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Wednesday, 19 December 2007

What kit do we really need? :Top 10 surfer accessories

Theres a massive choice of surfer accessories and toys available on the market today, from the sublime to the ridiculous (perhaps Surfer Monopoly for the latter?), but what constitutes a useful item required by a surfer to live a fuller life? Firstly we aren't going to include the obvious items into our top 10, because, when breaking it down to the absolute, all we need is wax and a surfboard, without these we ain't going anywhere. Then the next step up the chain is a wetsuit and leash which are a must for certain conditions. Without these items theres no point going to the beach. What we are looking at is the peripheral stuff that although isn't an absolute must, but will make a surfers life much easier. Heres goes:

1. Access to the internet: Years ago surf forecasting was a matter of seeing if a pine cone was open or closed and occasionally checking out the pressure charts in the newspaper or on TV. Forecasting a classic day was more hit and miss but a certain level of understanding weather patterns brought its rewards. Now all we have to do is log on to the web and its all there, swell heights, swell period, wind speed and direction, tide times, air and sea temps and theres even some websites that add all this together and provide star ratings to tell us how good its going to be and remove the necessity to even think for ourselves. Its a bit souless I guess but useful nonetheless. Then theres info on where and when to surf. The internet now seems to list every surf break on the planet with details on how to get there, where to park, where to sit in the line up etc...again its pretty souless but the info is out there.
2. Tide timetable: The world over the tide state affects our surfing experience to varying extents and catching the tide right can mean the difference between an epic or a crap session.
3. Fins: Theres a massive choice of fins available these days and choosing the right ones can make a big difference to your surfing
4. Keypod: Most of us use a car to get to the beach and for years we've had the dilema of where to leave car keys when surfing and for years we've just hidden them someone on or near the car. This has given rise to endless key mishap related stories, so the use of a Keypod key safe is a real bonus. Lock your keys in it and attach it to something secure. Alternatively use a waterproof pouch and take a key with you.
5. Changing Mat: There are a range of changing mats available but the Northcore C-Mat is one of the better ones. Open it up into a large flat circle and stand on it when getting changed so that none of the crap from the carpark ends up on your wetsuit, your feet are protected (useful in a gravel carpark or on frosty/snowy days) and your wet gear is kept safe and away from everything else when the bag is closed.
6. Board bags: A good board bag means that you can travel and it limits the risk of your mate smashing your board when chucking it in the van or when a grumpy baggage handler throws it into a aircraft hold.
7. A Car: Unless you are fortunate enough to live within walking distance of a surf break, then access to one of these things is damn useful. Ideally though get a diesel and run it on bio-fuel
8. Aircraft: I'm not saying buy one of these but by using one we can experience the joys of travel and surfing in amazing locations. It goes without saying that flying isn't eco friendly so try and offset all flights by using a CO2 offsetting scheme.
9. Sunblock: Obviously only necessary closer to the equator or during summer, but without it we'd all be burnt to a crisp and be scratching mysterious skin growths.
10. Lockjaw board lock: When going surfing theres going to be times when you need to leave your surfboard unattended, so lock it up with a board lock otherwise some little scally with look after it for you. No board, no surf

You may agree, disagree or think other items should be added but in the end its down to personal preference....happy surfing :)

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