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 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 $389.

The "Raglan Tide Titanium" 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 200M water resistance, and it will cost you $475.

The "K55 Tidemaster 2" features a marine grade, 316L stainless steel case, which resists rust and corrosion when exposed to marine elements. The 44mm mineral crystal lens is scratch-resistant, so it won't look beat up when you ride hard, and the silicone strap stays comfortable all day. A great pick for $275.

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 $270.

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 $140.

"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 $109.

The best one 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 $190.

Casio has entered the surf watch market with "G-Shock Frogman", a spectacular solar-powered timepiece with tide and moon graphs, for only $450. The "G-Shock G-Lide" is a great alternative for a lower price, that is $105. The best surf watch in the G-Shock series is the "GF1000", 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$135.

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 $90.

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$64. The "Killer Shark Tide" is worth $57.

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 $99, 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 10th March 2015.