Coinciding with the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere is International Surfing Day, an annual occurrence on the Summer Solstice where surfers are encouraged -even more so than usual- to get out in the water and take advantage of all that sunlight. It’s a day of recognition built upon years of barely making it to school or work on time, only to show up salted and sunburned, or ducking out of the office early on a rising swell, or taking an extended weekend south of the border. Surfing isn’t a sport. It’s a lifestyle. One that carries you long after you’ve exited that water and replenishes your soul upon that first duck dive.
For these reasons, surfers are more than willing to share the excitement with those either unfamiliar or new to the lifestyle. Talking story of winter swells or providing unsolicited advice on reading waves, we try our very best to encourage newcomers to embrace life in and out of the surf. And like all sports, hobbies, or lifestyles there’s a certain caliber of gear involved that will make the experience enjoyable and rewarding. However, you can’t blame yourself for not knowing what you don’t know. Therefore, it’s always helpful to have a seasoned individual point you in the right direction.
So, in this tradition, we wanted to provide an extensive list of 15 surfing essentials that will get you going this summer and, hopefully, year-round. And despite the minimalist attitude and natural playing field surfers and surfing often boast, there are several necessities to the activity. From a board, to wax, to protection from the sun, we’ve included it all. So take notes, grab your gear, and get out there. Because now the days are only getting shorter, and you’re not getting any younger.
Gold Bond Medicated Powder
You won’t understand the value of this medicated powder until you’ve developed a serious rash on your stomach from the board’s wax or your legs from the boardshorts. It’s an inevitable hazard of the lifestyle, especially if you’re surfing all the time or on a surf trip. This medicated powder is made for these rashes, acting to soothe and cool any and all irritated areas, leaving you cool as a cucumber on a hot summer’s day.
Matunas Eco-Surf Wax
Being a surfer it’s impossible to not care about your environment, seeing that we spend hour upon hours in the ocean on a weekly basis. Matunas, based out of Santa Cruz, CA, understands the need to reduce our carbon footprint on our coastlines and since 1998 has produced 100 percent organic surf wax from their 25-acre farm. Fragrances come from real fruit and flowers and the wax is non-toxic and chemical free. Oh yeah, and each wrapper is printed on 100 percent recycled paper as well.
Eir Surf Mud & Zinc
The Eir brand is named after the Norse goddess of healing and with their quality zinc, you’ll be thanking the heavens for not feeling the burn after a long session in the sun. Out on the water, the sun’s reflection can really amplify the UV rays making surfers extra vulnerable to skin issues down the road. This surf mud is an all natural, water-resistant, hydrating sunblock for the face. It contains zinc for protection, chocolate for hydration, and antioxidants that fight free radicals.
Quiksilver Lock Up Short Sleeve Rashguard
Keep the sun off your back and the stomach rash at bay with the Lock Up Short Sleeve Rashguard from Quiksilver. It’s made from 6.3oz of stretch polyester fabric and features super-resistant flatlock seams and provides ultimate ultraviolet sun protection for those long days out in the water. The snug fit ensures a comfortable wear and the rashguard’s stretchy nature won’t bog you down in a paddle battle.
Ho Stevie! Sock Cover
When you’re not in the water it’s typically a smart move to protect your board in some way from both the sun and hard objects. One of the better, and less expensive, ways to do this is through a board sock. This particular one from Ho Stevie! is made from high-quality woven fabric that not only protects your boards but prevents any wax from ruining you vehicle’s interior. They’re available in multiple sizes depending what you ride and also feature a velcro storage pocket to stash some extra goodies.
Dakine Bruce Irons Pro-Pad
A little extra traction never hurt anybody in the water and traction pads are definitely a huge plus when finding you footing for a big roundhouse turn or off-the-top hit. This one ,in particular, comes from Dakine, a leader in the industry, and modeled after professional surfer Bruce Iron’s favorite style. It’s a five-piece pad with a 10mm center arch for comfort and 25mm vert wedge tail kick with beveled edges for extra stability.
Rainbow Single Layer Premier Sandal
These just might be the last pair of sandals you’ll ever own. You can’t hit the beach without a pair of flip-flops and if you’re going to invest in a pair, might as well snag a pair that are synonymous with Southern California surf culture. Established in 1974, Rainbows hail from San Clemente, CA and are known for their unwavering durability and quality that’ll last a lifetime. This pair, in particular, are the originals, featuring a rubber sole and arch support.
Saturdays Surf NYC Outline Slash Towel
Whether you’re changing out after a surf or relaxing on the beach in between sessions, a quality beach towel is a must for anyone living in a beach town. This Outline Slash Towel from Saturdays Surf NYC is a fantastic oversized and comfortable towel that works for both situations. Dimensions are 70”x39” and it’s 100 percent cotton. Dry off, lay out, or change out. The Outline Slash towel has you covered.
Surf Ears Ear Plugs
Surfer’s Ear is a real issue. Combine that with occasional semi-questionable water quality and you have a recipe for an ear infection. Surfers have been wearing ear plugs for years to protect themselves from prolonged exposure at the expense of actually hearing what’s going on around them. Now, with these plugs, you can get the best of both worlds; protection without the hearing loss. They have zero acoustic loss in the frequency of human speech while keeping water out of your ears.
Volcom Frequency Slinger Boardshorts
Nothing’s more relaxing than surfing in a pair of comfortable boardshorts on a sunny day. Summer time is what we live for; a time to shed the wetsuit and enjoy the warmth of the sun. A pair of stretchy and comfortable boardshorts are a must if you’re to take full advantage of this opportunity. These Frequency Slinger shorts feature a 4-way stretch for extreme mobility and resiliency. They’re also coated with a DWR finish to provide rapid drying capabilities and a drawcord wraps around the waist for an easily adjustable fit, because comfort is king.
FCS II Performer Neo Glass Tri Fin Set
It’s probably obvious that you’ll require a set of fins for your surfboard, but stock fins are a far cry from the increase in quality and control a fin upgrade can offer. These FCS all-round fins are a great option for a reasonable price point that works for a diverse range of surfers, conditions and board types. They feature foil technology that delivers hold and drive, stabilizing your turns, and getting you past those quick sections; you’re well on your way.
ModomSurf Shark Leash
Time to remove that fear of what lies beneath from your psyche. Offering two forms of necessity, keeping you board within arms reach and protecting you from the ocean’s least friendly fish, it features the patented Sharkbanz technology. Each leash is proven to deter most interested parties from venturing a little too close for comfort and thanks to their sleek design, you won’t even know it’s there or feel weighed down by the piece.
Rip Curl Search GPS Surf Tide Digital Watch
Here’s one of the coolest surf watches on the market today. The Surf Tide watch not only features tide data for over 1,300 locations worldwide but also hosts assisted GPS technology that tracks your entire surf session. It’ll track every wave you catch, everywhere you paddled during your session, distance travel on every wave, and even your top speed. And after each surf you can sync the session to the Cloud, leaving permanent documentation of each and every session if you so choose.
Xcel Men’s Drylock TCS 3/2 Fullsuit
Cold water sucks. Let’s be honest. And especially here in California we rarely get to enjoy a session in boardshorts but maybe one or two months a year. So when you need to throw on the neoprene for comfort, it’s important to invest in a suit that stretches, fits properly, and features the latest in thermal technology. This Xcel suit is the perfect match for these needs thanks to Xcel’s TDC Thermo Dry Celliant, their warmest lining ever. It also features a full water-repellent Quick Dry Fiber exterior and is the only wetsuit with a 100 percent waterproof zipper.
Chemistry D3 Small Wave Board
We don’t suggest grabbing the nearest high-performance surfboard around when starting out. Beginners looking to get into the shortboard game require a little more foam under their feet. That’s why this board, shaped by Oceanside, CA-based Chemistry Surfboards, is the perfect option. Boasting a thicker frame and wider body the D3, based off the popular Disk series, will give riders the maneuverability of a shorter board with the buoyancy of the longer shape.