5 conseils pour surfer l'hiver - Surf By Ocean Essentials

5 tips for winter surfing - Ocean Essentials

Surfing in winter? ❄️ It's possible by adapting your practice to the conditions 🤙🏼 Like any good adventure, you have to prepare physically and mentally.

When the temperature drops sharply, the game changes and you have to be methodical in planning your surf sessions: you forget your shoes and your session goes down the drain! 🥶

In this new guide, we share our 5 tips for having a good winter session that will be etched in your memory. 🏄‍♂️

1. Choose your wetsuit wisely

There are different thicknesses of wetsuits depending on the water temperature. For a winter session, forget the 2mm shorty. It is necessary to favor an integral combination:

  • A 4/3mm (4mm back and belly - 3mm arms and legs) for water between 14°C and 10°C
  • A 5/4mm (5mm back and belly - 4mm legs - 3mm arms) for water between 12°C and 8°C


If the water is really very cold (8° and less), you may need to consider a 6/5mm wetsuit. It's fine for Iceland or Norway but you shouldn't need it in France. The choice of thickness is a huge subject, it depends on your practice and ability. In France, a good 4/3mm will do the job, if you are chilly then go for a 5/4mm. The thicker the wetsuit, the warmer you will be (but it's also more uncomfortable) 🔥 A well-fitting 4/3mm (even a little tight, the neoprene relaxes over time) is better than a 5/4mm too big. It seems obvious, but in winter everything must be done to prevent water infiltration.

⚠️ Make sure your wetsuit has a front zip (or no zip at all is even better). The zips in the back offer little freedom of movement and water enters more easily. The wetsuit is your second skin and protects you from the cold, keep in mind that a good wetsuit will keep for a long time. There are many models with different technologies 👉 we will prepare a dedicated guide on this subject soon.

In any case you have to take the time to try, and why not also ask your friends what type of wetsuit they are in the water with in winter, it varies enormously from one region to another. ❄️

2. Protect your extremities

Having the right wetsuit is a good start… but that's not all for winter surfing. ❄️

Booties, gloves, surf balaclava and earplugs are the 4 essential accessories to protect your extremities during a winter session. 🥶 Here are some tips to help you choose them well:

  • For the feet, opt for the thickest model you can find on the market (5mm), a large part of your body heat escapes through the extremities... and there is nothing worse than not feeling his feet and contact with your board 🏄‍♂️
  • If it is below 0 degrees outside, we advise you to take mittens, they are much warmer than those with separated fingers (and very practical for rowing) 🤞🏻
  • Finally, a good balaclava is essential to protect your head from cold water and wind. Don't forget the earplugs that will protect you from exostosis (or "surfer's ear")👂🏻

In summary, to make the most of your sessions this winter, we advise you to wear 5mm thick neoprene boots, 3mm gloves and a 2mm balaclava. On the look side, we have known nicer! 😂

Surf Winter

3. Prepare your launch

Don't wait to be in front of the spot to prepare your board: you must use a wax for cold water ✅

Before you get in the water, take a few minutes to prepare your " exit strategy " when surfing in the winter. Make sure you have a poncho and dry clothes available. Bring your thermos to warm up and also make sure your heater is working as you will need it to warm up when you come out of the water. 😉

Once equipped, and your car keys safe, head for the beach! Don't forget to warm up before getting in the water (even more so when it's cold). Let the fun begin!

4. During your session

The first few ducks will feel like your head is going to explode 🥶, but take a few deep breaths and keep paddling to generate heat. Very quickly, the discomfort disappears and you enjoy this privileged moment with a handful of surfers and superb waves! 🤗

When you notice you're starting to get a little cold, try going back and forth at the peak. Remember that you will only stay warm if you keep rowing! 🏄‍♂️

Every once in a while you may get heckled and icy water will pour into your wetsuit. It's totally normal, and there's an unstoppable technique for warming up 👉 peeing in your wetsuit. Anyway, there are only two types of surfers: those who do it and those who lie about it 🤫

When you get into the water in summer, you often say "one last wave" and a few hours pass, wave after wave. In winter, when you can't keep warm anymore, it's time to go outside. Sessions are shorter because you burn more energy, and that's completely normal.🤘🏻

Surf Essentials 5 tips for surfing in winter

5. At the end of your session

You get out of the water and start to come back quickly thinking about all the waves you just caught. At this point, you probably can't feel your fingers and toes anymore, but don't worry, they will come back. When you get to your car, you know exactly where you left your keys because you've planned everything in advance. 🤗

Hide your board under the car so it doesn't get blown away. Get in the car, turn on the heat (and some music) and slowly take off your mittens, dry your hands and put on your dry gloves. Take off your jumpsuit and get dressed. You can now go out and take care of your board safely.

If you live within a 15 minute drive, I recommend going home in wetsuits and changing once you get home. 🚙

Once back, take care of your equipment 👉🏼 an article dedicated to this subject is coming soon!

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5 Tips for Surfing in Winter