“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” -Andy Williams
Winter is well upon us, and the west coast is getting hit with some much anticipated northwestern swell. Brewing storms in far off Alaska are producing absolutely massive waves across the western seaboard. While fair weather surfers pack their gear into storage, and get ready for a dry, cozy winter, die hard veterans are itching for any excuse to get back in the water. Blacks Beach is firing at double, triple overhead, while Mavericks is pushing into the forties some days, earning it the rarely seen ‘Epic’ status on last week’s Surfline report. That’s right, big wave surfing in California is back!
Staring out at the vertical seven foot walls of water which abound all northwestern facing beaches, the sane mind may wonder, why would anyone subject themselves to that type of punishment? Meanwhile, a fourteen year old grom with bleach blonde hair a twig sized board goes rushing past you, charging gleefully into the frigid tumult of exploding waves.
Anyone who’s ever lived within ten miles of the west coast likely knows someone half-crazed enough to battle near freezing temperatures and constant bombardment by six foot walls of whitewash, just to earn their spot in the line up. Hell, if you threw a stone in any beach town, you’d probably hit one of these characters. There’s a good chance that one of them may have even found their way onto your winter shopping list.
To add some much needed clarity to this year’s chaotic holiday season, we’ve composed a list of essential products for every winter water warrior. If you know anyone brazen, foolhardy, and masochistic enough to get pummeled by overhead swell day in and day out, this list is for them!
A Wetsuit for the Hardcore
If the pioneers surfed, this would have been their wetsuit of choice. Patagonia’s Men’s R4 Yulex Hooded Full Suit is a hardy wetsuit built for a hardy man. Ideal for chilly water ranging anywhere from 38-48 degrees fahrenheit, the Yulex hoodie is a godsend to our friends up in the Pacific Northwest. It features a thermal microgrid lining, made of mostly recycled materials, for tree huggers who like to stay warm. The Yulex’s external triple-glued seams offer both durability and insulation, creating a long lasting wetsuit that keeps cold water out. Most importantly, the Yulex’s asymmetrical front-zip features a replaceable, corrosion-proof Salmi zipper, because anyone who’s ever owned a wetsuit knows, the zipper is the first thing to go.
A Wetsuit for the REALLY Hardcore
Patagonia’s Men’s R1 Yulex Impact Spring Suit is stretchy, durable, and, most importantly, safe. Designed for heavy and hazardous surf, the Yulex Impact Suit features 25mm foam padding and floating front zip. It’s built for easy entry, and is even inflatable vest compatible. This suit is practically made for Mavericks!
Surf is Where You Find It by Gerry Lopez
For all surfers who wish they could be out in the water, but are stuck at home, Gerry Lopez’s Surf is Where You Find It may just be the next best thing. Written by the Pipeline King himself, this memoir provides valuable lessons learned from a lifetime of surfing. In addition to the knowledge it offers, this sexy little book is filled with stellar surfing photography, and looks great on any coffee table.
Planing Roll Top Pack 35L
The Planning Roll Top Pack is a stylish and effective solution for transporting wet surf and dive gear from the ocean to your home, without drenching everything in its path. This pack easily hauls wetsuits and soaked gear, while keeping clothes and towels dry and organized. What more do you need to know?
R3 Yulex Split Toe Booties
Patagonia’s Yulex Split Toe Booties is the grippy foot warming solution the surf world has been waiting for! This booty easily adjusts to your body’s unique shape and contour, featuring a Y-strap closure that conforms to the foot for a snug fit. Most importantly, the Yulex Split Toe Booties is water resistant and includes microgaskets at the cuff openings to prevent water entry.
But what about the material? The Yulex Split Toe Booties include a fast drying spandex thermal microgrid interior lining and a natural rubber is exterior, certified by the Rainforest Alliance.
For more holiday shopping inspiration, check out these fine products: