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
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.
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.
Casio G-Shock Frogman GF1000 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.
Casio G-Shock G-Lide GAX100B-1A Surf Watch
A robust pick with analog and digital tide times. It also features a temperature sensor. Available around $100.
Rip Curl 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.
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.
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.
Nixon Base Tide Pro Surf 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.
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.
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
Vestal Brig Tide and Train 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.
Freestyle Shark Classic Tide 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.
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.