When you picture big waves and perfect lines it’s probably accompanied by gorgeous white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters that you’ll find in places like Australia and Hawaii. It’s not quite like that over here in the UK and you’d be a bit disappointed if you did venture to your nearest break expecting pipeline-sized monsters. But that’s just the summer months; fast forward to later in the year and you’ll find that the waves are very different, a lot more fun and bit more challenging.
Cold water surfing in the UK is fun and free, once you’ve invested in a bit of kit, so why are more people not getting involved? It’s the fear of the unknown for most, and of course, the cold. But if you’re prepared and ready with the right gear then you’ll hardly notice the difference between warmer water and coldwater surfing. Once you’ve taken the plunge and you’re in up to your neck then that’s it – you warm up and you’re ready to go. But if you’re not equipped with adequate kit then it’s not as easy as getting in the water and enjoying it.
The first step is getting a wetsuit that can adequately cover all seasons, and in the UK that means a winter suit. The water in the summer may be appealing when the sun in shining but the sad fact is that the weather doesn’t stay warm enough to heat the sea up, so if you’re planning on going in without the neoprene then be prepared to run back out very fast.
Next, it’s always advisable to protect yourself from any nasties that you might come across; sharp rocks on the sea bed, and surfers ear for example. If you’ve never heard of surfers ear then have a quick search online and you’ll definitely do anything you can to prevent it once you’ve read up on it; one of the best lines of defence against surfers ear is earplugs and brands such as Northcore offer excellent products to help surfers avoid it. Extras such as surfing boots and gloves also offer that extra bit of protection that can make your first surfing experience more comfortable and warmer, and you much more likely to go out again and again.
No coldwater surfer looks forward to getting out of the sea and peeling off their suit so if you’re not made of stronger stuff then definitely make sure you’ve got a good towel and a waterproof bag handy for a quick change out of your wetty and into your dry gear. Beach robes and changing mat bags are a great option as they’ve got privacy and convenience covered in one easy to use product.
Coldwater surfing can be massively rewarding if you’re prepared to put some effort into taking on the fiercer waves than what the summer has to offer; before you know it you’ll be planning your trip overseas.