On your journey of learning how to surf, you’ll inevitably realize that some of the more seasoned surfers have a bunch of surf hacks that seem to make their life a little easier than yours as you fumble to put your wetsuit on while battling the cold, and the unwelcome ache in your ear.
Since we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves, we decided to put together this list of hacks for you. The products and little tips that make a big difference in your surfing journey.
*Please note that we genuinely vouch for the products on this list. None of these brands/companies paid to be included, or sponsored this podcast/article. We made this list because these are the products we use and the things we do as surfers.
1. Surf Ears
This product is surf hack number one on our list for a reason. While there are many ear plug “solutions” on the market for a surfer, from our experience SurfEars stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Ear plugs are notorious for severely limiting your ability to hear. Not SurfEars. These plugs “let sound in and keep water out” as their site puts it.
As surf coaches we can not only vouch for this claim, but also emphasize the importance of it as we work with students in the ocean.
More importantly than the benefit of being able to hear, you need ear plugs to guard yourself against surfers ear. An inevitable ailment of any long term committed surfer that doesn’t take precautions to shield the fragility of their ear canals from external elements.
Again we can vouch for the importance of this self protection. We’ve dealt with ear aches and infections on numerous occasions due to the nature of how your ears respond under the condition of cold water, wind, and other outside conditions while surfing and spending time in the ocean.
We’ve tried many ear plugs and these are our favorite. They have saved us from suffering many more aches and infections since we started using them.
They’re on the pricier side, but for good reason. They’re designed incredibly well and come with multiple sizes so you can find the best fit. Anyway, can you really put a price on good preventative health insurance? Invest in your health and get yourself a pair of SurfEars before it’s too late.
Quick tip: Insert your SurfEars by holding the perimeter and placing them in your ear. Don’t press against the black mesh with your finger. It is possible to break the seal of the mesh from constantly pressing in on the center of it.
2. Take Warm Water to the Beach
Sounds simple right? Well it is, because the best hacks are.
Our favorite is to fill up a big 5 gallon water jug typically used for home and office water coolers, but you can use anything. We’ve seen all kinds of canisters from family size Tide bottles, to mobile gasoline tanks!
We don’t recommend the gas tank, but we do recommend you start bring some warm water with you to the beach. It’s a pleasant way to finish your session, especially if you’re heading straight to work or school from the beach.
Plus you’ll give your wetsuit a little rinse in the process. Now that’s a win-win situation, because wetsuit care and maintenance is one of the most important things a surfer can do to make their wetsuit last a little longer.
3. Surf Sock
Surf Sock is a product based off an old surfing hack we’ve been using for years we called, “the plastic bag trick”, but this product takes that hack to the next level.
By using off cuts of sail material, this Australian company makes extremely durable bags for fitting over your foot before sliding it into the leg of your wetsuit.
The sail material is even more frictionless than a plastic bag, it’s certainly more durable, and its recycled and reusable. And if you’re not on the green movement and doing your part to help the earth, you’re kooking it.
Surf Sock’s benefit is two-fold:
- For the ease of putting your wetsuit on (even when it’s wet).
- Saving your wetsuit from unnecessary strain by over-stretching when pulling your wetsuit on.
*Bonus Tip: Use your Surf Sock for putting your clothes on after you get out of your wetsuit when your foot is wet and sandy.
4. The Stingray Shuffle
If you surf in a place where stingrays live then it’s likely you already know this trick. For those of you who don’t, and perhaps may one day travel to surf where stingrays live, you need to learn the stingray shuffle.
While these gentle and elegant sea creatures are not out to get you, just like most animals they have a method for self defense which comes in the form of a strike from their barbed tail. The pain of being stung is similar to that of a bee sting, but typically a few notches more intense.
To avoid the nasty sting of a ray when you walk in the ocean, you should slide your feet over the surface of the sand without loosing contact of the sand with either foot, rather than lifting your foot and taking a stride forward and landing your foot down as you normally do when walking.
Shuffling sends off vibrations to those stingrays nestled in the sand, scaring them and giving them a chance to swim off.
*Bonus Tip: If you do get struck by a ray, soaking the sting site in hot water is the best way to ease the pain.
5. Wear a SurfFur
If you’re not a master of the public towel change, or you live in a cold climate then a SurfFur is the garment for you.
Mega warm, and long enough so you can get your arms inside and change in-and-out of your wetsuit without mooning the lot, we dig this parka for surf checks, wetsuit changes, or even rides home in your wetsuit when you’re just to cold and lazy to change at the beach.
The SurfFur is especially near and dear to us because we have some close friends who swear by this product, but they don’t need to say it to us because it’s pretty obvious that they hardly take the thing off! Now whenever we see someone wearing one, we think of our die hard SurfFur friends.
A definite game changer and qualifier for a list of surf hacks, you should consider adding a SurfFur to your surf gear.
6. Base Coat
This really shouldn’t be a “surf hack”, but given how under utilized it is we decided to add it to our list.
If you think it’s good practice to simply rub some temperature appropriate wax on your surfboard, you probably also wonder why it easily smears off and quickly leaves you with bare spots on your board, especially if you use the softer wax for colder temperatures.
Base coat is the foundation to any good wax job that stays put so your temp specific wax does too. It may be twice the work to wax your board twice over, but in the long run you won’t need to wax your board as much every session since everything will stay put.
Put the time in and lay down a good base coat (at least half a bar on short boards, and a whole bar for anything else) so that your top coat only needs to be a light dusting whenever you need to get that fresh tacky feeling back.
7. CorSurf Changing Mat
A surfer doesn’t need much to have a good time. That’s why we care so much about taking care of the things we do need. A surfboard, and for many, their wetsuit.
If you didn’t realize already, we care a lot about taking care of our wetsuits so we can surf as long as possible when it’s cold. If you don’t you’ll be buying new ones a whole lot more often then necessary. That’s why we like to use a CorSurf changing mat to stand on when we get in, and especially out of our wetsuits.
The changing mat provides protection from whatever ground you’re standing on. Whether it be dirt or the filthy parking lot, the last thing you want to do is stomp your wetsuit into the ground as you change.
In addition to protecting your suit while putting it on and taking it off, CorSurf has also implemented a cinching system for bundling it up while in transit to keep everything together.
This comes in especially handy when you go for a surf in a friend’s rig and want to keep all your wetsuit gear together in one place. Because the mat is waterproof, it will also keep the moisture in the bag, instead of leaking out into their car.
8. Use a Board Bag
In the name of taking care of your things, the other valuable asset a surfer owns is their board. We always keep our boards in their bag whenever they’re not under our arm or with us in the water. Surf boards are fragile, sacred tools and they need to be cared for.
One of the most common ways a boards value and integrity is compromised is from dings, and a great deal of them happen when you’re carrying, transporting, and moving them around. By keeping your board in its bag, you’ll minimize the amount of dings you get when bumping the wall, or pulling it out of the car.
Another way a boards life can be diminished is by leaving it in direct sunlight. How often do you see boards lined up on the beach just soaking in the sun rays? It’s not good for your board and can cause de-lamination. This can also happen from leaving your board baking in the car.
Both heat and sunlight are bad for your board, so let them breathe and keep them out of the direct sun. If they need to be outside for a beach day, keep your board bag nearby to protect it from direct rays while you’re not surfing.
9. Mr. Rock & Friends Organic Sunblock
I guess there is one other important thing a surfer needs to take care of…themself!
While there are tons of sunblocks out there, Mr. Rock is our favorite because it is made with natural, and organic ingredients that not only protect you from the sun, but are actually good for your skin.
How’s that for a surf hack? A sunblock that does its job blocking the sun AND its beneficial for your skin. Not many sunblocks can make both of those claims.
We keep a jar of Mr. Rock with us everywhere we go because this stuff stays on, it’s waterproof, and reef safe. Simple as that.