This article appeared in Surfer.
We’ve all been there.
You paddle out for a surf, then immediately, you’ve gotta pee. It’s like some sort of Pavlovian response…bell = food (for dogs), cold water = urination (for surfers).
But why is that?
To pee or not to pee has long been a question for surfers, especially when it comes to wetsuits. (If left untreated, the stank in a wetsuit can get quite bad.) But the question as to why surfers often feel the need to pee upon entering the water isn’t as common.
Thankfully, there’s Dr. Cliff Kapono – a scientist, environmentalist, and distinguished surfer – to take on these questions we never knew we needed answered.
In a recent Instagram video, Cliff tackled this one, prompting it with the question:
“Why do I feel like peeing when I paddle out to surf?”
And he followed it up with a fairly jargony, yet somewhat understandable for laypeople, description:
“Cold immersion diareses is the sudden urge to urinate after entering into cooler water environments.
“As heat is lost through the hands and feet, the blood vessels constrict. This is called peripheral vasal dilation, which causes an increase in blood pressure, and to compensate, your body exports liquid into the kidneys filling the bladder, resulting in the sudden urge to urinate.”
So, there you go. Next time someone grumbles about the pee scent permeating from the discarded wetsuits in the back of your car – just me? – you can tell them it’s totally natural.