Surfing Montauk with Debra Rose

Top 10 Reasons to Surf This Winter

Debra Rose

While we are without mountains or palm trees, and rain and wind are a winter staple, days out east in the off-season can be magical.  Spending time on the beach when temperatures hover around fifty-degrees, the sun is shining, and the ocean is generously giving us glassy waves can remind us how lucky we are to live by the sea.  Even in the winter.

How to engage with the natural elements is where we find joy, whether it is walking on the beach, spending time appreciating the water, fishing, boating, paddling, and yes surfing.

Surfing is the most interactive, physically demanding, peaceful, exhausting, joyful, nonsensical thing you can do in the ocean especially in the winter.  So why catch waves in the cold, beyond having the ability to enjoy your own version of après surf any time of day?

Because You Can – We are blessed with a variety of breaks, beaches, and a decent consistency of surf, so take advantage of the access you have in your village, all-year long.

Spontaneity – Most people do not wake up, drive to their nearest tennis court, or golf course and stare at it, wondering if the conditions are right to play.  Part of the amusement in the activity is rolling down to the beach with your gear, delighting in the days you can jump in.

Commitment – Own the necessary accoutrements, know your process and be ready to go when you are a winter surfer.  Allocate time to get in and out of that wetsuit, and plan so you can make the session worth the effort.  You must commit to going in when there is surf, since you never know the next time all the right elements will align.

Sense of Accomplishment – Post winter-surfing is not simply removing your outer layers and boots, followed by a cocktail and plate of nachos once you are finished.  Getting out of the water involves a choreographed production to delayer your outerwear and to defrost.  Soon you will master practices such as bringing a tub of hot water to the beach, driving home in your wetsuit, and ceremoniously extracting yourself from that tiny space cut out of your neoprene.  You will be rewarded with feelings of pride; it is a cold day in February, and I just caught some fun waves.

The Line Up – Winter surfers tend to stick together, and while there are more than ever before, it seems a tad friendlier than in the summer.  There is an enormous amount of respect for those willing to paddle out after the fall, so many self-select out of participating.  This leaves a group that bonds over the entertainment and absurdity of what everyone is doing out there in the water.

Summer Appreciation – Wiping out when it is thirty-degrees outside is one way to start dreaming of summer.  When it is warm outside and you hop in and out of your spring suit, you may complain less about the full parking lot.

Best Outdoor Exercise – You can walk, hike, bike and do a variety of exercises outside, but you will be hard-pressed to find a more rugged and challenging workout.  A short time surfing expends plenty of energy, strength, and grit, and we are lucky enough to have access to it.

Exposure to Sunlight – Seasonal Affective Disorder is real, and most have a touch of it every winter.  Montauk is not known for its constant blue skies à la Aspen, so we take what we can get.  Any amount of time spent outdoors is beneficial, all-year long, even in chilly weather.  Why not catch some waves with that dose of Vitamin D?

You Will Be a Stronger Surfer – Without a doubt, your surfing will improve if you surf in the winter.  Remove that gear; the gloves, the boots, the armor of neoprene and the sensory blocking hood and you will paddle like you are flying, popping up with ease.

Your Winter Ritual – You can travel to ski, find warm sun, hike mountains, maybe find a spa with some classes.  With the help of a hot shower, perhaps a fireplace, and an area to dry your suit for next time, you can make time spent in and by the sea in Montauk an enchanting part of your routine in the off-season.