The 11 Best Surf Watches in 2024

Last updated on: January 14, 2024
best surf watches

What to look for in a good surf watch?

If you have read our surf watch buyer’s guide, you would know that the best surf watches have various functions, apart from telling the time.

Most of them have preloaded locations and surf spots from all over the world. Some of these watches have over five hundred top surf spots worldwide, with their tides and moon phases all present for up to 20 years, and are all GPS watches. So you can find your home break, set the watch up with GPS, and immediately find out what’s happening at your local break or the reef around the corner.

Like the Rip Curl Surf Watch and the Garmin Surf Watch, some of the watches actually record your waves. After your session, you can see the number of waves surfed, the distance traveled while surfing, and the total amount paddled. You can even get a GPS image of your session, download it, and put it on your social media feeds for all to see.

Like the Nixon Surf Watch and the G-Shock Surf Watch, other watches have a few competition assets. A countdown stopwatch that is geared for surfing heats, as well as local beach tides.

The best surf watches for men

When it comes to the best surf watches, it is hard to differentiate, as there are enough of them out there to now make a choice quite hard and it all comes down to preferences. Some of them differ in size, as there is quite a lot of technology in a surf/GPS/tide watch, and those smaller ones have less technology inside them. 

While the original surf brand watches have traditionally held their reins as the best surf watches out there, with Rip Curl and Nixon the forerunners, non-surf brands have fast caught on to the buying potential of the wave riders of the world. They have quickly stepped into a wide-open territory.

Best tech technology

In the Best Technology division, the Apple Watch Series 7 is another non-surf brand that quickly takes up a decent market share. It offers one of the most technologically advanced watches on the market.

Apart from the music storage facility, the GPS model lets you take calls and texts from your wrist, and it does things like measure your blood oxygen and checks your heart rhythm, and it has an ECG app. It tracks all kinds of activities, including surfing and open water swimming. It pairs with iPhones and iPads, and for many people who are ‘Apple For Life,’ it is a no-brainer decision. Battery life is not the best, and the screen does seem to get easily scratched.

PRO surfers' choice

The industry standard and pro surfers’ choice has always been the Rip Curl Search Watch. The only complaint about it, was that it was just a little bit bulky and uncomfortable worn under a wetsuit. Still, it has always been the surfing watch of choice. With surfers like Gabriel Medina, Mick Fanning, Owen Wright, and Connor Coffin on your team, it will be popular amongst pro surfers and the general surfing population.

The Rip Curl Search GPS 2 watch has the best GPS tracking, and when you download the data after your session, it is spot on. No waves missed. No waves added.

It can also track your sporting activities, like running, cycling, and swimming. It keeps track of your speeds, duration, distance and is water-resistant to 100m.

It also allows you to share your surfs by downloading cool session imagery and sharing it on social media.

Comfortable and sustainable

You can’t name the best surf watches without including Nixon. One of the pioneers within the surf watch industry and a favorite among surfers worldwide.

The Base Tide Pro model is packed with Nixon’s latest technology. It keeps you updated with pre-programmed tide information from 550 surf spots around the world. It’s water-resistant down to the pushers, and the ventilated, silicone band stays in place during a heavy wipeout, thanks to the trademarked double Locking Loopers.

We love the fact that the surf watch is made with recycled ocean plastics, so each watch keeps garbage away from the water and creates a more sustainable production.

Great value for money

The Rip Curl Rifles Tide Watch is like a little brother to the more powerful Search GPS 2, yet packed with technology and features that you would expect from the best surf watch. With a less bulky design and a price point of just $140, it offers the perfect combination of function and value.

Most durable

Nowadays everyone is talking about the Garmin Instinct Solar Watch. It is the most rugged and robust training and surfing watch on the market currently.

It has GPS, tracking the waves ridden and all the other details that belonged to Rip Curl and the Garmin Forerunner series’s additional fitness tracking.

It is also power supplemented by solar. As we spend most of our time surfing in sunlight, it’s a pretty green aspect overlooked by other brands.

It does have a few flaws in that some of the surf functions are still a little clunky – it sometimes misses a wave or two – but the rest of the smoothness of this rugged watch surpasses the few flaws. It has a great battery life, one of the most significant advantages of this watch.

The best surf watches for women

Most of the watches above alose doubles down as the best surf watches for women and comes in designs specifcily for the female buyer’s. However, we still want to highlight some specific models that stands out from the above with subtle differences in watch sizes and design.

A women's favourite

Obviously, the women’s surf watches also need to be rugged and have all the men’s surf watches’ facilities and capabilities, but they differ slightly. In our opinion, the best women’s surf watch on the market is the Rip Curl Next Tide.

It comes with a slightly smaller 39mm case size and a slim and minimal design. It is a tide watch for the next generation that provides all the necessary features for the female surfer.

Great value for money

The Siren model from Nixon gives you a minimal and stylish tide watch at a very affordable price point. Yet it has all your standard surf watch specifications. It is aimed at those women who charge hard but with a slight feminine touch to it. We love that it’s made from tide ocean plastics, leaving a sustainable front print. Check out all the unique and feminine colorways!

The best surf watches for kids

When it comes to children’s watches, Rip Curl comes out on top with their versatile range of surf watches for kids.

Everyday choice

The Rip Curl Brasher Watch has a cool design, which makes it suited for any occasion. Keep it on the wrist during school or sport, the youth-sized Brasher watch is always ready for action. It has a classic watch design and comes in two different colors.

Lightweight & durable

Totally functional, light, and colorful, this water-resistant Rip Curl model is perfect for your groms as they learn to surf and appreciate the ocean. It’s a minimal yet high-quality watch that won’t break the bank.

Advanced option for the groms

The youth-sized Maui Mini Tide Watch is the ultimate surf watch without the bulk! Perfect for kids and those with a smaller wrist. It packs the most crucial features that you would expect from the best surf watch for kids, such as tide information on your local surf spot.

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