Surfing is a popular water sport that involves riding ocean waves with a surfboard. More specifically, it involves riding toward the shore. How do surfers catch waves? They’ll typically swim out into the water by lying on their stomach on the surfboard. Generally speaking, there will only be one person surfing per wave and it’ll be the one who’s closest to the wave breaks.
And as it turns out, it comes with many physical benefits. For one thing, paddling in the water will improve your cardiovascular fitness. Not only that, but it’ll improve your back and shoulder strength. Finally, it’ll strengthen your legs and core muscles as you’ll be working them both once you’re standing up on the board.
That’s not all—the sport can be great for mental health as well. In fact, studies have shown that regular surfing can actually reduce the frequency of depression. It does this by releasing mood-improving endorphins, which is also great for alleviating stress.
Want to get the most out of surfing? Then you’ll want to get the right equipment—one of the most important being the surfboard. Because as you can probably guess, they’re not all the same. For instance, it’s generally easier to stand up on longer boards.
And while it’s not mandatory, you might want to get a wetsuit. Made out of neoprene, a synthetic rubber material, they’re designed to retain body heat. That way, you’ll actually be able to keep warm while you’re in the water.
Other Types of Gear That You Can Wear For Surfing:
Board Shorts – Board shorts resemble casual shorts. Generally speaking, they’re made from nylon or polyester material, both of which are quick-drying. Not only that, but they allow for flexibility and movement while swimming.
Rashguards – Rashguards are stretchy shirts that are designed to protect you from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Not only that, but they also provide protection against rashes—that is, they’ll prevent your skin from rubbing against the surfboard.
Neoprene Jackets – Neoprene jackets are similar to wetsuits in that they’re made of the same material. There is one difference, however—they only cover the upper part of the body. Given that, many people wear them with board shorts. Since they don’t require a zipper for entry, they tend to be more comfortable.
Neoprene Vests – These vests are great in that they won’t constrict your shoulders and arms. At the same time, it’ll protect your upper body from the cold when you’re in the water. While they can be worn alone, so people do wear them under regular wetsuits for extra insulation.
Spring Suits – Spring suits are called that because they’re usually worn during the fall, when the water is still relatively cold. As it is, there are a few variations including the long arm spring suit, and short john, long john. Basically, they differ in the amount of coverage that they offer. Take short johns, for example, they’re sleeveless and cover up to your thighs. In contrast, long johns offer full-body coverage (aside from the arms, which are uncovered).
Choosing What to Wear
There’s no set rule when it comes to what you have to wear. At the end of the day, it depends on your preference. For example, some people will wear full wetsuits while others will go surfing in board shorts. If you want, you can always try a few options to see which you prefer. Remember, you want it to be warm, durable, and comfortable.
How to Wash Board Shorts Properly
Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to wash your board shorts after each wear. Just because you’re hanging out in the water doesn’t mean that they can’t get dirty, after all! Anyway, here’s how you can do it.
Putting Your Board Shorts in the Washing Machine
Most people will tell you to hand wash your board shorts and while that’s true, some can be put in the washing machine. First things first, though, rinse them with clean water. You can either place them in a container or wear them to the shower—whichever you prefer.
The next step is to turn them inside out; that will help to keep the color intact. Place them in a mesh laundry bag and add them to the washer. It’s generally not recommended that you wash them with other clothing, however, you can add a few towels. From there, add one scoop of ACTIVE detergent. Do not use fabric softener; it will ruin the polyester or nylon material by coating it with a wax-like substance.
Set your washing machine to the handwashing or delicate setting—the least agitation the better. Make sure that you’ve chosen cold water (hot water can compromise the integrity of your board shorts) and run a wash cycle. Wait for it to finish before taking the item out.
When it comes to drying the shorts, you want to steer clear of dryers. Instead, hang them on a rack or clothesline to air dry. Do not put them in the sun; the UV rays can cause permanent discoloration.
Hand Washing Your Board Shorts
The first step is the same as machine washing. That is, you want to rinse the shorts with water—that will get rid of any salt or oils that are on the fabric. Once you’ve done that, prepare a sink by filling it with tepid water. You can also use a container or bucket, whichever you prefer.
Add half a scoop of ACTIVE detergent and mix until the water becomes sudsy. Submerge the board shorts and make sure that they’re fully saturated by pressing them down with your hands; you don’t want them to be floating at the top. Gently wave them through the water a few times before letting them soak for about 20 minutes.
The next thing that you want to do after soaking, is to rinse them with clean water. We recommend draining the sink and refilling it with water from the tap. Knead the fabric lightly with your hands to remove the detergent. Continue to rinse until all of the soap is gone. From there, you can gently squeeze the water out from the board shorts. Make sure not to wring it like a towel.
Allow the shorts to air dry on a rack or clothesline somewhere indoors, away from the sun. Do not tumble dry.
Note: You can wash rashguards in a similar way.
Washing Wetsuits the Right Way
Are Wetsuits Machine Washable?
Note: With wetsuits, you also want to rinse them with water before washing. The goal is to remove any salt or sand that might be stuck on the material.
Ideally, you want to wash your wetsuit by hand. That’s not to say that you can’t put them in the washing machine, though—you just have to be careful when you’re doing it. First and foremost, you want to wash it by itself. Washing it with other garments can cause damage to the neoprene material.
Once you’ve placed the wetsuit in the machine, use a mild detergent. We recommend one scoop of ACTIVE detergent. Set your machine to “hand washing” or “delicate” and run a cold water cycle. Never use hot water as it can cause the material to become brittle. If you can, skip the spin cycle as well. That way, you won’t have to worry about the seams coming apart, which is a big deal since they’re the things that help keep you warm in the water.
Take the wetsuit out once the cycle is done and let it air dry. It’s important that you flip it inside out after a day or so so that it’ll be able to dry thoroughly. Because if you let it, mildew will grow! Depending on how thick the suit is, you may have to wait a few days for it to completely dry. Here’s a tip—leave the zippers open. That will maximize airflow so that it will dry faster.
Hand Washing Wetsuits
It’s not that difficult to wash your wetsuit by hand. Start by filling a washbasin or tub with tepid water. Avoid hot water as the heat can damage the neoprene material. From there, create a soapy mixture by adding half a scoop of ACTIVE detergent.
Before putting your suit in the tub, prep it by opening all of the zippers. That way, you will be able to access both the inside and outside when you’re washing. In addition to that, you want to turn the garment inside out.
Place the wetsuit in the soapy water and work in the detergent by kneading the neoprene with your hands. Afterward, let it soak for about 20 minutes. Once that’s done, rinse away the soap suds by holding it under running water. Make sure that there’s no residue left on the fabric.
Allow your wetsuit to air dry by hanging it up, ideally with a padded hanger so that it won’t stretch out the material. Remember the flip the suit after 24 hours so that you can dry the other side. For the best results, leave the zippers open.
Note: You can wash neoprene jackets and vests the same way as wetsuits.