Surfing is a water sport that requires physical strength and mental sharpness. When you are a surfer, you are more likely to develop a sense of discipline and good time management. These are necessary to catch the best waves and make surfing more fun and exciting. Surfers need different surfing tools to remain safe in the vast ocean. Humungous waves may eat them alive if they aren’t fully equipped with the necessary surfing gears and equipment.
One of the most important tools in surfing is a surf watch or tide watch. These watches are not only designed to tell time but also to measure the movement of water. Surf watches can help the surfer know the best time for surfing to avoid wasted beach trips. In this article, we will give you a list so you can choose the best surfing watch.
How does a surf watch work?
A surf watch is a waterproof watch equipped with high-tech features that can provide real-time information about surfing factors. A tide watch can help the surfer know and monitor the height of the wave, the temperatures of air and water, and the speed of the wind. This will also help you keep track of the phases of the moon and the movement of water. Surf watches can also help you track and evaluate your surf session stats. To get started, you may be required to input the name of the beach or surfing spot and/or the GPS location. The watch will then display information about the heights of the tide at different times of the day. Other surf watches have a tidal graph to illustrate the rise and fall of tides throughout the day.
What are the other features of a surf watch?
Aside from the basic features stated above, a surf watch may also come up with the following advanced features:
- Stopwatch and alarm setting
- A heat timer or a countdown timer used to mimic competition heat times
- Bluetooth Technology
- GPS and Wi-Fi Technologies
- Sunrise/sunset and moon phase data
- Distance traveled measurement
- Shock resistance
- and many other features
What are the benefits of using a surf watch?
Surf or tide watches are specifically designed to provide surfers and wave riders surf reports and forecasting. Other benefits of using a surf watch also include:
- The built-in advanced technologies in the surf watch allow the surfers to regularly update and check the ocean conditions at any given time.
- It provides accurate information about wave height, temperature, period, speed, and direction.
- It can be used as a technical watch.
- Aside from surfing, it can also be used in fishing, sea navigation, and all other water sports.
What are things to consider when buying a surf watch?
Before buying a surf watch, take note of the following considerations:
An accurate and updated tidal information should be taken into consideration to fully enjoy the surfing experience. When buying a surf watch, make sure that the tide information display is simple, accurate, and complete. Choose tide watches that provide not only basic information about tides but also wave height and water temperature. Also, choose surf watches that contain a lot of necessary information about many (500 or more) beaches all over the world.
Before, surf watches are powered with quartz Most high-end surf watches of today are digital. Some use ordinary watch batteries that can be placed into the waterproof casing at the back by unscrewing it. Higher models use waterproof USB charging ports as an alternative to button cell or watch battery. This is also one way to save money. Other tide watch manufacturers are creating solar-powered surf watches that only require the heat of the sun to recharge.
A solid and highly durable watch is another major consideration upon buying a surf watch. Since surfing is a high-endurance and physically challenging sports, you can expect different fall and hit scenarios that may damage your watch gear. These serious wipeouts should prompt you to look for surf watches that have strong and tight casings such as polycarbonate or ABS casing. The straps should be silicone- or polyurethane-made to prevent tearing and weakening of the straps. Never choose straps that are made of leather and nylon straps since they get break easily after a few surfing sessions. They also tend to be smelly after use.
Performance tracking is a large group of different features in a surf watch. Tide watches help you count and track the number of waves you caught on a certain day, your longest surfing hours, etc. These are things that you can be proud of. Most of the digitally-made surf watches are equipped with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other wireless technologies that allow you to transfer files from the watch to your phone or computer. This will let you record, save, and monitor your performance to see and evaluate your surfing performance.
Another useful advanced feature in a surf watch is GPS tracking services. GPS tracking lets you locate the different surfing spots all over the world and the coolest surfing havens near your place. This feature will also keep up with your exact location to regularly update you with the latest tidal information, time zones, etc. Lastly, GPS location can be of great help during surfing accidents or emergencies.
The style doesn’t necessarily have to be a high-priced stylish watch that you can brag to your friends or surfing colleagues. You can also choose affordable yet fashionable surf watches that are available in the market. To be safe, choose those with neutral and classic colors such as black, gray, or white. Less-expensive surf watches made by Freestyle and Rip Curl are some of the more affordable-yet-stylish brands in the market.
Type of Signal Technology (Analog or Digital)
Analog surf watches are still considered a good option even though most tide watches in the market today are digital. The thing about a digital surf watch is it is easier to display tidal metrics using a digital format. If you are fond of using analog technologies, Nixon surfing watches may be for you. Some Nixon-made tide watches are analog made watches that work just as functional as their digital watches.
The Best Surfing Watch to Track Your Surf Session
To help you choose the best surfing watch which will suit your needs, read the following surf watch reviews:
Apple Watch Series 4
- Over 30% larger display
- Electrical and optical heart sensors
- ECG app
- Digital Crown with haptic feedback
This newest version of apple watch series is considered by many surfing enthusiasts as the best surfing watch of 2019. Apple series 4 are aluminum-bodied, muted than steel versions, and matt-colored watches. The available colors are black, silver, and gold. Apple Watch 4 have bigger screens that are almost similar to iPhone XS screen. These can be helpful for surf riders to easily read the information, especially when in the ocean. This surf watch is a tad thinner, which means the overall volume of the watch has decreased significantly. This water-resistant watch can go over a depth of 50 meters.
- The underside of the watch is entirely made of ceramic materials that also functions as a heart-rate sensor. This makes it more hypoallergenic compared to the previous apple watch models.
- This watch is easy to navigate. When you are scrolling through different menus/items, you will feel a tiny click for each item. Plus, when the scrolling gets a little rough, it creates tiny rapid clicks to prompt you to repeat the process.
- The screen utilizes the newest Apple technology called LTPO (Low-Temperature Polycrystalline Oxid) to underpin the OLED display. This enables the screen to changes its framerate to extend the battery life.
- The speakers are louder compared to all other surf watches. Also, the transmitted voice is super clear which makes this an efficient calling device.
- It is powered by a 64-bit dual-core S4 processor which makes it twice faster than apple watch series 3.
- This newest apple watch series has a built-in heart sensor and an ECG app to monitor heart rate and pulse.
- It also has a fall detection feature that will automatically function when there’s an emergency. If you fail to call for help in 1 minute after a hard fall, this feature will send the exact location to the emergency provider.
- Can be easily installed with different surfing apps such as Dawn Patrol, Sessions, Surface Surf Forecast, and Waves to get the most recent forecasts.
- It is unisex and suited for people ages 12-up.
- The battery life can be extended up to 18 hours.
- The extra-sized screen makes it flash more buttons/menus on screen at once. This makes it a little harder to access surfing commands while in the ocean.
- Can be pretty much expensive
- This may look bulky for people with smaller/thinner hand.
- It is a little harder to locate the side button.
- Siri’s response to voice commands can be pretty loud. To adjust, just click Settings-General-Siri. You’re very much welcome!
Casio Men’s G7900-1 G-Shock
- Round sport watch featuring four-point design protection, large buttons and display format, as well as tide and moon-phase data
- 50 mm resin case with mineral dial window
- Digital display
- Resin band with buckle closure
- Water resistant to 200 m (660 ft): In general, suitable for professional marine activity and serious surface water sports, but not scuba diving
Casio Men’s G7900-1 G-Shock is another popular surfing watch in the US and some parts of the world. This round sport watch has large buttons and display format, four-point design protection, and tide and moon-phase data. G7900-1 comes in a sturdy and muscular appearance that’s available in black color with tiny accents of red. This surf watch is suitable for various professional marine activities and serious water sports – including surfing. However, this watch is not a good choice for scuba diving.
- Water resistant up to 660 ft. (200 m) and shock-resistant
- Low-temperature resistant LCD (-20°C or -4°F)
- The screen has large buttons and display format which makes it easier to use and navigate.
- It has auto electro-luminescent (EL) backlight with afterglow which automatically turns the light on when it’s put on an angle.
- Also one of the good specs is the flash alert. It automatically flashes with buzzer that sounds for alarms, countdown timer progress beeper, hourly time signal, and stopwatch auto-start.
- G7900-1 is also equipped with these excellent features – tide graph, moon data, and World Time.
- Last but certainly not the least, the battery life of G7900-1 can last up to 2 years.
- It can be a little costly.
- Some claims that the tide data may not be so accurate.
Freestyle Men’s USA Killer Tide
- Sport watch with screw-accented case featuring backlight for easy readability and tide data for 150 beaches worldwide
- Also features stainless steel pushers, sunrise/sunset data, and countdown timer
- 48 mm plastic case with mineral dial window
- Japanese quartz movement with digital display
- Silicone band with buckle closure
This sports watch is generally intended for swimming and snorkeling, but not for scuba diving. It has a screw-accented case with excellent backlight for easy readability. It has built-in tide data for over 150 beach worldwide. Killer Tide also features countdown timer, sunrise/sunset data, and stainless steel pushers. It has a 48-mm plastic case with a mineral dial window and a silicone band with buckle closure.
Aside from the ones stated above, the Freestyle Men’s USA Killer Tide is also equipped with the following best features:
- The price may be fair enough since it only costs less than a hundred dollar.
- It has standard watch pins that can be easily replaced.
- The large screen only flashes important buttons necessary for surfing-related commands.
- Easy to use and navigate
- With a good battery life
- Since G-shock watches uses lunitidal interval in calculating tidal information, this surf watch may not accurate to use on the west coast of the US.
Rip Curl Rifles Tide
- MEN’S SURF WATCH: Keep track of high, low tides and future tides with 500 pre-programmed tide locations in the graph or detailed display. Our casual sport watch is great for outdoor activities: surfing, skiing, snowboarding, swimming, fishing, climbing, hiking and more
- WATERPROOF + DURABLE: Waterproof tested and water resistant, for durable quality that will withstand waves and weather. Multifunctional watch for indoor sports and outdoor sports. Suitable for swimming and snorkeling, but not for diving
- LIGHTWEIGHT FEEL: Sleek, lightweight, convenient waterproof watches for men that you won’t notice on your wrist in the waves. Functional digital surf watch with quartz movement that meets all of your surfing needs
- ALARM, STOPWATCH + TIMER: Waterproof stopwatch watch with all the features you need when you’re out on the water. The display on the Rip Curl digital surf watch includes time, date, timer, and tide tracking. Water resistant up to 330 feet
- SECURE WRIST WATCH: Secure 41mm wristband with locking keeper and stainless steel watch buckle. Big numbers display and light included to easily see the time and data anytime of day
Rip Curl Rifles Digital Tide Watch is a versatile polyurethane surfing watch that simply looks stunning. It has an excellent menu system that is so easy to navigate especially during setup. It has an easy and standard tide graph with a waveform-style graph. The tide data contains 500 pre-programmed beaches all over the world. The Rip Curl Rifles also comes with other excellent features such as backlight, stopwatch, alarm, and countdown timer.
- This is a highly durable tide watch since it is made with marine grade stainless steel buckle. This also has an extra durable molded polycarbonate case which is perfect to use in the ocean.
- Water-resistant up to 330 feet or 91.44 m
- The screen automatically displays the current tide height and direction as well as the numeric height and tide of the next tide.
- It is equipped with Versatile Tide Display that lets you switch easily between graph view and detailed view.
- It comes with a Menu Based Interface which makes it easy to understand its use and all built-in features.
- Comfortable to use
- Longer battery life
- This surf watch may not be suited for people with thinner wrist since it is 41mm long.
- The watch face feature may be a little difficult to read in dim lights
Vestal Brig Steel Watch
- BAND: 24mm Wide Polyurethane
- Vestal watches fine-tune style and expression for the musically inspired individual. Vestal is marketed through friends, musicians, artists, and athletes immersed within the music culture.
Popular South African professional surfer, Jordy Smith was one of the designers of this watch. This digital tide and train watch can help you track the tide condition in over 200 beaches all over the world until the next 20 years. This watch is loaded with high-end and cool features such as a digital tide graph. This graph contains excellent features such as Heat Mode with a countdown timer and “Suffer and Recover” interval timer. It also has a comfortable and flexible watch strap that uses the OKTOLOCK system. The OKTOGRIP raised pattern located on the underside of the band enables it to make less rubber contact with the skin.
- The “suffer and recover” feature can help set different alarms at short intervals especially during surf training.
- One of the excellent features of this tide watch is the built-in training mode menu. This will make you feel like Jordy Smith while practicing your surfing routines.
- Highly durable with an extended battery life
- It contains only 200 built-in tide graphs compared with other tide watches.
Garmin Quatix 5 Multisport Marine Smartwatch
- Provides connectivity with compatible Garmin chart plotters and other devices to provide autopilot control, remote waypoint marking, data streaming including speed, depth, temperature and wind
- Sail Racing assistance includes virtual starting line, distance to start line, race countdown timer, and tack assist
- Built-in Fusion-Link Lite App controls connected Stereo Active products, as well as other ANT enabled stereo models (RA70/BB100)
- Includes Elevate wrist-based heart rate, built-in GPS and features Quick Fit band system, steel bezel, buttons and rear case
- Preloaded activity profiles for all of your sports and adventures, including for paddle boarding, kayaking and canoeing
Garmin is an international company that specializes in different GPS devices such as a surf watch. Garmin Quatix 5 is suited for outdoorsy men and women. This surf watch is specifically made for water activities and sports. Garmin Quatix 5 is a multisport smartwatch that provides boat connectivity. It easily connects with other devices and compatible Garmin chart plotters. This makes it easy for you to stream data to your Garmin Quatix 5 – including speed, temperature, wind, and depth.
- Compact and stylish surf watch with quick-change wrist bands
- Equipped with advanced health and fitness feature including a wrist-based heart rate and sleep monitor. The health feature is called Garmin’s Elevate.
- It also features the Garmin Connect IQ to which you can find a wide variety of sports apps.
- With built-in performance metrics and activity profiles for all kinds of water sports – such as surfing, canoeing, kayaking, and paddle-boarding.
- This surf watch lets you receive texts, e-mails, and alerts anywhere – even you’re in the water surfing or simply taking some floating activities.
- Other comprehensive smart connectivity features include live tracking and sharing through the free Garmin Connect app and Garmin Connect mobile apps, and automatic uploads to Garmin Connect online fitness community.
- Can be a little fragile
- Tide information may require weekly updates
Nixon Base Tide Pro A1212
- The Base Tide Pro delivers a double-overhead dose of durability and functionality. Featuring 550 pre-programmed tides and sunrise/sunset locations inside a tough-as-nails case, the Base Tide Pro is one of the toughest in the lineup.
- 42mm, 100 meter/10ATM custom TR90 case with hardened mineral crystal, 10 ATM water-resistant pushers, stainless caseback.
- Digital hints, mod colors, and indestructible capabilities, you can find the time, date, and extreme water-resistant capabilities on this futuristic classic both in and out of the water.
- Custom digital module with pre-programmed tide information for 550 beaches around the world. Functions include time of day (12 hour or 24 hour), day/date, sunrise / sunset data, future and past tide, dual time, 3 types of alarms, countdown timer, wave counter, chronograph and an EL backlight.
The Base Tide Pro is a highly durable and functional surf watch that contains 550 pre-programmed tides and sunrise/sunset locations all over the world. The casing of this surf watch is one of the toughest in the market. This surf-ready, multi-functional digital watch that is equipped with advanced features necessary for your surfing needs. This watch comes in many different colors that look stylish and cool to wear. Also, these team-designed surf watches are made from custom-built materials and accessories.
- Extremely resistant capabilities
- This has a 24-mm custom injection molded silicone band with double locking looper that is patented.
- It also contains a solid and stylish steel buckle
- The Nixon Base Tide Pro A1212 is equipped with a negative LCD screen with printed tide graph.
- Easy to read commands and accurate surf functions
- This may lack other important features such as complete tidal information.
Freestyle Unisex 103001
- Durable polycarbonate case and hydro pushers which can be pushed underwater
- Soft, pliable, comfortable silicone strap with stainless steel buckle
- Durable hardened mineral crystal protects watch from scratches
- Water-resistant to 100 M (330 feet)
Freestyle Unisex 103001 is perfect for different water sports and activities such as canoeing, kayaking, and surfing. This surf watch offers a crisp digital dial with backlight and multi-purpose tide information. The strong, soft, and comfortable black silicone band strap makes it look classy yet cool. Freestyle 103001 is equipped with imported Japanese-quartz movement and can be submerged underwater up to 330 ft. or 100 M.
- Has a hard and durable polycarbonate case and hydro pushers that can be pushed underwater up to 330 feet
- Made from a durable hardened mineral crystal that helps protect the watch from scratches and other damage
- It contains different smart design features such as alarm, stopwatch, etc.
- Has luminous markers on all Analog models
- It has a Night Vision Display on all Digital models.
- Includes a wide range of Smartwatch Technologies such as tide, compass, digitals, and altimeter modules
- The light is a little dim
- May require a nonstandard watch battery
Surf watches are water-resistant and highly-durable watches that are equipped with many different features necessary for your surfing needs. When choosing the best surfing watch, check for the tide information, durability, power, GPS/performance tracking, and style of the surf watch. We highly recommend using the Apple Watch Series 4 due to its many unique and functional features (as stated above).
This surf watch is easy to navigate and extremely useful to different surfing activities. Since Apple Watch 4 utilizes the newest Apple technology, this surf watch can be perfect for you. But if you want less-expensive and equally useful surf watches, you can also try those 8 other surf watches that we’ve reviewed above. Remember, investing in a high-quality surf watch may be as important as your passion for surfing. Make sure it is strong, functional, and long-lasting!