Cold water surfing: icy waves | Photo: Nixon Surf Challenge

Cold water surfers know what it's like to fulfill their desires. Riding waves in low temperature seas requires resilience, passion and courage.

What's cold water surfing, anyway? Although there's no strict definition, let's say that when you've got to wear a 4/3 wetsuit for two thirds of the year, you're probably in a pretty cold place.

Thicker wetsuits - 4/3 and 5/4 models - are compulsory for cool to very cold water temperatures; that is, from 40ºF (4ºC) to 60ºF (16ºC).

Cold water surfing usually requires the wearing of neoprene boots, gloves and hoods. Low water temperature wave riders are used to complex pre-surf warm-ups, hot coffees and thick clothing.

Staying warm for longer periods of time before a cold water surf session is a key strategy in subnormal weather and maritime conditions. Root vegetables help to provide extra caloric heat, so eating plenty is a wise choice. Hypothermia is a cold water surfer's most dangerous enemy.

Cold water surfing: covered up

In some cases, riders have to jump to the water from snowy grounds. For extremes such as these, the surf industry has developed battery-powered heated wetsuits.

Are you going to experience extreme cold water surfing? Get a battery heated vest, thick surf boots, gloves and hoods.

The best cold water surf spots in the world are usually located in subarctic and sub Antarctic countries. Are you ready for the icy surf challenge?

Cox Beach, Halifax, Wickaninnish


Newquay, Watergate Bay, Llangennith, Sennen Cove, Bournemouth, Thurso East, White Rocks, Portrush

Bundoran, Mullaghmore, Doolin Point, Crab Island

Ribeira d'Ilhas, Peniche, Espinho

Lacanau, Hossegor, Biarritz


Pantin, Mundaka, Zarautz

Bells Beach, Shipstern Bluff, Clifton Beach

Cocoa Beach, Steamer Lane, Mavericks, Shoals Reef, Sandy Hook, Turnagain Arm, Yakutat, Kodiak Island


Dungeons, Kalk Bay

Eisbach River, Sylt, Norderney, Brandenburger Strand

Camperduin & Hargen, Scheveningen, Domburg

Surfers Paradise, Oostende

Hvide Sande, Nørre Vorupør, Klitmøller, Agger, Torsminde

Aramoana Spit, Papatowai, Long Point

Mar de Plata

Also, discover our world surf spot directory.

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