Can You Wear Your Garmin, Apple Watch Or FitBit While Surfing

In times recent, there has been a visible shift in health and wellness priorities. To track our physical activity and health goals, many of us have integrated wearable smart devices to enhance our workout programming. Boardsports like surfing until recently had been exceedingly difficult to record and calculate activity data for. Fortunately for us, surfers, the rise, evolution, and prevalence of smartwatches have brought the necessary improvements to accomplish the task. Can you wear a smartwatch while surfing? We have researched the best devices to wear while out catching those choice swells.

Garmin, Apple, and Fitbit smartwatches can be worn while surfing.

There are many activity-centric smartwatches available on the market. Let's "dive in" and see what's currently being offered and the cost to acquire one of these pieces of high-end hardware.

young lady surfer with surfboard on the beach checking her smartwatch, Can You Wear Your Garmin, Apple Watch Or FitBit While Surfing

Smartwatches In Sports

Smartwatches and wearable technology are far more common in sports than they have ever been.  The data and health insight they provide has become essential to us as active, health-oriented individuals. As the smart health industry continues to expand and advance, the dilemma we ultimately find ourselves dealing with is how to decide on the best possible watch for our required purposes.

Brands like Apple, Garmin, and Fitbit have been at the forefront of wearable tech for the better part of the last two decades. They have been developing and improving upon watch models, combining water-resistance, GPS, and biometric sensoring. Proof lies in the fact that devices now come stock equipped with pre-populated activity field settings that are exclusively tailored to sports, including surfing! Below we have selected 3 prominent smartwatch brands to focus on.


Garmin broke into the smart health market through its pioneering of GPS and Navigation tools. To this day, they remain at the cutting-edge of wearable navigation and technology. Garmin credo boasts its products as "rigorously tested to ensure they survive the activities for which they were designed."

Garmin Venu GPS

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The Garmin Venu GPS, Garmin Forerunner 45 GPS, Garmin Instinct GPS, Garmin Fenix 5X Plus Sapphire GPS are four proven and rated surf watches. The price averages from $200-400 for these models. All technical specifications are available for review at More importantly, if clarification or questions regarding depths and water rankings refer to the following Garmin Water Resistance Rankings.

Apple Watch

Apple products require no introduction. By their nature, they are multi-purpose devices. However, Apple is the only one of these listed devices that operates as a true extension of our phone. While a data plan is required for the Apple Watch to operate as a phone, only GPS is required to operate as a surf watch.

Apple Watch Series 6

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The Series 6 Apple Watch is the newest iteration of the product that is currently on the market. It is the most sensitive and accurate of their smartwatches and is already promising breakthrough advancements in its wellness and fitness capabilities. Pricing starts around $500 but could arguably float anywhere between $200-500. It's possible to forgo some of the newer updates and acquire one of the older Series models, but any model older than Series 2 should not be considered. Technical specifications are available at should there be any questions. If further clarification on reasonable usage and water resistance details are needed for the Apple Watch, refer to the following Apple Water Resistance Support.


Fitbit is not the most luxurious or specialized smartwatch, but it is popular nonetheless. While it is the most minimalist of the three fitness trackers we've discussed, it is the least costly. Fitbit also has chosen to market itself open to a much wider and less "intense" group of activity seekers.

Fitbit Ionic GPS

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The Fitbit Ionic GPS is one of the newer models but also comes highly rated from our surf experts. In terms of cost, the prices range from $100-300.  If further clarification on usage and water resistance details are needed, refer to Fitbit Water Resistance.

Following our cursory hardware comparisons, our focus needs to shift to the applications and programs designed around surfing.

What is the Surfline FitBit App?

Before being a mobile resource available to surfers worldwide, Surfline was recognized as one of the most trusted tools in wave and marine weather forecasting. Surfline started as a mere analytics program but quickly became recognized as a potent tool and ultimately became a "must-have" and point of reference for surfers. It generates surf reports based upon data provided by teams of weather specialists located at travel surf destinations globally. When presented with the opportunity to partner with Fitbit, Surfline jumped at the chance and developed the current application in usage.  The benefits of the partnership have been apparent. It translated into an application that operates seamlessly on the Fitbit and formatted to the display, which is less prone to glitching from crossover software errors.

How do I add Surf to my Apple Watch?

The release of the Apple Series 3 was officially the first time Apple Watch became capable of operating as a full-blown surf tracker. To use Surf on the Apple watch follow these five simple steps.

  1. Open iOs Store on your iPhone
  2. Download Surf Watch & Dawn Patrol. It has to be downloaded to your watch and your phone.
  3. Start Recording. At the beginning of your surf session, open the app. on the watch face and select start to begin the recording.
  4. End Recording & Synchronize. When the session is complete click to stop recording.  Once you end the session, synchronize your watch to the phone and all the respective data will be compiled.
  5. View Surf Data

During the session, the watch and sensors will monitor and continuously pull heart rate data. It will also track the total ride time on the water, the length of the waves that were ridden, and the total number of waves caught during the session. The watch face and display are customizable. , but you will ultimately be able to display tide timing, surf reports, satellite imagery, and advanced diagnostics to fully ramp up your surfing session.

Can Garmin track surfing?

Garmin has a pre-populated activity profile called Surf Tracker designed for surfers. It is downloadable from the Connect IQ store as an application. While in use, the data fields estimate the number of waves ridden by using a speed and time threshold to mark the start and end of a wave. This wave calculation algorithm operates similarly to other programs and displays the total waves, the total ride time, and the overall distance covered.

Should I Risk It?

There is, of course, some risk when wearing expensive hardware in the ocean. The argument of "Should I?" will boil down to personal preference. Comfort and concern are the two only real considerations for risk. It would be challenging to argue a  downside to wearing an activity tracker surfing because of the valuable health data being collected. The prospect of losing your device accidentally or feeling unnatural wearing a watch in the water are what may be motivating your decision. To alleviate concerns, some pre-emptive practices can be employed.

Regularly check all the connections on your watch to make sure our parts are secure. Appropriate wrist bands and straps should definitely be something to consider depending on your frequency of surfing.  Always try and follow the owner's manual instructions to keep your device properly covered under warranties.

Lastly, water-resistance is not something that will remain constant. Over time, the seals that afford that water resistance level will wear down and become vulnerable to damage. Because of this, we need to be sure to inspect the watch integrity regularly. Actively avoid chemical solutions that may wear down the seals. Simple solutions to help make sure you don't damage and risk your hardware.

In Closing

Whatever you decide to wear, go confidently to your session, knowing you will reap the rewards for your efforts. Until the next session, stay chill and stay choice!

For more tips and advice, follow our Fitseer guides.

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Can You Wear Your Garmin In The Shower?

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