Being prepared for Winter surfing in the UK is essential, read on for an essential guide to the most techniques that we have learned though 20+ years of surfing in Newquay.
Invest in the best winter suit, gloves, boots and hood that you can afford. Make sure that you look after your wetsuit and that when ever possible it is dry when you are getting in to it. A good warm up will immediately increase your body heat and your wetsuit will trap the heat to warm you up before you hit the water. Try not to sit still in the surf. It is better to have a shorter, more active surf than it is to sit around and get cold.
If you’re serious about learning to surf in the UK you’ll need to go in no matter what the weather and water temperature. In the south west we are lucky to have relatively mild winters and the gulf stream keep the water temperatures bearable throughout. With consistent swell and fewer crowds you’re missing out if you’re a May to September surfer.
Here’s a few ways to tips to help you enjoy surfing in the winter as much as possible.
1. Buy a good quality 5/3mm wetsuit. You get what you pay so it’s worth splashing out a bit. You’ll need boots, gloves, and hood. A wetsuit hood not only keeps your head warm but also protects your ears and keeps in your body heat so you can surf longer.
2. Dry wetsuit. Hang your wetsuit up the day before so it’s as dry as possible. If you have 2 winter suits you can rotate them so you always have a dry one to put on.
3. Don’t eat directly before going in the water. You will feel colder because your blood is being drawn away from your extremities. And there’s a greater risk of getting cramp.
4. Warm up. Have a good, dynamic warm up before going in. Get the blood flowing to every part of your body. You should be able to surf better and for longer.
5. Keep busy in the water, and don’t sit around too much. Paddle hard, catch lots of waves and you’ll stay warm.
6. It’s hard to think practically when the waves are firing and you’re desperate to get in the ASAP. But preparing your clothes, towel and shoes ready for when you return will help you get changed as quickly as possible. You don’t want to spend 10 minutes looking for those boxer shorts with just a towel around your waist in a bracing northerly gale.
7. Turn up the volume? Shortboarders might want to surf boards with a touch more volume than in the summer. With all that neoprene on you’ll be slightly heavier, and you might feel be a bit sluggish, so a chunkier board can make life easier.