Up
Once you’ve changed into warm clothing, blast the heater in your car, take a hot shower when you’re home, fire up the fireplace and drink a hot beverage with your friends as you discuss the session.
Shop our Post- Surf Accessories to keep you warm. Gloves and Hats, people. Be smart, and surf savvy. Enjoy the ride!