Looking for the ultimate Apple Watch Surf App? Here’s my full guide to the Dawn Patrol App – inc displaying the surf report and tracking your sessions!
On the hunt for the ultimate Apple Watch surf app? Well the Dawn Patrol app ticks all the boxes for everything you need – including surf tracking, getting both surf reports and tide reports right on the Apple Watch face and even rewatching your surf sessions on the Surfline cameras!
So if you’re keen t convert your Apple Watch into and epic surf watch, here’s everything you need to know…
Dawn Patrol App – The Ultimate Apple Watch Surf App?
Can You Surf With The Apple Watch?
The first question I always get asked is can your surf with your Apple Watch? Well the quick answer is yes, you can surf with the Apple Watch!
Apple Watch Series 3 and up are water resistant (up to 50m) so are perfectly adequate for surfing.
The new Apple Watch Series 7 does offer the greatest protection – in terms of both water resistance, dust proofing and scratch resistance.
The best advice I can give you though is to make sure you wash your Apple Watch off in clean, fresh water after every session as salt water really doesn’t play nice with most stuff!
Create The Ultimate Surf Watch
I’ve long been an advocate for the Apple Watch being the ultimate surf watch and the Dawn Patrol App has always been a central focus of that.
With the release of Dawn Patrol App V3.2 (which coincided with the Apple Watch Series 6) the Dawn Patrol app now offers all the info you need including both tidal data and most importantly – full surf report data.
You will however need the Soul Surfer subscription to access it all, but at just US$14.99 for the year (or US$1.99 a month) it’s well worth it, and you can always opt for the free trial to test it out.
Once you’ve got Dawn Patrol downloaded onto your iPhone and Apple Watch you’ll be easily able to customise your own Apple Watch face to include it – with the full range of complications being supported.
Alternatively the team behind Dawn Patrol App have also put together 2 awesome watch face designs which you can easily install and setup using the links below. Personally the one of the right is my favourite!
Just hit “Click To Install” whilst viewing this post on your iPhone and it’ll automatically get everything sorted!
NOTE: To install the preset watch faces you need to make sure you’re running iOS 14 and WatchOS 7
Tracking Your Surf Sessions
One of the best things about the Dawn Patrol app – and the main reason I started using it – is the ability to track your surf sessions on your Apple Watch.
Sounds totally geeky right? Well for sure it is – but I’ve found the data from my sessions has really helped me improve my surfing and having your stats available during your surf almost creates a mini competition with yourself, which has certainly pushed me!
So what does the Dawn Patrol app track?
- Wave count
- Wave length
- Wave speed
- Total wave length
In Water Stats
Out in the water your watch will display the stats of your last wave (you can set the time this appears for pre session) and then for the bulk of your session – inc your wave count, total distance surfed and also tidal data – will be displayed.
I’ve also chatted with the Dawn Patrol team and paddling tracking is something they have in the pipeline – which will be another great addition to the app.
I’d also love the ability to be able to sync my data with my buddies and compare session too in a friendly but competitive format – maybe even in real time out in the water which would be heaps of fun. Hopefully one day in the future…
Post Session Stats
When you finish off your session the Dawn Patrol app will then sync with your iPhone and you’ll have access to even more data from your surf session.
All your waves are visually mapped out on a satellite view of the spot, with the total wave count, distance surfed and session length also displayed. There’s even an option to display your missed waves too, although that’s pretty depressing sometimes!
You can then click on individual waves to show all the in-depth analysis and lengths as well.
For Soul Surfer subscribers you have access to the full analysis breakdown which includes loads of helpful data – including matching up your waves with the tide status, and a breakdown of your speed generation on each wave too.
On top of all the individual session data the app also displays your personal records – including longest wave distance, top speed and longest wave time – and you can also breakdown your stats for individual surfboards too.
For most surfers all these stats and analysis are a good way to track your surfing for fun – but if you’re using the Dawn Patrol app as a tool to really improve and push your surfing it’s even more useful and certainly makes it the best Apple Watch surf app.
Health & Activity Tracking
If you’re using your Apple Watch to keep track of your activity, health and other data when you set up the Dawn Patrol App you can also allow it to sync with Apple Health – so all your surfing data will be merged into the app.
For those focusing on “closing your rings” this means all your paddling and surfing will go towards your daily goals too!
Surfline Session Compatible
For those of you that want to take your session tracking to a whole new level, the Dawn Patrol App is also Surfline Session compatible.
This means if you’re surfing at one of the hundreds of beaches that have a Surfline camera you can sync up your Dawn Patrol session and watch back your waves too! How’s that for a bit of crazy technology syncing?
You will also need a Surfline Premium account to make full use of this feature though, with monthly pricing starting at US$6.50 – which also includes all the additional Surfline perks too.
The Best Apple Watch Straps For Surfing
So what Apple Watch straps/bands are best for surfing?
Well for a long time I simply stuck to the standard Apple Sports Band and it worked great. I did use a hair band to loop round it as a fail safe, but it never let me down. However, after meeting more and more people how had lost theirs during a session I then swapped over to the Apple Sports Loop – as its design was much more secure.
It worked great, but the major downside was the fact it took freaking ages to dry – which was a bit of a nightmare post surf.
Alongside the launch of the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple also introduced the Solo Loop – which essentially took all the comfort and water resistance of the silicon Sports Band and removed all the issues of it becoming undone whilst surfing – so this has now become my preferred option.
Overall these are the 5 options I’d most recommend though;
- Apple Watch Solo Loop
- Apple Watch Sports Loop
- NOMAD Sport Strap
- NOMAD Active Strap
- Urban Armour Gear UAG
My Final Thoughts
In comparison to the many dedicated surf watches out there, Apple (whether by design or by accident) has certainly created one of – if not THE – best surf watch out there.
And out of all the Apple watch surf apps the Dawn Patrol app sits head and shoulders above the rest – in design, reliability and functionality.
So if you’re looking to track your surfing with the Apple Watch get it downloaded and hit the water!