How to Keep Track of Time While Surfing?

Have you ever been enjoying yourself, having the time of your life ripping up the waves on a perfect day, only to get out of the water to find that you’re an hour late for work?

How to Keep Track of Time While Surfing?

Keeping track of the time while you surf can be as simple as getting yourself a surf watch, although you could opt for options such as asking other surfers, using your phone, or learning to tell the time through nature.

Below we will take a look at the best ways to keep track of the time while surfing, as well as the best watches on the market that are perfect for surfing.

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How to Keep Track of Time While Surfing?

6 Ways to Keep Track of Time While Surfing

Although surfing is an amazing way to disconnect us from our stressful everyday lives, time obligations sometimes get in the way, which means keeping track of the time while you surf is sometimes necessary.

Simply wearing your watch is the easiest way to ensure you always know the time, however, it’s not the only, nor the cheapest option.

1. Ask Others

If you get a lot out of surfing because of the disconnection you have from the outside world, and the immersion into nature, then taking a watch with you could ruin the experience.

That being said, we do sometimes need to know the time.

Luckily, so do others, and many surfers choose to surf with a watch. 

You can simply paddle over to someone who’s wearing a watch and ask the time, who knows, you may even make a new friend while surfing.

2. Use Your Phone

Although not the best option to choose as our phones are big, bulky, and often expensive and hold valuable information, using your cellphone to track the time while you surf will work.

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To do this you should make sure that you always make use of a high-quality waterproof phone case, as well as safely secure the case to your body or wetsuit.

3. Use the Sun

Using the sun to tell the time is a timeless method of knowing how much daylight is left.

Although using the sun won’t give you pinpoint minute-to-minute information, if you know when the sun rises and sets, you will be able to get a rough estimation of how long you have been in the water.

To tell the time with the sun, simply acknowledge that the sun is in the middle of the sky at midday.

From there you can estimate the time by how far towards sunset or sunrise the sun is positioned.

It may take some practice, but in no time you’ll be telling the time like your ancestors before you.

4. Use the Tides

Depending on where you are surfing, you may be able to use the tides to gain a rough estimate of the time.

If you know the break well, know what time the high tide is, as well as low tide, you will be able to guess the time fairly accurately.

To do this you will need to know how high the tide will reach as well as how low it will drop.

On average between high tide and low tide, there are 6 hours. Using a similar method that we use with the sun, we can estimate how many hours have passed since the last low or high tide, and therefore guess the approximate time.

5. Public Clocks

Around some breaks and popular beaches, there may be towers with fixed public clocks.

Although this is not the case everywhere, and you should not bank on them, a public clock could be an option for keeping track of the time while surfing at some breaks.

6. Use a Watch

The easiest way to keep track of the time while you surf is by wearing your own surf watch.

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Your watch can be as simple as a digital waterproof watch that does nothing but tells the time, or as complex as a Fitbit or surf watch that can track your workout, count calories, monitor your heart rate, and keep track of the changing tides.

Some of the best watches on the market for surfing include:

Fitbit Watch

When it comes to tracking your workouts and progress, there is no other name that comes up more than Fitbit.

Capable of connecting to your mobile, tracking your workout duration, intensity, heart rate, blood pressure, menstrual cycle tracking, daily steps, and a large array of more functions, these watches are in a class of their own.

A Fitbit is ideal if you take your surf training incredibly seriously as it will help curve your rough edges and give you a slight advantage.

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02/19/2024 03:37 pm GMT
Our Pick
Nixon Base Tide Pro Watch

Pre-programed with 550 tide charts, as well as sunrise and sunset times for various beaches around the world, the Nixon Base Pro is ideal for surfers.

Withstanding pressures of 10 ATM/ 100m and including an alarm, countdown timer, LED backlight, and water-resistant PC pushers, this watch does not sacrifice quality or functions for its price.

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High Hand Watch
G Shock Gbx100 G-Lide Sport Tide Watch

The G-Glide tide watch takes all the durability of the Casio G-shock series and combines it with tide watching and lunar tracking technology to create the perfect surf watch.

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This watch is water-resistant up to 200m, keeps a lifelog, and is able to connect via Bluetooth to your phone.

Above its incredible durability, the G-Glide perfectly tracks the moon cycles so that you never miss out on a surf again.

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How to track surfing on a Fitbit

If you are intending to use your Fitbit for tracking your surf progress, it’s a lot easier than you think.

The Fitbit Versa 3 and the Fitbit Charge 5 are both water-resistant up to 50 meters and can withstand contact with saltwater.

Both these watches will easily connect to your mobile where you can keep a log of your surf duration, heart rate, blood pressure, and more.

Furthermore, the Surfline App is available for both these watches, which can be used to track surf locations around the world, as well as tides and water conditions.

Although your Fitbit isn’t able to tell you how many waves you rode or how well you surfed, it will give you a good idea of the distance you traveled, as well as your intensity level while in the water.

Through the Fitbit, you will be able to track how long your sessions were, how far you traveled, and how many calories you burnt, which should give you a good idea if you have worked harder than your last session, or if you are having a bit of a slack day.

Remember, keeping track of your workouts is the best way to ensure you are making progress.


Time is an illusion, and it is often nice to completely forget about it and all our obligations, but sometimes the real world catches up to us and we need to be somewhere at a particular time.

As surfing is so addictive, it’s easy to lose track and spend too much time in the water.

This is why it’s important to be able to keep track of the time in some way or another, whether it’s by the sun, asking others, or simply wearing your own surf watch.

How to Keep Track of Time While Surfing?
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