Surfing watches optimize your experience.
More than just a cool accessory to wrap around your wrist, a surf watch gives you real-time information and data that you need to enhance your surfing experience.
Here are the best surf watches from which you can choose before you head out to the beach.
Garmin Fenix 3 HR Surf Watch: Best Overall
Garmin may be a lesser-known watch brand compared to Timex, Casio, or Apple, but it has its fair share of premium watches.
Its versatility is off the charts since you can use Garmin watches for either fashion or sports activities.
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The Garmin Fenix 3 HR Surf Watch is one of the most sought out watches for those with an active lifestyle. Here are several reasons why it's my top pick among the other surf watches on this list.
First, it's compatible with Android and iOS products, which is a huge advantage.
This will allow you to keep track of your data via the Garmin Surf Watch App. The accuracy and precision of the GPS are top-notch compared to the other surf watches.
The main features are just as impressive too.
It's user-friendly, has an easy-to-use interface, features a 218-by-218 multicolored digital display, and five buttons for controlling various settings.
You can keep track of your heart rate and activities throughout the day, making it useful if you're into other outdoor activities like running, biking, swimming, etc.
Garmin Fenix 3 is also made of a comfortable and durable silicone band, giving you a more relaxed, flexible wear.
Finally, the watch comes with an instruction manual for an easier setup along with a one-year warranty. It costs $299.99, which may be expensive for some.
All in all, these features reveal why the Garmin Fenix 3 HR Surf Watch is the best overall product on this list.
- Garmin Surf Watch App - compatible with iOS and Android
- Heart rate monitor and activity tracker
- Most accurate and precise GPS
- Silicone band provides comfortable wear
- Great user-interface
- One year warranty
- The face may be too big for those with small wrists
Rip Curl Search GPS 2 Surf Watch: Best Value
You will be getting a lot with the Rip Curl Search GPS 2 Surf Watch in terms of value for money.
Here are its features that can boost your overall surf experience.
- REAL LIFE SURF CONDITIONS: Track the tide and your surf session with the Rip Curl SearchGPS Series 2...
- GPS SURF TRACKING: GPS tracking with analog-quartz movement. Track your skiing, surfing, swimming,...
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1400 pre-programmed tide locations accompany the surf watch. That's a serious number of settings to go over.
If you're not too crazy about sophisticated surfer watches, it comes with a low-profile design to maintain its simplicity.
It also uses a polyurethane band [R], which prioritizes comfort for your wrist.
In terms of compatibility, it uses wireless connectivity and GPS settings so that your surf watch can connect to the Rip Curl app on your PC or smartphone.
The only drawback is you cannot connect the app to android phones. It's only available for Apple users.
For $299.95, you are getting the best value for your money with the Rip Curl Search GPS 2 Surf Watch.
- 1400 pre-programmed tide locations
- Minimalist, classic appeal
- Uses polyurethane for better durability
- Multiple color patterns
- Comfortable polyurethane band
- Rip Curl App is compatible with Apple products only
Men's Freestyle Shark Classic Tide Surf Watch: Best Budget Pick
Fortunately, the Freestyle Shark Classic Tide Surf Watch is a reliable, low maintenance watch that can cater to both beginners and professionals.
It's also the perfect option if you're tight on a budget and want a surf watch that's more affordable than the previous watches mentioned.
- Rectangular black watch featuring silicone strap secured by a stainless steel buckle
- Japanese Quartz digital movement with time/day/date functions, dual time, alarms, countdown heat...
- Polycarbonate case with stainless steel hydro-pushers which can be pushed underwater
Here are some of its features.
The watch case is made of polycarbonate, a silicone band, stainless steel, and an anti-scratch screen. These provide durability from rough tides and comfort for your wrist.
It also has a water resistance of 100 meters, meaning you can also use the watch for other beach activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving.
If you are in a different country, you can track the times in your current location and your hometown, thanks in large part to its dual time function.
Since it is the cheapest watch on the list, it's also quite basic. Unlike more modernized smartwatches, you won't be able to connect the watch to your smartphone.
Other than that, I still believe the Freestyle Shark Classic Tide Surf Watch is a solid option if you're tight on a budget. You get all these features and then some for only $70.
- Comfortable polycarbonate and silicone band
- Durable stainless steel
- Dual time feature
- Water Resistant (100 meters)
- No accompanying apps
- No instruction manual
Casio Men's G-Shock Frogman Surf Watch
A watch review is not complete without mentioning the Casio G-Shock series. When going for a surfing adventure, you need surf watches that are durable and won't easily slip out of your wrist.
Enter the Casio Men's G-Shock Frogman Surf Watch. Here are some of its features.
- Shock Resistant
- ISO 764 Class Magnetic Resistance
- Interchangeable bands
For starters, it's water-resistant up to 200 meters. Although its design may not be aesthetically attractive, it more than makes up for it with its enhanced durability.
It also consists of 31 accurate time zones across 48 cities and a full calendar display. Casio's calibration radio signals regularly update these.
Unlike most surf watches, the G-Shock Frogman contains rechargeable solar batteries thanks to its built-in solar panel.
Since it has a durable design, it may be heavy on the wrist. As a result, you may experience discomfort while wearing the G-Shock Frogman.
If you get the limited edition, you will receive a G-Shock branded expedition box. The contents inside include the watch, diver’s knife, and the G-Shock logo.
It comes at a hefty price, ranging from about $700 to $750. Besides these concerns, expect the Frogman to deliver results and give you an enjoyable time surfing.
- Rechargeable Solar batteries via built-in solar panel
- Water-resistant (200 meters)
- Multiple and accurate time zones
- Other features: stopwatch, timer, alarm, and calendar
- Heavy on the wrist
Apple Watch Series 5
You may be wondering why an Apple product is featured on the list of best surf watches.
Apple smartwatches are usually associated with lifestyle and fashion. However, you can also incorporate it into sporting activities.
- GPS Only
- Always-On Retina display
- 30% larger screen
Surfing is no different. Here are some of the features of the Apple Watch Series 5.
First, it gives you access to tracking apps such as Surfline Sessions and Dawn Patrol, which can track top speed, wave count, calories burned, and heart rate.
If you are tech-savvy, you can manage your phone calls and messages while on the beach. This is a huge advantage for lifeguards and people who need to work while on vacation.
One of the few drawbacks is you need to buy a separate case to reach high water-resistant levels. By inserting a case, the Apple smartwatch can have a water resistance of up to 330 feet.
Also, surf watches can be expensive for some. It has a starting price of $354.99.
All in all, you get a ton of additional features with the Apple Watch Series 5 that can optimize your surfing experience.
- Accompanying Apps (Dawn Patrol and Surfline Sessions)
- Text messages and phone calls still appear while in the water
- Can be used for other activities besides surfing
- Additional costs if you want to reach higher waterproof levels
Nixon Base Tide A1104 Surf Watch
Are you worried that most surf watches are too heavy or don't fit well on your wrist? The last thing you need is discomfort in the middle of your surfing session.
Luckily, the Nixon Base Tide A1104 Surf Watch is here to accommodate your wrist's needs.
Unlike most watches, the Nixon-based watch uses a case made of polycarbonate and stainless steel. These components give your watch low maintenance and a lightweight feel on your wrist.
It's also available in multiple colors; therefore, you can choose the model that best fits your swimsuit or trunks. The Nixon Base Tide surf watch has a water resistance below 100 meters.
Since you can use it below sea level, its digital tide graph display is made of a negative LCD that is readable even underwater. [R]
The only problem is the lack of pre-programmed tide locations. You have no choice but to set your current location manually.
Other than that, you're getting a unique surfing watch that is comfortable to the wrist and easy to carry.
You can enjoy all Nixon Base Tide A1104 Surf Watch's features for $111.22. It's not as cheap, but one of the few on the list carries a lower price tag.
- Water-resistant (100 meters)
- Readable digital tide graph display underwater
- Polycarbonate and stainless steel: comfortable materials for the watch case and strap
- Lack of pre-programmed beach/tide locations
- Tide graph readings may be inaccurate at times
Vestal Brig Tide & Train Surf Watch
If you want to go for a more retro vibe look during your visits to the beach, I suggest you choose the Vestal Brig Tide Surf Watch.
At first, you may feel underwhelmed by its minimalist appearance, but it was designed and curated by professional surfer Jordy Smith. [R]
- Time 1 and time 2 (two time and tide tracking settings) as well as an alarm setting
- Vestal's own custom training mode with "suffer and recover" interval timer
- Track the tide at over 200 beaches worldwide for the next 20 years and customize your local beach...
You can't deny the authenticity and credibility of the Vestal Brig Tide's creation.
It has a tide graph that displays the different tide heights of some of the most popular beaches across the globe.
Unlike other watches, it contains a "Suffer and Recover" training mode that comes with an interval timer. This feature can help you brush up on your surfing skills and maximize your surf training regimen.
This training mode is what makes Vestal stand out among most on the list.
The Brig watch's water resistance is at 10 ATM, making it waterproof and easy to use underwater. Its case is made of stainless steel, a polyurethane band, and a polycarbonate crystal dial window.
The only drawback is the batteries drain faster compared to other longer-lasting surf watches.
For $140, expect high-quality service from one of Jordy Smith's finest creations to date.
- Suffer and Recovery training mode
- High water resistance rate (10 ATM)
- Accurate tide readings and data
- Batteries easily run out
Rip Curl Rifles
Another minimalist, low budget, and high-quality watch you can opt for is the Rip Curl Rifles Tide Watch.
You have the option to view either the tide graph or a full description of the tide information. This feature works for both visual learners and savvy note-takers.
- MEN’S SURF WATCH: Keep track of high, low tides and future tides with 500 pre-programmed tide...
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Its display screen is readable regardless of the visibility levels in your area. Its backlighting is a handy feature to have when using the watch, be it day or night.
Rip Curl Rifles also has 500 pre-programmed beaches and tides information across the world. Plus, you can even add your tide points.
Its low maintenance design makes it lightweight and comfortable to wear for surfing and leisure activities. Lastly, these watches come in multiple colors, perfect for meeting your design preferences.
For only $124, it truly makes a case as one of the best surf watches on this list.
- Readable display screen
- Backlight feature
- 500 pre-programmed beaches and tides
- Comfortable and lightweight
- Not compatible with smartphone apps
Nixon Base Tide Pro Surf Watch
If you're a beginner and have no background knowledge of surfing, you may want to try the Nixon Base Tide Pro.
It contains the most basic features which anyone can follow to have an enjoyable surfing experience.
One of its strong suits is its ability to stay waterproof while surfing. It has a water depth resistance of 100 meters.
It's very durable, thanks mainly to its stainless steel back case and 42 mm casing, made of rigid plastic materials.
Besides time, it also keeps track of other things thanks to its alarm, chronograph, and timer functions. You also get around 550 pre-programmed beaches and tides information.
It makes use of a negative LCD screen for easy viewing of the data underwater. [R] It has a starting price of $111.22, making it just the right price for mid-range brackets.
Indeed, the Nixon base Tide Pro gives you a lot of value for your surfing experience.
- Stainless steel back casing
- Water-resistance (100 meters)
- Negative LCD screen for easy readability underwater
- Limited beach locations for syncing
Timex Intelligent Quartz Tide Temp Compass Watch
Last but not least is the Timex Intelligent Quartz Tide Temp Compass Watch. Timex has been in the watch industry for quite some time. They also offer their surf watch line.
If you're going for a stylish design that tracks tide information, this is the watch to go for.
- Adjustable black 16mm silicone strap fits up to 8-inch wrist circumference
- Black dial with date window at 6 o'clock; compass markings
- Tide tracker counts down to high or low tide; thermometer measures air & water temperature; analog...
Most watches usually have two to three hands to track time. Timex added a fourth hand, which tracks compass direction, water, and air temperature.
The fourth hand can tell when it's high tide or low tide with its countdown feature.
As the name suggests, it applies the Japanese Quartz movement, which is exceptionally accurate in keeping track of time. It's also water-resistant because it can withstand depths up to 328.1 feet.
Its design consists of durable construction materials, such as stainless steel and a black silicone strap.
The watch's main drawback is it's not compatible with smartphone apps compared to its more modern contemporaries.
For $170, you will be able to sport a classy wristwatch that gets the job done when you go surfing.
- Durable construction materials (stainless steel and silicone strap)
- Fourth hand - compass, air, and water temperature
- Japanese Quartz movement
- No smart features
- Not compatible with iOS and Android devices
Questions to Consider Before Buying Surf Watches
Before buying the watch of your choice, here are some questions you should ask yourself:
- Which of these watches have a GPS function?
- Which of these watches is the most water-resistant?
- Which watch has the longest battery life?
- Which watch is the most durable and long-lasting?
- Which watch is the most user-friendly?
- How many accurate pre-loaded tides are in each watch?
- How can these watches guarantee my safety?
- How much am I willing to spend?
Use these questions to guide you into choosing the best watch suited to your needs.
Each product offers its set of features, advantages, and disadvantages.
There are many ways to choose the best watches, but it's crucial to pick the one that caters to your priorities.
Ensure you have thoroughly read this review to find out which watch will best suit your needs and provide you with the highest overall satisfaction.
Links, prices and images pulled from Amazon Product Advertising API. Last update on 2020-12-01.