Best Tide Watches
If you're looking to make the most of your time in the water, having a quality tide watch can do the trick. No, it will not make you the next Kelly Slater, but it can help you check tide data before paddling out and keep time while in the water.
Of course, there are hundreds of tide watches on the market, none of which are made equal.
For this reason, we've carefully compiled a list of our favorites. Come dive in with us as we explore the top 6 tide watches on the market today.
Quick Answer :
#1 Best Overall - Rip Curl Men's SearchGPS Quartz Sport Watch with Polyurethane Strap→
#2 Most Versatile - Apple Watch Series 6 - Aluminum Case with Sport Band→
#4 Most Durable - Casio G-Shock G-Lide Teal Resin Surf Watch GBX100-2→
#6 Best Budget - Friendly Surf Watch - NIXON Base Tide Pro A1307-100M→
The 6 Best Tide Watches
#1 Rip Curl Men's SearchGPS Quartz Sport Watch with Polyurethane Strap - Best Overall
If you're in search of a tide watch that can significantly improve your surfing experience, then the Rip Curl Search GPS 2 is one of the best watches out there.
You'll find a wide variety of functional features on this tide watch, including real-time swell and wind reports, as well as a GPS surf tracker.
Beyond that, the Rip Curl Search GPS 2 provides tidal data and paddle tracking data, which can help improve your surfing. Finally, with its insane durability and slick look, it's the perfect watch for just about any outdoor sport, including snowboarding, swimming, mountain biking, and more.
Even with all the features this tide watch provides, it's still one of the most affordable around. To get more out of it, connect your smartphone and take advantage of a few neat applications.
While it may not have the well-rounded functionality of the Apple Watch Series, which is growing daily in popularity, it is still one of the best surf watches for passionate surfers.
#2 Apple Watch Series 6 - Aluminum Case with Sport Band - Most Versatile
Apple has progressed to the Apple Watch Series 6, which has a variety of cool, new features, many of which surfers love. The Series 6 is the first of the Apple watches to have Surf Watch and Dawn Patrol compatibility.
The Dawn Patrol compatibility provides wind speeds, tidal data, weather information, and moon phases. While you're not going to be exploring the deep with this watch on, the 50-meter water-resistance rating allows it to handle shallow-water activities like, well, surfing.
Do you consider yourself a multi-faceted outdoor explorer? If so, you'll dig the high-quality, built-in GPS.
The always-on display has to be one of our favorite design features, especially when surfing. However, compared to other surf watches on this list, the battery life is pretty sub-par, so we would only recommend keeping this feature on when out in the water.
Overall, the Apple Watch Series 6 is a surprisingly functional and valuable watch for surfers.
#3 NIXON High Tide A1308-100m - Best For Eco-Conscious Buyers
The surf industry has long been coming up with ways to impart sustainability in manufacturing and sport.
Nixon is one of those companies that makes stylish, high-quality products, all while maintaining high sustainability standards.
The Nixon High Tide Surf Watch uses recycled ocean plastic, which looks great and makes you feel as though you're doing your part to keep the ocean clean.
While the face looks low key, thanks to its gray and black design, the numbers appear with high-resolution, allowing you to check tide information no matter what kinds of conditions you're in.
The numbers are all in bold too, making them easy to see, even for those with poor eyesight.
You can customize the watch to give you information from your favorite surf break, including pre-programmed moon data, sun data, and tide data.
In addition, there are 550 built-in surf spots, a handy countdown timer for surfing drills, and an action time stamp for training.
Elegant and straightforward has been Nixon's vibe for a long time, yet they still do it so well.
#4 Casio G-Shock G-Lide Teal Resin Surf Watch GBX100-2 - Most Durable
Many surfers are familiar with Casio G-Shock watches, as they provide tons of unique moon data and tide data. However, the G-Shock GBX100 was the first watch in the lineup explicitly designed for surfing.
One thing we love about Casio G-Shock watches is that they're effortless to use and come with intuitive buttons that control a variety of rich, intelligent features. But, of course, you'll need to utilize the new app to get the most out of this surf model.
If you connect your Casio G-Shock GBX100-2 to the G-Shock app, you can unlock its key features, such as its tide graph storage, which provides information for over 3,300 pre-programmed tide locations.
Some of the top functions on this surf watch include:
One of the things surfers praise most about this watch is its incredible durability. While the unique color variants may give off a playful vibe, it is the most durable surf watch on our list.
#5 Rip Curl Rifles Waterproof Digital Tide Watch - Best Mix of Value and Functionality
With 500 pre-programmed tide locations to choose from, the Rip Curl Rifles Tide Watch is very versatile. It's super easy to get quick access to tide data, which provides you a detailed look at the tides at your favorite spots. Beyond the present tide graphs, you can use the future tide tracker to plan out your upcoming surf sessions.
While it might not be the most feature-rich surf watch out there, it comes with various standard features, such as a stopwatch, light, countdown timer, and alarm.
Aside from its functionality, its polyurethane casing, rubber band, and ABS plastic make it highly durable and surprisingly comfortable compared to some other surf watches on our list. Of course, you can't forget the marine-grade stainless steel buckle, which keeps this surf watch secure no matter how hard you're ripping.
With 100-meter water resistance, you can also use the Rip Curl Rifles for swimming and snorkeling. However, if you want to go out diving, you're going to have to find a different watch.
#6 NIXON Base Tide Pro A1307-100M. -Best Budget-Friendly Surf Watch
Surf watches can often be expensive. However, when it comes to the Nixon Base Tide Pro, you get both functionality and durability in a simple, inexpensive design. We also love the retro look, which provides an easy-to-read LCD digital display.
Beyond the standard and calendar and time features you find with most watches, this surf watch comes with present and future tide information, a countdown timer, a chronograph, and an EL backlight. In addition, you can choose the face to display the tide graph of the date.
When it comes to durability, the casing uses a combination of polycarbonate pushers and injection-molded TR90. Even with its insane durability, the ultra-soft silicone band feels great on the arm and uses Nixon's custom locking looper for a snug fit.
It's not the most water-resistant surf watch on the list with a 10ATM rating, though it's perfect for surfing and other shallow-water activities.
Factors To Consider
The most critical consideration you need to make when it comes to surf watches is water resistance. If you're only planning on taking your watch out surfing, you can go for a water resistance rating of 10 ATM.
10 ATM is suitable for up to 100 meters, meaning you can also use 10 ATM surf watches for snorkeling, swimming, and other water sports. However, you will not be able to use a watch with this rating for diving.
In terms of functionality, you'll want to consider what kinds of tide information your watch provides. For example, an inexpensive surf watch might only show low and high tide, though a higher-end watch might provide you with tide graphs. Some watches even provide future data on an easy-to-read tide graph, allowing you to plan out your surfing sessions ahead of time.
While tide watches can show you what level the tide is currently at, like when are the highest tides, they are limited to that and can't inform you of various tide conditions like red tide, neap tide or slack tide. Not even tide clocks are able to tell tide conditions, only tide levels just like a tide watch.
The best surf watches around come with pre-programmed beaches, allowing you to check moon phases, wind speed, and any other surf conditions of a pre-programmed beach with the push of a button. If you're the type of surfer who loves traveling around the world to surf different beaches, having a watch with global tide data can be extremely useful.
Having this kind of information on hand can help you plan out the perfect surf session on the right day, so you don't waste your time driving to sub-par surf spots on flat days.
There are plenty of additional features to consider when looking for a quality surf watch, including:
Typically, the more features found on a surf watch, the more the watch will cost. It's up to you to determine which features you're after before settling on a watch.
Final Thoughts - Finding The Best Surf Watches For Your Needs
Of course, you'll also want to consider the brand, style, comfort, and construction, though these are probably less important considerations than those listed above.
At the end of the day, it comes down to finding the right features for your needs. For a comfortable and versatile surf watch with everything from a wave count feature to detailed tide graphs, we recommend going with the Rip Curl Men's Search GPS 2.
However, if you're a surfer in the market for a simpler, inexpensive tide watch that looks great on the wrist and provides decent functionality, the Nixon Base Tide will do you well.