As a woman it is really all about fabulous shoes and wicked bags. If I had to pick what accessories I would put in the wood box with me when I die. It would for sure be my favourite pair of “Christian Louboutin” heels and worn to death “Prada” handbag. However, if I had to pick a bag to be stuck on a desert island or to go sailing and surfing around the world I would choose my other best bag. This bag has more miles on it then any other, especially if you count that it has been worn out, repaired and replaced 3 times since 2001. It is my trusty surf back pack. As I pulled it out this week to pack it for a surf trip I thought of all the time I have spent with this bag and how it is perfect. Why, because it carries all my shit!
When it comes to surfing, part of it is about the style. I have to admit that I surf because the waves stoke my soul but it is an added bonus that I love the surf girl style. The other part of it is seriously about function. If my best guy friends are reading this . . . you can berate me later but this article is actually about, it kills me to say it “gear”! But, at least this gear is cute!
Of all my back packs that I have had over the years the one that is my tried and true is by Dakine. My past two Dakine backpacks have been in the “grom” category (see sidebar). For several reasons, the first being that they are cheap and bonus they are cute! At $35 you get a good pack that lasts, it is functional and the biggest key is if it gets stolen its only $35 bucks. The second key is it comes in ladies and girls, so you can get one that fits properly. This is huge! If you are carrying a 15 pound pack, because your surfing for the entire day or overnight, plus a long board on your head and your hiking 30 min plus to get to the secret break. You want your pack to fit. The bonus features that I dig are that it has a fleece sunglass pocket (love it), mesh side pockets for water bottles or wet bikinis and my favorite is the front zipper pocket it is perfect for sunscreen, wax and all the small stuff.
Every girl puts different stuff in her surf bag, here are some tips on what to put in your bag on a regular basis. This is a baseline for surfing one or two sessions on a daily basis, knowing that you will return home within 4-6 hours. So a.k.a. a morning surf session. Please keep in mind this is in a tropical climate. (Because surfing cold is not my favorite pastime)
Key things for your Surf Bag:
- Rash guard/1mm top or shorty wet suit
- Large Ziploc bag for wet bikini and rash guard. Why? You don’t want your back pack wet, it will mold and quick. If the inside plastic start to mold, use bleach and water to scrub it and then turn it inside out and dry it out in the sun.
- Dry bikini and/or bra/panties (I always forget this one, on the first few surf sessions) Why is it important? Because you don’t want to sit repeatedly in a damp bikini. Crotch rot/rash isn’t pleasant. But, not if but when it occurs use your “all good goop”
- Hat/sunglasses (if you leave to surf in the dark you will need these for the drive home)
- Water and coconut water (or pick up a coconut on your way home . . . oh the joys of the Mexican roadside coconut stand)
- Snack bar/protein bar/bag of nuts and a piece of fruit for after surf starvation.
- Zip lock bag with surf wax and a wax comb. My personal choice is Sticky Bumps pick it in your preferred water temperature.
The small key stuff (that should never be removed)
- Face zinc: my new favourite is All Good Sport Sunscreen with Zinc
- Lip sunscreen: my new favourite is All Good Lips tinted spf 18 in the shade “Barnabe Rose
- All Good Goop: for bites, rashes, sunburns. (see sidebar)
- Antiseptic hand wash: for when you want to eat something and/or have been somewhere gross and just in case you get ripped up on the rocks, coral or urchins.
- Extra hair elastics (because you always loose them when you get worked)
- Bag of nuts/protein bar (this is your emergency one for when you forget to pack one or surf for longer than expected and have already eaten your snack or are still waiting at a Mexican restaurant for food and it’s been 45 min and you want to chew your arm off.
- Extra contact lenses: if you wear them when you surf as I do.
What to leave behind: depending on the beach it is never safe to leave any stuff unattended. So, my rule is I never leave anything on the beach or in my backpack that I cannot afford to lose. It would kinda suck if my back pack was stolen, ya because I love it for sentimental reasons but it is old and I can replace it. So, is everything in my backpack, my clothing is old and I have more, same with my sunglasses and hat. My good stuff I leave in my car. I have watched my surf sisters head to the beach and hang their expensive, unique designer bags in the trees with all their good expensive stuff in them and I shake my head because one day it is not going to be there and then its $500 to replace your backpack verses $75.
What to leave in your car and hide: If it is out of site then higher chance it will be there when you get back. Hide your: I.D, money, phone, good sunglasses, cameras, and anything else that is a pain in the ass to replace. Oh ya and don’t hide it when you are unloading because you could be being watched especially if you are parking in a remote area. The thieves do like to hang out and watch the surfers hide their goods and then walk to the beach. Easy peasy pickins for them, they have hours to break into the car and retrieve the good stuff.
Your car key…this is a good one
Being that I have lost my car key when I have done the following, this is what I would not recommend
- I once hid the key in the sand and put my flip flop over top of it to mark the spot…yup, not the best idea as my flip flops got washed out to sea and I spent 45 min digging in the sand for the key to my rental car. No luck! That was a serious pain in the ass and expensive lesson.
- I have put a spare key in the magnetic spare key boxes and stuck it under my wheel well. It was a great idea until the box fell off because everything rusts in the salt air. Total bummer because when I lost the key, I went looking for the spare key box and guess what it was not there! That one sucked as well and was also expensive.
- I have forgotten and put my key in my bikini top and miraculously it was still there when I done my session. Thank god I have tits. But I would not recommend this spot as safe.
The best place for your car key is in your surf leash or key slot in your wet suit (but being that I try not to surf with rubber then surf leash it is). Yup, its true, if you look (I can’t believe the surfers that I know what have never noticed that there is a key slot in your surf leash) around the ankle of your leash there usually is an extra Velcro strip/slot for your key.
Second best place; on a rope or shoe lace around your neck.
Third best place: key pad lock for your door handle (but they will rip off your door handle, smash the box and steal your car)
Key tip: For all the fancy car people who have keys with a fob on them. Either use the valet key to surf with or get a spare cut, you will need a few spares as the salt water will eat away at your car key, so always rinse it with fresh water and only use it to open your door…don’t use it to start your car!
Even as surf girl it really is all about the accessories, for us chicks it always is! So when you surf make it about the accessory helping you look great but step it up and also be ultra-cool because you are fashionable and functional. Remember the hot surf guys are not going to notice your bikini but they will notice your back because for guys it is all about the gear! But for us, it is all about the bag and of course what we can put in the bag!
How to take care of your favorite surf back pack! Give it some love and rinse it with fresh water once a month and make sure it gets dried out! Watch for mold. (see above about how to deal with mold). When the zippers get stuck from all the salt water/air. Then soak them or spray them with white vinegar for 20-30 min and rinse with fresh water. Boom they will as good as new. Love it, pray it doesn’t get stolen and it will carry your gear for years.