What images do you associate with a perfect surf trip? You probably think of palm trees, trade winds, warm, clear water and of course pounding surf. Due to advances in technology, people are able to surf in uncommon destinations like Vancouver, Canada. 50 years ago, wet suits were primitive and many brave long boarders wore trunks in cold water. Luckily, significant advances, like 5mm wet suits, boots and gloves have made the impossible achievable. Surfing in cold water can come as a shock to some, but it has many advantages. Some benefits of cold water surfing include less crowds, ability to experience different cultures, health benefits and learning about new technology!
Let's face it, crowds can really take the fun out of surfing. Some crowded areas are beginner friendly spots like San Onofre, while others have fierce locals. At long boarding friendly spots, these crowds can be more forgiving, but high performance spots can have fierce locals. Unfortunately, fierce localism can manifest itself in violence as with the Bird Rock Bandits. The Bird Rock bandits were a group of 5 La Jolla surfers who inadvertently murdered pro surfer Emery Kauanui Jr during a fight. One of the bandits, Eric House, punched Emery resulting in Emery hitting his head on the pavement. This trauma caused the internal bleeding that led to his death.
The bird rock bandits are just one example of extreme localism. By surfing in cold water, you will be able to experience uncrowded areas which can be inconvenient to travel to. For example, Tolfino, Canada has many uncharted surf spots, despite it's rising popularity. Tolfino is known as the surfing capital of Canada, and has many undiscovered breaks per local legend Peter Devries. Mr. Devries mentions that eager surfers with enough money, time and a boat can set out to find the next cold water Malibu.
You probably think of tropical areas like Hawaii, California, and northern Australia as prime surf destinations, right? I can imagine as these were the three original surf destinations. Per the classic 1966 film, the endless summer, Hawaii was dubbed the land of the endless summer.
These areas have seen an influx of people, leading to over development, which can take away the local culture. Some places like Hawaii, are rife with 5 star hotels, and have lost significant cultural traits like language. Some benefits of cold water surfing include experiencing new cultures like Scandinavian culture. Scandinavia is a northern European region consisting of Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark. The Hoddevik valley in Norway is a sparsely populated area with good waves, consisting of beach and reef breaks. The main wave at Hoddevik is a long sandy beach break located between two mountains, giving you a scenic backdrop.
These northern European countries are sparsely populated and aren't typical tourist destinations. By surfing in these areas, you can also explore different activities like going to the Lofoten islands, hiking in fjords, and seeing midnight sunsets. During the summer, the days are very long with the sun setting around 12 am. You can appreciate this phenomena by taking a cable car up to high peaks like Storsteinen (Big Rock) on Mount Fløya. The cable car, or Fjellheisen cable car, will take you 1,381 feet above sea level and the trip will last four to five minutes. In the summer time, the car operates until 1 a.m., giving you plenty of time to experience late sunsets. At the summit, you'll be able to enjoy spectacular views over Tromsø and its surrounding islands.
Surfing regardless of water temperature, has many health benefits like muscle toning, releasing endorphins, and vitamin D exposure. These elements make a surfing a great way to strengthen as well as refresh the physical and mental being. There are many benefits of cold water surfing, especially when it comes to mental and physical health. By surfing in cold water, your body must work twice as hard to keep itself warm. Thus, you can burn twice as many calories, which will increase your metabolism. By increasing your metabolism, this will also help you lose weight easier and give you more stamina. This will enable you to consistently do cardio workouts (i.e paddling) for longer time periods.
Better Shape means more time in the barrel!
Cold water surfing not only helps you burn more calories, but it strengthens your immune system. Sudden temperature changes causes your body to become more adaptable per a study by Czech scientists. In this study, Czech scientists discovered that participants who were in cold water for an hour three times a week had higher levels of white blood cells. White blood cells, or leukocytes are 1% of your blood stream and are responsible for defending the body against viruses, bacteria along with other harmful pathogens.
Technology plays a crucial role in society, and surfing technology is no exception. New technology including new wet suits and neoprene alternatives have enabled surfers to discover new surf spots. Some surfers that consistently surf in warm water areas like Hawaii, are accustomed to wearing board shorts and rash guards. These surfers don't need to learn about different types of wet suits and thickness.
As mentioned in a previous post, Yulex wet suits are environmentally friendly wet suits made with natural rubber. These wet suits don't negatively impact the environment and are a great alternative to neoprene, considering neoprene allergies are fairly common. Cold water surfers need to wear wet suits, which allows them to stay on top of recent technology trends like Yulex suits. Besides wet suits, cold water surfers usually travel to remote areas, making advanced GPS devices paramount. When traveling to remote areas, you should know how to figure out your latitude, longitude and ways to communicate with the nearest town. Being prepared will help you and your crew in case of an emergency.
Surfing may seem appealing in warm, tropical destinations, but cold water surfing has its benefits. Technology has made more areas accessible to surfers worldwide. This has allowed people to spread the stoke, find uncharted waves and have diverse experiences. Some of the best benefits of cold water surfing include dealing with less crowds, experiencing different cultures, health benefits and learning about new technology.