30 Nov Surf equipment: what are your gear essentials?
The main part of surf equipment is a surfboard with fins and leash, but you will hardly enjoy surfing without pad (something like a special rug that prevents you from slipping on the board), plus necessary accessories like wax and a wax comb for surfboard, sunscreen aka zinc and swimwear. Some people think that all you need for surfing is just a board, a pair of boardshorts, and some waves in the ocean, but it’s kind of far from reality. With the same success you can put jeans on, take snowboard and go to mountains. So in this article we will tell you all details about all the surf equipment you will need for comfortable and resultative surfing.
Priority surf equipment – surfboard
No doubts, this thing is a basic element of surf equipment. There is a whole range of board types with different length, width, thickness, shape and material it is made of. Depending on your choice, level, waves conditions you will chose between long (longboards) and short (shortboards), narrow or wide, with a pointed nose or with a round one. It’s not so easy to find a good board for yourself, like just to go to a shop and pick up one just because it’s your favourite color. It depends on how experienced you are, your weight and height, waves size and spots you are going to.
Softboard (or foamboard) is the best board for beginners: it is a long wide board with a polyethylene coating, so it does not slip at all that helps a lot to keep balance. Softboard is perfect for catching your first wave. But due to its size and weight it’s good only for understanding the basic technique and learning simple things. As soon as you will be ready for manoeuvres you can move to square #2.
Fins is also very important part of surf equipment. Without it your surfboard will be just an ironing board. Speed, maneuverability of your board and whole surf session will depend exactly on fins, fins give more opportunities control yourself on waves .
Fins as surfboards also have different types and features. You can add to your board from 1 up to 5 fins, according to waves, your level and style of surfing. Most riders normally use 3 fins – 1 in the center and 2 on the sides. This set up is suitable for almost any conditions and types of waves, from small ones to huge pipes.
Some surfers prefer to ride a singlefin – a longboard with one fin. Singlefin is more than just a board, it’s a style of surfing that means a start of surfing culture era. and the times when surfing originated as a culture. Singlefin is good for small waves, graceful nose rides without any sharp turns and maneuvers, since one fin is not so maneuverable as set ups of 3, 4 or 5 fins.
To install or remove fins surfers use a special key that’s called finkey. With its help the fins are proper inserted in fins boxes and you can fix loose leash.
Leash is a special cord that attaches your ankle to a surfboard. So your surfboard won’t sail away, leaving you on your own with waves. Ages ago leash wasn’t a part of surf equipment. The first boards were too big and heavy that it was inconvenient and dangerous. Others just thought that this surf equipment is for cooks and lazy people. But with the evolution of surfing and the development of new technologies, surfers have come to conclusion that leash is very more than useful. Since then, the magic cord has become an irreplaceable accessory of surf equipment.
Leashes have different lengths and thicknesses. Usually the length of the cord depends on the length of your surfboard. It should be 50-60 cm longer than the board, otherwise you can hit the nose of your own surfboard very badly. Also if it is too long you can get caught that is also not a good thing. Before every time you go surfing make sure that your leah looks like new and cord attached to your ankle strap carefully. If you see any damages, like cracks on a cord and so on, make sure it will be replaced or fixed, otherwise you can lose your board or hurt yourself. It’s very basic safety rules, but better not to ignore it. Leash is very ‘capricious’ thing, so it’s always better to have extra one just in case.
Wax and wax comb
All types of surfboards, except for soft ones, have a smooth slippery surface, so to keep balance. The only one thing that can help this problem is a special surf wax. You can wax the whole surface of the surfboard, or only some parts where your feet are.
There are few types of wax, for different temperature of the water where are you going to surf in:
- Basecoat – normally is used as a base for any other kind of wax. It is the hard and thermostable, therefore in hot climate basecoat becomes a must-have. The difference between cold, cool, warm, and tropical surf waxes is the hardness.
- Tropical wax is good if water temperature is + 24°C and above
- Warm wax – + 18-23°С
- Cool wax – + 14-20°С
- Cold wax – +16°C and below
Usually wax is white with a neutral smell, but these days you can choose a colour and even smell of surf wax, so go for it!
Yes, surfers, swimsuits it’s not only about fashion, it’s a real part surf equipment. The main factor is its convenience. Of course, it should be classy, trendy and suite you, but who would care about it if, for example, your boardshort will fall apart after wipe out or you will lose a bikini top? So first of all, surf clothes is the clothes you can feel confident in, and that will keep you warm in cold water and protect from sunburns.
For different weather and ocean conditions you can choose different type of clothes. If it’s hot and ocean is warm you won’t need too much: boardshorts and lycra for guys. And for ladies swimsuits, bikinis, shorts, leggings, lycra – all different models, styles and fancy! Just check some surf shops and you will see how hard to make a choice what to get, because you will want most of items you see! If you are a beginner, pay attention to quality first of all. Since you are just at the start of your surf career you need to cover body more than more experienced surfers. It will protect you from the sun and from bleeding elbows and knees, that you can get from a surfboard.
For cold water you can purchase special wetsuits that allow you to surf even temperature of the ocean is not so comfortable. They differ from each other in thickness, length of pants and sleeves. If you plan surfing reefbreak, you should think about reef shoes. Reef are pretty sharp so you can hurt your feet even before you walk into the ocean. Reef shoes will protect you from cuts and sliding of the board. The main thing is choose a correct size to make sure you won’t lose the reef shoe as Cinderella.
Sunscreen and zinc
It’s very important detail for your health and skincare. Being under direct UVA & UVB rays during few hours, you can get serious sunburn, so sun protection is also a part of surf equipment, not just a cosmetic product. Always take care of your skin! Choose creams with the highest SPF level. For a face we recommend you to use a special surf zinc. It doesn’t come off during 1-2 or even more hours and protects your skin way better than regular sun protection cream.
Now you know what is surf equipment like, so you can grab the list and go shopping. Having all of above you will be ready to catch your first or 1000th wave. Anyway, a lot of emotions and unforgettable feelings are guaranteed!
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