The cold water feels warm to me

You know it’s cold outside when you hurry down the steps with your surfboard and feel a surge of relief when you get into the water. This was me the other morning.

It was 7am. There was ice on the grass. There was a spray of steam coming off the ocean. Changing out of my warm clothes and into my wetsuit, my extremities were immediately numb. I couldn’t feel my fingers as I waxed my board. Oh man, I thought woefully, that water is going to be freezing! I still only have a 3/2 wetsuit. I wear a rash vest under it to create more insulation but I was dreading that freezing cold dunking of the first moments in the surf.

Carrying my board across the carpark and down the stairs, I could suddenly now feel my feet – but I wished I hadn’t. They were being stabbed with little gravel stones that felt like razor blades that burned on my skin. I hurried. Ouch ouch ouch. I climbed up on the rocky shore (the tide was so high the beach was under water) and did my warm-ups. I knew I needed them. Then headed for the water.

Slicing through the water, paddling out, I felt a relieving warmth wash over me. The water was 17 degrees Celsius, according to the surf report. I can hear my NSW and QLD surfer friends (and Hawaiian too) shivering right now. But let me explain something. The water was 17 degrees…the outside temperature was 5. The surf felt so warm I didn’t want to get out, but cold enough for me to break my toe and not really feel it until two hours after I dried off and defrosted.

Ahh got to love cold surfs.


4 thoughts on “The cold water feels warm to me

  1. Sorry to hear that you broke your toe – ouch! Hope it heals soon 🙂 That must be great to surf in water temperatures of 17 degrees! Im not sure what the warmest sea temperature I have surfed in here in the UK, maybe about 14-15. What’s the coldest you have surfed in? In January here the sea was 8 degrees and the air temperature was probably about 5-6 but I know what you mean about the sea sometimes being warmer than then the air! Luckily I have a 5/3 wetsuit and rash vest for the cold weather which really helps. I wear a wetsuit all year round – how about you? How many months of the year can you go without a wetsuit?

    • I’m only new to surfing so this will be my first winter surfing. So 16/17 degrees is probably the coldest, and 19 being the warmest.
      I’m planning on buying a 4/3 wetsuit but I have some trouble buying things because alas I am but a lowly university student with little to no money.
      I wear a wetsuit all year around too. I’ve gone out in a bikini a few times but ended up shivering too much and had to go and warm up on the beach, which is disappointing because it’s like that even on a 44 degree day (when it’s waaaaaay too hot to wear a wetsuit outside haha). The rash vest underneath definitely helps. I don’t get cold in the water yet so I’m coping. I definitely want to get ear plugs so I don’t get surfer’s ear though.
      The break in my toe isn’t that bad. It’s right on the little knuckle of my middle toe. I’ve been doing homework flat out so I’ve been “resting”. It felt fine until I tried galomping around uni yesterday. I think it should be fine for a short surf, as long as I don’t land on it funny (again). Steering may be a little wonky since I use my toes to steer but I’ll be right!

      • Some surfers in the UK have a 4/3 and use that all year round instead of having a winter and a summer suit. Rest for the toe sounds good – Im having to be really careful with my shoulder at the moment after tweaking it again last week – blog post to follow about that!

      • Ouch damn! Shoulders are so hard to deal with as a surfer. Is it possible for you to go do some swim therapy? Light swimming could help (without being thrashed by ocean currents). I can’t wait to read your post.

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