Surfing has long been regarded as a fun and liberating water activity. It takes the stress out of one’s busy life. But some surfers still feel the need to be digitally connected even if they’re on a surfing getaway.
So, a lot of surfers wonder if surfing with Apple watch is possible. Most of them want to use the watch for surf tracking but are worried that the smartwatch will go defective when it gets wet.
Here’s the simplest answer to this dilemma: All Apple watches are water-resistant, but they aren’t waterproof. However, Apple watches Series 2 until 5 can still be used for water activities such as swimming and surfing.
You can answer calls and chats, track your surfing status, an even call for help when you’re in an emergency situation in the waters.
Interested to find out more about surfing with your Apple watch? Read on for more information plus some tips on how to use your smartwatch properly in the waters.
Water-Resistant Vs. Waterproof
You might have heard of the terms water-resistant and waterproof, and probably have wondered if they’re the same or not. Some people tend to use the terms water-resistant and waterproof interchangeably, believing that they both mean the same.
Generally speaking, both terms refer to a watch’s built and its sustainability to water exposure. But there’s a difference between them.
Water-resistant means that a watch can sustain a bit of water exposure. A watch’s level of water-resistance is tested during the time the watch was built.
There is no single level of water-resistance in a watch. Some factors that come into play when determining the water-resistance level of a smartwatch such as Apple watches include the following:
- Possible pressure changes that the watch may be subjected to
- Temperature shifts, including quick and sudden changes in extreme temperatures
- Activities where the watch will most likely be used
Generally, you can wear a water-resistant watch outdoors during rain, while taking a shower, while exercising, or even while washing dishes in a kitchen sink.
However, manufacturers still advise avoiding prolonged exposure of water-resistant watches to liquids and humidity. Letting soaps, shampoos, and lotions to run through a water-resistant watch is also discouraged.
Waterproof, on the other hand, refers to a watch’s property to withstand large amounts of water exposure. Such kinds of watches can be safely submerged in water and exposed to temperature extremes. Some waterproof watches can also withstand high-pressure levels.
Manufacturers are required to prove that their watches are 100% waterproof before branding and marketing them as such. This is imposed by the Federal Trade Commission due to a widespread misrepresentation before the 1960s.
Watchmakers during those times implied that water-resistant is the same as waterproof, mistakenly leading customers to purchase items that are actually not waterproof.
Are Apple Watches Waterproof?
Apple describes all its watches as water-resistant. They are not waterproof. Hence, strictly speaking, these watches should not be submerged in deep waters. They should not be used in high-velocity water activities like water skiing and scuba diving.
Apple recommends that its smartwatches be used in shallow water activities. This means swimming in a pool or ocean won’t damage your Apple watch. A lot of surfers also use Apple watches safely while riding the waves.
The water-resistance level of Apple watches may change or lessen over time. This is due to several activities like the following:
- Using the watch in a steam-filled sauna room
- Exposing the watch to high-intensity water activities
- Allowing toiletries and cosmetics such as soap, shampoo, lotion, insect repellent, sunscreen, oils, and perfume to directly come in contact with the watch
- Frequently dropping the watch on the floor
Apple Watch owners are encouraged to protect their watches by avoiding these activities as much as possible.
Watches from the different Apple Watch Series have their own water-resistance specifications.
- Apple Watch Series 1 and 1st Generation
- Apple S1P Dual-Core, WatchOS 3, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Light Sensor, Activity Tracker, Heart Monitor, Microphone and Speaker, Bluetooth
- Aluminum Chassis with Ion-X Glass
- 1.3" 272 x 340 Display
- Activity and Heart Rate Monitoring
The initial batch of Apple Watches in the market carries a water-resistance rating of IPX7. This is under the IEC standard 60529, an entity classifying the degree of intrusion that the environment (such as water) can have on electrical products.
The IPX7 water-resistance rating means that Apple Watch Series 1 and 1st Generation watches are capable of withstanding immersion on 1-meter deep water for 30 minutes.
So, these watches aren’t really capable of withstanding water activities and are therefore not recommended for swimming and surfing.
- Apple Watch Series 2, 3, 4, and 5
- Built-in cellular lets you receive calls, send texts, and check your email — even without your phone.
- You don’t have to raise your wrist or tap to see the time or important information. With the Always-On Retina display, your watch face is always visible.
- The viewing area stretches deep into the curved corners and is over 30% larger than the Apple Watch Series 3 display.
- Made for all the ways you exercise, Apple Watch Series 5 has built-in GPS and is swimproof.
- With the ECG app, you can take an ECG similar to a single-lead electrocardiogram right from your wrist.
All the smartwatches produced by Apple from Series 2 up to the latest model have a water-resistance rating of 50 meters. This is in accordance with the new ISO standard 22810:2010.
These watches with a 50-meter rating can be used for several water activities such as swimming, snorkeling, surfing, and even for fishing.
As you can see, only the first release of Apple watches is quite unfit for riding the waves. Surfing with Apple Watch is fine if you’re using Series 2 and up. Most surfers play it safe, though, and typically use Series 3, 4, or 5 watches for surfing.
Tips for Using Apple Watches While Surfing
Apple Watches are quite expensive. This is why many surfers like you ought to know first if these watches can withstand water and wind whenever they ride the waves. You wouldn’t want such a high-capacity smartwatch to be ruined by the waves, right?
So, here are some tips that you can follow in order to seamlessly start surfing with Apple watch and keep your precious smartwatch in tip-top condition.
- Select a Snug, Water-Friendly Band
Apple Watches can come in a variety of bands. However, not all of them are water-resistant. These types of bands will easily soak wet during surfing:
- Classic Buckle
- Modern Buckle
- Leather Loop
- Link Bracelet
If your watch carries any of these bands, you may want to consider switching over to water-friendly bands that snugly fit on your wrists. Examples are the following:
- Apple Watch Original Sport Bands
- Nylon bands
- Silicone bands
- Waterproof leather bands
Apple Stores and reliable third-party manufacturers all carry such kinds of water-resistant Apple Watch bands.
Check the fit and snugness of the bands before heading out to the ocean. Your Apple watch’s band must closely and comfortably fit around your wrists. Most silicone bands fit securely on wrists due to the nature of its material.
- Wear the Watch Under Your Wetsuit
Lots of surfers initially get apprehensive about surfing with Apple Watch without a waterproof cover. But actually, you can forego the cover and wear the watch out in the open waves.
Apple Watch’s water-resistance level is meant to withstand splashes of water, so your watch will be fine even if you don’t put protective cases around it.
You may opt to wear your Apple Watch under your wetsuit. Wearing the watch under 2mm and 4mm wetsuits can help protect it from harsh water waves. Most surfers also feel that their watches are better secured under their suits.
- Use Protective Waterproof Cases
Not totally sold on the idea of wearing your Apple Watch under your wetsuit? No problem. House your Apple Watch inside a protective waterproof case. Look for cases with ratings of IP67 and IP68 since these are the most water-repellant models.
These cases may also have additional features that protect the functionality of the Apple Watch, such as direct touch-screen access and audio technology that allows sound to clearly pass through from the speaker through outside the case.
Some manufacturers also include silicone bands with these waterproof cases. Grab these bundles if you want total water-resistant accessories for your Apple Watch.
- Eject Water As Soon As Possible
Your Apple Watch automatically turns on the Water Lock whenever it senses that you’ve started a swimming workout or a surfing session. Water Lock prevents unnecessary and accidental taps on your watch’s screen.
Once you’ve finished surfing, you can start cleaning your Apple Watch by turning off the Water Lock first and removing excess water that accumulated on the speaker.
To do this, simply turn the Digital Crown and the lock will be removed. You’ll also hear a sound and then feel some water ejected from the watch’s speaker to your wrists.
You can also manually eject water by following these steps:
- Open the Control Center by swiping up from the bottom of your watch.
- Tap Water Lock.
- Turn the Digital Crown.
Your screen will then unlock and water will be removed from the speaker.
Remember to avoid shaking the watch in an attempt to remove water from it. Also, refrain from inserting things inside the speaker and microphone ports just to try drying up your watch.
- Clean Your Watch Properly
After ejecting water from your watch, it’s time to clean it properly.
Remove your watch’s band if it isn’t water-resistant. Then, rinse your Apple Watch Series 2 and up in lightly-running warm tap water. Do this for 10-15 seconds only. Wipe it dry with a non-abrasive and lint-free cloth. Leave the entire watch and band for a few more minutes to completely dry it off.
Keep in mind that soaps and chemical cleansers must not be used to clean your Apple Watch. Only running tap water is recommended.
- Install Surf Tracker Apps
You can customize your Apple Watch to become a surf watch by simply installing surf tracker apps. These apps provide Apple Watch face customizations that are fit for surfing activities.
They also provide a simple way to track everything about your surf sessions. Dawn Patrol and Surface are two apps you can try.
Wrapping It Up
The answer to the question “Can I wear Apple Watch while surfing?” is a resounding yes. Apple Watches are water-resistant for up to 50 meters deep. They have been excellent watch choices by many surfers across the globe.
With the right use and aftercare, surfing with Apple Watch shouldn’t be a problem. You can install surf apps and track your sessions with the watch. You can also use waterproof accessories and clean your smartwatch thoroughly to help prolong its performance even as you surf.