Top 8 Best Cheap Surf Watches in 2022

The longest recorded non-stop surf session is 30 hours and 11 minutes, made by the South African surfer, Josh Enslin.

Although most of us will not surf anywhere close to as long as this, we all know the feeling of losing track of time while in the water.

Whether we have time obligations, are waiting for the best tide, or simply like to keep track of how long we’ve been surfing, a good quality surf watch is essential.

High-quality sports watches can be expensive, but finding a sturdy reliable surf watch does not need to break the bank.

8 Best Cheap Surf Watches

  1. Nixon Base Tide Pro Watch – Our Top Pick

  2. Casio G-Shock Gbx100Ns-1D G-Glide Tide Watch – Best Top End
  3. Quiksilver Addictive Pro Tide Watch – Best Budget
  4. Rip Curl Brasher (Best for Kids)
  5. Nixon The Time Teller – Best Formal for Men
  6. Rosefield The West Village – Best Formal for Women
  7. Nixon Siren
  8. Casio G-Shock Dw9052Gbx-1A 

#1. Nixon Base Tide Pro Watch – Our Top Pick

Nixon Base Tide Pro Watch

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Nixon is a watchmaker that everyone knows. Not only does Nixon make high-quality watches, but they are stylish and stand the test of time.

The Base Tide Pro is an ideal surf watch as it falls on the cheaper side but does not sacrifice quality or function.

The watch comes pre-programmed with 550 tides charts, as well as sunrise and sunset times for various beaches around the world.

The Base Tide Pro is capable of withstanding pressures of 10 ATM/ 100m and includes an alarm, countdown timer, LED backlight, and water-resistant PC pushers.

Pros:

  • Includes 550 pre-programmed tides and sunset/ sunrise times.
  • Water resistant up to 100m.
  • Includes a wave counter.
  • Possible to set 3 alarms simultaneously.
  • Makes use of Nixon’s patented double locking looper.
  • Large buttons make programming easier.

Cons:

  • Local tides need to be recalibrated every 2 – 3 days.
  • The watch is on the large side.
  • Programmed locations may not suit where you live.

#2. Casio G-Shock Gbx100Ns-1D G-Glide Tide Watch – Best Top End

Casio G-Shock Gbx100Ns-1D G-Glide Tide Watch

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Watches have traditionally been on the precious side, and can’t withstand much of an impact.

The G-shock series, on the other hand, is durable and can stand a hit from any angle.

The G-Glide tide watch takes all the durability of the Casio G-shock series and combines it with state-of-the-art tide watching technology so that you never miss a surf again.

This watch is water-resistant up to 200m, can connect to your mobile via Bluetooth, keeps a lifelog, and is programmed to display the moon cycle.

If you are looking for a sturdy, reliable watch for surfing that includes all the tides and moon charts you will ever need, then the G-Glide tide watch could be your perfect choice.

Pros:

  • Includes tide charts and moon cycles.
  • Includes training function (speed, distance, pace, acceleration, and target alerting such as calories burnt.
  • Connects to mobile via Bluetooth.
  • Highly shock resistant.
  • Phone finder function.

Cons:

  • On the expensive side.
  • Doesn’t include a thermometer.
  • Stopwatch does not break down into milliseconds.
  • Can be tricky to set.

#3. Quiksilver Addictive Pro Tide Watch – Best Budget

Quiksilver Addictive Pro Tide Watch

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Quiksilver, being a leader in the surf industry, is well known for its wetsuits, surfboards, and surf apparel.

Although they’ve not made a name for themselves as watch producers, the Addictiv Pro will surprise you with its slick design and functionality.

The Addictiv Pro is water-resistant up to 100m, includes tide chart technology, and a soft UV-resistant strap to prevent breakage from the sun.

Pros:

  • A Neat slick design.
  • 2 – 3 years battery life.
  • Includes preset surfing spots.

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to set without the use of the manual.
  • Some complaints about the watch leaking have been found, but the producers are quick to fix the problem.

#4. Rip Curl Brasher (Best for Kids)

rip curl brasher

If you have kids that surf, it is likely they will want a watch they can surf with (especially if you own one).

The Brasher by Rip Curl is perfect for young kids who spend a lot of time in the water. 

The watch is suited for both girls and boys, is water-resistant up to 100m, and will not break the bank.

Pros:

  • Suited for all genders.
  • High-quality watch that is simply downsized.
  • Japanese quartz is used for movement.

Cons:

  • No tide or moon charts.
  • No alarm or stopwatch.

#5. Nixon The Time Teller – Best Formal for Men

Nixon The Time Teller

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Surf watches are great for when we are surfing or taking part in other sports, but they tend to be bulky and somewhat unappealing to the eye.

If you are after a watch that you can use throughout your everyday life, but will also suit you when you head to the ocean, then the Time Teller could be a good option.

Although this watch does not have a tide chart, moon cycles, or training settings, it is water-resistant up to 100m and will perfectly suit a surf session before or after work.

Pros:

  • Water resistant up to 100m.
  • Smart, slick, and formal design.

Cons:

  • No tide or moon cycle charts.
  • No training settings (stopwatch, countdown timer, alarm, etc.).

#6. Rosefield The West Village – Best Formal for Women

Rosefield The West Village

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Just as the above Nixon is perfect for men who are looking for a more formal-looking surf watch, the West Village from Rosefield is ideal for women.

Water-resistant up to 30m, interchangeable straps, and a smart, slick design allow this watch to be both neat and functional.

Pros:

  • Water resistant up to 30m.
  • Small, neat, formal design.
  • Interchangeable straps.
  • Available in multiple colors.

Cons:

  • No tide or moon charts.
  • Doesn’t support training functions.
  • Durability may be an issue if you surf rougher breaks.

#7. Nixon Siren

Nixon Siren

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As a surfer, the ocean is our playground, and because of this, we should strive to keep it clean and safe.

Nixon is playing their part with the Siren surf watch, made from plastics recovered from the ocean.

Not only does this watch make use of recycled plastics, but is water-resistant up to 100m, includes a tide chart for future tides, and a chronograph setting.

Pros:

  • Makes use of ocean plastics.
  • Water resistant up to 100m.
  • Simple slick design with easy-to-read digits.

Cons:

  • Backlight does not work well so the watch is not very functional at night.
  • Tilting your wrist can blur out some of the display.

#8. Casio G-Shock Dw9052Gbx-1A 

Casio G-Shock Dw9052Gbx-1A

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Shock-resistant and water-resistant up to 200m, this G-Shock is an outstanding digital watch.

Although it doesn’t record tides and Luna cycles, this digital watch combines its shock-resistant technology with features such as a countdown timer, flash alert, stopwatch, hourly time signal, and more.

Pros:

  • Highly shock resistant.
  • Water resistant up to 200m.
  • Multiple sports timing features.

Cons:

  • No tide or moon charts.
  • The watch is on the bulky side.

What to Look For in a Surf Watch

A surf watch needs to serve multiple purposes.

Because you will likely be wearing your watch both out of, and in the water, it is important that your watch is water-resistant, and will not rust or corrode when exposed to saltwater and sunshine.

Furthermore, your watch should look stylish and fit your everyday activities.

Size

The perfect size of a watch is a personal preference. Some people like large bulky watches while others prefer something more dainty and discrete.

Whatever your preference is, you should choose a watch that is sized according to your liking, as well as for the activities you will be conducting.

For example, a large bulky watch could be difficult to slip under your wetsuit sleeve, while a smaller watch could make reading the numbers difficult while surfing.

Water Resistance

Yes, it’s obvious, but it’s worth saying anyway, a surf watch needs to be waterproof.

Not only does your watch need to be waterproof, but it should be waterproof to a depth deeper than you expect to be going.

For example, if you are surfing an average-sized break you are not likely to be pushed more than a few metres underwater.

If you are surfing some of the world’s largest waves on the other hand, you will want your surf watch to function at much deeper depths.

A water-resistant depth of 30m – 100m is more than enough for any surfer, but keep in mind that no watch is truly 100% waterproof.

Materials

After finding a watch with your preferred size, and having ensured that it is water-resistant to an adequate depth, you should strongly consider the materials from which the watch is made.

A surf watch should be able to withstand corrosion from saltwater, as well as be durable enough to take a knock from your surfboard or a hard reef.

Watches made from cheap material will quickly crack, begin to rust, and eventually start leaking.

Features

Before buying a surf watch you should consider what you want from the watch.

If you simply want a sturdy, water-resistant watch that you can use to tell the time, then cheap options are abundant.

If, on the other hand, you are looking for a watch that can record tides, chart moon cycles, keeps track of exercise routines, and looks good at the same time, you should expect to pay a little extra.

Decide what you need your watch to do before making a decision. It could save you some cash by not overspending on something you don’t need, or from buying an inadequate watch and needing to purchase another.

Style and Watch Type

A watch that appeals to one person may not to another. Style is a personal choice and you should not let others influence you on yours.

Color, shape, size, and whether your watch is digital, analog, or both should all be considered when you buy a surf watch.

Comfort

A watch needs to be comfortable, especially if you will be wearing it all day.

Because surfing is so dynamic, your watch should fit securely and comfortably. The last thing you want is to need to paddle back into shore to take off an uncomfortable watch.

If you find a watch that looks amazing, has all the features you’re looking for, and is within your budget, but is uncomfortable, it is best to keep looking as you will likely regret the purchase soon after buying it.

Surf Watch FAQs

If you are still unsure about a few things with regards to your surf watch, then the FAQ below may help resolve some of your unanswered questions.

Does My Surf Watch Need a Tide Chart?

A surf watch does not need to have a tide chart or Luna cycle for it to be a good surf watch.

Your watch simply needs to suit the functions you want it for. If you only want to tell the time or use a stopwatch then there is no need for a tide chart.

Alternatively, if you are surfing on a shallow reef where the water level is tricky, you may want to make use of a watch that tracks the tides.

How Do I Care For My Surf Watch?

Caring for your surf watch is simple, but if not done, could result in your watch quickly deteriorating due to the saltwater.

Other than regular everyday care such as being conscious not to smash your watch on anything hard, all you need to do to care for your watch is to soak it in freshwater after each surf.

By soaking your watch in a bowl of freshwater for 20 minutes after leaving the ocean, any salt that is left behind will dissolve and not crystallise around the watch.

What if the Battery of My Surf Watch Goes Flat?

Most surf watch batteries will last approximately 2 years (unless they are rechargeable).

When your watch battery goes flat you shouldn’t attempt to change it yourself. The reason for this is that when you open your watch you disturb the water-resistant seal.

If you need your battery changed it is best to send it in to the dealer that you bought your watch from, or directly to the manufacturer for a battery change and pressure test.

Conclusion

Whether you are looking for a surf watch with all the latest features such as tide charts, training logs, and moon cycles, or simply looking for an elegant watch that can be used both at work and while surfing, you do not need to break the bank.

As long as your watch is durable, water-resistant, comfortable, and looks appealing to you, you will likely have a perfect surf watch.

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