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The Best Surf Watches For All Budgets

There was a time when surf watches were essentially just waterproof watches that told the time. In fact, they probably weren't even referred to as 'surf watches'. However, as surfing has developed into one of the most high-performance sports in the world, it's only natural that technological innovation continues to advance, allowing professionals and amateurs alike to get the most out of their surfing session and themselves. If you look at any other sport, whether it be football, rugby, netball or athletics, everything can be tracked and data can be accessed. Surfing is no different. 

However, there are a few variations amongst surfing watches, which we've laid out below, so you can easily see which one is right for you. All of the watches listed below are available in a number of styles. You can shop men's surf watches or women's surf watches here.


The main reason you would want an entry-level surfing watch is because you have a strict window to surf (before or after work/school, during lunch, on the weekends before an appointment, etc.).

At the most basic level, a surf watch will be waterproof and tell the time, much like the Rip Curl Atom Digital Watch.

Features include:

  • Water resistant up to 100m
  • Dual time with day and date
  • Calendar
  • Alarm
  • Stopwatch
  • Countdown timer
  • EL backlight
  • 5-year worldwide warranty



The more intermediate-level surfing watch will not only be waterproof and tell the time, but it will also give you the shifting tide times, which is important when determining the exact moment of low and high tide. It's a crucial factor in figuring out the best time to surf your favourite spot, as waves peak accordingly, depending on how much water is moving around.

The Rip Curl Rifles Tide Surf Watch is a great watch for tide calculation. However, I understand you're probably thinking that Magic Seaweed can tell you the tide times for free - and you're right, it can. But, there will be occasions (especially if you're an intermediate surfer) when you won't have access to the internet, and you'll need to rely upon your surfing watch to give you the correct tide information.

Not only does this watch give the tide times, but it also includes the following:

  • Graph view, which is an 'at-a-glance' tide display scaled for each unique location (there are 500 pre-programmed in the Rip Curl Rifles Tide Surf Watch) and illustrates spring and neap tides. Furthermore, actual tide heights are displayed 8 hours into the future and 2 hours back in the past. 
  • Detailed view, which displays current tide height and direction, including the numeric time and height of the next tide.
  • 100m waterproof tested
  • Alarm, countodown timer, stopwatch and light
  • Sleep mode
  • Simple, menu-based interface


The pinnacle of surf watches is the Rip Curl Search GPS Series 2 Smart Surf Watch. Rip Curl were the first to take advantage of GPS and motion technology and apply it to surfing. This latest model is smaller, lighter and more durable than before. For the intermediate and experienced surfers, this surfing watch will track all the statistics from your session including:

  • The number of waves you catch
  • Your top speed on the wave
  • The length of each wave
  • The amount of metres/kilometres paddled
  • Session time

Prior to your session though, the Rip Curl Search GPS Series 2 Watch will, thanks to Surfline:

  • Give you the swell height and direction
  • Show you the different tides and the time of each, plus the tide height and direction
  • Display the wind speed and direction

Additionally, all the information gathered will be plotted onto a map, so you can see exactly where you were catching the waves and how long they lasted. A great little feature when you think about sitting in the right spot, and how many (or few) waves come your way. The Rip Curl Search GPS Series 2 Smart Surf Watch will even let you replay your session so you can see how you progressed on each wave. 

Furthermore, every piece of data recorded can be synced with your phone and computer, and will allow you to see others (including professionals) who have been surfing - across the globe. You can even share your session on Facebook and Instagram, but be wary that if you're surfing a secret spot and don't want it to be ruined, it's probably best that you keep it to yourself. 

The Rip Curl Search GPS Series 2 Smart Surf Watch really is ahead of the game when it comes to technological features. The best part as well, is that it's not just for surfing. You can use it for stand-up paddleboarding, kite surfing, windsurfing and even bodyboarding. No matter where you are in the world, you'll be able to track your session.

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what your surfing standard is. If all you want to do is go surfing and have fun, then a waterproof watch that tells the time is the ideal wrist accessory for you. If you want to be able to check the different tide times and height without jumping on a computer, then it makes sense to opt for a surf watch that gives tide information. Finally, if you want to get the most out of your session and track your progress, then a GPS surf watch is the perfect companion that's most likely going to improve your surfing - a lot. 

There's no denying surfing is about 'switching off' from the dialled in world we populate, but if your 'better half' has booked a nice restaurant for a special occasion, it's best to know the time - trust me. 


Shop our full range of surf watches



Published on 3rd December 2018 in Surfing

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