The birds are out. The trees are blossoming. Your Grandad’s even got his sandals out for god-sake. Yes, it might be springtime in the UK but you’d better believe those fantasy boardie surfs are to remain firmly where they are unless you’re into the whole Wim Hof immersion thing. During March and April, UK waters are at their coldest. It might feel like spring up top, but it’s most definitely winter down low. So if you’re braving the icy swells, you’ll need good gear and your wits about you to make the most of cold water surfing in the UK.
Not for the faint hearted and a mile away from those clean warm breaks of Indo. Spring swell in the UK is full of adrenalin fuelled turns, extreme conditions, adventurous spirit, and a test of your boundaries. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Being well prepared for cold water surfs however, will be the difference between a quick dip and the frozen grin plastered across your face after you’ve thrown yourself at the mercy of the ocean and keep going back for more. So what should be your top priorities for getting the most out of UK cold water surfing?
1. Know Before You Go
Staying safe out there should be your numbero uno priority. Always check the surf report. Keep an eye on the tide times. Think about the weather reports. There are usually no lifeguards on UK beaches in the colder months, so you really need to look out for number one. Know your limits and don’t put yourself at risk.
We use Magicseaweed.com to checking the surf forecasts of our favourite spots.
2. Invest In The Right Gear
The clue is in the title: UK cold water surfing is cold. Make sure you’re well prepared with the correct gear for the conditions and you’ll have a waay better time out in the drink.
Also remember that the swell and your ability will affect your ride, so start with the right surfboard setup and you’ll have a whale of a time (pun most definitely intended).
3. Stay Well Hydrated And Fuelled
You want to be on top of your game in the water. So it’s important to be adequately hydrated and fuelled for your surf. As well as being physically demanding, cold water surfing makes your body burn extra energy to keep warm. Loading up on complex carbs a few hours before you surf is best, as well as drinking a good amount of water before you get in.
Remember to bring some snacks and water with you for after surfing. Equally epic, take a thermos of tea for when you’re finished. You’ll be grateful of the brew and the warmth!
4. Keep Moving
The key to staying stoked in cold water surfing? Paddle around to keep warm. Don’t just sit out back catching flies, you’ll catch your death instead! Make sure you’re moving around to stop your limbs cramping up from the cold. It may sound tiring but you’ll have a more enjoyable surf if you can still feel your body in the water.
5. Change In Comfort
Almost as critical as what you’re wearing in the surf, you’ll want to have the right gear lined up and waiting for you when you get out. The best post surf clothes? In our opinion you can’t go wrong with a big cosy hoody, joggers and a beanie. A surf robe/ towel are also imperative for wrapping yourself up as you try to bring some life back into your legs!
Quick tip – wrap your post surf threads around a water bottle and you’ll be laughing!