hey just wanted to know if any of you guys have advice about riding in the winter. i've always surfed in the spring/summer and i finally have the time to get out there in the fall/maybe winter... i know that winter swells can sometimes be tricky cause they often pack a thicker punch, and although its beautiful, id love a few pointers (like which board would be best to use, etc.) im afraid ive got a little more guts than i have experience
it really is a different gall game in the middle of the winter. Not so much because the surf is different, but more so because you are wearing a lot more weight, your movement is restricted, and because getting thrashed around in the icey waters can be very shocking and energy consuming.
More than anything, I'd say the best thing to prepare yourself is to be in shape. It takes a lot more energy to paddle around in the winter. Cardio and endurance will be your number one assets for winter surfing.
Winter surf can be really great, the crowds are much thinner and often the conditions are much better. If you're gonna do it, definetly invest in a real good suit , gloves/mitts and boots. Good flexibility in the suit is key so plan on spending some money and don't cheap out on quality. Or, if you're unsure, maybe borrow stuff from a friend to try it out but make sure ther close to you in size. You don't have to go out in monster surf, pick more managable waist/chest high days and there is usually plenty of these during the winter. Pick a floaty board - fish, funshape or even a longboard and surf as often as you can to stay in shape and maintain paddling strength in your arms. Yeah it's a hassle getting in/out of a 5 mil suit but there's few things better than scoring good surf on Christmas Eve or any winter day for that matter when most are only talking about surf.
Winter surfin is def where its at. I woudl much rather surf in the fall/ winter as opposed to spring and summer for a couple reasons. 1) the swell is usually alot stronger, bigger, and consistent depending on where u go. 2) No crowds and the usually the guys that are out there no what they are doing 3) its such a rush to wake up on days like christmas morning when no one else is even thinking about what might be happening in the ocean and thats all you can think about.
Couple tips. Definitely go with a good wetsuit. I rock a 5.4.3 Excel and its very toasty. It can be 35 degrees out but as long as the suns out it feels like a warm summer day. Make sure your in good shape too. Its harder to breathe in a thick suit and when the water is cold, so you migth want to do some more cardio then usual and Def strnegthening the upper body will help bc its alot harder to paddle.
It is good to note the difficulty of breathing. Cardio will help a ton. When you go down on a wave, regardless of size, a few seconds will seem like minutes. Prepare for some mind-numbing icecream headaches and if you are in doubt, don't go out.