For those of you who live in Europe surfing in winter can be really difficult. The air and the water are freezing and the sun is pretty rare. Yet the most passionate of us won’t spend the winter without getting in the water !
Prepare and equip yourself
Surfing in the cold water require a lot of energy, the body is fighting to maintain its temperature and we get tired a to faster, so a good physical condition is preferable. Having a nice meal before you go in the water will help your body to fight against the freezing water and to feel in top form all along the session. A good equipment can make all the difference in extreme conditions ! A 4/3 wetsuit minimum or even 5/4/3 for the most sensitive to the cold is mandatory, preferably with a front zip and stitched and glued for a better waterproofness. Good quality booties and gloves fitting properly are also really helpful. For the coldest regions a hood can be necessary, especially if the waves are big and require a lot of duck dive, the headache caused by the cold is sometimes really tough and can cause dizziness, and even if the waves are small the hood will protect your ears from the freezing wind. For those of you who really don’t like to wear a hood think about earplugs, really useful to avoid ear infection and other ear problems.
Little trick, put a container full of hot water in your trunk, you might be really happy to have when come the moment to take off your wetsuit ! Prefer a poncho to a towel, it will protect better from the wind and make it easier to change.
There is almost nobody in the water ! Some spots can be crazy crowded in spring and summer, but in winter no tourists, only a few brave locals. It is perfect to take a lot of waves and progress quickly. It is also an opportunity to try bigger waves with less risk of collision. The “after session” is often pretty nice, nothing better than wrapping up in warm and comfy clothes (Uggs boots will be your best friends!) and to go for a hot chocolate/coffee/tea with your friends.
Photo credit : Manola Brisson, Alexandra Arnaud, Elsa Cazajous