Watch bands or straps are important parts of smartwatches because they attach the device to your wrist securely. They shouldn't only be comfortable to wear but also protect the watch from falling off and sustaining damage.
Professional surfers who wear Apple Watches for competitive surfing, like the Series 8 and Ultra, know that a worthy band is crucial to handle those heavy waves, especially in Pipeline. It has to be capable of withstanding the elements. And it can only do so if it's made right with the best materials and designs for optimal performance.
This guide has a detailed list of top Apple Watch bands for you to choose from and help you make a quick decision on what to purchase. The products were curated based on shopping criteria such as size and comfort, materials (durability), and design (aesthetics & sophistication). Read about these areas in the next section before going through the list of best straps!
Considerations for Purchasing an Apple Watch Band
The three shopping criteria explained here should be strictly followed so that you can enjoy the use of your watch throughout its lifespan without regrets.
Size and Comfort
Sizing and comfort go hand in hand in the sense that choosing the wrong size of strap for your wrist will either make the watch too loose or too tight. Size also matters to ensure that the band doesn't get loosened to the point that the device falls off your wrist while surfing, especially when riding heavy waves.
Nearly all the straps made for Apple Watches by other companies come in various sizes, and they're also adjustable. Ensure that you buy a band that suits the watch's case size. See the list of case sizes whose bands are compatible with each other below.
- 41mm, 40mm, & 38mm
- 49mm, 45mm, 44mm, & 42mm
Band performance against elements like water and sand is another factor that shouldn't be overlooked. Water-resistant, breathable types are a better option, of course. In addition, tough materials like rubber, nylon, silicone, leather, velcro, carbon fiber, aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium are OK as well.
Design (Aesthetics & Sophistication)
You can get so many looks for your strap in a combination of materials, colors, and construction. It can either be a case or a strap design. The former is typically styled mainly for case protection, while the latter is mostly aimed at providing a well-fitting product.
Above all, the most important attribute for a band to have should be a strong lock system to prevent the device from slipping off. For example, a magnetic closure. However, some bands are designed with no lock systems. For example, the ones made from tough elastic materials like rubber that you can slip your hand through to wear the device.
Apart from the breathability feature mentioned earlier, the material could be constructed with large holes for effective water drainage.
Top Apple Watch Bands for Surfers
This section contains three products that were carefully researched to ensure that they were worth being on the list. Each item will have an alternative mentioned at the end of its description. Other pieces of information like price, brand, case size compatibility, colors, and materials will be given as well. The first product to be reviewed will be an offering from Apple itself, of course.
Apple's Ocean Band is our best product on the list. After all, the makers of the watch are in the best position to offer the most suitable accessories for their product, right?
The band stretches well around one's wrist even with a wetsuit on because of its tubular form and high-quality elastomer material. You could buy the extension band separately for extra length, especially around a wetsuit.
Rest assured that the buckle is resistant to corrosive elements because it's made of titanium. And what can go wrong with a titanium buckle and adjustable loop combo for security when riding heavy waves?
Price: $99 or $8.25 monthly for 12 months
Case Size Compatibility: 44mm, 45mm, & 49mm
Colors: White, blue, & orange
Materials: Fluoroelastomer & titanium
Alternative: Apple Sport Band
The Sport Slim Band from Nomad looks modern and timeless at the same time. And you can consider this with the fact that it's the type of strap that one can wear at any time of the day. Put it on before, during, and after surfing!
This is a super comfy product with its slim and lightweight build that includes a breathable mold to get rid of moisture. Not only is it water-resistant, but it's also resistant to oils, so you'll be able to clean or wash it easily. Nomad markets it as being 100% resistant to water, by the way.
Your watch will stay secure on your wrist with the pin-and-tuck closure. The tail end will be hidden away against your wrist after the pin is put through any of the full-length adjustment holes.
Case Size Compatibility: 40/41mm & 45/49mm
Colors: Black, white, bone, & sage
Materials: Fluoroelastomer & stainless steel
Alternative: Nomad Sport Band
For those who want something that's cheap and offers much value at the same time, the UAG Scout Silicone Watch Strap is all you need to surf without worries. This slim and soft but tough band is fashioned to have an inconspicuous tail end when worn, just like the offering from Nomad mentioned. And, of course, it's sweat-resistant and waterproof for wave-riding.
Brand: UAG (Urban Armor Gear)
Case Size Compatibility: 45/44/42mm & 41/40/38mm
Colors: Foliage green, rust, black, & eggplant
Materials: Silicone & stainless steel
Alternative: Rip Curl × UAG Trestles Watch Strap
Keep in mind that the durability of your new Apple Watch band is also dependent on your maintenance culture. Salt water can damage the band/strap of the watch just as it can adversely affect the device's surface. So ensure that you rinse the watch with fresh water after use and dry it off well.
The Apple Watch Series 9 started selling in 2023 (September). And it's suitable for surfing just as its predecessors (Series 8 and others). Maybe you'd consider buying one of the above-listed bands for it as well.