There was a lot of swell on the ocean this winter – more so than in the past few years. But a lot of times there was too much swell to surf with the northeasters that came through on an almost weekly basis in January and into February.
However, that wasn’t the news headline about winter surfing. That big news is that ocean temperatures were cold – really cold.
The ocean was either flat or had 6-foot, really heavy waves, which is not good when the water temperatures are in the high 30s to low 40s.
In the dead of winter, you are probably looking at a tight-knit group of only 10 to 15 really dedicated locals who brave the surf. Occasionally, we get a few folks from the northern beaches or Virginia.
I started surfing through the winter when I was a senior in high school, and this was the coldest and most brutal winter weather that I can remember.
The average water temperature in the winter is in the low 40s. The temperature usually dips into the upper 30s for about a week or so. However, this winter it dipped to 38 or 39 degrees for about four straight weeks.
You usually need a 5/4/3 wetsuit with a built in hood in the winter. The numbers refer to the thickness of the wetsuit in millimeters. Thicker is warmer, but thicker also restricts movement.
Most of the photos that I took in the water this winter were in a water temp of about 43 to 45 degrees. At one point, I thought that I had frostbite in one of my fingers.
I am glad that spring finally seems like it has set in. I was really getting tired of putting on all the rubber to get in the ocean.
Here’s to spring and to warmer water. Hopefully, we will get a handful of days of surf before we get into summertime flat spells.