How to be happy in cold water

September 20, 2012 | Surfing
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 is cold water, but they estimate it is anything under 22ºC (70ºF). Surprised? Well, in fact, 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 gets to 14ºC (57ºF) or below. How's that for you?

There also other factors that can that determine how cold the water is for you: wind and weather conditions on the day; your own physical condition or stamina. Human body operates best at 37ºC (98ºF) and if it gets any lower than this prepare for mild hyperthermia. The first signs are cold hands, feet and then shivering.

That is when wetsuit come 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 in 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.