After reading that article about the nonpleasant truth's about surfing, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth. Partially because there was a lot of truth in what was said in the article and discussed in the thread here on SI, but mostly because the writer was just because came off like a negative douche.
I was happy to read this article today, I'm always stoked when the east coast gets positive coverage in the media. And I think this article covers a lot more than just us here in NJ, a lot more of out Atlantic brethren have to adorn the rubber as well.
Not the first winter wave article but certainly one of the best I've read and it ties in the whole 12-month experience. Pretty sure I was baptized into winter surfing having started surfing regularly in the month of February. Can't imagine what it's like for a summer surfer to think about cold water surfing and I won't ever have to.
If you bros aren't chilly enough in 37F in Jerz then come join us for a dip in MA/NH/ME in 34. Yeah, cold is cold but I can still tell a difference with every tick on the temp gauge and each degree counts.
Funny, I can't really think about what cold water feels like right now having not been in it in months. Same thing in the winter - I forget what it's like to duck dive and not get punished with submersion. Now that I think of it, have never had any close calls in over 50F and definitely could've expired a couple occasions when it was far lower. Where would you guys put the number at for percentage increase in overall danger in cold water waves compared to warm? I know the article speaks more to discomfort level but let's not ignore the fact of peril.
Last edited by EmassSpicoli; Oct 28, 2014 at 07:55 AM.
Ah, I agree that this article is well written, and I also am getting sick of the surfers stance on winter.
Every year since the wetsuite became funtional, there are thousands of articles written about cold water. Most take the stance of how "core" it is. I wont lie, I get excited about winter, I get excited because its a rush to jump in the ocean to snag a few in the snow before work. But every year its the same, and its not really that difficult as typically prescribed.
Wetsuit technology is never mentioned, how warm you actually stay, the hardest thing about it is what was mentioned in the article.... getting changed. I don't know, it just seems like there are too many fired up players showing up late to a game.
Ya I believe the author of the article lives in the Toms River area and he hit the nail on the head with that article. I don't think it's "core" to be a winter surfer, never tried to seem cool by saying that either. I'm not sure why someone would either because all the responses I ever get are "you really surf in the winter?" with a very perplexed look on their face whether they should take me seriously or not. And Once I've confirmed I do in fact go out in the water in the winter months, next question is ALWAYS "but isn't it cold?!" to which I retort, not really, wetsuits do their job at keeping you warm. Coldest part is always having to get changed after a session before a drive home(as Ryan mentioned above me). Of course it's no picnic but it's the norm for us. If having to adorn thick rubber for freezing waters with epic waves with hardly anyone out is the trade off I'll take it (even though I wouldn't mind the nice tropical trip either).
And Spicoli, I'm waiting for that first brain freeze headache for this season, water has still been pretty warm down here but I know it's only a matter of time before it starts dropping more quickly. But this past winter was utterly brutal temperature wise. I don't know if it's all in my head but it felt like every session was colder than the last. I remember a few days when the water was set right at 33F and the air hovered in the mid 20s. I always thought we had it pretty cold here until I saw some clips of the guys who surf in the great lakes and put up with air temps below -15F and have icicles forming on their suits. It's crazy how you can feel the minute temperature differences when it's that cold though. For sure had some far sketchier moments in the winter months than any other. I recall when I was about 16-17 years old and had only been surfing for about 3 years at that point. Late December, water was below 40F and the air was in the low 30s. It was nearing the end of my session which had lasted until dusk and it was a cloudy rainy head high howling offshore type of day. One moment I was out with 5-6 other guys and before I realized it they had all gotten their last waves in and I was the only one left out and whatever daylight that was making it through the clouds/rain was fading fast. Of course I had to wait to get one more in but I was tired, freezing cold, could barely see, and sketched the eff out because it was only my second winter in the water and the waves seemed huge considering the conditions. Got pulled down the beach by the current and tried to take out on a closeout (not knowing any better at the time) and got worked and worked again. Was extremely disoriented due to the cold and took what littler energy I had left but luckily had washed me in far enough to reach the bottom and just took whatever I could in. I don't know what I would have done if I was farther out or hadn't have gotten washed in, was way too inexperienced at the time to be out in those conditions. Def freaked me out a bit and lingered in my mind. But as far as other dangers go, if you have a long drive and have to get changed in the parking lot with high winds and well below freezing air temps, that can be a recipe for disaster in itself when you're already cold in soaking wet. Pretty sure I came close to going hypothermic a few times in the parking lot post session. Thankfully had the air in the car going full blast as soon as I had the rubber off.
Can't understand why anyone changes up outside their vehicle. Whether it's 2 minutes from the break or 2 hours, I'm driving with wetty on and top pulled down to enjoy full blast heat.
As for ice cream headaches, I don't deny them. I used to get them every single session for the first 9 months, even in warmer water. Therefore, I started to think it was because of improper breathing I just got better at. Anyone else agree that we may breathe shallower in the cold conditions? Then again, getting dunked on the head by a 36F liquid avalanche should likewise be capable of the headache.