Have you ever been surfing? If so, I hope you caught the surf bug. If not, you need to try it at least once in your life! I have been surfing since I was little and always feel better after getting in the water. Whether you have surfed for years or are just now learning, here is my list of the ten things that every surfer needs.
I will try and link everything via Amazon.com but always suggest going to your local surf shop first! They’ll be able to help and answer questions.
This is an obvious number 1… can’t surf without a board! I recommend starting on a foam board if you’re just learning. Depending where you live, Costco sells the “Wavestorm” for cheap. They are a great because they are very floaty and stable plus the maintenance is pretty low key as far as dings and repairs. If you have been surfing for awhile and looking into a new board you probably know what you want. If you need any advice let me know!
Unless you’re living in Hawaii, you will likely need a wetsuit. Wetsuits are life savers and allow you to score waves all year around. Buying a wetty really depends on where you surf and how cold the water gets. I live in Newport Beach and have 3 wetsuits and a topper. If you want to see a good breakdown on wetsuit thickness & temperature chart click HERE.
As far as best wetsuit brands I will say I am bias to RipCurl. That being said you can’t really go wrong. I have heard really good things about Patagonia wetsuits even though they are a bit pricy. Other good brands are Xcel, Hurley, Billabong, Quiksilver, O’Neil, Vissla, and Body Glove.
If you’re going to purchase a wetsuit I would highly recommend looking at the brands size guide and trying it on. You want it to be tight but not too tight. Every brand has a different fit so you want to make sure you will be comfortable in the water. Wetsuits are definitely worth the money! They’re one of the best surfing investments because if you take care of them (rinsing out after every surf) they can last for years.
I know I said I would link everything via Amazon but I’ll be real with you…try on your wetsuit before buying, and try a few different brands before you buy. Your best bet is to go to a surf shop or order from the brands website after trying on.
There is nothing better than surfing in trunks. It means the water is warm, the sun is likely out and hopefully there are waves. If you have ever surfed in a wetsuit and then transitioned to trunks or visa versa, you have probably felt the difference.
With surfing gear, rashes happen. The best way to minimize them is by wearing quality boardshorts.
My favorite trunks to surf in are the Hurley Phantoms or anything made of that stretchy material. Most companies that make boardshorts are getting into the lighter and more flexible material which caters to the surfer.
Even if you rip, you likely own and use a leash in 95% of your sessions. Look at all the pros, they wear leashes unless they’re surfing the 1-2ft inside sandbar at the US Open in Huntington Beach.
Leashes make the water safer for everyone in it and allow you to catch more waves and not worry about chasing your board. The length of leash depends on the size of your board and the size of the waves. Best rule of thumb is short board = short leash… long board = long leash… small waves = thin leash… big waves = thick leash. There are tons of factors that should go into your decision on which leash to buy. You can read about them HERE and decide what you want. My favorite brands are SYMPL Supply Co, FCS, Creatures of Leisure, Dakine and Modom.
Wax & Wax Remover
Wax is a must! I typically use Sex Wax or Sticky Bumps. Your type of wax depends on the water temp so make sure you know before you go. I rarely use basecoat (a primer before waxing) but some people are into it. As far as waxing up your board, I usually go in a circular motion and wax my board up to where my chest will lie on the board.
Now, wax remover is one thing that has made my life a lot easier. I like to scrape the wax off my boards once it gets discolored and patchy. To do this I lay my board in the sun for like 5-10 minutes depending how hot it is. I use to only use a wax comb but getting the little patches that are in the pressure dings took forever. I have been using the “Pickle” and it is clutch. It fits in your hand and is flexible enough to rub off the wax without damaging your board. Trust me, it’s a game changer.
I always lose track of time in the water. Sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes that’s a bad thing lol. Get yourself a waterproof watch so that you can stay on it. Trust me, people will ask you what time it is if you have one on. I like having the tides on my watch so I can tell if the conditions might get better or worse. I wear a Vestal but Nixon has some rad ones too.
Protect yourself in the water and put sunscreen on before you paddle out. But, even more importantly make sure to re-apply throughout your beach day. I like Sun Bum, Manda and Raw Elements. When I know I am going to be in the water for awhile I use the thicker 50 spf Signature Tinted Stick from Sun Bum.
It’s always nice to rinse off the salt water after a surf session. Rinse Kit holds 2-3 gallons of warm or cold water and has a pressurized spray for 4-9 minutes. Super easy to fill up before you head to the beach and store in the back of your car.
A wetsuit hanger is one thing that I don’t think anyone has perfected. You need to hang your wetsuit after a surf so that you can rinse it out and so that it will dry. Traditional hangers will, over time, wear holes in the shoulders of your wetty. I think it’s best to have a sturdy hanger so you can fold your wetsuit in half like you do a pair of dress pants. This is something to shop at Amazon for.
I overlooked this aspect of surfing for awhile. I thought it was lame to wear ear plugs in the water until I got a double ear infection. Not to mention, salt water build up in your ears over time is no bueno for your hearing. I highly recommend buying these Creatures of Leisure Earplugs and some Swim-Ear Eardrops.
I hope you guys enjoyed reading my ten surfing essentials. Let me know if you have any questions, comments or concerns below.