The Inertia Gear Editor
Nocs binoculars on a surfboard

Surfboard? Check. Binoculars? Also check. Photo: Nocs.

The Inertia

Editor’s Note: This article is presented by our partners at Nocs Provisions.

In 1991, my dad and two friends quit their jobs in New York and took six weeks to drive across the country to San Francisco in a 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible, stuffed to the gills with camping gear and three mountain bikes. In photos from the trip, you’ll often see a pair of brown binoculars hanging around my dad’s neck. They were his favorite piece of gear on that road trip, giving another perspective to their adventures as they made their way across the country.

Binoculars at the golden gate bridge

The binos (left) were around his neck the entire road trip. Photo: Ed Sileo.

Those binoculars withstood the test of time, eventually making their way into my hands, some 20-plus years later as I got into surfing in my teens. For a while, they served their purpose. However, two generations of hard use have resulted in scratched lenses and faulty focusing. It was time for a new pair. When I had the opportunity to check out a pair of binos from Nocs Provisions, I jumped on it.

Since then, not only have Nocs replaced my old binoculars, but it’s evident they’ve taken the concept of adventure-ready binoculars to the next level. Imagined and designed in San Francisco, they’ve got a rugged housing as well as nitrogen sealed O-rings, which makes them fully waterproof and fog-proof, perfect for life by the water. And with scratch-resistant lenses and a wide field of view, these compact binoculars rival top-of-the-line birding or hunting binos for clarity and level of magnification.

Nocs Binoculars are perfect for surfers

Rugged, durable, and ready for life by the water. Photo: Nocs.

A good pair of binoculars should be a gear essential in every surfer’s toolkit. For breaks with a bit of an approach from the car, or perhaps an overlook to scout out conditions, binoculars can bring a bit more detailed info to the table before deciding to hop in the water. On my dashboard, they’re always at the ready to extend my field of vision beyond the limits of the human eyeball. My favorite use is for finding friends in the water at spread-out breaks like San Onofre or Ocean Beach so I don’t end up wandering around the lineup like a lost duckling.

Photo through the Nocs of a surfer

Clarity to the max. Nocs even makes a phone hitch, so you can shoot photos like these through your binoculars. Photo: Nocs.

But, as useful as a pair of binoculars are, there’s a lot more that they add to the surf experience as a tool for connecting with the natural world. On a recent road trip to Yosemite, I peered through my Nocs at climbers on the face of El Capitan. At Stinson Beach earlier this summer, I used them to check out grey whales spouting and breaching just off shore. For the past couple months, they’ve simply lived in my center console, always ready to show me what’s going on just out of sight.

Nocs close up

Making the most of time out of the water. Photo: Nocs.

In surfing, only a few percentage points of your time in the water is actually spent riding the wave. Now add in the time spent driving to the break, suiting up, and so on, and the time surfing is even smaller. So it stands to reason to make the most of your time out of the water as well. A good pair of binoculars can do that and more, stoking that inner curiosity of the natural world around you.

If you’re looking for a good pair of binoculars to do that with, you can’t go wrong with a pair of Nocs. These rad binos come in 25mm Standard Issue and 42mm Pro Issue sizes, as well as the 32mm Zoom Tube Monocular (a.k.a. a mini telescope). You can find them on REI as well. And with a plethora of fun accessories like the aforementioned photo rig adapter, the world is just waiting to be explored.


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