Surf Gear and Equipment
Having the proper surf gear is important for a good session. Although surf board equipment doesn’t get too complicated (as opposed to the equipment involved in sports like rock climbing or sailing), it is important to know what’s available. There’s nothing worse than getting a wetsuit that’s so tight you can’t even move your arms, or trying to learn to surf on a teensy potato chip board that floats you about as well as a concrete slab.
Most surf gear is not overly expensive, but it’s not cheap either. You don’t want to end up spending your money on something inferior or unsuitable for your needs. It’s important to figure out exactly what you need beforehand.
I’ve divided this guide into sections in order to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
Surfboard Design Guide – The most important piece of surf gear. There are many different kinds of shapes and sizes of surfboards, with new design ideas being tested all the time. Every board rides a little differently, and some are suited to certain ability levels. Our extensive guide covers most of the shapes you’ll find in your local shop or shaper’s garage.
Wetsuit and Rash Guard Guide – Having a proper wetsuit is extremely important. A good wetsuit will keep you nice and toasty during the cold winter months. Many people don’t know what kind of wetsuit they need, or don’t know how to pick one out. Don’t worry! It’s actually very easy. The wetsuit guide covers the different types, how to care for your suit, how to get in and out of the darn thing, and what to look for when buying a new suit.
Fins – Surfboard fins (also called skegs) are handy little objects that are the most vital part of surf gear other than the board itself. There are several types of fin systems as well as different shapes. The advantage of different fin designs was an overlooked part of board design for a long time, however in recent years technology and engineering have opened up a whole new area of performance. Each different fin setup and shape will cause the board to ride differently. From tri fin designs to big longboard skegs, this guide will help you understand the basics.
Surfboard Leashes – Surfboard Leashes are fairly simple and straightforward pieces of surf gear, however even the leash can present a beginner with a number of confusing choices. Covered in the leash guide are how to choose the right length, thicknesses, and “frills” (like key pockets). Also included are a few safety tips you really should read.
Surfboard Racks – Surfboard racks are a necessity in order to get your surfboard from house to beach and back again. There are several varieties for every need…for your car or even your bike!
Traction Pads – Other names are deck pads, tail pads, and deck grips. These helpful add-ons allow a bit more control over the board as well as provide a tactile guide to make sure your back foot is planted in the right place. This page will give you some tips on selecting a pad, putting it on your board, and getting the darn thing off if you need to.
Surfboard Bags – If you really care about your board, you’ll want to protect your investment with a board bag. A good bag will keep your board free of many careless transportation dings. There are several types of board bags, from hard cases for travel to lightweight day bags and “socks.” Each has a different use covered in this guide.
Wax – Ah yes, the quintessential piece of surfing equipment. Surf wax is fun. It smells good and it’s only 1 dollar a bar (or sometimes free!). To the un-experienced, however, surf wax can be a nightmare. It gets everywhere except into those neat little bumps you want on the deck of your surfboard. The wax guide is here to help with tips about what kind of wax to get, how to apply, and how to remove.
Miscellaneous – There are some other pieces of surf gear that don’t really fit into any categories, but are helpful to have around. Bags, buckets, wetsuit hangers and other random items that can give you some ideas and make your surfing life much easier. Some of these items can even be found at the local hardware store.
Sun Protection – No surf equipment quiver is complete without proper sunscreen! (Unless of course you want skin cancer and the complexion of an old leather boot.) Here’s a link to our page all about proper sun protection.
Other Fun Stuff
If you’re bored and there’s no waves, you can practice some more advanced surfing moves on land. Longboard decks are the way to go here, as they are more give a more surfy feeling. You can practice doing bottom turns and cutbacks. Really long skateboards also allow you to practice walking to the nose!
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