When it comes time to hit the surf and temps are in the 30s rather than the 70s, the right gear is the difference between channeling Bodhi and becoming intimate with the symptoms of hypothermia. While it’s admittedly tough to be toasty in water less than half your body’s normal temperature, with the right kit you can at least pursue your hobby and live to tell about it. Below are our picks for the gear you’ll need for winter surfing.
Global Surf Industries Super Fish II PE
While summer surfing in the northeast usually means longboarding in white wash, winter brings the real waves and the opportunity to add a shorter step-up board to your quiver. The Global Surf Industries Super Fish II PE is built to offer a great ride for all abilities and can be ridden as a thruster (three-fins) or a quad thanks to five available fin plugs. The board has generous buoyancy that’s good for easier starts but also a rail profile that retains the ability to turn aggressively. Coupled with a speed-enhancing single-to-double bottom concave design, it’s a board that can match your current skills and grow with you for seasons to come.
Matuse Tumo Hooded Wetsuit 6/5
A thick wetsuit is the most critical part of any winter surfing kit. Think of it as your version of seal blubber. Matuse’s thickest wetsuit clocks in at 6/5mm of neoprene and is perfect for water temperatures 46 degrees and below. Made from Geoprene, a limestone-based neoprene that’s better for the environment, it has mini air chambers to provide superior insulation and buoyancy. All seams are glued, stitched and satin-taped to further keep frigid water at bay. Matuse’s integrated hood chest entry system makes for easy parking lot changing.
Xcel 7mm Drylock Mitten
If you can’t grip your board you’ll be out of the water in short order. Since blood flow to extremities is lower than to your core, mittens thicker than your wetsuit are ideal. Xcel’s Drylock Mitten is 7mm thick and features their Drylock wrist seals and a Quick Dry Lining. Seams are glued and blindstitched to maximize water resistance, while the backs of the mittens have a wind-resistant coating and the fronts have an extra grippy coating.
Xcel 7mm Drylock Booties
Just like your hands, your feet need to stay warm for a good day in frigid water. Xcel’s 7mm Drylock Booties feature much of the same technology as the Xcel gloves: glued and blindstitched seams, Drylock ankle seals and a Quick Dry Lining. A redesigned velcro instep strap gives you a custom fit and an updated sole is thinner for better board feel while maintaining its thermal properties.
Surf Fur Waterproof Parka
Changing in or out of your wetsuit in the middle of winter isn’t enticing. Surf Fur’s Waterproof Parka helps make it a little less horrible. A dual-layer fleece construction that sandwiches a wind- and water-proofing membrane makes for a hooded changing robe that shields you from the elements. Hugh Hefner should consider an upgrade.
Stanley Classic 1 Quart Vacuum Bottle
The Stanley Vacuum Bottle is a classic with 100 years of warm beverage providing to its credit. Its double-wall vacuum insulated stainless steel construction will keep your coffee steaming hot long after a day in the icy seas concludes.
Rainbow Baja Boot
We’ve been known to knock around the beach in hemp Rainbow Sandals. That won’t work here, but the brand also makes excellent post-winter-surfing footwear: their Baja Boots. An all shearling upper and insole combined with Rainbow’s single layer arch sole will keep your feet supported and warm on your drive to and from the beach.
Everlane The Towel
When the day is done, you’re going to need to dry off — or at the very least have a good towel to keep you from soaking the driver’s seat on the way home. Everlane’s towel is made in Turkey from a custom 100 percent cotton yarn that produces a 600 gram/meter terry, perfect for getting you dry fast. Sized at 32″ x 67″, it’s large, but not preposterously so.