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.