Surf Watches: The Best Surf Watches in 2020

Surf watches have become an increasingly important gear item for surfers and travelers.

Recently in the last few years, top surf brands have been developing surf watches. Surf watches that actually measure and forecast tides for thousands of surf spots around the world.

If you're a surfer, then you know how frustrating it can be to plan the best surf experience. To pack up your gear and drive all the way to the coast. Only to show up at the beach to see that it's as flat as a lake.

Then there is that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you hear about a great surf day you missed. All because you assumed the conditions weren't right.

Ultimately, with a surf watch, you're able to plan your day around when conditions are perfect. That's why you need a surf watch!

In this article you'll learn about: 

  • The best surf and tide watches for all price ranges.
  • The surf brands who make the right surf watch for you.
  • The key features that make surf watch great.

Essentially, tide watches help you avoid wasted trips to the beach, or missing out on that perfect swell, by showing the times of high and low tide so you know when the optimum surf time will be.

What makes a great surf watch?

The features of the best surf watches vary depending on your budget and needs.

Some surf and tide watches will just give you the basics. While others provide you with detailed graphs. Right down to the height of the wave!

At the basic level, a surf watch should show you the low and high tide times for any particular surf break on the planet. Allowing you to know when to go to America, Europe, Australia, Africa, and Oceania.

After decades of oceanographic studies, the planet's tidal movements are now predictable. This tidal data is stored in modern surf watches.

But surf watch brands have also added a few additional features like:

  • wave counters
  • dawn and sunset times
  • moon phases

Which are turning surf watches into smart surf computers.

More recently, men's and women's surf watches have been including GPS and WiFi systems. Which allows you to check the ocean conditions in any spot. In real-time.

You get all the information you need to know:

  • wave height
  • wave period
  • water temperature
  • wind speed
  • wind direction

The most reliable tide watch manufacturers are Apple, Casio, Rip Curl, Nixon, Vestal, and Freestyle.

With so many different variations, finding the best tide watch can be difficult.

Luckily, we’ve reviewed the best watches on the market and created a helpful buying guide, so finding the best surf watch for you should be a breeze!

Here are the best surf watches for in 2020:

Apple Watch Series 5 Watch

Apple 5 Series Surf Watch

The world's best surf watch. If you own an iPhone, this is the right pick. Not only it features dozens of everyday apps, but it also allows you to install surf forecast and GPS tracking apps like Dawn Patrol. It is swim-proof and has a water resistance rating of 50 meters. Available for $379.

Buy: Amazon.com

Casio GLX5600 Surf Watch

casio glx5600 surf watch

Casio entered the market with a surf watch with tide and moon graphs, and a moon age data chart that anchors the face of the timepiece, allowing for the most precise tide and surf swell recordings. Only $89.

Buy: Amazon.com

Casio G-Shock Frogman GF1000 Surf Watch

Casio G Shock Frogman Surf Watch

The best surf watch in the G-Shock series is the Frogman GF1000, an incredible solar-powered portable computer with direction, altitude/barometric pressure, temperature, tide graphs, and moon phases. It can be yours for $446.

Buy: Amazon.com

Casio G-Shock G-Lide GAX100B-1A Surf Watch

Casio G-Shock G-Lide GAX100B Surf Watch

A robust pick with analog and digital tide times. It also features a temperature sensor. Available around $100.

Buy: Amazon.com

Rip Curl Search GPS 2 Surf Watch

Rip Curl GPS Search GPS 2 Surf Watch

A watch that tracks your surf. It's Rip Curl's jewel of the crown. It allows you to track your surf, register your top speed and distance and rack up your wave count in each session. Later, you can share location maps, image and graphic charts with your friends with the mobile app. Finally, it features sunrise-sunset times and moon phases. $299.

Buy: Amazon.com

Rip Curl Rifles Tide Surf Watch

Rip Curl Rifles Tide Surf Watch

It comes with 500 pre-programmed tide locations in a graph or detailed display. It is light, easy to use, and it was tested to 100-meter water-resistance. Only $124.

Buy: Amazon.com

Rip Curl Drifter Tide Surf Watch

Rip Curl Drifter Tide Surf Watch

A robust surf watch that comes with 500 pre-programmed tide locations, thermometer, alarm, countdown timer, chronograph, dual time, and light. Available around $140.

Buy: Amazon.com

Nixon Base Tide Pro Surf Watch

Nixon Base Tide Watch

A simplified tide watch with pre-programmed tide information for 550 beaches around the world and sunrise/sunset times. It can be yours for around $100.

Buy: Amazon.com

Nixon Siren Surf Watch

Nixon Siren Surf Watch

Don't leave your style at the shoreline. The Siren fuses eye-catching design with surf-specific features to give you a piece that goes with you everywhere. Basic tide functionality lets you know when it's time to paddle out, and the silicone band feels soft, but charges as hard as you. Yours for $100.

Buy: Amazon.com

Nixon Rival Surf Watch

Nixon Rival Surf Watch

Win more waves with a watch that always knows when to paddle out. The angular case and high-contrast display make it stylish enough to be your daily digital. But, pre-programmed tide info for 550 beaches across the globe makes the Rival unparalleled among the competition. Yours for $125

Buy: Amazon.com

Vestal Brig Tide and Train Surf Watch

Vestal Brig Surf Watch

The Vestal Brig Surf Watch features a digital tide graph with current tide height. Also, it tracks the tide at over 200 beaches worldwide. For the next 20 years. It's easily worth the $76.

Buy: Amazon.com

Freestyle Shark Classic Tide Watch

Freestyle Shark Classic Tide Surf Watch

Alternatively, there is the Freestyle Shark Tide watch. Which includes sunrise and sunset times. There are also 150 beaches pre-programmed into the watch. The brand calls it “the perfect surf watch” and can be yours for $100.

Buy: Amazon.com

Freestyle Mariner Tide Watch

Freestyle Mariner Tide Watch

Finally, there is the Freestyle Mariner. Which comes with tide height and time information. Along with sunrise and sunset times. Only $100.

Buy: Amazon.com

Book Your Surf Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book your flight
Find a cheap flight by using Google Flights. They are our favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know you're getting the best flight.

Book your surf hotel or surf accommodation
You can book a really unique and local place with AirBnB anywhere in the world. We used it recently in Sri Lanka to book a place withing a 3 minute walk to a surf break. If you want to stay somewhere other than an AirBnB, use Booking.com, as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.

Don’t forget travel insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, surf gear theft, and cancellations. Basically, you get protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a surf trip without it. We’ve been using World Nomads for close to ten years now.

Protect your personal data
When you travel, you're constantly logging into public Wi-Fi. VPNs are designed to protect all of your Internet traffic. This includes email, streaming music and video, voice calls, and anything else you can think of. We use ExpressVPN when we're on a surf trip.

Looking for the best companies to save money with?
Check out our resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! I list all those I use — and they’ll save you time and money too!

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