This photo from National Geographic made for a very interesting discussion around the office… mainly about how totally freaking banana pants this bro is!!! Seriously, right??!!! How is he just wandering through little icebergs all casual style on his way into the obviously freezing water??! So, that took a while, but after we got over that part of it, we all took our chances to figure out what our favorite and least favorite parts of surfing in the chilly winter water is. We also took to our Facebook page and our Instagram to ask what your thoughts were on the subject, and the answers were awesome! Here are a bunch of our favorites….
Tharren Lewis This is to easy!!!! Best part, reduced crowds. Worst part, Patagonia R4,7mm boots and gloves! (Tharren is our good buddy from the UK, it’s really cold there in winter!)
Makala Smith Favorite thing is there’s less crowd and more rincon trips! Least is your feet get so cold your cross stepping is wobbly! hahha!!
Tracey Engelking The best part for me are those magical dawn patrol days when the air is perfectly still and crisp. The water is the most perfect steel gray color and the sun starts to blast through the marine layer.. the ocean looks like someone threw a handful of platinum sparkles across the water. It’s glorious. The worst is that zappy hypothermic feeling in my hands and feet after getting out of the water., and of course, not being able to get out of my wetsuit unaided.
@htosunsurfswim (via Instagram) Favorite : seeing our Canadian surf community come alive after a long waveless summer. Least Favorite : Short days, I could use a little more light in the days… the whole work thing gets in the way.
Andy Cowell Ok…, but you may want to temper my words, I’m not in a good mood this morning. Least favorite: dawn patrol; it’s cold. Favorite: dawn patrol; it’s cold and the cold keeps the crowds away. Least favorite: good wetsuits. Good wetsuits allow for more people to be in the water and stay longer. Surfing used to only be for the hearty. Favorite: good wetsuits; I can surf longer in that dang cold water. Least favorite: the surf leash. This clever little device has ruined surfing. It ought to be banned and placed in a musem as a reminder to all surfers of how greed has destroyed a once beautiful activity. Favorite: the surf leash. My wave count is exceedingly high. Did I mention that surfing is for the hearty?? Hum… I’m starting to feel better.
Rachael Tilly Ok favorite: early dawn patrols when the air is crispy and brisk! Least favorite: wet wetsuits!
Abbey Larsen RINCON!!!!! (minus the pros stealing all the amazing waves)… real surfers surf in the winter because it’s more time consuming (heavier wetsuits), less comfortable and hurts when your head gets wet. but the joys of throwing hot water over your head when you get out and then going to get a hot drink or meal afterwards is so much more amazing and appreciated.
Trevor Erikson the best part is finally being able to go right in Newport. The worst is driving home from work and seeing it just as it’s glassing off and knowing you don’t have enough sunlight left to make it down. That is… man… now that you made me think about it… I gotta figure out how to get out of work earlier this winter.
Mick Yarbrough more tube opportunities (best) zipping up my pants with blue hands afterwards (worse).
Jennnifer Holcomb Definitely feel “alive” after. Good for the skin. Hands and feet that round off like ice blocks making simple tasks like opening car, removing wetsuit, walking, gesticulating wildly impossible. The moment the hose water hits and you realize you were actually warmer before.
Chris Hamm No crowds, always easy parking, with new wetsuit tech it feels like summer. North swells make for long rides at trestles. Cons I hate the cold, people that surf in the winter generally know how to surf, which makes it harder to catch waves on crowded days, you have to wear a wetsuit, less sun, less girls on the beach, sun goes down way to early, sometimes you go a week without the beach because of rain.
Eric Olsen the worst when you leave your booties at home and the sand feels like ice. The best part waves stay a little bit glassy a little bit longer.
Gary Larson favorite would be North West swells, offshore winds, and watching the Pipe Masters. The least favorite would be the maximum 45 minute dawn patrol sessions because any longer and my hands won’t be able to open my car door.
Cody Alter I don’t like tripping over my numb feet walking to my car.
Chris Peralta In my opinion winter has more pluses then negitives. Less people in the water. Stronger swell. You have the option of Mexico and Hawaii is just a hope skip and a jump away. It’s 2013 and wetsuit technology has made being cold a think of the past. Most of California’s points are rights and work best in the winter. Not to mention you can grow a beard and get fat.
@urbanbarrels Favorite : Getting Barreled… Least Favorite : Brain Freeze.
Mike Skelly Favorites; Solitude , empty beaches, dark blue water , offshore winds, strong swells, surfers only. Least favorites; Wetsuits, booties, cold.
Eric Harrington Wetsuits , limited daylight and rain runoff. Best part swells, less crowded, and most importantly less crowded. To be honest anytime in the water is a great day no matter the conditions or season. Blessed to live by the ocean.
Brett ‘Chico’ Beresford Favorites: NW swells, Good Waves, NO Crowds, barrels. Dislike: Ice cream headaches, numb Feet, Booties, Thick Wetsuits, freezing sand.
Mel Vin Surfing in the winter is like a family tradition of sorts. Getting out the gloves, boots, 5/4 hooded wetsuit out of storage. Putting on all that rubber in sequential order, getting out to one’s local break, doing some stretches, jumping in and feeling that cold water. Feeling that cold rush after that duck dive, complaining that it’s so much harder to paddle with 5mill gloves on but then all those negative thoughts disappearing after catching that first winter swell. Then, being able to enjoy a hot choco in the car, then going home for a nice hot shower. I love winter surf. \m/
Byron Kurt Worst- Cold mornings and the first light crowd. Best- fewer people in the water bigger more powerful swells.
Nicholas Flores Cold water to most is a negative, but to the hearty a ritual (Mel Vin’s sentiments) that has amazing rewards. You paddle out to a relatively uncrowded break under a brilliantly clear sky (because smog is less in winter) and better-formed waves. If you are really lucky you are wishing a few more people were with you in the break as the swell pumps. That great sensation of surfing -as always. Then if you don’t like booties (me because it just doesn’t feel the same) your feet may get a little beat up (think of the beating of feet in Midnight Express) as you come across the reef or rocks at low tide because you can’t feel the reef under foot. But you realize looking out at El Pacifico from the shore that you just grabbed life in this evening and we only have so many waves that we can catch in this lifetime. Big smile.
Feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments!! See you in the water!!!