Surfing in the wintertime is the pathway to riding consistently good waves. Outside of hurricane season, the best waves in the world come from winter storms. So to become a good surfer you need to be one with colder water. While a great wetsuit can make a huge difference, it can only do so much if the body is not warmed up. A warm body not only helps you surf better, you’ll be staying out there longer and lower the chance of injury.
Here are a few ways one can warm up in the winter before paddling out:
Oxygen fuels our body, so increasing our ability to send oxygen through our bloodstream allows us to replenish our cells with new energy. Breathwork has become more of a trend lately, but ancient yogis have been doing it for thousands of years. Whether you call it Pranayama, Wim Hof breathing, or something else, training the breath not only warms up your body but helps create a sense of awareness that helps you react quicker and catch more waves.
Pushups and Squats
A few quick strength exercises such as pushups and squats will fill the muscles with blood and oxygen, which will allow them to be more responsive and ready to face the elements.
It’s always a good idea to be well-hydrated, but it’s especially important when dealing with cold water. Good hydration will help keep the blood vessels open as they tend to constrict when exposed to the cold. It will also help you to regulate the body’s core temperature when working hard to stay warm, as water is the crucial vehicle for moving blood through the bloodstream.
It’s good to avoid a high-fat meal before surfing, as digesting anything high in fat will take energy away from keeping the body warm. So try to eat a carbohydrate-rich meal the night before, especially if going out for an early one.
The Right Wetsuit
Dialing down the right amount of stretch and thickness will make all the difference. Check out our Guide to the Right Winter Wetsuit for more information on finding the best wetsuit for your surfing style and comfort/warmth needs. Also shop our Drylock series wetsuits for premium warmth to stay comfortable on those colder days. When you’re out in the water, always check in with your body to make sure that nothing is going too cold or numb. Unprotected areas on the face are the most vulnerable, so just do a simple touch test to make sure nothing tingles. Numbness can lead to issues down the line, so watch out especially when the wind is blowing a cold wind chill.
After your surf, it’s good to do a few stretches to loosen things back up after they might have tightened up in the cold water. But with a good wetsuit, boots, and hood, you’re probably good to go for another session before too long. Always listen to your body and make sure you stay properly hydrated, well stretched, and you are breathing stays deep and consistent throughout your session. When these are habits then winter surfing becomes a whole lot more fun.