Why Your Next Surf Trip Should Be Somewhere Cold

Tropical water, rum punch, warm water wax and sunburn are overrated. If you’re tired of sharing your hard earned tropical lineups with every man and his traveling dog, keep reading…

I have spent a fair amount of time growing up traveling for cold waves, particularly in Northern Scotland (see the photo below), Ireland and England during the winter. The rewards have been well worth it with some amazing memories of reeling point breaks and perfect waves. It always seems strange to travel away from your home spot during winter to surf somewhere even colder but every time I go I never come home disappointed.

Thurso East, Northern Scotland
Often good. Rarely crowded. Always cold. Always worth it. | Photo Credit: magicseaweed.com

When it comes to cold water surf travel though, few pro surfers have more experience than REAL team rider Josh Mulcoy.

Josh Mulcoy Surfing
Josh Surfing in Canada | Photo: Chris Burkard

Josh checks in with us at least once a month from some cold, remote and surf rich location and his photos always blow us away and inspire us to take more cold water trips. Fresh from a recent trip to the Aleutian Islands (google them!) – here’s what he had say when we asked him about his love for cold water:

Q: Why do you spend so much time traveling to cold water spots?
A: I really enjoy the uncrowded conditions and most cold locations I go to there is a chance of discovering a wave that no one has ever surfed. Usually the landscapes in cold places are so amazing as well with snow covered mountains.

Q: What 3 things have you learnt over the years about cold water surf travel?
A: Definitely stay warm with layers of clothes and the best wetsuit that you can buy and don’t forget the gloves and booties.
Its always good to get a board a bit thicker because with all the weight in wetsuits will make your boards feel a bit thinner.
Bring a good dry bag most cold places have way more weather and last thing you want is wet clothes.

Q:What’s the biggest advantage of cold water spots?
A: Less people and usually when you go surf you never look on the beach wondering when people will show up. Honestly how many times can you go for a surf and not wonder if someone is going to paddle out.

Q: Where are your favorite cold water destinations?
A: Alaska,Iceland and Norway.

So if you’re tired of sharing waves and factoring people into your decision on which spot to surf, perhaps it’s time you plan your next trip somewhere cold.

Find out more about Josh Mulcoy:

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