The 5 Best Surf Watches For Catching Waves

June 7, 2022
by Dan Skewes

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Surfing has become extremely popular over the years, and many people consider themselves to be avid surfers.

They spend hours in the water, surfing all day long, and they want to make sure that their time spent in the water is as safe as possible.

Surf watches are an important piece of equipment for any surfer. A good watch will help you keep track of your time on the water and give you information about how much time you have left before heading back to shore. 

You cannot use a standard watch for surfing, as you may have guessed.

This is because its internal working will likely be damaged by water, thus stopping the watch from working.

Instead, you must invest in a watch that is designed for surfing. Consequently, it must be water-resistant.

Here are the 5 best surf watches on the market. 

Nixon Base Tide Pro A1307-100M Digital Surf Watch

NIXON Base Tide Pro A1307 - Dark Slate - Digital Watch for Men and Women - Water Resistant Surfing, Diving, Fishing Watch - Water Sport Watches for Men - 42mm Watch Face, 24mm PU Band

Our first pick is a surf watch from Nixon. This is one of the leading brands in the industry.

This wonderful watch features a digital display that allows you to see the current time clearly.

The watch also comes with a date function and can even tell you when the tide changes.

It also shows lots of other information which will be invaluable when surfing.

Plus, it looks cool. Here are our thoughts on the watch:


  • Multiple color options: You get a choice between multiple different colors, including black, red, sapphire, and camo. This means that you can match the watch to your aesthetic. 
  • 100-meter water resistance: This watch is completely waterproof up to 100 meters. That’s enough for most situations. As a result, you don't need to worry about your watch dying when surfing.
  • Pre-programmed information: This watch contains information from 550 beaches, with details including tide and sunrise. This information may be crucial during your surf session. 
  • Easy to read: The interface is easy to read. Moreover, it is super informative.  


  • Restricted tide information: Though we love this innovative feature, the watch only provides information regarding tides at specific locations. If you live somewhere where there isn’t much tidal activity information, this might not be useful.

Also Available At

NIXON Base Tide Pro A1307 - Dark Slate - Digital Watch for Men and Women - Water Resistant Surfing, Diving, Fishing Watch - Water Sport Watches for Men - 42mm Watch Face, 24mm PU Band
  • High-Performance Surf Watch: Keep an eye on the tides and other important information with our super comfortable sleek design that makes it easy to get what you need with a simple glance; the bold high resolution screen and durable construction are built to keep up with whatever adventures are on your agenda for the day
  • Always Be In The Know: Keeping on top of tides and conditions is crucial for being around the water; Available functions include time of day, date, sunrise/sunset data, future and past tide, dual time, 3 types of alarms, countdown timer, wave counter, chronograph and programming for over 550 beaches to set as your home beach or surf destination
  • Custom Built For Easy Reading: The 42mm digital EL backlight screen makes for easy reading while in motion or low light conditions; Customize the digital watch display to your preferred configuration and toggle between tide graph and date as needed
  • Go Anywhere Sports Watch: Wear comfortably all day for work or sports with the new double locking looper system for a more secure fit and the perforated band designed for ultimate breathability and comfort; Water resistant to keep you informed while out on the water for sports or fishing; 100 Meter/10 ATM water rating
  • Leaving The Ocean Better Than We Found It: This team-built custom designed watch was created to keep up with top athletes both in the gym and near the ocean and teams up with #tide for products from recycled ocean plastics to get waste out of the ocean and more people in

Casio W800H-1AV Classic Sport Watch

Casio Men's W800H-1AV Classic Sport Watch with Black Band

Casio is another heavyweight brand in the watch industry. Their products are well-known for their high-quality features.

This surf watch is no different. It features a digital display which makes it easier to read than analog displays.

Perhaps what we appreciate most about this watch is its simplicity. It doesn’t contain many buttons or functions.

This is what we liked and felt could be improved: 


  • 10 years of battery life: This watch lasts 10 years without needing new batteries. This is a great feature if you plan on spending a lot of time surfing. This long-lasting watch can save you a ton of money.
  • Waterproof: This watch is fully waterproof up to 100 meters. Thus, you won’t need to worry about damaging it while surfing.
  • Simple design: This watch has a simple design. There aren’t many buttons or functions. Therefore, you won’t need to spend too much time learning how to use it. Instead, you can focus on surfing. Yet, it still has a detailed display. 
  • LED light: See your watch even in low light settings, thanks to this fantastic feature. 
  • Affordable price: This watch is an affordable option. If you are looking for a surf watch on a budget, this may be the one for you. 


  • Weak wristband: We think that this watch would be better if it had a stronger wristband. Though it should last you a while, this wristband is prone to breaking. 

Also Available At

Casio Men's W800H-1AV Classic Sport Watch with Black Band
  • 10-year battery life
  • 100-meter water resistance
  • LED backlight
  • Dual time
  • Approx. battery life: 10 years on CR2025

PALADA Digital Sports Watch

PALADA Men's Digital Sports Watch Waterproof Tactical Watch with LED Backlight Watch for Men (Black)

Up next, this surf watch from Palada is definitely worth checking out.

It comes with a variety of features, such as a built-in compass.

This will be extremely handy when traveling through unknown surf spots.

In addition, it also has some amazing clock functions, such as a stopwatch and alarm settings.

Here are some of the most noteworthy features of this watch:


  • Built-in compass: This watch has a built-in compass that allows you to navigate through unfamiliar areas. You don’t have to rely on GPS anymore. 
  • Slick style: This watch looks sleek. It has a sporty look that suits any outfit. It is going to match your surfer aesthetic perfectly. 
  • Alarm clock: The alarm function of this watch is very convenient. You can set multiple alarms to wake up early enough to catch the best waves. 
  • Auto-calendar: This watch automatically sets the date and time based on your location. So, you won’t have to change these settings every day manually. This can save a lot of hassle. 
  • Stainless steel back: For additional sturdiness, this watch has been constructed with stainless steel. Therefore, it is unlikely to break easily. 


  • 50-meter water resistance: Though this watch is waterproof up to 50 meters, it has a lower water resistance than other watches on this list. While it can still be used for surfing, other watches will be better suited to this water sport. 

Also Available At

PALADA Men's Digital Sports Watch Waterproof Tactical Watch with LED Backlight Watch for Men (Black)
  • Digital watch: Fashionable sporty dial design, military style outlook. Big numbers display with light and large dial, show time clear even in the dark. Use import EL Lamp, press "LIGHT" button to see the time clearly in the light, easy to read
  • Sports watch: Suitable for men, especially to those who like doing sports, multi-functions make it perfect for both outdoor and indoor sports, such as running, climbing, fishing and so on
  • Water resistant to 50M / 164FT. In general,suitable for Swimming and cold shower,not suitable for long time underwater activities such as diving
  • LED backlight, 1/100 second digital stopwatch, auto calendar, hourly alarm and alarm clock, shock resistant, 12/24 hour formats
  • High quality watch: Senior rubber band, comfortable to wear. The dial window is made of acrylic mirror, high transparency, compressive and abrasion

Garmin Instinct Solar Surf Smartwatch

Garmin Instinct Solar Surf, Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch with Solar Charging Capabilities, Tide Data and Dedicated Surfing Activity, Cloudbreak

Next, we have this smartwatch from Garmin. It is a perfect choice for those who love surfing but hate carrying around bulky devices.

It utilizes solar charging, meaning that you can charge it as you surf in the sun. 

Also, this watch has a built-in Global Positioning System (GPS).

This means that you can track your location using satellite signals.

You can also track your exercise, which is great if you want to keep on top of your timings.

This can be used not just for surfing but for other sports such as running and swimming.

These are the main advantages and disadvantages of this Garmin watch:


  • Health monitoring: With the help of this watch, you can monitor your heart rate and blood pressure. This could be useful if you want to stay fit while surfing.
  • Solar charging: Unlike other watches, this one uses solar power to charge itself. This makes it easier to use during long sessions of surfing. If you live in a sunny area, you won't have to worry about replacing the batteries. 
  • Built-in GPS: This watch has a GPS feature that enables you to track your location. This could be useful for tracking your movements during training or competitions. 
  • Smart notifications: With smart notifications, you can receive alerts and messages right on your wrist. If you are in an emergency situation, this could prove particularly practical. Never miss anything important due to this feature. 
  • Tide data: This watch allows you to check tide times and wave heights. This could be helpful when trying to find ideal surf conditions. 


  • Expensive: Though this watch has lots of desirable features, it costs more than most of its rivals. Essentially, you are paying for these fabulous features. If you are shopping with a narrow budget, you might want to consider some other watches on this list. 

Also Available At

Gamin Instinct 

Garmin Instinct Solar Surf, Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch with Solar Charging Capabilities, Tide Data and Dedicated Surfing Activity, Cloudbreak
  • Solar charging capabilities allow you to extend battery life beyond traditional charging
  • Rugged GPS Watch is water-rated to 100 meters and constructed to U.S. military standard 810 for thermal, shock and water resistance
  • Built-in 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter plus multiple global navigation satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo) track in more challenging environments than GPS alone
  • Record the number of waves surfed, maximum speed reached and distance traveled by using the surf activity profile, tide data lets you stay up to date on ocean conditions
  • Track your activities for running, biking, swimming, strength and more

Rip Curl Rifles Tide Watch

Rip Curl Mens Rifles Tide Watch, Midnight/One Size Fits All

Last but not least, we have this tide watch from Rip Curl. This watch is designed especially for surfers.

Its design is sleek and stylish. The display is large enough so that you don’t need to squint to read it.

It has a high-resolution screen which ensures crisp images. It also has lots of functions that make it ideal for your average surfer, including a digital tide graph.

Here are some of the best and worst features of this Rip Curl surf watch: 


  • 500 pre-programmed tide locations: This Rip Curl watch comes with 500 pre-programmed tide information. This includes a tide graph with times and wave heights. You can easily access them, enabling you to better plan your surfing experience. 
  • Dual time: This watch displays both local and UTC time. This means that you can accurately see the current time no matter where you are located. 
  • Simple menu interface: Requiring only 4 simple buttons to navigate through its menus, this watch can be used even if you are not particularly tech-savvy. You can easily alter the watch's settings with this interface.
  • Stopwatch feature: Like some other watches, this Rip Curl product features a stopwatch function. This can be used to measure your timing, allowing you to see whether you have topped your personal surfing record. 
  • 100M water-resistance: Rip Curl's amazing watch is 100 meters waterproof. This means that you will never have to worry about damaging the watch while wearing it in the water. 


  • Weak materials: Though this watch looks good, it feels cheap. We recommend looking for a more durable alternative if you are concerned about breaking this watch in rough waters. 

Also Available At

Rip Curl Mens Rifles Tide Watch, Midnight/One Size Fits All
  • Pre-Programmed Tide Function (500) - Electronically Stored Tide Charts For 500 Preset Locations Worldwide.
  • Menu Based Interface - Extremely Easy to Use and Set
  • Stopwatch
  • Dual time
  • Light

The Best Surf Watches - Buyer's Guide

After reading our recommendations, you will be in a more informed position to start looking for your ideal surf watch.

These recommendations will give you a deeper understanding of the various advantages and disadvantages of these products.

However, there are other factors that you must consider.

These factors will determine whether a watch is suitable for you.

The following sections will discuss the different aspects of choosing a surf watch.

We hope that you consider these factors before shopping. 

Water Resistance

The first thing that you should look into when buying a surf watch is whether it is waterproof.

Waterproofing is very important if you plan on spending most of your time in the ocean.

You want to make sure that your watch can withstand whatever conditions you encounter.

Some watches have water resistance ratings ranging from 30 meters to 100 meters.

When purchasing a watch, you should always check the specifications carefully.

If you want to don your watch while surfing, the higher the water resistance, the better. 


Another factor that you should take into consideration is durability.

A surf watch needs to be durable enough to handle the rigors of being submerged underwater.

Some watches have been known to survive in these conditions for years—however, some watches only last three months.

You should also look into the quality of materials used. Some watches are made out of plastic which is easily scratched.

Other watches are made out of stainless steel, which is resistant to corrosion.

Look for a watch made from sturdy materials, as they can save you time, money, and effort. 


When selecting a surf watch, you need to keep in mind its size.

Most people prefer watches that fit comfortably on their wrists.

In addition, you should choose a watch that fits well with your style.

For example, if you like chunky watches, then you should avoid watches that come with small bands. 

Battery Life

Moreover, many customers believe battery life to be an important factor.

They think that a watch with longer battery life is preferable to one with shorter battery life.

This is usually true. It all depends on how often you use your watch.

If you use your watch every day, then you should get a watch with long battery life. 

On the other hand, if you rarely use your watch, you may want to opt for a watch with short battery life.

After all, a watch with a short battery life may be cheaper than one that lasts for ages. 

Long battery life is ideal because it means you won't have to spend money on replacement batteries.

Moreover, a watch with long battery life is less likely to die mid-surfing.

Therefore, if you frequently go surfing, you might want to invest in a watch with decent battery life.


Comfort is another important aspect that you should consider. Many customers complain about watches that are too tight.

Others find watches that are too loose and uncomfortable.

You should try wearing the watch for a few days before making a decision.

If you enjoy wearing the watch, then you should buy it. Otherwise, you shouldn't.

Unfortunately, it can be problematic to try on watches when shopping online.

You may want to consult reviews to give you an impression of how comfortable a watch is.

Moreover, you should check a product's return policy. This way, you can determine whether you can return a watch that causes discomfort. 


We recommend that you also pay attention to the price. Different factors affect the price of a watch.

These include brand name, material, color, design, etc. Often, the more expensive a watch is, the higher its quality.

On the other hand, this does not mean that you cannot find a budget-friendly watch that also works extremely effectively. 

If you're looking for a cheap surf watch, then you should stick to brands that offer inexpensive products.

Many of the watches on this list are sold at affordable prices.

When shopping online, you can filter results that are outside your price range.

You can also sort the results from cheapest to most expensive, making it easier than ever before to find a bargain. 


If you're looking for a watch that looks good, then you should take into account its aesthetic qualities.

A watch that has a unique design will always look better than one that comes with boring designs.

However, we don't recommend buying a watch just because it has a cool design.

Instead, you should make sure that the watch you purchase offers excellent functionality and durability. 

Thankfully, watches come in a wide array of styles and colors. Therefore, you are almost certain to find one that matches your personal style.

Ease Of Use

Additionally, you should also contemplate how easy it will be to use a surf watch. Some watches are very difficult to use.

For example, some people find it hard to change time zones using these types of watches.

Other watches are easy to use. In fact, they even allow users to set alarms without any problems. 

If you are not overly tech-savvy, we advise finding a watch that is straightforward to use.

Otherwise, you may have difficulties altering its settings.

It can be tough to determine whether a watch will be user-friendly.

One way of doing this is by reading customer reviews. 

However, you should bear in mind that these reviews are not always reliable.

They could contain fake information. As such, you should only trust reviews that were written by real customers.

Additional Features

Finally, you should also examine additional features. For instance, many watches feature stopwatches.

Some, including the Garmin smartwatch, can track your heartbeat.

Meanwhile, other watches can map tide times. Other amazing additional features include a built-in compass, alarms, and a GPS connection.

We recommend spending some time thinking about which of these features is most desirable to you.

Then, you should think about whether you are willing to pay more money for them.

This will allow you to determine whether a watch is suitable for you, as you can rule out any that do not contain features that you want to pay extra for.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Surf Watch?

The best surf watch is the one that suits your needs the best. After all, there are so many options available.

So, you need to consider what type of watch you prefer and what features you require.

If you are still having trouble making a decision, feel free to check out the buyer's guide above. 

How Much Does A Surf Watch Cost?

There are different types of surf watches. Some are cheaper while others are more expensive.

Thus, you will need to decide how much you are willing to spend.

Generally, they range from $20 to $200, though there are obviously some products outside this price range.

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