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Winter surf guide: The gears you need for cool and cold water surfing

When people think of surfing, glossy waves in tropical paradises may come to mind. But there is so much beauty and magic with winter surfing that you don’t want to miss out on! However, winter surfing has an extra element of discomfort that the tropical destination doesn’t: cold weather and water. But don’t worry, we are here to help you keep warm during the winter months – time to suit up!

Boardshorts and swimsuits

Even though you will be nice and warm in a thick wetsuit, don’t forget to bring boardshorts or swimsuits! You want to wear swimwear of nice quality that stays where they need to be during your surf session. It’s not the easiest thing to adjust uncomfortable swimwear under the thick wetsuit!

Wetsuit thickness chart: Get the right thickness for the winter



A condition called exostosis, more famously known as Surfers Ear, causes hearing loss and can be a consequence of exposure to cold water and wind. Therefore, bringing a pair of earplugs is a great way to protect your ears!

Hand warmers

When you head back to the beach after a cold session in the waves it can feel really nice to have hand warmers waiting for you among your stuff that you can hold on to.

Surfboard wax

Depending on the temperature of the water we use different kinds of surf vax. For winter surfing, we either apply cool water wax, cold water wax, or ice cold water wax. The softest wax is used for the coldest waters and soft wax is easy to apply.

Surfboard wax chart: The wax you need for winter surfing


Cool water wax: For water with temperatures around 14-18° (or 57-64° Fahrenheit) Celcius you can use a cold water wax for your board.

Cold water wax: When the water temperature is between 10-14° (or 50-57° Fahrenheit) Celcius you can use a cold water wax.

Ice cold water wax: And for the brave surfers who enter the water when it has dropped below 10° Celcius (or 50° Fahrenheit), you use ice cold water wax.

Surf destinations: Our favorite places to surf in winter

Experience the best surfing that winter has to offer while spending the time out of the water to see breathtaking locations and hang out with like-minded people. Check out our surf camps that are perfect for a winter vacation:

  • Ericeira, Portugal

  • Hoddevik, Norway

Check out our summer surf guide.

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