Cold water surfing: a hot chocolate would be nice | Photo: Red Bull

What is cold water for Hawaiians, Europeans, Australians, and Alaska surfers? A free eBook explores the issues around wetsuits, warmth, and surf science.

Scientists can't tell you exactly what cold water is, but they estimate it is under 22 °C (70 °F). Surprised? Well, it depends on where you live and surf.

For Seventhwave, the Kiwi wetsuit company that published "How to Be Happy in Cold Water," the cold barrier is when the water temperature reaches 14 °C (57 °C) or below.

How's that for you?

Other factors can also determine how cold the water is for you, such as wind and weather conditions on the day, your physical condition, or stamina.

The human body operates best at 37 °C (98 °F); if it gets any lower than this, prepare for mild hypothermia. The first signs are cold hands and feet and then shivering.

Neoprene Saves

That is when the wetsuit comes in to save your day.

Actually, not all wetsuits are fully prepared to fight cold water. Limestone neoprene is the warmest type of neoprene available on the market.

The surf eBook also leaves a few tried-and-true winter rituals to make winter surfing days less painful. For example, take your booties, gloves, and hood off before starting to peel off your suit.

Also, if you have to drive to the beach, sit on a towel, and drive home with your heater on full, quickly run inside and get changed in the shower.

Before leaving home, fill a chilly bin with hot (not boiling) water: it stays warm until I get out.

When you come in, dip your hands in the warm water and slosh a bit down the neck of the suit, making it warmer and easier to take off.

Find the best wetsuits in the world. Discover the secrets behind warmth and wetsuit flexibility.

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