When you're out surfing it feels like you could just stay there forever without a care in the world. Unforunately that's not how life works and sometimes you will be constrained with how much time you're actually able to stay out in the surf. That's where having a watch can come into play. However before you take your favorite office watch or Rolex out into the surf you should know that not all watches are designed to withstand the beating that surfing provides. So lets take a look at what makes a watch suitable for surfing.
Obivously for a watch you want to take surfing you want it to be "waterproof". The term waterproof is in quotation because it is actually impossible to make a watch waterproof, only water resistant as there is always a limit to the amount of water pressure a watch can withstand. Water resistance for watches is measured based on how many atmospheres of pressure a watch can be in before it lets water in. This measurement is then provided on the watch rating it to how many atmospheres of pressure it can withtake, with one atmosphere equalling a depths of 10 metres. This rating however can be misleading as the rating is taken in still water with the watch remaining stationary. Any slight movement of the watch dramatically increases the pressure on the watch as the water is being compressed against it. Add this to the pressure experienced by a breaking wave in a wipeout and you can see why a watch with a low ATM rating won't hold up in the surf. The follow table shows the recommended activities for a watches ATM rating.
Now as you can see from that table a watches water resistance doesn't become adequate for surfing until it is at least 10 ATM and becomes optimal for surfing at 20 ATM which is the rating you will find on most surf and extreme condition watches. Now that you understand the requirements for a watch to be water resistant lets take a look at the types of watches you can get for surfing and the features they provide.
Types of Surf Watches
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