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When most people think of surfing, they think of hot, crowded summer days. It turns out there are a number of advantages to surfing in the off-season.

Throughout the summer, it’s common to find yourself facing a flat, unresponsive body of water. Fortunately, during the Fall and Winter months we get treated to frequent low-pressure systems, which is the ideal scenario for surfing. The only potential downside is that conditions might be so ideal, they might even be dangerous. Be sure to check the local conditions before venturing out.

If crowds bother you, then surfing during off-peak times might be the perfect solution. Most tourists are gone by the end of the summer, which will leave you plenty of space. The drive to the beach will be easier, there will be an abundance of parking, and there will still be enough light out to take a post-surfing stroll if you like.

If the idea of freezing water is a deterrent, it’s good to know that sea temperatures don’t immediately match air temperatures, they need time to catch up. This means even as late as October, it might still be comfortable out in the water. February is highly regarded as the coldest month of the year, but that’s why winter wetsuits were invented. Wearing the proper suit, gloves, boots and thermal vest will protect you from the elements long enough to have an enjoyable time no matter what time of year.

Surfing in cold weather also makes for an overall satisfying experience simply because of the amount of effort and motivation required. Once you’ve left the warmth and comfiness to go out into the cold, there are a number of cozy thawing rituals to enjoy, such as sitting by a fireplace wrapped in a blanket or drinking hot chocolate.

If you’re a beginner and want to learn how to surf, this is the best time. Surf schools are more likely to have openings and a better student to teacher ratio, and beaches will be quieter as you practice the sport.

If you surf less over the winter months, or not at all, it’s a good opportunity to stay healthy.  For more advanced surfers, bigger waves mean bigger challenges, so it will keep you in excellent shape.

It’s also a great time of year to go exploring, research different parts of the world, and experience different cultures.