Surfing Equipment Essentials: Surfboard, Wetsuit, Leash, Fins, Wax, Goggles, Sunscreen

Essential Surfing Equipment For Beginners

Surfing equipment can be a bit of an expensive sport right out the gate, especially for beginner surfers. Start off with the essentials and then upgrade as your skills grow.

Traction pads or deck grips are foamy grippy pads that get stuck on the bottom of your surfboard. A wax comb is an essential tool to keep your board in tip top shape.

1. Surfboard

A surfboard is an essential piece of equipment for the sport of surfing. Whether you are a beginner or a professional surfer, the right board will make or break your surfing experience.

Modern boards are designed using computer CAD software and are produced with synthetic materials to precise specifications. They are much lighter and more durable than the solid wood boards of a century ago.

A fishtail design is a great choice for small waves because it elongates the rails, increasing down-the-line speed. Wide square tails also add stability. Three-fin boards (called thrusters) provide stability and maneuverability and are the most popular style of surfboard.

2. Wetsuit

A wetsuit acts like body armor to keep surfers warm, allowing them to stay out longer and catch more waves. A good wetsuit can also provide a level of protection against abrasion and harmful UV rays from the sun.

Thickness: Wetsuit thickness is typically referenced by two numbers, with the first number referencing the thickness of the suit in millimeters in the torso area and the second number referring to the thickness in the arms and legs. A 2/2 suit is typically used in warmer water, while a 4/3 suit will work well in colder conditions.

3. Leash

Despite being small and seemingly insignificant when compared with a surfboard or wetsuit, the leash is one of the most important pieces of surfing equipment. Invented back in 1971, a leash allows you to stay connected to your board after wiping out.

This saves you a big swim each time you bail, as well as preventing your board from hitting other people in the water when it goes adrift. Leashes come in various lengths and with features like quick-release straps, rail savers (which add extra protection to the rails of your board but increase drag) and calf/ankle attachment points.

4. Fins

A pair of surfboard fins is one of the most important pieces of equipment for surfing. Fins can completely change the way a surfboard behaves.

Fins can be made out of a variety of materials from natural composite to carbon. The different designs, constructions and types of material will all react to the force you put on them in a very different way.

A flat foil on the inside of a fin will accelerate water across the surface, increasing speed while a concave will provide stability. A thruster set (3 equal sized fins) will give you more drive and control while a twin set (2 smaller front fins and 1 larger center fin) adds maneuverability to your quiver.

5. Wax

A good wax is essential for surfers as it allows them to keep their balance and grip on the board. The wax is rubbed on the deck of the board and can be found in different forms, depending on water temperature.

For example, cool surf wax is designed to work in waters with temperatures below 58 degrees while tropical surf wax is suitable for warmer conditions. The type of wax you choose will depend on the climate you surf in, so it’s worth trying a few different types to find your perfect match.

6. Goggles

Surfers get a lot of saltwater in their eyes, which dries them out and can make them red and itchy. Goggles can prevent that, and also protect the eyes from sun glare and spray-back.

However, goggles may fog up due to differences in air and water temperatures. Foggy lenses obstruct the view and can be distracting.

For a lightweight and comfortable pair of goggles, check out the Dragon Alliance H2O The Jam. These floatable shades will ensure you never lose your glasses in the ocean again and are reminiscent of Ferris Bueller’s style.

7. Sunscreen

Sunscreen is one of the most important pieces of surfing equipment to keep your skin protected from the sun’s harmful rays. Not only will this prevent painful burns, it can also help reduce the risk of more serious sun damage like cancer or other conditions.

Surf sunscreens contain zinc which forms a physical barrier and reflects UV rays away from the skin. They are generally also reef safe so they don’t harm the ocean.

A dry bag is useful to store your wetsuit and other gear in between surf sessions. They also protect your belongings from the elements and are great for beach and boat trips.

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