Spring Tune Up for Surfing! Part 1- Surf Backpack Essentials

Be ready to go surfing at a moment’s notice! Spring conditions are opening up those sweet windows of smaller swell and sunshine that I know most of you love. Packing up your surf backpack now, so that it has all of your surfing essentials together, in one place, is key. It gives you a chance to evaluate your gear too. Making sure your gloves don’t need a little glue to fix a leaking seam or that you’re missing a bar of wax. Taking the time now will assure an organized and “flowing” first surf session back in the water!

surfer with backpack

Start by having a great surf backpack, if not now, once you can afford to.  Wet/dry surf backpacks are best! They allow you to keep separate your wet booties, gloves, wetsuit, rashguard and swimsuit from the dry clothes you’ll be changing into after your session. One with numerous pockets is a bonus too! It’s nice to have your cell phone, keys and ID in one easy access pocket, while your food, snacks and water are in another, your surf wax and comb are in their own pocket (they may melt on a sunny day), your sunglasses in another protected pocket, then have separate wet and dry storage sections for your gear. Da Kine’s Cape Wet Dry 38L is what I’ve been using the last two years.  It has it all! Even a cooler pocket and changing mat. Check it out here-http://dakine.com/p/backpacks/surf-backpacks/spring-summer-14/cape-wet-dry-38l?clr=002  Comfortable shoulder straps with chest and waist cinches really helps to keep the gear’s weight balanced on my back, especially on hikes into Shorties to surf.

Da Kine Cape Wet Dry Pack

What essentials to pack?

  1. A local tide book for the area you’re surfing.
  2. Surf wax for the temperature of the water you’re surfing in. Wax comb for both texturing the wax on your board, when you’ve forgotten wax and for cleaning your surfboard. See Part 3 of 4 in this series on how to clean and check out your surfboard for dings and repairs. Check out Cleanline Surf’s wax selection here- http://www.cleanlinesurf.com/categories/Surf-Accessories/Surf-Wax/
  3. A UV-cure ding-repair kit. Depending if your board is polyester or epoxy, you can check out a great selection of options at Cleanline Surf’s surfboard repair webpage- http://www.cleanlinesurf.com/categories/Surf-Accessories/Surfboard-Repair/  See Part 3 of 4 in this series on how to fix a ding in your surfboard.
  4. A fin key, to tighten loose fin screws.
  5. An extra leash, in case yours snaps. An extra leash tie, in case yours is old or thin and needs to be replaced.
  6. High SPF waterproof sunscreen. I’ve been testing and using Elemental Herbs Sunscreen Sport SPF 30+ UVA/UVB for the face and neck, along with their Sunstick SPF 30 on my lips and nose. Both of these products are chemical free, coral reef safe and kid safe.  Plus they use mostly organic ingredients. View and buy them here at Elemental Herbs- http://store.elementalherbs.com/new-zinc-sunscreen-spf30-p14.aspx  http://store.elementalherbs.com/zinc-sunstick-p13c7.aspx?Thread=True

Elemental Herbs SunscreenElemental Herbs Sunstick

  1. A towel.
  2. Warm dry layered clothes for coastal NW weather. I always pack a rolled up windbreaker in my pack. Great to put over your wet wetsuit on a windy or no sun day. Keeps the wind chill effect at bay.
  3. Flip flops or sturdy sandals. I use a lightweight water shoe for extra support hiking into spots and they’re good for crossing creeks.
  4. A comb or hairbrush. I don’t carry one, but I know most of my girlfriends do.
  5. Food, snacks and enough water for your session. Using your own water bottle will greatly cut down on plastic pollution in our planet’s oceans.
  6. Mini first aid kit with basics like antibiotic cream, a few different sizes of band-aids, a quick snap ice pack, small Vaseline (for rashes and chafing), Ibuprofen or Aspirin, alcohol swipes, rolled Ace bandage, tweezers, small container of Aloe Vera (for sunburns) and eye drops.  This way you’re prepared for most of the minor injuries and accidents that occur while surfing or at the beach. If Lifeguards patrol the beach you’re surfing at, they are required to carry a detailed First Aid Kit and assist you, if needed.

Lastly in our effort on getting prepared to surf, I encourage everyone to take a course in CPR. You never know when your knowledge of Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation could save a life. Many times, several people are needed to perform CPR continuously in order to keep a person alive until the medics, local firemen or the coastguard rescue helicopter unit can get there. It’s also personally empowering and satisfying to know you could assist someone. Contact your local fire department, local community college or American Red Cross for a CPR training class and certification in your area.


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