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.

Quiksilver, Rip Curl, Nixon, Vestal, Freestyle and Casio are the most famous producers of tide watches. 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.

 The "Search GPS" is Rip Curl's jewel of the crown and the best surf watch in the world. 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 $400.

The "Raglan Tide" offers a solid titanium construction, tide height and direction, moon phase, date, and seconds. The rugged custom screw down crown ensures 200m water resistance, and it will cost you $475.

The "K55 Tidemaster" features a high grade 316L marine grade stainless steel case to resist any rust or corrosion when exposed to a marine environment, scratch resistant mineral crystal lens, ATS tide function and spring/neap moon phase function. A great pick for $275.

The "Mick Fanning Trestles Pro", also by Rip Curl, takes the best-buy surf watch award. It can be yours for $197. The "Titanium World Tide" adds new features such as best tide, wind direction and internal digital compass for $399. The "Pipeline World Tide" can be yours for only $226.

Nixon presents "The Outsider Tide", a stylish digital surf watch with pre-programmed tide information for over 200 beaches until 2020. It'll cost you $293. The best one from Nixon is "The Supertide", for $153. An alternative, "The Lodown" costs only $99.

Casio has entered the surf watch market with "G-Shock Frogman", a spectacular solar-powered timepiece with tide and moon graphs, for only $445. The "G-Shock G-Lide" is a great alternative for a lower price, that is $78. The best surf watch in the G-Shock series is the "GF1000NV-2", an incredible portable computer with direction, altitude/barometric pressure, temperature, tide graph and moonphases.

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$128.

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$61. The "Killer Shark Tide" is worth $65.

The "Moondak" is Quiksilver's most affordable surf watch. You can customize the tide for your local spot, it offers moon and tide data, chronograph and heat counter. If you have $89, it's a great choice. 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.

This surf watch review has been updated on the 5th November 2014.