Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Boulder
    Posts
    880

    Gear Questions from a Kook

    Looking for some basic gear advice from the collective - got bitten by the surf bug pretty hard and am hoping to spend some time this fall getting into it.

    Wetsuit:
    What's recommended for a fairly versatile cold water wetsuit? I plan to be in Tofino for 7-10 days starting next week, and will probably spend a similar amount of time on the Oregon coast en route to California in late Sept. early October. 4/3 thickness? Does brand matter? Zip style? I'm willing to pony up a bit for something decent - would $250 get me there? Would take a rec on booties/gloves/hood but will likely take what I can find used for those items.

    Board:
    This doesn't seem as important as a wetsuit to me - I assume anything 8' or bigger will be sufficient for a 160lb noob. True or false? Any leads on used boards in the Vancouver area would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Van City and Whistler
    Posts
    1,963
    If you want a do it all wetsuit for PNW a 5/4. Most people use that year round.
    I use a 6/5/4 in the winter and a hooded 4/3 in the summer. I recommend a suit with a hood built in.
    Gloves and booties. Most people do 5mm in both year round. Lots go gloveless in the heat of summer.
    I do 3mm in those in the summer. 7mm booties and 5mm gloves in the winter.

    Brand doesn't matter. Fit does. I like chest zip. Less water flushing.

    Board. You want a 9 foot+ longboard. Anyone who tells you to learn on anything else is out to lunch. You'll spend more time standing up on more waves and therefore progress faster. If you are surfing infrequently it will take a couple years to progress to a shortish board and actually be able to surf it. If you are surfing every week you can do it a lot quicker.

    Craigslist in Vancouver always has decent boards coming through.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    2,415
    Quote Originally Posted by Atrain505 View Post
    If you want a do it all wetsuit for PNW a 5/4. Most people use that year round.
    I use a 6/5/4 in the winter and a hooded 4/3 in the summer. I recommend a suit with a hood built in.
    Gloves and booties. Most people do 5mm in both year round. Lots go gloveless in the heat of summer.
    I do 3mm in those in the summer. 7mm booties and 5mm gloves in the winter.

    Brand doesn't matter. Fit does. I like chest zip. Less water flushing.
    .
    Fit matters. A TON. I use O'Neill because they tend to fit me well. Think about it like ski boots, some brands fit different people better.
    Quote Originally Posted by Atrain505 View Post
    Board. You want a 9 foot+ longboard. Anyone who tells you to learn on anything else is out to lunch. You'll spend more time standing up on more waves and therefore progress faster. If you are surfing infrequently it will take a couple years to progress to a shortish board and actually be able to surf it. If you are surfing every week you can do it a lot quicker.

    Craigslist in Vancouver always has decent boards coming through.
    I agree here too, although I don't think it HAS to be over 9 feet. 8.5 feet would probably work if there is enough volume. One of the biggest mistakes people make is going to a small board too fast. You want everything to be slow and gradual, that requires a big board. Also, a big board will be useful on small days if you do progress to something smaller. I learned in college, so late in life, and the people I knew who tried to learn on smaller boards gave it up, it's just too hard.

    One of my best friends insists you can learn on a standard short board. He is a great surfer, grew up on the Big Island and started surfing when he was 7, but he is way off base. To be honest, a bunch of our friends have listened to him about learning on a short board and they have all, literally all of them, given it up. Learn on a long board. When our buddies would ask me I would be deferential, explaining that he knew far more than me and was a far better surfer than me, but that he was going STRONGLY against conventional wisdom. The problem is, everyone wants to shortboard, so when someone says you can learn on a small board that feeds into what they want to hear. It just ain't so. Like I said before, I have never seen anyone successfully learn on a small board at an advanced age. That does not mean it has not happened, I just have not seen it. I know my buddy meant well, and I like people who think outside the box, I just think he learned so early that he is very out of touch with what it is like to suck.

    To keep hammering the nail, learn on a big board.
    "Have you ever seen a monk get wildly fucked by a bunch of teenage girls?" "No" "Then forget the monastery."


    "You ever hear of a little show called branded? Arthur Digby Sellers wrote 156 episodes. Not exactly a lightweight." Walter Sobcheck.

    "I didn't have a grandfather on the board of some fancy college. Key word being was. Did he touch the Filipino exchange student? Did he not touch the Filipino exchange student? I don't know Brooke, I wasn't there."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Calgary
    Posts
    1,363
    This is just one wettie I found with a quick search

    Atrain knows better than I but if Florencia Bay closer to Ucluelet is working seems like a much nicer longboard wave for learning, in my experience anyway it seems to be more protected from the winds.

    Otherwise many great options in Oregon, Short Sands being learner central and a nice place to hang out for the Portland crews.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    296
    Iím like you, just starting to pick it up more and more. I think you want to rent bunch of different suits and boards. Long time ago, I could squeeze in a youth suite so I bought a cheap used one... then I tried another size and itís so much easier to get in and out. And not too much water got in... so I would rent at least one season before figuring out what you want.

    Boards are same way. You want to try bunch of different boards first. Too many options even limiting the size ďover 9Ē....


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Boulder
    Posts
    880
    Thanks dudes!

    RE: Suits I tried on a bunch this week. Most XCELs fit the best, Rip Curls are OK to great depending on the model. I do think the higher end one's generally fit better. Bunch of good stuff on EVO right now - think this 4.5/3.5 Hooded is a good compromise and would get me from Oregon to Santa Cruz pretty comfortably or should I spring for a true 5/4 and maybe be hot in NorCal?

    https://www.evo.com/wetsuits/xcel-45...ded-wetsuit-17

    I'm currently in a rental Billabong 5/4 hoodless backzip (flushes occasionally). Comfy for me here in Tofino right now w/o gloves or booties. Maybe I'll try to swap for a 4/3 later in the week to get an idea where I land on running hot/cold. I run average to hot BC skiing but that's a bit different ballgame.

    Board-wise I'm on a 9ft rental softy - sounds like they set me up right. No ego and I enjoy the learning curve so I'm happy to progress down in size slowly. I managed to find one website where a late-learning guy (OK not as late as me) described his board progression:

    https://surfontario.ca/blogs/news/bo...rf-in-your-20s

    I plan to be surfing daily from mid-Sept into November so hopefully I can step down in that time. Still a #kook tho in every way but etiquette - catching green waves straight on, will try to start getting down the line today.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Calgary
    Posts
    1,363
    North, I bought that same suit this year, the 4.5/3.5. Van Isle locals will say it makes for a perfect three season suit (spring/summer/fall). I used my buddies 5/4 Drylock for a few days before buying the 4.5. Reviews would have you believe that 4.5 to be as warm as the 5 but I do get cold easy and noticed a bit of a difference. I'm happy actually with that 4.5 and it does have a little more mobility. The one thing that annoys me is the face opening doesn't have the little chin guard like the 5 so the string from the cinch basically sits above my chin so not as comfortable...BUT, because the hood is thinner I can hear a lot better...pros/cons to each.

    Since you're paying for a rental, I would just jump on a new suit right away instead of waiting for a sale price from the US. Somebody local will give you a deal, try Relic in Ucluelet, nice guys.

    Good eats in Ucluelet too, Hank's Barbecue was awesome, and Abbondanza for pizza is rated very highly by BC locals. Except for the Brussel sprouts I was really disappointed in Shelter in Tofino after not being there for YEARS.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Van
    Posts
    729
    Quote Originally Posted by robnow View Post
    This is just one wettie I found with a quick search

    Atrain knows better than I but if Florencia Bay closer to Ucluelet is working seems like a much nicer longboard wave for learning, in my experience anyway it seems to be more protected from the winds.

    Otherwise many great options in Oregon, Short Sands being learner central and a nice place to hang out for the Portland crews.
    I surf at a low frequency (5-10 days a year) all in coldwater, pac coast. I have this same wetsuit (w/ bamboo lining) and I use it year round with 5mm booties and gloves. If its warm I take the hood off.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    28
    Thanks for the information

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Boulder
    Posts
    880
    Update: the 4.5/3.5 has worked really well for me. Surfed in Oregon earlier this month w/booties and was perfectly comfortable. Now in central California I've been running it w/o booties and leaving the hood off. Can get a bit hot on the sunny days if I'm paddling a lot but easy to flush and cool off. Glad I opted for this over the 5/4.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Posts
    139
    What board did you end up on? I think I would have recommended an Odyssea Log...

    What did you get and how did it work? Just a generic soft top rental?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Boulder
    Posts
    880
    I stayed on the rental 9' softtop for my entire time in Tofino. Worked great - progressed to moving down the line in small/medium surf ("4-6ft" I think). Conditions were really consistent in Tofino - great setup for learning.

    I only got out for a couple days in Oregon and the waves were pretty tough - rented an 8' softtop in Seaside, maybe an Odyssea. 8' felt fine and didn't take much of an adjustment.

    I bought a Wavestorm in California and have been on that for the past few weeks. So far so good, aside from the death-inducing leash which I replaced after day 1. Have been in SLO area for a bit and was feeling pretty decent before the rain returned and all of my kook breaks got maxed out by this swell. Planning to head to SB/Ventura in the next couple days.

    I'm working on trimming and bottom turns now. Still very stoked and learning new stuff every day.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •