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Despite the cold weather, winter is one of the best times to surf! Winter storms create larger and more consistent swells. The colder weather and larger waves also deter many of the crowds present during summer months. If you’re looking to surf this winter, use the following advice for a positive winter surfing experience!

Invest in Appropriate Gear

If you want to surf in the winter, gear appropriate for the colder weather is an absolute must. Invest in the best suit you can afford, and make sure that it doesn’t have any holes or tears. You may not notice the water coming through them in the summer, but you’ll certainly feel cold water rushing through them in the winter. Use a suit with liquid-sealed seams, and opt for a chest zip, or buy a zipperless one if you can.

The combination of a warmer, heavier, and less flexible suit with even larger waves means that you’ll also need to invest in an appropriate surfboard. You’ll want something bigger and heavier than you’d normally use in the summer.

Prepare Before the Session

Before you surf, make sure you stay hydrated and fuel yourself with plenty of protein and complex carbs. Take some time to stretch and warm up before you being surfing. This will keep your blood pumping, otherwise your body will react to the cold weather by reducing blood flow to the skin and extremities. Make sure you stay warm before you hit the waves. Keep the heat on high on the car ride to the beach, and wear a heavy jacket for as long as possible while getting ready.

Stay Safe During the Session

The most important thing to remember is to keep moving as much as possible! The more you paddle and move around, the more blood your body will pump to your hands and feet. When you’re sitting on your board, keep warm by tucking your hands into your armpits.

Be careful. Don’t stay out for too long– surfing in cold weather is much more tiring than it is during the summer because your body uses extra energy to keep your body warm. Always surf with a friend. That way you can keep an eye on each other and watch for signs of hypothermia.

Surfing during the winter is an extremely rewarding experience. That being said, you need to be careful, and invest more effort into preparing before and staying safe during your sessions. By making sure you have appropriate gear, taking care of yourself before you surf, and being careful during you session, you’ll be able to beat the crowds and take advantage of the great winter waves.