Note: The Product Blog is an independent review of new surf gear and solely reflects our opinions based on our own experience. This is not an advertisement.
Vestal dropped off three of their Brig Tide & Train heavy-duty watches at the SURFER offices for us, so we divided and conquered. We tested it in the water, in the gym, and at the bars...but mostly in the office and during our commutes. Survey says the Brig is a solid watch and a choice surf accessory, a reliable source for the information when determining whether the local beachie is firing or flat.
First and foremost, it tells the time, and tells it well. The oversized display is in-line with current forearm-dominating watch trends, and the screen has no glare, heaps of information, and high ease of use. It displays the date, and includes your standard day of the week and alarm features. Its bold design looks heavy on the wrist, but it actually wears with a pretty sleek profile. A raised pattern on the underside of the rubber watchband limits contact with the skin, minimizing sweaty-wrist syndrome on land.
The surf-specific features of this watch are its biggest asset. The heat countdown timer is just as applicable tracking how much time is left in a heat as it is tracking how much time is left on the parking meter. It also includes a circuit stopwatch for workouts, which allows you to set dual times for both "suffer" and "recover" intervals, then alerts with beeps and flares when to switch between the two. The Brig has more than 200 tide settings from beaches all over the world to choose from to set as your default, and also the option to create a custom setting for any specific break.
The visual tide chart displays 16 hours of the tide info and specific high/low tide times on a graph format, which admittedly took some getting used to. It's plotted on vertical and horizontal axes, and with our algebra days far behind us it took some studying to understand what the watch was trying to tell us. But once you have it dialed, it's a quick resource for what the tide is doing locally and what the next few hours look like as well. It includes how many feet high or low the tide is in respect to the tide line, and a future tide setting to plan out sessions days down the road.