Clif Bar Cold Shot Challenge 3.0: January Recap

First off, we would like to thank everyone for their continued support and interest in cold water surf photography.  ClifBar really stepped it up this year with an increased prize purse and we are stoked to see the cold water community coming together and supporting one another.  There have been some amazing entries and we are really excited to see what the rest of the winter brings.

January kicked off the beginning of the Clif Bar Cold Shot Challenge 3.0 with a series of cold, solid swells.  From New England to the Carolinas and just about everywhere in between, surfers and photographers saw their share of clean wintertime barrels.  With some of the coldest air temps in recent memory, it made for some brutal conditions that would test the will of the most dedicated wave riders.

The start of the month might have gotten off to a slow start but come the middle of the month things started to heat up.  A low-pressure system brought head high plus surf to just about the whole Atlantic basin on January 14th & 15th, our ‘Kick-off swell’.  Thank you Mother Nature, fun-sized winter surf is always welcome.

Photo: Trevor Murphy


As Winter Storm Harper pushed off the coast on January 20th, the waves picked up and the temps plummeted.  Air temperatures fell over 30 degrees within a few hours and made for some really cold duck dives and much-abbreviated sessions.  Rhode Island seemed to be the standout making freezing right point breaks seem almost inviting. The level of dedication to suit up and paddle out when it’s in the single digits outside is remarkable.  We take our hats off to all who braved those conditions.

January concluded with Winter Storm Indra, whose storm characteristics were very similar to Winter Storm Harper.  Both storms crossed the country bringing snow and cold temps too much of the midwest and New England, and both provided the East Coast with really fun surf.  New Jersy and New England really seemed to take the cake on this one.

The ClifBar Cold Shot Challenge runs until March 31st.  Scroll over to to submit your photos.  Here is a little gallery highlighting some of January’s goods.  As always, stay safe and stay warm out there.  Praying for more surf in the coming months!