Surf watches - Intro

Best Surf Watches – A Comprehensive Guide for 2022

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Most surfers don’t know the need for a surf watch. And it’s not surprising. You only have to use a surf watch once for you to know the benefits it offers. Surf watches are specifically designed to provide you with a better surfing experience. Most of them could even be double as your regular watch for daily use.

Whether you are looking to get a fancy and sophisticated surf watch that can be used to monitor your daily surfing goals or just want a simple watch that can just be used to keep track of time when surfing, this piece is just for you.

I have carefully searched through the Internet for the best surf watch available on the market. With a detailed description of the different features for each surf watch as well as a final guide on essential details to look out for when deciding to take the final step towards procuring your surf watch.

The 7 Best Surf Watches for 2022

Garmin Instinct Solar SmartwatchOur Top Pick

Garmin Instinct Solar, Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch with Solar Charging Capabilities, Built-in Sports Apps and Health Monitoring, Graphite

 in stock
9 new from $299.99
4 used from $229.99
as of July 6, 2022 12:15 pm

The Garmin Instinct Solar is a rugged smartwatch that is suitable for use as a surf watch and as a regular watch. It’s ruggedness makes it your ideal watch for a vast range of sports including water sports such as surfing. The watch is waterproof with a rating of 100 meters below water.

You can easily access tidal information on this surf watch as well as make videos of you catching waves while monitoring your speed and distance covered. Thanks to the Gorilla glass casings, this surf has a military-grade mechanical resistance, as it is resistant to abrasion, shock, and heat.

Other than the few discussed above, the Garmin Instant Solar watch comes with lots of other nice and amazing features that you just cannot get enough of. Its heart rate/pulse tracking feature helps to ensure proper monitoring of your health and wellbeing. Users should note that this feature is not a medical device and hence, not ideal in diagnosing a medical disorder or any sort of dysfunction.

It has a training app that helps you keep tabs on how far you’ve gone in engaging in your exercise routines – be it running, jogging, cycling, swimming, and of course surfing. The rate at which your body utilizes energy too is monitored. Sleep and stress levels can also be checked with this smartwatch.

Another amazing thing about this watch is its incredible battery duration. As you’d expect it depends on the activities being carried out with the watch. When using the heart rate and GPS feature, for example, you get to have this watch in full operation for more than a day – about 30 hours! Thanks to its solar battery, if being used on a sunny day, you can even get up to 8hours more of full activity. Guess what? You can use this watch without having to charge it for almost 2 months if being used in power saver mode. This watch is just too good to be true. It’s right up there as one of the best surf watches.


  • Case dimension: 15 x 51 x 51 mm / 0.59 x 2.01 x 2.01 inches
  • Weight: 159 grams / 5.6 ounces
  • Battery life: 30 hours to 56 days, depending on mode
  • Tide tracking: Yes
  • GPS: Yes
  • Water resistance: Yes (100m)


  • Super battery life with solar battery
  • Nice surf-specific quality
  • Durability is super
  • Features are topnotch


  • No major shortcomings.

Nautica N83 Men’s Urban Surf Watch

Nautica N83 Men's NAPUSF910 Urban Surf Brown/Navy Leather Strap Watch

$47.90  in stock
as of July 6, 2022 12:15 pm

Like most of the other surf watches that will be discussed in this piece, the Nautica N83 Men’s Urban surf watch is ideal for regular use. Its strap is made of adjustable 22mm leather with blue stitching measuring up to 20cm wrist perimeter.

This watch is in analog format with a Navy dial and a small window displaying the date at 3 o’clock. The watch is ideal as it requires no battery. It is a solid solar watch.

It has low water resistance, having a rating of just 50 meters. It is suitable for surfing and swimming. Though shouldn’t be used for diving as the integrity of this watch might get compromised if under more than 50 meters depth in water for long.


  • Case dimension: 44 mm / 1.73 inches
  • Weight: 190.5 grams / 6.72 ounces
  • Battery life: Nil
  • Tide tracking: Yes
  • GPS: No
  • Water resistance: Yes (50m)


  • No battery
  • It is cheap
  • Slim design – fits well on the wrist.


  • Fewer features

G-Shock GBX100-7 Watch

G-Shock GBX100-7 Black/White One Size

 in stock
26 new from $122.95
as of July 6, 2022 12:15 pm

Unlike many other surf watches discussed in this piece, this watch is a Men’s watch with top-notch features ensuring it makes our list ‘best surf watch’. This digital watch is one of the best for engaging in watersports. Its water resistance is just crazy, as it functions optimally even when up to 200 meters below.

This watch is a digital and not a smartwatch. And this means it lacks GPS, health, and/or fitness-related features which ensure a longer lifespan for its battery. However, there’s a tide graph that allows you to monitor the waves which are one key feature that enables it to qualify as being a surf or tide watch. Also, even though it isn’t a smartwatch, it can be easily connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth.

The case of this G-Shock is made of a carbon-fiber resin material that makes it mechanical resistant. It also ensures its incredible water resistance. Experiencing hectic waves while surfing, need not worry for this watch is shock resistant. Also, the wrist strap is adjustable with the conventional buckle strap.

The dial face features the day, time, date, sunrise, sunset, and moon data. It has an automated backlight system that can be adjusted to the duration of users’ choice. I can assure you that with this watch as one of your gears for your watersports, diving, for example, you are sure covered.


  • Case dimension: 50.9 x 46.0 x 14.7 mm / 2.0 x 1.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Weight: 66 grams / 2.32 ounces
  • Battery life: 2 years
  • Tide tracking: Yes
  • GPS: No
  • Water resistance: Yes (200m)


  • Superb water rating
  • Very durable
  • Possess extra features
  • Ideal for a vast number of water sports


  • Men’s only

Apple Watch Series 6

Apple Watch Series 6 (GPS, 44mm) - (Product) RED - Aluminum Case with (Product) RED - Sport Band

$449.00  out of stock
1 used from $419.00
as of July 6, 2022 12:15 pm

Are you a tech-geek? Then this apple watch series 6 is probably just what you are looking for. It is a sophisticated smartwatch. It is ideal for all your watersports. Its swim-proof design ensures that the screen is water-locked to avoid unintentional tapping.

This smartwatch comes with nice features that allow you to monitor your heart rate. That can be used to deduce the level of work done during each training/workout session or when engaging in sports. It allows for easy transfer of data to your iPhone, both devices being a product of apple. That way fitness activities carried out in the water are summed up to make your complete day-to-day fitness record.

Some other things that entice people about this watch are the nice features you get to enjoy with it on land. It can be used to make calls, receive messages, play music, etc. Also, the fact that it is connected to your phone allows for easy access to help in emergencies when in water.

It needs to be said that this device is not designed specifically for watersports or surfing as its water-resistant property is not as superb as those. The rating is barely 50 meters. Also, it isn’t as tough, the durability of this watch may be compromised when exposed to harsh conditions. However, upon the addition of a case to this apple watch, you get to enjoy its features to the fullest as a surf watch, and can still serve you and your regular smartwatch when out of water.


  • Case dimension: 44 x 38 x 10.7 mm / 1.73 x 1.5 x 0.42 inches
  • Weight: 36.6 grams / 1.29 ounces
  • Battery life: up to 18 hours
  • Tide tracking: Yes
  • GPS: Yes
  • Water resistance: Yes (50m)


  • Slim design – sleek appearance
  • Easy to monitor sporting/workout activities
  • Best for emergencies
  • One of the most sophisticated smartwatches.


  • Requires a case because of its low water resistance

Garmin fenix 6 Pro Solar Watch

Garmin fenix 6 Pro Solar, Multisport GPS Watch with Solar Charging Capabilities, Advanced Training Features and Data, Black with Slate Gray Band

$729.99  in stock
4 new from $729.99
2 used from $546.49
as of July 6, 2022 12:15 pm

The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar is designed specifically for sporting use. It has this feature with a preloaded sporting activity profile – biking, hiking, golfing, etc. That allows you to monitor yourself as you participate in these activities. The external parts are made of DLC coatings, which ensures that it is extremely durable and resistant to abrasion.

As a surf watch, you can connect it to the Surfline app on your smartphone which helps capture a video recording of your surfing. Surfing sessions are easily monitored and recorded, you get to see as you catch these waves while surfing.

The battery capacity ensures that the watch functions optimally for more than 2 weeks when used in the smartwatch mode. Also, the solar charging feature ensures that its battery life is extended for up to 2 days in this mode. Even when using its GPS that consumes more power, it still lasts you for more than a day. It goes to almost 2 days when used outdoor, where it can recharge in the presence of sunlight.


  • Case dimension: 15 x 64 x 51 mm / 0.59 x 2.52 x 2.01 inches
  • Weight: ‎340 grams / 12 ounces
  • Battery life: up to 2 weeks
  • Tide tracking: Yes
  • GPS: Yes
  • Water resistance: Yes (100m)


  • Extreme durability
  • Suitable for different sports
  • Possesses extra features


  • A tad expensive.

Nixon Base Tide Pro A1307 Surf Watch

NIXON Base Tide Pro A1307 - Dark Slate - 100M Water Resistant Men's Digital Surf Watch (42mm Watch Face, 24mm Pu/Rubber/Silicone Band) - Made with #Tide Recycled Ocean Plastics

$150.00  in stock
as of July 6, 2022 12:15 pm

The name of this surf watch already gives an insight as to what you should expect from the device. It provides you with tide information in a clear and simplified form. All ‘unnecessary info’ that is of no use to surfers and other water sport enthusiasts are not included. The focus is specifically for use when engaging in these sports.

As you’d expect, this watch is fully waterproof. With full activity even when up to 100 meters underwater. Thanks to the polycarbonate exterior.

One feature that makes this tide watch superior to many others is the pre-programmed tide information of 550 beaches all over the world that comes with it. Sunrise and sunset information, high/low tide time and height, countdown timer, etc are also included. The screen can be easily toggled to showcase tide graphs or dates. What you want on the screen is your choice.


  • Case diameter: 42 mm / 1.65 inches
  • Weight: 100 grams / 3.5 ounces
  • Battery life: more than 2 years
  • Tide tracking: Yes
  • GPS: No
  • Water resistance: Yes (100m)


  • Surf-specific watch
  • Nice sleek design
  • Superb battery life


  • Less sophisticated- no GPS and fitness programs

CASIO F91W-1 Casual Sport Watch

CASIO F91W-1 Casual Sport Watch

 out of stock
11 new from $9.99
Free shipping
as of July 6, 2022 12:15 pm

A surfing enthusiast with little to spend, yet wants a quality surf watch? Then, the Casio F91W-1 is exactly what you are looking for, especially if all you need a watch for when in water is just for time checking. This watch doesn’t come with those fancy, techy features – GPS, Bluetooth connectivity, et al, seen in the other watches earlier discussed.

This watch, like the Apple series 6, comes in a very slim design that allows you to keep them beneath your wetsuit when in water. This helps reduce its contact with water, considering that it has a low water rating – barely 30m.

Having discussed how less sophisticated this watch is, it must be said that it comes with a built-in timer and alarm that assists you in keeping track of time. This way, you can be sure to follow your schedule squarely when surfing or engaging in other watersports.


  • Case dimension: 2.3 x 14.5 x 5.6 mm / 0.1 x 0.57x 0.22 inches
  • Weight: 20 grams / 0.8 ounces
  • Battery life: up to 7 years
  • Tide tracking: No
  • GPS: No
  • Water resistance: Yes (30m)


  • Inexpensive
  • Lightweight, yet super durability
  • Slim design – comfy on the wrist even for regular use.


  • Fewer features – No GPS, poor water resistance rating, etc.

Best Surf Watches – The Guide 

Why do You Need a Surf Watch?

Those newly introduced into surfing as a sport, often wonder why surfers need a watch. They ask the question, why do you need a watch in water? People tend to diminish the importance of surf watches.

However, performance tracking and assessment is important in surfing like any other sport. With surf watches, you can monitor your performance in the water. Surfers can also track tides of the water. Some even come with a feature that allows you to record yourself as you catch waves when surfing.

With a top-notch surf watch as one of your gears for water sports, weather conditions too can be checked before dashing into the ocean. Also, some can monitor the temperature of the water.

Finally, just like any regular watch, the surf watch tells the time. You can time your activity in water. Timing is an important aspect of all forms of sports. With this timepiece at your wrist, you get to improve your surfing experience. Forecasts in the form of tide graphs and charts obtained from the watch can help improve your timing and of course, make you a better surfer.

How do Surf Watches Work?

The principle by which surf watches carry out their functions is complex. Complex mechanism to produce an enjoyable and better surfing experience.

Tide watches use technology that can read the moon’s pull on the tidal movement of the oceans and seas. A chart is then created from the tidal information gathered by the watch. These charts or graphs as the case may be are then displayed showcasing high and low tides which enable surfers to easily navigate their surfboards while surfing.

How to Choose a Surf Watch?

Just like any device, there are certain features or characters that buyers need to look out for. In selecting a surf watch, here are some attributes to look out for.

Tide Information

This is perhaps the most important feature a watch must possess before it can earn the name ‘a surf watch’. Tide watches can give you tide forecasts in the form of charts or graphs. A good tide watch should have data pre-programmed in such a way that it can tell you the times of high and low tides.

Some can even further simplify the data by telling you exactly how high the tide is as well as how low. Tide info is variable just like the weather, it isn’t a constant parameter. Hence, a good surf watch is needed to help simplify and help surfers get a smooth and jolly surfing experience.

Water Resistance

It only makes sense that all watches to be used for water sports must be waterproof since you’d be using them in water. The water resistance rating may vary for individual sports, as exposure to water differs.

For a surf watch, the minimum water-resistance rating should be 50 meters. Though, the higher the water-resistant rating, the better. There are surf watches that even have more than 200 meters rating. For watersports like diving, for example, watches may have a water resistance of over 500 meters. Some watches even have ratings north of a thousand meters.

It should be known that this waterproof rating is not necessarily referring to the watches being immersed in water rather, it’s about how the watch can maintain optimum function at different pressure levels which often varies with depth in the water.

Surf watches with 100 meters depth rating are perfect for surfing, even if in the ocean. Those 50 meters depth ratings like the Apple Series 6 might not be good enough in all surfing conditions. However, with a good case, all your worries are covered. Surf watches with up to 200 meters depth rating and more can be used for surfing and some other water sports like scuba diving.


Here we’d talk about the two common surf watch designs available in the market.

Slim designs: Surf watches with slim designs are often sleeker in appearance. Most common surf watches with simple designs and less sophisticated features fall into this category. However, some smartwatches also come in a slim swim-proof design. Thanks to the less bulk of these watches, you can easily slip them beneath the sleeve of your wetsuit.

Bulk designs: Most sophisticated watches fall into this category, the same goes for surf watches. The bulky nature of these watches oftentimes is to accommodate all the techy features that come with them. Some features like the GPS that may be absent in slimmer designs are present in this category. However, due to their bulky nature, they cannot be slipped underneath the sleeve of your wetsuits like the slimmer designs.


As a rule, the more expensive a product is, the more sophisticated you expect it to be. Also, better material used in designing affords it the needed durability.

Poorly constructed watches may get easily affected by the waves. Also, rocks, sands and the salty water which surfers are all likely to encounter may affect the integrity of the watch. Hence the need for watches with a solid construction which would ensure their durability.

Watches constructed using reinforced casings- such as those designed using gorilla glass, those with a carbon-fiber case, etc are all top-notch materials used in designing surf watches. As they do not only ensure water resistance. They ensure resistance to shock and scratch.

Extra Information

Other than being able to provide tidal information and being waterproof. There are some extra features surfers get to enjoy when using surf watches especially when more money is spent. As a rule, it is expected that the more money you spend the more comfort you expect to get. Some other amazing features surfers get to enjoy when using quality and fancy surf watches are.

GPS: With this system available to your surf watch, you can mark out your surf spots. Some even help you monitor your speed while surfing.

Connectivity: Some surf watches, like smartwatches, can connect to other devices via Bluetooth and/or wifi. This helps you to transfer data from your watch to these devices, like your smartphones. This way you can track your performances better.

Wave Counting: Smart Watches with fitness and wellbeing monitors may be a tad expensive. However, there are less expensive surf watches with the wave counting feature. They are not necessarily smartwatches, however, they help monitor your surfing progress.

Performance Trackers: Other than the above listed, watches also come with nice features that allow you to keep track of your performance. Countdown timers, stopwatches, alarms all help you to keep a track of your surfing experience.

Final Thoughts

It is safe to say that this piece covers every necessary information about tide or surf watches needed by surfers – both experienced surfers and newbies.

Some surfers who have never used a surf watch before may still feel they don’t need this device. This is just because you’ve never tried one. I was once like this, but ever since I surfed using my friend’s watch I’ve never dashed into the ocean without using this gear. A surf watch should be seen as an important piece of gear when going to the sea. One thing for sure is, even though you already think of yourself like a pro. With a surf watch, you’d surf better. You need to get one as soon as possible!

When you finally decide to procure a surf watch, you might need to go through this article again to fully grasp the kind of watch that suits you best.

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