Surf watches: tides, moon phases and wave counters

Surf watches are an important tool for surfers and wave riders. In the last ten years, the surf industry has been developing action sports watches that actually measure and forecast tides for hundreds of surf spots, from America to Australia.

Rip Curl, Nixon, Vestal, Freestyle, Casio and Electric are the most reliable tide watch manufacturers. After decades of studies, the tidal movements are somehow predictable and so they can be stored in a wrist watch. Add wave counters, sunset times and moon phases to make them an authentic surf computer.

Lately, surf watches have been introducing GPS and WiFi systems that allow users to update and check the ocean conditions in any spot, and in real-time. You get wave height, wave period, water temperature, and wind speed and direction.

Casio entered the market with the "GLX5600," 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 $75. The "G-Shock G-Lide GAX100" is a robust pick, and it adds a temperature sensor for under $150.

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 graph and moon phases. It can be yours for $648.

The "Search GPS" is Rip Curl's jewel of the crown. It allows you 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. Only $363.

The "Mick Fanning Trestles Pro", also by Rip Curl, takes the best-buy surf watch award. It is packed with local knowledge for over 500 waves around the planet and each spot is pre-loaded with best tide, wind direction and swell size information to help you score the best surf. It has an internal digital compass, sunrise and sunset times. Yours for $209.

The "Trestles Oceansearch" includes pre-programmed tide charts for over 200 preset beach locations world-wide, displays tide height and range, and up to 10 years of future tide chart information. Other features include a dual-time display, moon phases, countdown timer, stopwatch, alarm and back light. It can be yours for only $149.

The "Rifles Tide Watch" comes with 500 pre-programmed tide locations in graph or detailed display. It is light, easy to use, and it was tested to 100M water-resistance. Only $75.

One of the most popular picks from Nixon is "The Supertide". With the rhythm of the tide displayed in high-resolution detail, the watch syncs you up with the motion of the ocean so you know exactly when to go. Featuring programmed tide charts, as well as sunrise/sunset data for over 230 beaches. Only $199.

"The Ultratide", by Nixon, is one of the world's smartest surf watches. It features wireless Bluetooth technology, to provide you with real time data: tide, wave height, swell direction, wind direction and speed, water and air temperatures, geo locating the closest break so you'll never not know. Yours for $299, and for those who own an Apple smartphone. 

The "Raglan Tide" offers a solid construction, at a very light weight. The watch features tide height and direction, moon phase, date, and seconds. The rugged custom screw down crown ensures 100M water resistance, and it will cost you $300.

"Lowdown II" by Nixon is stronger, smarter and more comfortable than ever before. Pre-programmed with tide info for over 270 beaches worldwide, countdown timer, day and date, wave counter, chronograph and light. Yours for $81.

The "Brig Tide & Train" is Vestal's surf watch including a digital tide graph that features current tide height and tracks the tide at over 200 beaches worldwide, for the next 20 years. It's worth the US$165.

The "ED01 - T NATO" by Electric is a simple surf watch with tide prediction, moon phase, calendar, alarm, countdown/heat time, chronograph with 30 lap recall, and light functions. It can be yours for $77.

The "Mariner Tide" is presented by Freestyle. It includes sunrise and sunset times to compliment its 150 beaches of pre-programmed tide data. The brand calls it "the perfect surf watch" and can be yours for US$99. The "Killer Shark Tide" is worth $89.

The "Shark Tooth" by Freestyle provides real-time surf forecasting, tide and weather data for thousands of locations worldwide, including music and camera control from your wrist. Get swell height and direction, wind speed and direction, air and water temperatures, tide data, and sunrise/sunset times for only $91.

The Quiksilver "Deep X" was removed from the list due to severe critical failures and poor customer service from Quiksilver.

Click on each surf watch link to buy directly from Amazon, or visit the online surf shop for more detailed surf watch information.

The surf watch review has been updated on the 18th August, 2016.