What does a surfer girl really need? Isn’t a board and bikini enough? What else is required for a lifetime of carefree cruising, of days spent silhouetted by sunshine? What can help you in your search to find and enjoy the thrills provided by perfect waves?
As it turns out, there are 9 things every surfer girl needs. A surfboard and bikini are obvious essentials but, beyond that, some additional items make life more comfortable, and some make it more fun. Some give you safety and some just make you feel great. Talking of feeling great, we’ve added a bonus number 10.
Enough talk, let’s begin with lucky number 1 – your surfboard!
Goes without saying, right? But choosing a surfboard is like choosing a car – it’s a decision not to be taken lightly. The main question to ask yourself is: what is your skill level – and what are conditions like where you’ll spend most of your time surfing?
So which board is right for you?
There’s no point buying a shortboard if you live in a spot that mostly has tiny waves. Equally, don’t buy a longboard if you live near a hollow, beastly shore break.
As you progress with your surfing you’ll likely move from longer boards to shorter. Shortboards allow you to perform more radical manoeuvres on the face of a wave, and many surfers enjoy the feeling of doing turns that propel you up towards the lip, then send you hurtling back down.
On the other spectrum, , which may hook you if you experience it in your early days. It’s a whole other game. Longboarding removes the aggression from your surfing. It’s not girl versus wave, in a battle to slash and carve, and see how big your spray might be. It’s all about you channelling the ocean’s energy into your ride. You work as a team with the wave, and you weave your way across it in an intricate dance.
How many boards should you have?
From nuggets to eggs, from soft tops to performance hybrids, most surfers will agree that a surfboard quiver is never complete. . You can never have too many. But if it comes to a pinch then two boards is a great number to aim for.
Have a shortboard for more critical conditions, and a longboard for cruising on smaller waves.
2. Every surfer girl needs a bikini
You don’t have to wear a g-string when you surf, and for most mere mortals this is not recommended. Your surf bikini should be comfortable, functional and able to keep you covered in the kinds of intense conditions our aquatic playground regularly produces.
When it comes to bikini tops the sports bra shaped models are the most practical for surfer girls. Flimsy string tie bikinis have a tendency to pop open, so if you don’t mind attracting the attention of all the boys on the beach then go right ahead! If you prefer function over form then opt for a more demure, functional number like these shown below.
3. A wetsuit
Most dedicated surfer girls will require a layer of rubber to protect them from the elements. Whether you need protection from sun, reef, cold water or wind, the wetsuit is an invention we can all be thankful for. Wetsuits come in all shapes and sizes. Some mainly cover your upper half (suitable for places where the water is warm but the wind is cold, or the sun is harsh), while some mainly cover your bottom half (good for places where the water is cold but the air is warm).
The most practical all-round wetsuit is one that covers you entirely. This is commonly called a steamer and will see you through cold, wintery seasons.
To pee or not to pee?
That is the question. When asked whether you should you pee in your wetsuit, most people – especially those representing wetsuit manufacturers – say no! Urine will degrade wetsuit fabric, seams and seals. It is a harsh chemical and the ammonia certainly won’t do your neoprene any favours.
There is, however, a secret pleasure in ‘having a sauna’ as some call it. The wetsuit wee is like wrapping yourself in a warm, watery blanket, and can extend your surf session dramatically on those extra cold days. It’s also a practical course of action for those times when you don’t want to paddle in, get undressed, have a pee, and paddle out again.
One thing to remember is that sharks are attracted to the smell of urine. So if you are paranoid about getting eaten by a shark then hold it ’til you get back to the beach.
And if you do have a wetsuit wee, try not to say “ahhhh” while staring into the distance, doing your happy wee face. That’s creepy.
A controversial topic is sunscreen. Some pro surfers, like Courtney Conlogue, have mentioned that they only use sunscreen when absolutely necessary, because the chemicals can damage your sensitive facial skin almost as much as the sun can. Kelly Slater uses a special natural sunscreen blend made by a friend. Some surfers, like Mick Fanning, can always be seen with the distinct white zinc circle covering his face.
From experience, here’s what we know. Natural sunscreens are better for your skin – and they are usually easier to remove. Chemical sunscreens generally provide better protection. A good sunscreen will reduce your chances of inflammation due to sun exposure. This is important. Your skin is arguably your most vital organ (without it you’d be a misshapen blob of flesh), so you need to protect it from harsh elements.
Our advice: cover up as much as possible with wetsuits, rash vests and hats. Wear sunscreen on your face in harsh conditions. Surf more at dawn and in the late afternoon, when the sun is kinder. When you buy sunscreen opt for those with natural, high quality ingredients.
After sun exposure moisturise your skin with coconut oil or a surf rash cream.
Your surf towel says a lot about you. Is yours a mouldy old rag inhabiting the dark recesses of your car? Or is it a funky sarong that can double-up as a dress?
You can always drip dry in a pinch, but getting in and out of your wetsuit or bikini most definitely benefits from the assistance of a humble towel.
So why not invest in a towel that matches your personality? Tribal, funky patterns are in. We like them a lot. But if you’re a McGuyver kind of girl then you might like the Tesalate Towel, which can dry you, plus a whole lot more.
6. Surf action camera
Such existential questions can be avoided by including in your surf equipment (even if only occasionally) a surf action camera. GoPro started the revolution and countless others have followed.
Whack a GoPro on the front of your board and show the world what you look like when you’re in your element. It’s a beautiful thing and you’ll never be sad you captured these memories.
Additionally, reviewing footage of yourself surfing can help you identify what you’re doing wrong. You can iron out the kinks in your style and improve your wave riding ability. But don’t take it too seriously – remember surfing is about having fun. It’s you, a wave, and your own intricate dance. Don’t let fiddling with technology detract from the bliss.
We’re well into the 21st Century and no-one has found a better solution to our surfboard traction requirements than wax. It gets dirty, melts in the sun, is made of petroleum, and isn’t great for the environment. So why do we use it? Because wax is part of the surfing ritual. It’s our karate kid meditation that precedes every surf session. Wax on… smell the bubblegum, create sticky bumps… go surfing.
Of course you could coat your entire surfboard in deck grip, but beware of horrendous chest rash, especially if you’re surfing in a bikini.
For now, wax is here to stay. Use it wisely and use it well. And remember to buy the right wax for your water temperature!
8. Surf Watch
Didn’t see that coming? Watches help you keep track of the time, the tide, and more. You can even get a GPS surf watch that tracks every wave!
They’re a worthwhile accessory, if only to help you keep track of how long you’ve been out the back.
9. Surf Book
If you love surfing then you’re in luck when it comes to the reading department. Surf writers have tried to capture the essence of our pastime in words ever since Captain Cook first sighted Polynesians sliding along waves.
Available to you are surf philosophy books, surfer biographies and plenty of narratives detailing surf adventures. Some of our favourite books are listed here. You can check them out in our surf book store.
Bonus number 10: Surfing Soulmate
If 9 things a surfer girl needs is not enough – we’ve found you one more. Your surfing soulmate! Someone who loves the fact that you surf. They support you and encourage you to follow your passion. . They don’t get jealous because you’re out in the line-up with all the boys.
In fact, if stars could align, perhaps your soulmate loves surfing as much as you do. Then the two of you can share waves, embark on surfing adventures, use each other’s boards. Who knows, perhaps one day you’ll make little surf babies.