Surfing with Debra Rose

Winter Surfing’s Top Ten

We are in the dead of winter, holidays have come and gone and its grey and cold in Montauk. There’s no getting around the 5/4, driving to and from the beach in your wet suit, perhaps even taking your suit off in a hot shower at the end of a session. It doesn’t exactly scream Endless Summer.

Now what? We asked our local and non-local surfer friends, how do you get through the winter while still enjoying the privilege of surfing year-round? Here are the top ten most popular responses.

Travel     Beyond escaping our usual climate, surf trips get us out of the comfort zone and will make you a stronger surfer. You won’t know the usual breaks, locals, tides or swell as well as your own break, so you will become keenly aware and more present as a result. When you are exposed to a variety of conditions, you may end up appreciating your own breaks even more.

Workout      Run or bike ride outside, hike, ice-skate, recreate in the snow, walk on the beach, do whatever you can to play outside for some portion of the day over the winter. It’s tempting to roll into the gym and jump on a machine, but this won’t make you strong, it makes you complacent. If you add the gym or a swim workout to an outdoor activity, your physical fitness level will remain high all year long.
Cross Train If you tend to prioritize surfing most of the year, try a totally new workout in the off- season. A new class, new weight machine, or a new type of yoga. All of these activities will compliment your surfing when you’re back in the water.

Ski      Skiing or snow boarding are the ultimate activities to balance your surfing and to keep you fit. Its as easy to spend hours on the mountain as it is in the water, and the skill set is completely different. The rituals around getting your ski-gear in order and surf gear maintained will bring a new perspective to both sports.

Get your Gear in Order     Which brings us to keeping and getting your gear in order. Frequent the local surf shops for sales and to give them business, making sure you have all of the booties, gloves and rash guards you need for next season.

Sleep      There’s always a good reason to get more sleep. Take advantage of the shorter day light hours by eating dinner earlier and going to bed much sooner than you’re used to. Once you get into the habit or waking up more naturally and of getting more sleep, it will be hard to deprive yourself of those precious body-healing hours of rest. You will be thankful when the seasons change that you started the practice of getting more regular sleep to stay healthy, strong and less prone to getting sick. Plus there isn’t one good reason to get to the beach at dawn over the winter.

Get into a Rhythm      Many surfers pointed out that it took years of trial-and-error to know what, if anything they want to eat before a session, what is the best snack after, what keeps them hydrated, fueled and happy before and after surf sessions. Know your body and what it needs, and start to focus on what works for you before getting caught up in the summer surfing mayhem.

Connect     Winter surfing in Montauk is a delightful time to get to know your tribe in the water. You can actually and easily park in the same lot, see each other for a non-rushed lunch at Naturally Good, and have more time to chat in the water. These are luxuries we miss out on as it gets more crowded and chaotic in the line-up.

Work on your Skills     On small, glassy days, work on the things you overlook when you’re just trying to catch a wave in the crowd. Maybe its your cross-step, turning turtle (always brave in the winter), your bottom turn, or just muscling through white water. Anything you do in chilly water with a heavy wet suit will feel like a dream when you surf in warmer months. And you will be stronger for it.

Surf     Seems obvious, but get out there as often as possible. The sheer joy you feel when catching a wave will remind you, and keep you grateful for why we do any of this in the first place.