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Regular surfers know how frustrating it is to head to the beach and be met with the wrong tide. All efforts made to wake up early, fuel up your car, and convince your friends to come along have gone to waste. Ah, if only you’d checked your tide calendar… In this guide, we’ll show you the best surf watches for women.
We’ve covered surf watches with minimal features to surf watches that track the exact length, time,and speed of every wave. No matter what surf watch you’re in the market for, we’ve found one for you.
If you do plan to purchase a surf watch, Surfboards.com offers free shipping, guarantees a 110% refund, and offers to beat the lowest price found elsewhere by 10%. This post is not sponsored. We are an affiliate for Surfboards.com as well as Amazon.com. This means we may earn a commission on any product purchased through these links at no extra cost to you.
Best all around surf watch for women Tide: Yes Depth: 100m (330ft)
The Rip Curl GPS Series 2 is one of the most premium models when it comes to surf watches. It tops the list due to its high-end tracking and advanced tech features. This was one of the first few watches to combine GPS and motion technology and apply it to surfing. It tracks swell, wind, tide, and just about every move you do–no matter if you have a surfboard or snowboard underneath your feet.
For surfers, this high-end surf watch tracks the number of waves you catch, your top speed on the wave, the length of each wave, and the total distance paddled. You can record a complete session and view every small detail from the weather conditions to the swell height and direction in advance. All of this can be plotted on a map, and you can visually observe the details by replaying the session on the map. Consider this watch the ultimate gift for any surfer.
The GPS 2 model is much more sleek than the original model, and better suited for petite surfers.
Best value surf watch for women Tide: Yes Depth: 100m (330ft)
The Rip Curl Moui Mini is a mid-range surf watch suitable for both beginners and intermediate surfers. Besides being waterproof and having the basic time and stopwatch functionalities, it also provides the tide times of more than 500 tidal spots across the globe.
Its slim look and aesthetically designed analogue display give it a personality of its own. It has all the features of a digital watch (alarms, stopwatch) and is ideal for everyday wear.
This surf watch comes in mint, black with rose gold, rust, and black.
Best surf watch for minimalists Tide: Yes Depth: 100m (330ft)
The Nixon Rival surf watch is programmed for 550 tide locations around the world and has a high-contrast digital display that wicks water away from the watch face. Simple, durable, and sleek, this is a no-frills watch that pairs well with everyday outfits–no bling or stand-out features. The surf watch is easy to program with a clean and intuitive interface. The Nixon Rival comes in white, pink, turquoise, black, blue, and green.
Best all-around surf watch Tide: Yes Depth: 100m (330ft)
Nixon Base Tide Pro combines functionality, durability, and affordability into a small comprehensive package. The watch features a set of 500 pre-programmed tide and sunrise/sunset locations with highly accurate information. This one by Nixon is also very robust and comes with a custom TR90 case with hardened mineral crystal. The water-resistant pushers can handle up to 100m underwater and are cased within stainless steel back. Its double-locking looper band gives it the extra grip that every surfer needs for saving their watch from getting lost in the ocean waves.
Rip Curl dominates the surf watch scene, and the Rip Curl Next Tide is ideal for those who want a comfortable, sleek, and practical surf watch. The watch is equipped with 500 pre-programmed global tide locations with future forecasting. The scratch-resistant lens in a stylish polycarbonate case is surprisingly durable. A spot X feature exists for thousands of tide locations.
Best basic surf watch Tide: No Depth: 100m (330ft)
Freestyle is also one of the leading companies when it comes to budget surf watches. The Shark Classic Tide is one of their affordable options and probably the best watch you can get at this price point. At a price this low, you can’t expect anything fancy such as GPS tracking or session replays, but the watch offers basic tide functions which is enough for most surfers. It provides access to the tide and sunset/sunrise data of more than 150 locations across the world. If you’re in search of a budget-friendly surf watch, this is a top contender.
There is also a slightly more affordable version of this surf watch without tide functions called the Freestyle Shark Classic.
Best surf watch for durability Tide: No Depth: 200m (660ft)
Most of surf watches are water-resistant up to 100m, but this one goes a mile ahead and provides resistance up to 200m. (Although, we’re not sure how anyone would ever go that deep!). The timekeeping is exceptionally accurate and is designed to be resistant to magnetism and magnetic devices that might throw other watches a bit off track. Other highlights include a strong, matte-black shell that adds a protective layer to the watch, a battery that can last more than 3 years, and extremely accurate tide timekeeping.
This watch also has a 1/1000th second stopwatch and a world time program of 48 cities/29 time zones. There is no tide functionality, so it is best for surfers who want a timepiece that can work in all aspects of their life.
Best surf watch for groms Tide: No Depth: 100m (330ft)
The Freestyle USA Shark Clip really slim and easy to handle. The functionalities though are very comprehensive, though there is no tide function. It shows the world time of 24 international cities, includes a heat timer, chronograph, and an additional night-vision backlight. Due to its small size and basic functionalities, this can prove to be the ideal surf watch for kids and teens.
Every surfer is different when it comes to the features they want. Some opt for style while others prefer something that’s ultra practical–without real focus on the aesthetic. Surf watches range from blinged-out in deatures and looks to little more than water resistant typical watches.
Here are a few features to think about when choosing the best surf watch for you.
Water Resistance (Non-Negotiable Feature)
When you’re so obviously going to wear your surf watch while out in the water, you will need it to have at least some water resistance so that it does not go out of order on its first surf.
There is no need to pay major attention to the depth ratings. Yes, most surf watches will be able to go as deep as 100 meters. Considering that recreational scuba divers go to 30 meters, anything beyond 50 meters is a bit of a marketing gimmick.
You might want to time your sessions. How long is each wave? What is the time in between sets? A stopwatch also helps with pool trainings and breath-hold exercises.
Let your surf watch wake you up for your next sunrise session! Alarms always come in handy one way or another. On a pumping day, it’s easy to lose track of time. An alarm might just help you make that early morning meeting or re-pay your parking meter before paddling out for more.
Surf watches usually have a shorter battery life than most other watches due to the overload of functions they have. Always prioritize the ones with a higher battery life over the ones with a shorter life. Many are rechargeable.
Durability & Comfort
Since the use will mostly be outdoors, you will want a watch that is robust and can withstand harsh conditions. A surf watch shouldn’t crack or break if it gets thumped against your board or hits the reef. Look for watches that are shatterproof and hard-wearing so that they do not fall apart very quickly. Also, don’t compromise on the comfort of the watch for better durability. You are going to wear it for long hours so make sure that the material you’re selecting is friendly to your skin and doesn’t cause a lot of irritation.
Price is naturally one of the deciding factors when you’re getting anything. There are both affordable and fancy watches out there in the market, and it all comes down to how much you are willing and able to spend on yours. Just make sure you’re getting the right value for your money. If you can find one surf watch that doubles as everyday wear, consider paying more as you won’t need to own two.
At times, you might have to wear your surf watches to occasions other than strictly ‘surfing’. Go for a cool design that is versatile and can be worn at other events as well.
Tide Tracking and Advanced Functions
One feature that distinguishes a surf watch from a typical waterproof watch is tide tracking. A surf watch, programmed to your local surf break, will reveal high and low tide as well as sunrise and sunset (in some watches). This will help you plan your next surf–and keep you from wiping out on a reef during low tide!
More advanced features include GPS tracking that allows you to record the distance surfed and paddled, and has a function that uploads this data to an app to analyze.
Other features to look for are swell and wind data. This way, you’ll know the best conditions without having to hunt it down online.
While it is not mandatory for you to have every feature on this list, the greater there are, the more useful your watch will be to you.
The Benefits of Owning a Surf Watch
A surf watch helps get you to the surf–or work–on time. It reveals when the tides are so that you know if it’s worth paddling out or not. You can also use a watch to monitor the waves and swells themselves. A stopwatch will tell you the time in betweeen sets, waves, or how long you actually stand on a wave.
Some watches have a heart rate monitor and can double as everyday fitness watches. Having access to the level of statistics and analysis, these surf watches can help you make the most of your next surf session when it comes to how long you’re out, paddling out in the best conditions, and tracking your wave data.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions about Surf Watches
You can surf with a water resistant watch as long as it is durable and able to withstand depths of at least 50 meters. While your watch will likely never go that deep, this rating helps the watch withstand quick changes in water pressure–for example, getting tossed inside a wave.
How accurate are tide watches?
Surf watches have become highly accurate over the past few years. Some watches, like Rip Curl and Nixon, use tide calendars from hundreds of locations around the world. For the highest accuracy, you will need to choose a location closest to you. those who surf in remote locations may not as accurate of a calendar–simply because the tide calendar has not been calibrated into their system. You can train some surf watches to pair with your local break.
How do you read a tide watch?
Tide watches will have a sideways S-shaped curve or will list the times of low and high tide. The bottom of the S (valley) indicates low tide. The highest point (mountain peak) indicates high tide. A rising tide is called an incoming tide. An falling tide as an outgoing tide.
Have any questions about surf watches? Feel free to ask them in the comments below.