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Surf clock review 2020: the best tide clocks tested

What was an absolute exception a few years ago is now very popular with many surfers: using a surf watch, also known as a tide watch.

The constant companions, which adorn the wrists of more and more surfers, not only show the time in the water, but also provide other useful information such as the current tide level and the surf forecast.

With some surf watches you can even track your location and connect to permanently installed beach cams - so you can be filmed while surfing in a fairly uncomplicated way. You can read more about this innovative feature at the end of the article.

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But how practical are the waterproof watches really? And do they even have what it takes to improve your surfing experience?

In the following article you will find out exactly what the new tide clocks are all about and when it can make sense to buy such a toy.

Table of Contents

What do you even need a surf watch for?

Sure, it can sometimes be useful to keep an eye on the time while surfing. Depending on whether you only surf on a surfing holiday or in everyday life, you won't lose track of time and you can better estimate when you should paddle back towards the beach.

But if you are only interested in the time, a normal one is surely enough waterproof watch which otherwise does not have to meet any special requirements for surfers. In the past, the robust G-Shock watches from Casio have proven their worth.

The watches developed by the surfing industry especially for surfers have a few other features that can be useful on the surfboard.

A special surf watch shows you that current tide level in every coastal town in the world. With some models, important parameters such as the so-called lunitidal interval still have to be entered manually. With most smart watches, however, this happens automatically.

Surf rides are not only waterproof, but also very robust. They are designed for that, too greater water pressure to endure. Even with a violent wipeout, your Tide Watch remains protected from the salty wet and with some models you can also customize your own Surf forecast read directly on your wrist.

Popular surf forecast sites such as Magicseaweed, Windy or Surf Forecast have provided such data for a long time. But so far you have not been able to use them in the water without your smartphone. A tide watch replaces the cell phone and shows you everything you need to know as a surfer with just one push of a button.

Some models are now so advanced that they are over GPS, Bluetooth and WiFi functions feature. So you can call up the wave conditions in real time - no matter which of your favorite spots you are currently in.

Another handy feature is that Surf alert. This means that you can always be informed when the conditions are so good that you should definitely go surfing. They also record how many waves you have surfed, how long your rides were and how fast you surfed the wave face.

What should you watch out for when buying?

When choosing the right surf watch, the most important thing is what you want to use it for. Before you decide on a model, be sure to pay attention to the exact ones Functions and what advantages and disadvantages they offer compared to other models or manufacturers.

  • Do you really need GPS functionality?
  • Is it important to you to have a swell alert displayed?
  • Do you want to know about your paddling times?

In addition to the functions available, the Size of the clock as well as that Material of the bracelet important. Silicone or resin bracelets are pretty trendy right now. Synthetic resin in particular is ideal for surfers because it is extremely durable and yet flexible Battery life the clock. If you spend all day in the water, it is important that the battery has enough power, even if you have the GPS on all the time, and that stands for a lot of people design a surf watch at the center of the purchase decision. Since surfer watches are not mere accessories, but practical aids for an extreme sport, you should above all function and equipment play the crucial role.

Surf Watch Review 2020

In the following review, I'll give you tips on the best models on the market and how they differ.

Casio GLX5600

The Casio GLX5600 is extremely robust and shockproof thanks to its resin case and bracelet. She is one of the cheapest surf watches on the market and has a tide display that also includes a simplified display of the phases of the moon. However, you have to set both manually for your respective whereabouts through a few settings.

This includes entering the longitude and the lunitidal interval. Both values ​​are necessary so that the tide display and the phases of the moon show the correct position for the current region.

But once you have the hang of how to feed your watch with the correct values, this one-time calibration in a new surfing region is no longer a problem. Even if the manual setting may be a bit more complex, you get a particularly robust watch with one enormously long Battery life. This has the great advantage that you don't even need to use your surf watch during the day, but really only allten years have to load.

This makes the Casio GLX5600 primarily suitable for purists and surfers for whom a simple display of the tide is sufficient.

Case diameter: 43 mm Weight: 52.5 g

Nixon Base Tide

The Nixon Base Tide does not have the full range of functions that its successor models "Super Tide" and "Ultra Tide" offer. But even this model does not spoil it and gives a precise tide forecast in addition to the time, day and date.

Like most top models, it has an LCD display with a positive or negative display. Despite the changing intensity of the sun, legibility in the water is guaranteed. The Nixon Base Tide is therefore a good one Basic and starter model in the lower price segment.

Case diameter: 38 mm Weight: 141g

Nixon Base Tide Black / Red Men’s Surf Watch with Silicone Band (38mm. Black & Red Face / Black Silicone Band)
  • 2 year guarantee from Nixon
  • Clockwork: Custom digital module with basic tide. Features include time of day (12 hours or 24 hours), day / date calendar up to 2099, bottom tides, future times, EL backlight, chronograph and customizable countdown timer. Home screen can be set to show the time, date, or time and tide.
  • Dial: negative LCD with printed dial cover.
  • Watch case: 38 mm, 100 m / 10 ATM, bespoke injection molded TR90. Specially shaped polycarbonate slider, screwed stainless steel case back and stainless steel screws.
  • Watch strap: 22 mm special injection-molded ultra-soft silicone strap with a patented locking clip and a solid stainless steel buckle with screw fastening.

Nixon Ultra Tide

The Nixon Ultra Tide is particularly characterized by its Bluetooth technology out.

Not only tides, but also wave height and speed, water and air temperature as well as wind direction and speed are indicated in real time and can be transmitted directly to a connected smartphone if required.

With the integrated Swell alert you won't miss any good surfing conditions, because the watch will alert you when a good swell is coming in at a surfing spot near you.

Case diameter: 45 mm

Rip Curl Search GPS 2

The Rip Curl Search GPS 2 shows you tide, swell, water and air temperature as well as the time of sunrise and sunset.

It also has a GPS function, with which you can analyze your movement in the water after the session. The number, speed and length of the waves are also automatically recorded by the Rip Curl Search GPS 2.

Another special feature is that you can even get your own Paddling time - and stretching can display. You can also share the collected data including the location map via the Rip Curl app, which was specially developed for surfers. Whether you absolutely need this feature is an open question.

Case diameter: 43 mm Weight: 60 g

Rip Curl Search GPS Series 2 Smart Surfuhr Blue - Unisex
  • Swell, Wind, Track & Tide.
  • Not only is the Search GPS 2 smaller, lighter and more durable than its predecessor, it now offers real-time surfing conditions and GPS tracking for all of your activities, from surfing to snow, running and swimming.
  • Get the best surfing experience with Rip Curl's legendary tide charts and SURFLINE's real-time surfing conditions.
  • View live statistics and record your wavenumber, top speeds, distance traveled and session time.
  • Set the time, tide and local surfing conditions with a single touch Auto-Set & improved indoor or outdoor positional accuracy.

Rip Curl Rifles Tide

The Rip Curl Rifles Tide is coming very much small and light therefore and sits particularly comfortably on your wrist. Despite the compact design, it combines all the functions that are important for surfers.

In addition to a tide display in graphic or detailed view, it has, for example, a stopwatch and a countdown timer.

Case diameter: 41 mm

Rip Curl Rifles Mid Tide Surf Watch - Cobalt - Lightweight waterproof splash-proof device
  • If you are looking for something less bulk, Rip Curl has combined all the functions of the ultimate in surfing in this medium-sized watch.
  • 500 preprogrammed tides to keep you connected.
  • Switch between the diagram view or the detail view
  • Detail View - Clearly displays the current height and direction of the tide, including the numeric time and the numeric height of the next tide. Versatile graphics and detailed tide displays. Future tide function. Sleep mode
  • 500 pre-programmed global tide locations. Day, date, calendar, alarm clock, stopwatch and countdown timer. EL backlight. Comfortable and lightweight one piece over molded injected polyurethane tape. 35mm width

Apple Watch Series 5

The Apple Watch Series 5 is a smartwatch that can serve as a conventional wristwatch and also has numerous functions that can make your life as a surfer easier. The stylish Apple watch doesn't just offer one GPS Function, but also access to allApple apps.

The watch is also so interesting for outdoor athletes because it comes with an integrated compass Height indication disposes.

With access to the App Store, you can install applications that are particularly important for surfers, such as Magicseaweed or Dawn Patrol.

You can get them all with the free Magicseaweed app Forecast information In no time at all on the wrist: No matter if swell, wind, tide level or wave size. But what am I telling you - you probably already know the app and its functions anyway.

But you may not be familiar with the Dawn Patrol app. This turns your smartwatch into a surf watch, that too Real-time data can capture during your session. So paddling route, number of waves, longest wave in seconds or meters, route profiles and much more.

The activity function documents your progress and the EKG app measures your heart rate and rhythm.

In addition, thanks to the integrated cellular network, you can also send a message or even take calls during a surf session. But you can already be sure of the skeptical looks of the other surfers - because calling in the lineup is a real no-go!

The Apple Watch Series 5 not only offers practical functions, but also knows about things design to convince. So you have the option of choosing a case made of titanium, aluminum, stainless steel or ceramic and combining it with any bracelet.

At the bracelet but you should make sure that it is sufficiently robust. Otherwise it can happen that the valuable piece is torn off your wrist with the first major wave.

Another plus of the Apple Watch: If you are surfing in front of a Surfline webcam and have installed the corresponding Surigible app beforehand, you can make a selection after the session Video clips with your best Surf rides of the daydisplay for free.

Exactly how this works is shown by former pro surfer Brett Barley in this video review.


A surf watch is a very useful gadget for all surfers and those who want to become one.

Of course there will always be surfers who consider such an aid to be completely superfluous and prefer to experience the magical moments on the wave unadulterated and without dispensable technology.

But it is also clear that tide clocks are a technology that has never been seen before. Never before have you been able to plan and document your movements in the sea so precisely.

In particular, the installation of relevant forecast apps and the associated possibility of being filmed while surfing for free should generate a lot of interest, especially among advanced surfers.

Last update on 05/22/2021 / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API

Categories surf accessories