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The Best Surf Watches Reviewed

Updated: Apr 2

Trust us, you need a surf watch.

With all the advancements in the surf industry over the years, how can we be expected to tell the time in the water by the sun’s place in the sky?

And with all the advancements in the basic surf watch, the thought of actually counting your own waves per session, not knowing the length of each one of your rides in both time and distance, not being able to call for emergency assistance, and not being able to foresee tide changes, weather, and GPS locations is becoming the definition of “antiquated” to the dedicated modern surfer.

Whether you’re finally investing in your first surf watch or just keen on a quality replacement, here are five of the best surf watch options today.

The Best Surf Watches

Nixon Base Tide Pro

Chippa Wilson likes the Base Tide Pro. So do we. Photo: Nixon

This stylish brand keeps you in the know at 550 beaches worldwide with the Nixon Base Tide Pro.

At the cost of $150, This wave-counting timepiece will tell you sunrise and sunset times, records and foretells past and future tidal patterns (high/low times and height) for the beach in question, and comes complete with a countdown timer, chronograph, dual time, three types of alarms and an EL backlight.

This supremely waterproof, durable, and comfortable surf watch is functional up to 100 meters deep, so it’ll see you through any ocean adventure you have in mind.

You can buy this surf watch here.


Stylish in and out of the water. Photo: Freestyle

There are some truly rad new surf watch options, but for one company to hold a loyal, happy fanbase and be a tried-and-true easy choice since 1981 proves that Freestyle knows what they’re doing, and always has.

If you just need a waterproof timepiece on a tight budget, the classic Shark Clip basic watch with 300 ft water resistance, durable nylon strap and simple, secure clip closure is a classic.

This surf watch ranges from $65 to $150.

For water people ready to spend for the tools, there’s the good-looking, equally waterproof, multifaceted tide watches tell you everything you need to know about the sun and tide rhythms of 600 beaches worldwide, and durable dive watches able to withstand 200 meters under the sea.

You can buy this surf watch here.

Apple Watch

Yes, it’s trendy; yes, it’s pricey; but yes, having an Apple Watch as your surf watch could save your life.

You’ll want to download the Dawn Patrol app to track your waves, your stats throughout the sesh, and the tides, but it’s universally known to be a truly reliable surf watch option with a highly effective GPS connection even at sea.

All Apple Watch models offer:

  • 50-meter swim-proof water resistance

  • notification for high, low, and irregular heart rates

  • access to emergency SOS capabilities

However, the most-durable Series 7 also offers international emergency calling, fall detection, can read your ECG and blood oxygen levels, has a built-in compass, and offers cellular activity for calls and texts from the lineup as needed.

This surf watch, which costs anywhere between $199 to $499, can be bought here.

Casio’s G-Shock GBX-100NS with smartphone connectivity is a great call for your surf trip, regardless of destination, because your goal spot is probably one of the 3,300 spots worldwide that this surf watch can foretell accurate tidal conditions complete with:

  • graphs

  • the lunar phase

  • daylight time

The high-resolution Memory in Pixel LCD screen is easy to see at any time of the day or night, and the sleek-looking watch is actually designed to withstand a rough wipeout with 360-degree protection and is water-resistant up to 200 meters down.

At the price of $180, you can buy this surf watch here.

Rip Curl Search GPS 2

This lighter, sleeker redesign of Rip Curl’s Search GPS surf watch has everything you need to be your own personal trainer, an amateur meteorologist, and feel like you have a surf coach thanks to immediate playback of your sessions onto your smartphone thanks to a partnership with Surfline.

Clear graphics show real-time wind, swell, and tide conditions along with GPS tracking to track your outdoor activities from surfing to swimming, running to snowboarding.

For the price of $299.95, you can buy this surf watch here.

The Bottom Line: Surf Watches

With price points across the spectrum and capabilities for adventurers of all levels and interests, your perfect surf watch is out there, and stoked to join you on that next epic ride.

Or, if you're looking for a tide watch, check out our tide watch guide.


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