Have you ever turned up at the beach without a leash or wax?
It’s a whole heap of no fun, and working your way around the car park trying to borrow wax won’t make you overly popular.
With that in mind we’ve created a definitive list of the best surf accessories so you’ll never get caught short on a surf trip again.
Surfing Accessories You Just Can’t Live Without
Starting with the absolute essentials down to the luxury options here’s our list of items we use to make surfing and finding waves an absolute breeze.
A surfboard leash is a cord that attaches your ankle to your surfboard, keeping the board close to you and easy to recover when you bail and wipe out.
It’s critical for two reasons:
- It prevents your board from getting away and potentially hitting someone else
- It prevents your board from washing away when you’re far out to sea, leaving you to swim back to shore
While some ‘cool cats’ at places like Byron Bay think it’s trendy to surf without a leash the honest result is nasty head injuries and worse concussions.
You don’t need to spend a fortune on a surfboard leash but it is the most essential surfing accessory, not just for your safety, but for everyone else.
You can pick up a low-cost leash for less than $20 or if you want to pick up something sturdy I strongly recommend one of the thick 6.5mm leashes from Dakine.
They’re the small, fin-shaped attachments on the bottom of your board that help you control your direction and speed while surfing.
Fins provide stability and manoeuvrability, helping you to carve through the face of the wave with precision and ease.
Different fin setups affect the way your board performs, so experimenting with different configurations can be heaps of fun.
The most popular fin setups are:
- Single fin: A classic setup that uses one large centre fin. It offers good stability and control, but less manoeuvrability than other setups.
- Twin fin: This setup uses two smaller fins which allow for a looser, more manoeuvrable feel. Twin fins are popular on smaller, more playful waves.
- Thruster (or tri-fin): This most common fin setup and uses three equally sized fins. This setup provides a good balance of stability and manoeuvrability and is a go in most high-performance shortboards.
- Quad fin: This setup uses four fins, with two larger side fins and two smaller rear fins. Quad fins offer good down-the-line speed and are great for powerful barreling waves.
- Bonzer: A unique fin setup that uses a combination of smaller fins and channels or runners on the bottom of the board.
Head over to Jack’s Surfboard’s massive fin selection to check out all the ways you can change how your board feels under your feet.
A fin key is a small tool used to tighten and loosen the screws that attach the fins to the bottom of your board.
Without a fin key in your surf accessories, you won’t be able to carry on surfing when you snap or lose a fin.
Unlike surfboard fins they’re universal so you don’t need to worry about getting the right key for Futures or FCS.
Save yourself the pain of watching perfect surf with no fins and pick up a multi-pack to have wherever you’re surfing.
Your leash string is a thin, durable cord that’s used to attach your leash to the surfboard.
It’s tied through a small hole or loop on the tail of the board and provides a secure attachment point for the leash.
Without a leash string, you won’t be able to attach your leash to your board, making it impossible to use so it’s a small but essential component of any surf setup.
These normally come alongside a new leash but if you want to be safe you can grab one here or pop into your local surf shop (they might even give you one for free if you ask nicely).
A towel poncho is a large, hooded towel that you can wear before and after your surf session to dry off and change out of your wetsuit or swimwear in privacy.
It’s a convenient and comfortable way to stay warm and covered up when you’re changing and the hood really helps when it’s pouring down with rain.
And as an added bonus it protects your car seats from getting wet or sandy when you’re driving to your second surf of the day!
A surfboard bag or board bag is a protective cover for your surfboard that helps to prevent it from getting dinged, scratched, or damaged between surfs.
It’s usually made of durable materials like nylon or polyester and features padding or insulation to provide extra cushioning for your board.
They typically come in two forms:
- The day bag – Suited to daily sessions and motor travel to and from the beach these single board bags are perfect for keeping your board surf shop fresh.
- The travel bag – Designed for the rigours of air and boat travel these bags pack in way more protection for your surfboard with rubber around the rail, nose and tail and the option to carry multiple boards.
Clear ding tape is a transparent, adhesive tape that you can use to repair minor dings or cracks on your surfboard.
You can apply it directly over the damaged area to provide a temporary fix until you can make more permanent repairs (more on that later down the list).
This is a must-have in your car or surf bag because it helps prevent water from seeping into your board and causing irreparable damage.
It’s a quick and easy solution that can save you time and money in the long run!
I use Phix Doctor ding tape ten times plus now and I wouldn’t ever go on a surf or a trip without it.
Worn in the ears to protect them from cold water, wind, and other irritants while surfing these are a lifesaver if you happen to live next to a chilly ocean.
They help prevent a condition known as surfer’s ear, which is a narrowing of the ear canal caused by exposure to cold water and wind over time.
Surfer’s ear can lead to hearing loss, infections, and other nasty complications so it’s a good idea to get into the habit of wearing them early.
My recommendation’s a pair of Surf Ears from Creatures of Leisure but you can pick up some cheaper options if you need to keep costs down.
A surfing backpack is pretty much what it says on the tin, a specialized backpack designed for surfers to carry all their gear to and from the waves.
It typically features compartments for your wetsuit, towel, wax, sunscreen, and other surf accessories.
The main attraction here is the waterproof inner lining which means you won’t have a soggy back on your walk back to the car.
If you want to get a branded surf backpack I’d take a look at this one from Dakine or this one from Xcel but you can pick up an Amazon brand alternative for roughly half the cost.
Waterproof seat covers are protective covers for your car seats that are designed to prevent them from getting wet, sandy and dirty when you stay in your wetsuit to drive to another spot.
They’re essential for any surfer who wants to keep their car seats clean and dry while protecting them from the corrosive effects of saltwater and sand.
They also do a good job of stopping that rather unpleasant wetsuit smell seep into your car’s upholstery.
*Pro tip – This is one of those cases where cheaper options are not cut out for the rigours of wetsuits, salt and sand so make sure to get a sturdy, rugged cover like these ones from Northcore.
The Finpuller is a small, specialized tool you can use to remove any style of fins from your surfboard.
It’s got a two-fold benefit, no chance of damage to your fibreglass or fin plugs and it saves the pain of trying to knock out a particularly stubborn fin.
This one’s a real lifesaver if you haven’t changed your fins in a few months and they’re caked in with dried sea salt.
A GoPro is a small, portable camera that lets you capture high-quality footage of your sessions.
It’s 100% waterproof and can be mounted on your surfboard, helmet, or body using a variety of accessories.
It’s a fun and innovative way to document your progress and let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to show all their mates the last tube?
You can grab one here.
This is a hanger designed specifically to hang and dry your wetsuit after your surf.
The wetsuit hanger features a wide shoulder design and non-slip material to prevent your wetsuit from stretching or slipping off the hanger.
It’s an essential accessory for any surfer who wants to extend the life of their wetsuit and it drys a hell of a lot quicker than slinging it over the washing line.
A boot organizer is a storage container designed to keep your car trunk or back seat organized and clutter-free.
It’s got multiple compartments and pockets to hold your wetsuits, towels, wax, and any other surf accessories.
Perfect for keeping your car clean and organized you can store all your surf essentials in one place and don’t have to worry about them rolling around or getting lost in the trunk of your car.
You can pick one of these up for less than $30 and it’ll be some of the best money you’ve ever spent, trust me.
This is a skateboard designed to simulate the feeling of surfing on land.
It features a longer, wider deck, larger wheels, and a unique truck system that allows for more fluid, turns that replicate carving down the face of a wave.
Perfect for improving your surfing skills and balance, this is a must-have for anyone who lives somewhere with inconsistent surf or flat summer spells.
A surf watch is a specialized made for surfers to track important information about their surf sessions, like wave size, wave count, and session length.
Some even include features like tide information, weather forecasts, and GPS tracking.
While I wouldn’t consider a surf watch a ‘must have’, it can help you identify patterns in your surfing, track your progress, and make adjustments to your technique in the water.
Solar power bank
This is a portable device that can store energy from the sun and charge your electronic devices like your phone or camera, while you’re out shredding.
It has a small solar panel that absorbs sunlight and converts it into electricity, which is then stored in the battery bank.
These are ideal for when you’re surfing way off the beaten track in spots like Indo or Western Australia.
Surfboard repair kit
A surfboard repair kit is a set of tools and materials used to fix minor damage on your surfboard like dings or cracks.
It includes epoxy/PY resin (depending on your board’s construction), fibreglass cloth, sandpaper, mixing cups, and applicators.
It’s a convenient and cost-effective way to fix minor damage to your board without a trip to the repair guy.
A storage system designed to hold your surfboards securely and safely at home when you’re not using them.
They have a wall-mounted or freestanding design, with padded arms or brackets that hold your boards in place.
These are essential if you live in a busy residence (let’s be honest people aren’t as careful with our boards as we are) or if your surfboard collection is getting a little out of hand.
The Stormrider Guide is a series of surf guidebooks that provide detailed local knowledge and tips about surfing spots around the world like wave quality, water temperature, and local surf culture.
Each guidebook includes maps, photos, and in-depth descriptions of the best surf spots in the area.
The Stormrider Guide is great for any surfer who wants to explore new surf spots and put themselves on the best waves for their skill level.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, the Stormrider Guide can help you discover new waves and improve your surfing skills, grab your copy here.