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How Springtime Affects Our Surfing Experiences

How Springtime Affects Our Surfing Experiences

Image by Tom Patience of our team rider Lola Bleakley.

Team writer Hannah Bevan (@freelance_hannah) explores how the arrival of springtime affects our bodies, minds and surfing experiences.  


It’s finally here….spring has sprung in the northern hemisphere. The clocks have changed and after-work surfs are back. The water’s warming up (a little) and that savage winter bite is no more. The gloves are coming off. The hoods are coming down. And after months of squeezing into thick damp neoprene in drizzly car parks, we’re so ready for it!

But it’s not just the higher temperatures and longer days that make surfing in springtime a different experience. Have you noticed a shift in your energy and mood, and in the energy of others around you recently? Maybe more strangers are letting you out at a busy junction, or smiling and saying hi in the line-up. The atmosphere at this time of year is notoriously more upbeat than usual – and there’s plenty of science behind why that is.

How spring affects our bodies and minds

Happy hormones

Studies have shown that, just like animals and plants, we too are in tune with the seasons. When we’re exposed to more sunlight in the spring our bodies naturally produce more serotonin, that lovely hormone that makes us feel happy, calm and focused. The sensory experiences that springtime brings, like the smell of cut grass or hearing birds singing in the morning, can also cause our body to produce more dopamine, another happy hormone that creates feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. All these feel-good emotions mean we’re going to have a better time in the water right?

Better sleep, more energy

The increase in daylight at this time of year can help to correct our out-of-whack circadian rhythm after the long dark winter. Our circadian rhythm is responsible for telling our body when we should sleep, wake up, eat food and carry out other biological processes. When it’s on-form we’re more likely to sleep better at night and be more alert and energised during the day, resulting in that rejuvenated, spring-in-your-step feeling.

Reconnecting to nature

As surfer’s we might feel more connected than most to the raw power of nature in the depths of winter – but the natural world hits different in spring. Trees sprout bright green leaves, wildflowers bloom along coast paths and the air is alive with bees, birds and butterflies! Noticing the beauty and changes in nature can help us to feel a deeper sense of connection or belonging to it – which can do wonders for our mental health. 

More Vitamin D

Vitamin D contributes to strong bones and teeth, good immune health and our mood and mental health – so it’s super important! But almost all of us don’t get enough of it in the wintertime. Vitamin D is produced in our skin through exposure to sunlight so, of course, in the springtime months when we finally get to put those winter coats away, we produce more. You don’t need to stay in the sun for long to soak it up though. Depending on your age and skin type, just 10-20 minutes is usually enough to get your daily dose. The rest of the time, make sure you protect your skin with sunscreen! 

We get fitter

As we say goodbye to winter and welcome in the spring, we’re more likely to be more physically active outdoors too. And not just in our surfing sessions. The brighter, warmer days mean we’re more inclined to walk to work, go for a run, or head out for a bike ride on a Sunday afternoon if the waves aren’t working. These things can make a massive difference to our overall health and fitness levels – not to mention our moods. 

More motivation

If you set yourself some goals back in January that have already fallen by the wayside, don’t worry, that’s pretty normal. We often use the new year as a time to consider what we want out of life and try to make some positive changes – but in reality we’re still in mid-winter hibernation-mode then, which can make it much harder to find the energy or motivation to try new things. Spring, on the other hand, is associated with new beginnings, fresh starts and higher energy – so use that to reassess your goals, and maybe try that new manoeuvre you’ve been wanting to nail. 

Reduced SAD symptoms


More than 12 million people have some form of Seasonal Affective Disorder in Northern Europe (and 1 in 3 people in the UK), with symptoms including depression, lethargy, overeating and irritability. SAD, also called ‘the winter blues’ is caused by lack of sunlight impacting biorhythms and hormone levels in the shorter darker days. So, of course, when spring emerges and we get more sunshine hours, many people notice these symptoms start to dissipate. If that feeling’s not going away though, don’t suffer alone – reach out to a doctor or medical professional.

So what does springtime surfing mean to you?

Do you feel lighter and brighter in the water in springtime months? Or do you miss the invigorating winter swell? We were curious to hear your perspectives so chatted to some of our community from various spots around the northern hemisphere. Here’s what they had to say.

LOTTIE

Usual surf spot: Constantine, Cornwall, UK

“Spring is the best! Clear water, welcome sunshine after a wet winter and warm walks to the shoreline. I love feeling the sun on my face, shedding the 5mm, wind-less days and seeing familiar faces in the line up again. I used to be a winter warrior, but since having a baby I have become a fair-weather surfer and I’m not ashamed! Nothing beats sunny days and no booties.” 

OLLIE

Usual surf spot: Perranporth, Cornwall, UK

“In spring I feel lighter, like I have more freedom. As soon as the hood comes off my balance and self-awareness improves, probably because I can hear better. I can’t wait for that first clean, sunny, head high day where it feels like I can surf again.”

LAC

Usual surf spot: Bordeira Beach, Carrapateira, Portugal

“The best thing about spring is the lack of crowds. It's generally the least crowded time of year and (conditions permitting) you can usually surf with only a handful of other people. But…it's well documented that the waves in Portugal in winter are amazing. Spring, on the other hand, less so. 3, 4 or more days of back-to-back great surf sessions are rare. So I'm not exactly the biggest fan of spring surfing, no matter where in the world I am.”

MOLLY

Usual surf spot: Widemouth Bay, Cornwall, UK

“I love feeling connected to the elements in winter but the lighter days in spring mean longer surfs…I don’t have to dash around or get out of the water by 3pm! Although I do miss the late dawn and sunset sessions of the winter months, where you don’t have to get up at a silly hour to get in for sunrise.”

SHAWN

Usual surf spot: Anywhere on Long Beach Island, NJ, USA

“Spring is more hopeful, in my opinion, with the ‘warmer days ahead’ mindset. Getting dressed in the parking lot is not as bad…and there are no tourists! I’m very picky about when I go out in winter but now I’m going to make an effort to go out more often, even on less appealing days”.

RACHEL

Usual surf spot: Newquay, Cornwall, UK

“I love being in the water when the sun is shining…but there’s something equally special, and arguably more rewarding for me, when I’m out in the rain and the cold and get out of the water grinning from ear to ear! My favourite thing about surfing in spring is the unpredictable weather, haha!”

CHRIS

Usual surf spot: Porth Neigwl, Wales (when it’s on!), UK 

“I love the spring, it’s my favourite of all the seasons. It’s a reminder of renewal and the cyclical ebb and flow of everything. I love the return of the light and the warmth it brings. I love that it often provides large swells, remnants of winter but now with pockets of springtime…clean lines, glassy bombs, peeling in the offshore breeze. Skipping through damp grass barefoot to the crisp sand at 5.30am! The bluebells, the wild garlic, the birds. It’s like life is just waking up and doing its thing again.”

Springtime treats

However you feel about the shift in seasons, it’s a great excuse to pack away the winter clobber and treat yourself to some new gear. These are some of our favourite items in the shop at the moment with an undeniably springlike vibe.

Flower Power Fin - Reform Customs - 9” All-Rounda

Flower Surfboard Fin.png

Can you get any more ‘spring’ than this? Each one of these hand-shaped fins features a unique flower arrangement to freshen up your longboard. It’s a versatile shape too, that’ll work on everything from performance boards to classic logs. 


Botanical Brush Beach Towel - Slowtide

 

Slowtide Towel

 

 

Slowtide partners with artists, designers, photographers and other creatives to make their super soft, 100% sustainably sourced cotton beach towels. And we love the warm, retro feel of this one! 

Waterhaul Sunglasses - Harlyn Aqua 

 

Waterhaul sunglasses

 

With all the extra sunshine (fingers crossed) you’re going to want a decent pair of sunglasses. These ones are made in Cornwall from recycled plastic gill nets, paired with quality mineral glass lenses – so they’re super sustainable and they’ll protect your eyes from UV rays. 

Pollen Tee - Katin 

 

Katin T-Shirt UK

 

This printed tee by Katin is made for those much-longed for warmer days. It’s organic cotton and custom dyed, so it’s ultra comfy to wear. Available in White or Kelp Red Sand. 

Waxy Wax - Surfboard Wax

High performance, non-toxic surf wax in a vibrant, daffodil yellow. Need we say more?



Stephanie Gilmore Traction Pad - Lavender Carbon Eco

Stephanie Gilmore Traction Pad - Lavender Carbon Eco

This traction pad has been developed by 7 times world champion Stephanie Gilmore, so you know it’s been designed with performance in mind. This pastel purple one is perfect for embracing the springtime palette. 

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