Nomad is lucky to be based in coastal California, and when the surf comes up, we take full advantage of some flexible office hours, preferring to work into the night and spend our mornings in the water. Ok sometimes these sessions last a little longer than we plan on but you know that they say: the best day working is worse than the worst day surfing. However, even when we are in the water, we are doing product research and development, testing our Apple Watch Straps in the cold of the Pacific Ocean (at least that is what we tell our coworkers).
Since we released our Active Strap line up last year, we've been experimenting with replacing our dedicated surf watches with our Apple Watches. While the standard Workout app included on the Apple Watch allows you to track many different types of workouts, there is no built-in surf feature for the Apple Watch. Other third-party apps will enable you to check tides or swell, but nothing provides integrated tracking like our favorite surf app, Dawn Patrol. If you haven't heard of Dawn Patrol but are a surfer with an Apple Watch, it's time to head to the app store and download it. In our search for the upgrade that makes an Apple Watch a surf watch, Dawn Patrol is by far the best option out there.
Dawn Patrol allows you to count your waves, log top speeds, set and beat personal records, measure distance per wave, and time spent in the water. All of this happens on your Apple Watch in the water. Our favorite thing about Dawn Patrol is that none of the tracking that the app conducts interferes with your surf session - there is no telling your watch that you are about to catch a wave or messing around with your watch in the water. You simply start your session on your watch before paddling out and then end the session once you are out of the water. All of your session data is automatically transferred to your iPhone after you get out of the water. You even get to see a map of where you want on in the water on each wave. If you are after further analytics and insights into your surfing performance, you can sign up for Dawn Patrol's subscription service, Soul Surfer, which also allows you to turn your Apple Watch face into a dedicated surf watch complication.
Dawn Patrol Integrations
Dawn Patrol doesn't just work great by itself. Instead, it performs in concert with some of the best existing features of Apple Watch and iPhone, like Health and Fitness. If you use Dawn Patrol while surfing, it will help close Activity Rings and count calories from your surfing. This feature is excellent if you are using your Apple Watch to help stay fit.
Another exceptional Dawn Patrol feature is that you can integrate the iPhone app with Surfline Sessions, allowing you to view footage of your surfing afterward with the Surfline app on your phone. All you have to do is download both apps on your phone and connect them via Dawn Patrol. You can then relive each session and fact check your buddy, who is always getting barrelled when no one is looking. The only caveat is that you need to be surfing at a break that has a Surfline camera.
The last integration we want to mention is not so much software-based; it is a hardware one. The strap you trust to keep your watch on your wrist is of paramount importance while surfing, and we think that Nomad straps are up to the task. We began rocking our Apple Watches in the surf to test out our Active Straps and see how they hold up against saltwater, and we think they are some of the best surf straps out there when it comes to comfort and reliability. Our Active Leather series is built with leather from the Heinen Tannery in Germany and is 100% hydrophobic, meaning it can spend hours in the water. Get yours here and don't forget to download Dawn Patrol to take advantage of all your Apple Watch has to offer.