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Ali Kazal Outdoor Gear

This is the stuff we loved in 2021. Photo: Ali Kazal//Unsplash.


The Inertia

The year 2021 saw a whole lot of changes in the world around us, and the world of surf and outdoors gear was no exception. There was supply and shipping delays, and we learned to be patient while our new skis or surfboards made their way to us. But there was also innovation in materials, a renewed interest in sustainable manufacturing, and plenty of exciting new products hitting the market.

Through it all, there was a ton of gear that our editors absolutely loved. So much so that to cover everything would create an article unprecedented in length for the internet. So instead we each chose one of our favorite pieces of surf gear to highlight. Here they are:

Will Sileo, Gear Editor:

waterborne surfskate adapter and rail adapter

Waterborne SurfSkate Adapter

Surfskating has become one of my favorite ways to get my flow on when the waves are flat. It’s said to improve your surfing by building muscle memory, but most importantly, it’s really fun. In my recent roundup of The 6 Best Surfskates For Surfers, The Waterborne Adapter was the top pick for a couple of reasons. First of all is the price: Whereas most surfskates run between $200-300 for a complete skateboard, the Waterborne adapter runs just $70 for the front truck adapter (all you really need to get going) and $100 for the full set of front and rear adapters (which is currently on sale for $80). Re-use that old longboard that everyone seems to have lying around in their garage and you’re ready to roll. Second, I find the ride of the Waterborne adapter to be the perfect mix of surf-simulation and fun. Some surfskates are more geared towards surf training, and so have looser trucks. Some are more like a traditional skateboard and are much stiffer and harder to turn. The Waterborne adapter falls right in the middle, able to perform slashing carves and pump to generate speed, while remaining stable on the downhill.

Buy the Waterborne Surf Skate here, and read my full surfskate review here.

Joe Carberry, Senior Managing Editor: 

The Surftech Channel Islands CODE in Dual Core

The Surftech Channel Islands CODE in Dual-Core Photo: JC

The Surftech CI CODE

Surftech has an impressive history working with different shapers. Legends, all of them from Gerry Lopez to Donald Takayama to Britt Merrick. So I was pumped when I was offered an opportunity to test out the Channel Islands CODE in Surtech’s Fusion Dual-Core material (EPS/Poly). This isn’t the Surftech material you’re used to. It feels fantastic under foot, is extremely lightweight and drivey, and with its fiberglass lineage, looks and feels like any other surfboard in the lineup. Plus it’s really durable. 

Despite the pandemic, I had a hectic year of travel. So I wanted a travel board. That’s why I got the 6’4” CODE. It comes with a pin-ish tail, which makes it super stable in bigger surf, with enough glide to get you in a touch early. And while this board absolutely loves the pocket (and late drops) when the waves were small, I could certainly grovel with it when I had to. I was able to ride this board in the man-made points of Chiba, Japan, the cold coast of Northern Oregon, and in Northern and Southern California. For an all-around ride, it did exactly what I needed it to. 

While a five-fin box would have put this board over the top in terms of versatility (speed in flat, mushy stuff), the traditional thruster was suitable in bigger surf. Again that glide, which can be attributed to a single concave under foot, allowed easy paddling and wave catching. It’s just a really simple board to use and extremely versatile. The only dings came from a Delta carrier that smashed it in a conveyer belt (which they paid for). I was thankful to be able to globe trot a bit this year in the midst of these unprecedented times and the CODE was my go-to travel board.

Juan Hernandez, Social Editor:

The KGuard Electronic Key Bag

Some people have no problem tossing their keys in their wheel well, tucking them under the bumper, or stashing them under a rock somewhere on the beach. For those of us who have time traveled out of the 1960s and live in bigger, busier cities, such tactics are…sketch.

I’ve gone through a slew of key-locking/hiding/stashing/storing options in the past two years. I used to keep a Masterlock padlock in my car that technically never failed me (nobody ever broke into my car, so that’s a big plus) but I always had a little bit of unease about leaving the thing attached to my car while surfing. Even if it was locked up. Then Gear Editor Will Sileo dove into a story about people targeting surfers, breaking that same Masterlock padlock I was using, and snagging their cars. No thank you.

The longer I have this thing the more I’m digging it. And trust me, I’ve had time to try others by now. The KGuard Electronic Key Bag is just the least complicated option I’ve come across to this point. It’s a waterproof pouch you can hang around your neck or stuff in your wetsuit. Bonus points for a much smaller, less bulky design than other dry bags for electronic keys. The first time you try to stuff your key in the pouch you’ll swear you’re going to rip it or just give up altogether. After that you get the sense the thing is indestructible (I’m sure it’s not), which has been pretty key in gaining some peace of mind…pun totally intended.

Alexander Haro, Senior Editor: 

Greedy Beaver surfboard

A surfboard for the everyman. Photo: Lindquist

Firewire Greedy Beaver

Recently, I picked up a surfboard I’ve been eyeing ever since I surfed a friend’s Takayama Scorpion a few years ago in Mexico. It’s called the Greedy Beaver, and I swear to God, it has changed my surfing life.

I’m a very average surfer. But still, like the vast majority of very average surfers, I fucking love it. All I want to do is get up high and go as fast as I can. I want a board that paddles easily yet still feels like it’ll do what my brain tells it to do with relatively little effort. Basically, I want a surfboard that will make it easier for me to have more fun. And the Greedy Beaver? That’s what it does.

I’m 6’1″ and 185 pounds. My Greedy Beaver is a 5’10”. It’s surprisingly easy to paddle into waves — it has a relatively low rocker and much of the foam sits under your chest — but unlike most boards that are easy to paddle, it’s insanely reactive. The outline looks a bit like a compressed longboard with a rounded pin tail. The extended rails make big, looping carves a breeze. The pin tail, if you step on it, makes it feel like a regular shortboard when you’re in the pocket. In short, this surfboard makes me surf better and have more fun. Which, unless you’re a pro surfer — and you’re probably not — is the whole point of this dumb little thing we spend our lives obsessing about.

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