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 "Ultimate Titanium Tidemaster 2" is Rip Curl's jewel of the crown and the best surf watch in the world. It features an automatic tide system, a preprogrammed moon phase, as well as sunrise and sunset times. It was depth tested to 200 metres and it will cost you $349.

The "Trestles Oceansearch", also by Rip Curl, takes the best-buy surf watch award. It can be yours for US$137. The "Titanium World Tide" adds new features such as best tide, wind direction and internal digital compass for $356. The "Pipeline World Tide" can be yours for only $250.

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 US$173. The best one from Nixon is "The Supertide", for $174. An alternative, "The Lodown" costs only $103.

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$140.

"Tide 4" is the best Shark watch on offer. 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$59. The "Killer Shark Tide" is worth $58.

Casio has entered the surf watch market with "G-Shock Frogman", a spectacular solar-powered timepiece with tide and moon graphs, for only US$424. The "G-Shock G-Lide" is a great alternative for a lower price, that is US$70.

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 US$89, it's a great choice. Quiksilver's best surf watch is the "Molokai" and it's yours for $199.

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 14th March 2014.