It’s summer time and the living is easy, especially if you’re kitted out with these summer surf essentials:

Sun screen

In the words of Mary Schmich, and music of Baz Luhrman: ‘Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.’ Seriously, the sun is worthy of worship but it does bad things. So protect yourself.

For surfing:

• use extra water resistant sun cream
• get the highest UVA and UVB ratings you can
• apply on way to the beach, not seconds before you surf
• use minimum SPF15

I’ve just started using Surfers Skin sunscreen and it works a treat. Good protection, not greasy and it doesn’t run into your eyes.

Shirts, shorts and slaps

sunbathing-with-board
Please cover up. Ok, now I’m beginning to sound like your mother. But wandering around all day in the sun wearing nothing but a pair of shorts or bikini is not good for you.

Out of the water – wear t-shirt and shorts. In the water – wear a wetsuit, or if it’s warm enough, a long sleeve rash vest is ideal.

For the follically challenged, and those spending long periods in the sun – wear a wide brimmed hat. My friend almost got the sack from a job picking grapes in Northern QLD because he didn’t cover up and wear a hat. If only we took the sun as seriously down south, there would be a lot less skin cancer cases.

Slaps, sandals, flip flops, thongs or jandals, whatever you call them every surfer has a pair. They are essential summer surf wear.

Lightweight Wetsuit

Chances are your summer wetsuit gets used twice as much as your winter suit, but gets less than half the care. Winter suits cost more and a wet winter wetty is torture to put on. So we clean them after every surf and hang them in the bathroom to dry.

Summer suits we throw on a rock or leave on the lawn to dry in the sun. They rarely get rinsed out with fresh water. Probably because they’re cheaper, and a damp slightly crusty suit is less of an issue on a sunny day with clean summer waves calling.

New wetsuits are warmer, stretchier, quick drying and great value when you consider how much you use them. So spoil yourself and surf better with a new lightweight wetty this summer.

The choices vary widely, so visit your local surf shop ask a few questions and above all, make sure you get a suit that fits well.

New wax job

eco-surf-wax
If you’ve still got your cold water wax on your deck come July, it might be time to give it a new wax job.

Chances are at some point during the summer, your board will be left to sweat in the sun or a hot car. Your nice winter wax job will melt and slide across your favourite stick, leaving an ugly slippery slick.

So do yourself a favour. Spend a dollar or two on some fresh cool water wax, like this eco wax from SAS. Then get intimate with your board.

Scrape the old wax off, use a wax removing spray (or hot water) to clean the old residue off. Dry and reapply. You’ll not only learn to love the curves of your board again, it will look fresh and smell great.

Get a better board bag

Your board bag is a multi-purpose tool that will look after you and your board. Respect.

Your board bag will most likely function as a:
• sleeping bag
• beach towel
• windbreak
• holdall
• precious stick protector

So it’s worth spending the extra few quid to make it a good one, with extra padding, quality zip and functional shoulder strap.

A well padded board bag will help protect your board from the perils airport baggage handlers, and could save you money on board repairs.

Top tip: keep zips saltwater free, otherwise they will crust up and corrode. If they do get stuck, soak in fresh water (hot water is quicker) to dissolve the salty crustiness.

Sunnies

sunnies
Whether you want to admit it or not, we all want to look cool. A pair of sunglasses can make you look cool.

They can also protect your eyes from harmful ultra-violet rays. Make sure they block 99-100% UVA and UVB, or have a UV400 rating. Polarised glasses are perfect for gazing at sunny waves, as they help reduce glare from the reflected sunlight bouncing off the water.

Sunnies will also prevent ‘crows feet’. Those sun tan marks at the side of your eyes from squinting too much.

Sunglasses might even help protect your relationship, by disguising those uncontrollable lingering looks as you stroll along the beach among beautiful bodies.

A longboard

They say if you can’t beat them, join them. I did a long time ago, and I’m proud to be a longboarder (and short boarder).

On a longboard you will catch more waves. You can catch anything bigger than a ripple with just a few effortless strokes. Especially handy in the small gutless summer surf.

A longboard might frustrate shortboarders, but that’s because you’re catching more waves than them. So let them get frustrated, and let your own tensions ease with every gentle wave you glide across.

Longboarding is fantastic for cross stepping, toe tipping, laid back surfing. Beware: if you like to boost airs, longboarding might not be for you.