The Best Surf Watches in Australia [2019]

If you’re an avid surfer and don’t have a surf watch then it’s time for you to upgrade and make an investment in one of the most useful pieces of kit any surfer can own.  These devices do more than just tell you the time, they keep track of the tides for countless popular surf locations around the world.  

Minute by minute you’ll be updated on the high and low tide times for your favourite breaks, while some models will include moon phases, dawn and sunset times, and even wave counters to make sure that you know the optimal time to hit the surf.

Recent innovations include WiFI and GPS compatibility to help you instantly check the waves at your location any place in the world in real time.  Water temperature, period and height of the waves, the direction of the wind, it’s all there at your fingertips with a surf watch.

After the summary table below we discuss the key things to consider when choosing a surf watch followed by reviews of the best products currently on the market in Australia.


iMAGE
PRODUCT
OUR #1 RATED
OUR #1 RATED

RIP CURL GPS SERIES 2 WATCH

  • One of the most popular surf watches globally
  • Water Resistant up to 100m
  • Track distance traveled and session time
  • Multiple activity trackers from snow to surf


RIP CURL NEXT TIDE WOMENS WATCH

  • Designed specifically for women
  • 500 pre-programmed locations
  • Intuitive beach selection
  • Backlight for enhanced visibility


NIXON THE BASE TIDE PRO WATCH

  • Preprogrammed for over 550 beaches
  • Sunrise/sunset data
  • Tide information (past and future)


APPLE WATCH SERIES 4 (GPS)

  • Very customisable with surf apps
  • Built in GPS
  • Heart sensors
  • Swim-proof


FREESTYLE SHARK CLASSIC CLIP WATCH 

  • Buttons work underwater
  • Alarm, stopwatch, dual time functions
  • Affordable

Surf Watches Buyer’s Guide 

If surf watches are new to you you’re likely wondering exactly how you’d go about picking one out.  Even experienced surfers may find themselves dazzled by the sheer variety of surf watches available on the market and need a little help navigating their way through the selection.

The first thing you want to look for in a surf watch is a reputation for durability.  Time spent in the sand and sea with your timepiece is going to put it through the wringer, so you need to make sure the one you select is up to the task.  Following that it’s just a matter of getting the features that you want.

Most surfers will be comfortable with one that tracks the tides and wave count at their favorite break, though the more serious may opt to get one that reports water temperature and moon phases as well.  Which one you select is going to be determined by your need and desire for information.


Surf Watch Reviews 

The reviews below touch on some of the industries most popular watches, outlining what they can do for you and what the good and bad points of them are.  We’ll start with our top pick, and point out our best value option along the way.

#1 ​​RIP CURL GPS SERIES 2 WATCH 

TOP PICK

BUY AT surfstitch

One of the most popular surf watches on the market, the GPS Series 2 was specifically designed for surfers but is capable of tracking other activities as well.  Speed, waves caught, distance traveled, and location are all tracked by this top of the line model.  

This watch incorporates a number of features common in the fitness and smart-watch niche and is a great option all around.  Absolutely satisfying to use and durable enough to withstand whatever your surf session throws at it.

Pros
  • One of the most popular surf watches globally
  • Water Resistant up to 100m
  • Track distance traveled and session time
  • Multiple activity trackers from snow to surf                                                      
cons
  • Needs regular recharging

  • Can miss smaller waves at low speeds                                                         

#2 ​​​​RIP CURL NEXT TIDE WOMENS WATCH 

best value

BUY AT surfstitch

This device is neither more nor less than you need and does exactly what it says it does.  After setting the location on the device you immediately start getting information about the tides at the beach of your choice in a visual display.  

It tracks the time, tide, and has a countdown and strop-watch function.  Water resistant up to 100M this watch is an affordable and effective tool.

Pros
  • Designed specifically for women
  • 500 pre-programmed locations
  • Intuitive beach selection
  • Backlight for enhanced visibility          
cons
  • Limited functions compared to the GPS Series
  • Must be updated during daylight savings time                                            

#3 ​NIXON THE BASE TIDE PRO WATCH 

BUY AT surfstitch

This watch brings an astounding combination of features to the table for a watch that looks like it came straight out of a 1980’s futuretech film.  

The band on the watch is made of silicone for water-safe use, and it provides an immense amount of information in a small package, sure to satisfy even the most detail oriented surfer.  It reveals the time of past and future tides, comes with a wave counter, a backlight, and is water resistant up to 100m.

Pros
  • Preprogrammed for over 550 beaches

  • Sunrise/sunset data

  • Tide information (past and future)                                                                 

cons
  • Blocky numbers and retro interface may not suit everyone's taste                                                      

#4 ​​APPLE WATCH SERIES 4 (GPS)

BUY AT bing lee

A fantastic device from one of the world’s preeminent mobile device designers, the Apple Watch is specifically designed for a broad range of workouts, including surfing.  

Through this device you can schedule your surfing periods, set alarms, and get information about any beach in the world.  You can also include music to surf to thanks to its 16GB capacity. While you shouldn’t go diving with it this device is suitable for use in the water.

Pros
  • Very customisable with surf apps
  • Built in GPS
  • Heart sensors
  • Swim-proof                                              
cons
  • Not for use in deep dives or high speed activities                                                         

#5 ​​FREESTYLE SHARK CLASSIC CLIP WATCH 

BUY AT surfstitch

This watch is really just a watch for surfing, rather than being a surf watch.  It has all the normal watch functions as well as being water resistant to 100m, so it’s perfect for a day at the beach in the sun and surf.  

The nylon band is durable and comes with a clip-clasp to make it easy to put on and remove.

Pros
  • Buttons work underwater
  • Alarm, stopwatch, dual time functions
  • Affordable                                                
cons
  • Just a waterproof watch - no surf tracking features                                                          

verdict

Surf watches are a great addition to your time in the lineup, but which one of these bad boys should you select?  For us, the Rip Curl GPS Series 2 Watch has all the features and reliability you'll need to enhance your surf experience while being more than capable of handling the water you'll be dealing with.  

If you’re looking for a surf watch designed specifically for women, the Rip Curl Next Tide Watch is a simple surf watch that keeps track of the tides with a range of pre-programmed surf locations and a beautiful, clean display.