10 Best Surf Watches

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The best thing about surf watches and tide watches is they instantly make you a better surfer the instant you strap one to your wrist. Ok, that’s patently untrue. But a good surf watch can help you make the most of your time on the water, which could certainly lead to an improvement in skill.

Here are 10 of the best surf watches and tide watches available today. Each of them offers tide data for numerous surf locales (one with 1,400 spots in fact) and the next ten years or so of data is preloaded. Most also include sunrise and sunset times to help you plan how long you’ll get to be on the water. Included heat and interval timers can help you train off the board, or work on your heat strategy on the board. As an added bonus, that little digital tide display on your wrist lets others know instantly what you like to do in your spare time.

Surf and Tide Watches

Rip Curl Search GPS 2 Watch

Rip Curl Search GPS 2 Watch

When Rip Curl started making wet suits in 1969, watches could only tell you the time. Today the surf company is still making wetsuits, but in the past few decades they’ve added a big range of surf watches to their lineup. The Search GPS 2 is their most advanced surf watch to date and comes loaded with data for 1,400 tide locations. You also get sunrise/sunset and moon phase data plus real-time surf conditions from Surfline’s marine weather data system. Built-in GPS and Bluetooth connectivity let you track your surf sessions and log them on your iPhone so you know your top speed, distance travelled and how long you were out on the board. – Shop Now

Nixon Base Tide Pro

Nixon Base Tide Pro

Watch and accessory company Nixon has a number of surf watches in their lineup, but this is the toughest of the bunch. The near-unbreakable TR90 case houses a negative LCD display with a hardened mineral crystal face. The tide graph visualizes preloaded tide info for 550 beaches around the world, along with sunrise and sunset info. Functions like alarms, timers and chronographs add to the utility while the slew of color options make the Base Tide Pro a bold statement on the wrist. – Shop Now

Rip Curl Next Tide Watch

Rip Curl Next Tide Watch

In the mid 90s Rip Curl introduced the first waterproof tide watch for surfers, and has been improving upon them ever since. If you don’t need the intense connectivity of their top-of-the-line Search GPS, the Next Tide gives you tide info for 500 pre-programmed locations displayed on a negative LCD display with tide graph, and it also offers future forecasting. The polycarbonate case is ergonomically rounded and comes in a two stealth colors: black and military green. – Shop Now

Freestyle Shark Classic Tide Watch

Freestyle Shark Classic Tide Watch

For the past thirty years, Freestyle has been doing one thing — making water-resistant watches for surfers, divers, bicyclists, snowboarders and other people who don’t sit still. Their most popular watch is The Shark Watch and now that classic style comes with tide data and sunrise/set times for 150 locations. It’s called, fittingly, the Shark Classic Tide Watch. It has 100 meter water resistance, hydro pusher buttons that operate underwater, and is backed by Freestyle’s limited lifetime warranty. – Shop Now

Vestal Brig Tide & Train

Vestal Brig Tide & Train

California-based watch and sunglass maker Vestal offers a watch to match just about any style you’re going for these days. Their surf watch offering is called Brig Tide & Train and offers preloaded tides for 200 locations, displayed on a digital tide graph. You also get their unique “suffer & recover” interval timer — basically a timer that counts down training intervals followed by rest intervals. Their patent-pending pattern on the watch strap lifts the watch off your skin for better breathability. – Shop Now

Quiksilver Stringer Tide Digital Watch

Quiksilver Stringer Tide Digital Watch

You know Quiksilver for covering all your board-related apparel needs — board shorts for summer surfing and snow jackets for winter snowboarding. Now they’ve turned their attention to the tide watch with the Stringer. It features Quiksilver’s DEEP tide system with pre-programmed tide data for 300 surf spots across the globe. Along with the standard alarm and timer functions, it also has a Tabata high-intensity interval training timer mode. Plus the little wave/mountain logo on the side will match your shorts. – Shop Now

Rip Curl Drifter Tide Watch

Rip Curl Drifter Tide Watch

The Drifter from Rip Curl takes style cues from a G-Shock, but front and center here is the tide graphic, displaying data from 500 pre-programmed global tide locations. The watch also offers a future tide function along with alarms and calendars. The high-impact ABS case and stainless case back give the watch 100 meters of waterproof protection. – Shop Now

Garmin Surf Watch (App)

Garmin Surf Watch App

So what if you already have a Garmin wearable? What if you don’t want to have to get a new watch, but you want tide data capabilities? This app fills in that surf gap on your Garmin smartwatch with a paid watch face. Get the app and select your beach of choice for wave and wind data — showing up right there on the watch you already set down your hard earned dollars to own. – Shop Now

Timex Intelligent Quartz Tide Temp Compass Watch

Timex Intelligent Quartz Tide Temp Compass Watch

If you like the look, style and movement of analog but still want tide data (and more), Timex has your watch. Displaying digital information on an analog face, the IQ Tide Watch uses a dedicated fourth hand that’ll point out compass direction, air and water temp, and countdown to high and low tide. Pressing the pushers activates the different modes, while the crown helps you set your tide location and recalibrate the fourth hand. It’s a classy way to get digital info in a quartz/analog package. – Shop Now

Casio G-Shock GLX5600-1

Casio G-Shock GLX5600-1

The Casio G-Shock was the go-to waterproof, drop-proof, everything-proof watch before many of today’s surfers were even born (we said many, not all. Major respect to all forty, fifty and sixty-year-olds still ripping). The GLX5600-1 is slimmer than other G-Shocks, which tend to err on the side of bulk, for less drag when you paddle. Tide and moon graphs plus G-Shock’s storied water resistance (200 meters here) and shock-resistance make this a a surf watch you’ll still be using when you’re one of the sixty-year-olds out there. – Shop Now

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