9 Surfing hacks you need to know
Life hacks, suggestions, top tips – however you prefer to phrase it these nuggets of info could just make your surfing life a little bit better. I’ve picked up these hacks during conversations over the years at local surf spots as people chat pre/post surf or learned some myself by necessity. The list isn’t ordered in anyway but at least one of the points is essential – let us know which one you think it is in the comments below or share any hacks of your own which you’ve found useful:
- Surf wax cleaner- floury tights:
OK this may sound random but bear with us as this trick really does work. What you’ll need is a bag of flour and a pair of old tights (or if you’re of US pursuation “pantyhose”). Where you source your old tights from can remain a secret! Snip a piece off one of the ends of the legs so that you’re left with material that once filled will be roughly the size of a grapefruit. One end will already be sealed, fill it with flour until it’s comfortable to hold, tie off the remaining end and it’s ready to use. Clean off your old wax as usual (leave it a few minutes in the sunshine, use warm water etc) then use your floury tights ball to rub down the board to remove any remaining wax residue!
2. Use the spin cycle:
If you surf in cold or temperate climates you’ll own a wetsuit and if you’re getting in the surf regularly you’ll know that putting on a cold damp wetsuit for a second session or a surf the next day is never pleasant especially in winter. So take advantage of the spin cycle on your washing machine. First rinse out your wetsuit with fresh water as the seas salt water will wear away at seams, make sure any sand is washed off, then assuming you can select spin only on your machine (NEVER do a full wash cycle and especially NEVER attempt to tumble dry it!!) just pop the wetsuit in on spin only. It’ll whip out most of the water for you, then hang as normal indoors (see hanging hack below) in a warm room and your suit will be dry in no time!
3. Prevent stomach upsets with a can of cola:
My home breaks are in the North Sea which hasn’t always had the best record of cleanliness – there’s a sewage outflow right next to one of our spots! so stomach upsets among locals are not unknown. It’s no surprise then that the suggestion of drinking a can of cola after each session has become part of surfing folklore. The theory is that cola will destroy any nasty bacteria that has found it’s way into your gut from the sea. I can’t say if this is true or not but having seen what a can of Cola does to rust (Search for Cola and corrosion on Youtube!) it’s not too much of a stretch to believe that it’ll kill bacteria in your gut – and probably your stomach lining if you drank too much of the stuff!
4. Use a Keypod or waterproof key case:
After I designed Keypod the original surfer key safe over 15 years ago it’s probably a no brainer that I’ll mention this tip! Believe it or not back then everyone used to just hide their car keys when going for a surf and surprisingly cars and their contents sometimes went missing. So Keypod was an obvious step which is now sold worldwide as the leading outdoor sports key safe – pop your keys in, lock it to a hidden secure anchor point and off you go. Another alternative is taking your car key with you in a Northcore waterproof key case – simple but effective
5. Don’t wrap your leash:
Most of us wrap our surfboard leashes/leg ropes around the tail of our boards as a convenience after surfing to prevent tripping over it or during storage. However this practice can cause kinks in the urethane which can lead to the leash coiling around your leg when out surfing, which can be annoying and sometimes borderline dangerous. Also after extended periods the leash can rub on the fins which can create weak spots and potential for snapping. So the best option is to either remove your leash after each session or just carry it with the board (never drop and drag it though unless you like the word kook!).
6. Learn to read pressure charts:
If surfing was taught in schools the reading of surface pressure or synoptic charts would be a key component of the curriculum. These meteorological diagrams are representations of weather systems, showing high/low pressure, fronts, wind direction and strength which will allow you to accurately forecast surf for yourself if you learn to read and understand them. But as more and more surf forecast information is available online neatly packaged with star ratings etc (not knocking these as they are an amazing resource) the less surfers learn about pressure charts. Read up on charts and become a surf forecasting guru.
7. Use a hanger designed for wetsuits:
This isn’t always one you’d think of (I did it for years) but if you hang a wetsuit using any old hanger it will wear away at the shoulders as it stretches the neoprene and the life of the suit will be reduced – not good. So invest in a good wetsuit hanger, there are a few designs out there but by far and away the best is the “SlideHanger” – OK we might be slightly biased! but we supply it because it is the best (and made of recycled plastic). Just drape the wetsuit over the beam, there’s no stress on the material and it’s accessible in seconds rather than having to stretch it on, over and off a crappy old hanger. One other tip don’t dry your wetsuit in direct sunlight however tempting, as it will destroy the glue in the seams and your suit will fall to bits a lot quicker.
8. Plastic bucket:
A simple one this but very handy. Buy one of the big double handled flexible buckets from a hardware store as they are great for storing wet gear and rinsing out wetsuits etc after each surf session. Look after them and these buckets should last for years but if they do break make sure they go into the recycling.
9. Pick up rubbish:
The most important one for last because if we don’t all try and make a difference to the way we treat our planet and oceans there may not be anywhere left to go surfing. There are heaps of ways to get involved with initiatives like Surfers Against Sewage, Surfrider Foundation and 2 minute beach clean but as a start try this simple tip after every time you go for a surf… pick up a few pieces of trash off the beach as you head in and drop it in a bin. It’s that easy, if every surfer on the planet did this it would begin to help impact on this massive problem. If in any doubt about the scale of the problem we recommend watching this film Plastic Ocean