Winter Surfing Rituals

Discussion in 'Surfing' started by houseofsuffering, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. houseofsuffering

    houseofsuffering Active Member

    Nov 1, 2005
    It’s getting to be that time of year when it’s cold AF for the east. Always looking for good cold water hacks to ensure I’m not getting pneumonia, ear/sinus infections after a session or getting hypothermia changing in/out of my winter suit. Whatcha got that works?
    PeakMaster likes this.
  2. strez

    strez Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2012
    Hamilton, Massachusetts
    On the coldest days I'll drive home in my wetsuit - sometimes even drive to the surf in it. Up in NH there are year-round beach bathrooms which are good for changing as well.
    ElBrooklyn and houseofsuffering like this.
  3. SeniorGrom

    SeniorGrom Well-Known Member

    Mar 20, 2012
    USA New Jersey
    I try to stay in my 4/3 as long as possible into the winter. Only one session in a 6 mil so far and it was too warm. As far as back-to-back sessions go....I rinse all equipment when I get home. Let the suit, boots, gloves drip and drain for a few hours. In the evening I use old crappy towels and roll my suit in them soaking dampness out. Roll up small old hand towels and push them inside boots & gloves to remove as much water as possible. Hang up my suit that’s inside out over a bedroom door overnight. Boots and gloves go in a somewhat warm laundry room. I don’t have a boot/glove drier system. In the morning I’m ready to go with the inside of my suit almost 100% dry and boots & gloves still damp inside. Sometimes my boots stink so bad they ride to the beach in the back of my pickup. When the air temp is in the 30s or lower with wind, I throw a small tarp over the front passenger seat and get into and out of my suit in the truck. Gotta be a bit of a contortionist but I go slow and am not standing outside frozen to the bone.
    houseofsuffering likes this.
  4. HerbB

    HerbB Well-Known Member

    Nov 10, 2018
    -blast the heater, get as warm as possible before
    -fleece rash guard and shorts under wetsuit
    -change into wetsuit in the hot truck
    -I bring a three gallon jug of warm water with. pour a little in wetsuit before, a lot poured in my tootsies after
    -pull the trucks car mat out to stand on after

    Ps. Do not, I repeat do not, ever buy wetsuit from me if I was to offer one.
    BrazilButtNut and Tenfooter like this.
  5. WhiteRussian

    WhiteRussian Active Member

    Oct 16, 2007
    Boston Harbor
    when I had to drive an hour for a morning session, I was always stopping a local DD for #1 and to get sweet (caramel) coffee even if I didn't really want it. sometimes I would get an extra one and pour it into the thermos - for after the session.
  6. Chilly Willy

    Chilly Willy Well-Known Member

    Feb 15, 2004
    USA New Jersey
    Some things:
    1. If you change outside your car, a changing poncho works wonders for both staying warm and avoiding a ticket.
    2. The best changing spot is out of the wind and in the warmth of direct sunlight. Sometimes you're lucky and get both. If not, opt for the shady but less windy spot. Seems like common sense but it took me a while to discover how nice warm sun can be.
    3. In the past, I've had great luck with a thermos of hot (not scalding) water to dump down my suit at the end of a session.
    4. I try to always wear earplugs to avoid the dreaded surfer's ear from cold water.
    5. If you get sick, lay off the cold water surf for a while despite how tempting the waves look. I surfed last year after barely recovering from a cold and ended up getting the flu the very next day.
    6. My favorite hack: I went over to the beach on a flat day with a hammer and handful of nails. I crawled under the boardwalk, reached up underneath the edge of the boards, and banged a nail in. Boom -- instant key hook. I repeated the process on every street for a good 5 or 6 blocks, all of which are within my radius for surf. I picked the same spot at each location so it is always easy to find: two pilings to the right of each beach entrance. When I go onto the beach, I casually slip my hand under the boardwalk when no one is watching and hang my car keys on the nail. When I leave, I reach my hand under and grab my keys. Easy to grab with wetsuit gloves on and better than trying to stash them in your wheel well or whatever.
  7. Salinity

    Salinity Well-Known Member

    May 11, 2016
    USA Rhode Island
    I most often surf DP before work and head straight in from the beach (hour + drive) - so a post-surf changing routine is necessary no matter the weather. It's something I've refined over the last few years. My tips and tricks:

    1. Obvious, but put your wetsuit on before you leave the house (I put mine on to my waist & put the rest on in the car).
    2. If at all possible, park facing the wind, so the back of your ride is shielded from the wind when you're changing (works best in an SUV or hatchback).
    3. I bring 4 gallons of hot water (in 1-gallon water jugs) in an insulated food delivery bag. Makes all the difference when changing.
    4. I got a DryRobe changing robe as a gift from my mom & wife a couple years ago and it's been worth it's weight in gold. I love that thing.
    5. I also find a good pair of waterproof gloves (like these used on commercial fishing boats) helps when handling a cold wet wetsuit once your'e changed and warming up. Wet hands can get ice-cold quick, so keeping your hands as dry as possible during the process is paramount.
    6. Finally, this year I added another piece to the puzzle - I didn't go full-on Ugg, but opted for their cheaper off-brand cousin: Bearpaw. These things are great. I haven't tried putting on yoga pants and going grocery shopping with them yet, but they are awesome to warm the feet up when changing after a surf (I believe that was the Ugg's intended purpose). Before this year I'd have some real wool socks at the ready. Wool is a cold surfer's friend.
  8. houseofsuffering

    houseofsuffering Active Member

    Nov 1, 2005
    All great suggestions fellas. I always try to tweak my routine to max comfort/min feeling shitty. Been big on having something like green tea ready to go in my truck once I’m out for the ride home. Helps with ears and sinuses.

    I do the poncho or just bust home if it’s super cold. Currently adding hot water jugs back into the mix because it looks like the cold is finally heading to NJ.

    Really need to get better at flushing sinuses and drying out ear canals. Even with plugs I feel like water always gets trapped in one ear.
  9. dingdong

    dingdong Well-Known Member

    Jan 14, 2013
    USA California
    big kudos to all you guys surfing those cold conditions...I don't think I could do it
    Clomics likes this.
  10. Surph

    Surph Active Member

    Mar 29, 2010
    Wearing my wetsuit to check waves eliminates parking lot chatting and contemplating surf quality, tide, wind vs just going out and surfing. 1mm hood underneath helps to avoid flushes and water in ears. Maxxdry XL dryer is a heated forced air boot dryer and works great. I have one for boots and gloves and one for wetsuit.
    ElBrooklyn likes this.

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