Surfing is thought by most to be a sport that is enjoyed during the summer months. There is nothing like a long summer day spent catching some waves under the warm sun. However, here on the Outer Banks, we get the majority of our quality waves when the water is chilly. With the right attitude and a little local knowledge you can keep your surfing “stoke” going through the winter. Winter surfing often brings uncrowded waves to be enjoyed by you and your best friends. Follow these tips below and you will be on your way to surfing like it is the middle of the summer, in February!
Invest in a Good Wetsuit
This tip is most likely the most important one of them all. Wetsuits have come a long way over the past 10-15 years, so don’t make your winter surf session any colder than it needs to be. It has become much easier to surf year-round here on the Outer Banks thanks to the impressive wetsuits offered by manufacturers like O’Neill. Not only are modern wetsuits much warmer than suits from the late 80s or mid-90s, but they are also much more flexible. If you don’t have a quality wetsuit of your own, we have a variety to choose from in our selection of OBX rentals. Make sure your wetsuit is in good shape before you suit up. If you wait until you are in the water to check for holes or leaks, it may be too late!
Ride a Larger Surfboard
Do yourself a favor and ride a surfboard with a bit more volume during the winter. If you want to try a bigger board during the winter, we have a large variety of surfboard rentals! Wearing a wetsuit can add a couple pounds that can make paddling through the water difficult if you are not used to it. Riding a board with more volume will counteract the added weight from the wetsuit and all of that holiday food!
Find the Right Sandbar
It is crucial to your winter surfing experience to find a sandbar that is relatively close to the beach to surf during this time of year. The last thing you want to do is surf a spot where the waves are breaking 100 yards off the beach. While most of your body might be warm inside your wetsuit, surfing on a sandbar that is causing waves to break way off the beach will mean that you will be taking a lot of waves on the head. Find a spot where the waves are breaking close to the beach to make your paddle out easy! There is no shame in making your surf session as easy as possible when the water temperature drops.
Choose the Right Day
The phrase “I’d be out there if the water was warm,” might seem like an excuse to many, but there is some truth to that statement. Just because the surf looks like something you would want to ride on a warm summer beach day, doesn’t mean that you will necessarily enjoy yourself given the same conditions during the winter months. The best days to surf during the winter months are those where there is relatively no wind. A lack of wind can make both the air and water temperatures feel much more pleasant to surfers. Choose a calm and sunny winter day for the best surfing experience possible.
When heading out for your cold water surf session it is important to have realistic expectations for yourself. If you haven’t surfed in a few weeks (or months) do not expect to be surfing at the level which you were in August. The lack of practice, cold conditions, and heavy wetsuit can drastically alter your performance. Change your mind set to one where you will be happy to simply catch a few waves and spend some time enjoying the outdoors. It is those surf sessions that when we enter the water with low expectations that we have the most fun doing what we love!
In addition to great surfing products, be sure to visit Ocean Atlantic rentals for all of your Outer Banks rental needs! We have everything necessary for an amazing beach experience. Sign up to receive deals, discounts, and news and take advantage of everything we have to offer at Ocean Atlantic Rentals.