Amateur philosopher, writer
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7 Pieces of Gear to Improve Your Surf

Make it a mini surf trip instead of just another session. Photo: Brandon Hoogenboom


The Inertia

The myth has been busted — surfing is no simple man’s sport. While the image of the carefree surf bum lives on, the reality is vastly different and usually includes a car or backpack full of gear that doesn’t even make it into the water. While this type of surf gear tends to be criticized as non-essential, a few material comforts can be invaluable to having a good session, especially as we head into winter.  I see them as essential to the surf experience. I try to take a mini surf trip rather than just going for a surf session — the difference is in the attitude. A surf session is a get in, get waves, get out sort of deal whereas the surf trip implies a more leisurely pace. The entire experience is taken into account, the before and after as well as the surf itself.

 

 


1. Surf Slippers: $109

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Nothing like some fuzzy insulation to cure wet, cold toes. Just make sure they’re grungy enough that you don’t mind shoving your sandy feet in them. My favorites are the Mahabis Classics for the neoprene heel grip. They also make an outdoors version with a better tread and more durable upper.

Buy here. 


2. Insulated Surf Jug: $45.50

I was embarrassed when my mom bought me one of these last Christmas. “According to the guys at the surf shop it’s what every surfer needs but won’t buy themselves,” she said. They were right. Described by one friend as feeling, “so good it should be illegal,” this has been an invaluable addition for the after-surf rinse. If you’re feeling fancy you can blow the extra hundred or so on a Rinsekit, giving you a pressurized stream of water, or if you’re feeling cheap you can buy a plastic gallon of water at most supermarkets for under three dollars. Just don’t expect the water to stay warm without insulation.

Buy here.

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3. Surf Poncho: $38.97

I know, I know, a surf poncho isn’t exactly underrated. Or is it? A lot of surfers, maybe as many as fifty percent by my super-accurate parking lot estimates, own a surf poncho. That leaves another fifty percent of surfers who don’t have one of these invaluable items. And I see you struggling in the parking lot — wetsuit around your ankles, one hand wrestling the leg of the suit over your heel, the other hand grasping at the towel inching down your hips. Do us all a favor and get one of these or make your own from an old blanket.

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4. Grass Mat: $45

Great for changing on, wrapping your dripping wetsuit in, or just making the parking lot feel more like home. You can buy the expensive one linked here or you can go to the hardware store and for half the price buy enough fake grass to pad the bottom of your board rack and cut yourself a little square to wipe your feet on. That is, depending on how many boards you have.

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5. Camp Stove: $110

There is nothing better than getting out of the water to a hot cup of tea, and nothing worse than getting all excited for that hot cup only to find your expensive vacuum-sealed flask let the tea go lukewarm. Instead of finding yourself in such a predicament, brew yourself a hot cup of tea in less than five minutes with your classic camp stove. If you want to get fancy, these Jetboils can boil water in 100 seconds and the stove and mug conveniently attach. I’ve seen a Jetboil used to brew tea while driving and while I wouldn’t recommend doing so, it does attest to the versatility of this little guy.

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6. Camp Chair: $39

Sometimes, when I get out of the water, all I want to do is sit down, but unless I take my wetsuit off first, I’ll soak my drivers seat. Enter this magical device. Equally good for checking email while tea boils, a good camp chair lets you turn the back of your car into a picnic area.

Buy here. 


7. Kodiak Cakes: $18

There’s no way you aren’t hungry after surfing for three hours. This is where Kodiak Cakes come in, a just-add-water pancake mix that boasts 14 grams of protein per serving. These are the next things to hit the stove once the tea is boiled.

Buy here. 

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