Surfing is a simple pursuit, in theory. Waves meander into a beach somewhere and, with a board in-hand, you paddle out and catch said waves with said board.
But, any surfer worth his salt will approach the above scenario with a few questions: What do the waves look like? Are they knee high or triple overhead? Do I have the right stick? How warm’s the water? Am I waxed up? Leash?
Those are the essentials. And then there’s another category of surf products that fall somewhere between unnecessary and totally worth the money. A grouping of items that may not help you catch waves, nor help you be any better at doing so, but will definitely improve the surf experience–from eliminating the pain of donning a cold, damp wetsuit to combating pesky sand.
Following are a few items that no surfer necessarily needs, but when you have one you’ll never go back:
1. Changing Mat
Changing mats come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. On cold mornings they eliminate the need to freeze your tootsies on icy concrete. The opposite goes for hot days when the pavement’s unbearable. Not to mention all the dirt, grime, and cigarette buts you’ll avoid getting on your suit while changing.
2. Key Lock
Many car keys these days have the remote attached to the physical key that goes in the ignition. It’s convenient for some but a pain for surfers accustomed to putting their key on a wetsuit’s key loop. Instead of burying your key in the sand like a neanderthal, stash it in a combo lock that attaches to a trailer hitch. It’s much more civilized, promise.
3. Changing Poncho
Wrapping a towel around your waist has served as an adequate method of changing on the beach for decades. Matter of fact, it still is. Changing ponchos, though, do have their merits. First and foremost, convenience. They fall into the category of once you try, you won’t go back.
Ever have trouble pulling your fins out of the boxes after a few sessions? Yeah, this eliminates that problem.
For those whose local break doesn’t have showers – or they’re only turned on during tourist season – the RinseKit is the portable shower you’re searching for. The latest development is the Hot Rod Water Heater designed to give you warm water on the go.
6. Surf Brush
If you ever find yourself frustrated with the amount of sand you track into your rig after a surf even after wiping your feet on your towel twice, you’re among friends. Think of this as a toothbrush for your hooves. Just, instead of plaque, you’re getting rid of pesky sand around your toes. You’re welcome.
There are two things in this world that rank highest on the list of least pleasurable experiences in surf. First: rashes “down under.” Second: putting on a cold, damp wetsuit that stubbornly refuses to dry after sessions. If you frequently swing two-a-days or your garage doubles as a troll’s dank cave where nothing dries, pick up this bad boy.
8. Wax storage
“What do I need a wax container for?” wonders every surfer with wax on the seats, sides, and windows of their rig. Confine the wax, confine the mess.
9. Insulated Coffee Mug
Dawn patrol and coffee go together like peanut butter and jelly. Like Nutella and crêpes. And if you thought sipping coffee to get psyched was good, you’ll be amazed when you come back to your car cold and winded to a few ounces of still-hot coffee you left for yourself as a reward for getting amongst it early. Metal insulated coffee mugs are the only way.
10. Portable Multi-tool
Ever misplaced your tiny fin key? Wax comb? Yeah, us too. Keep everything in one place so it’s there when you need it and compact enough to throw in the trunk, a board bag, or a backpack.