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Posted: July 28, 2014 by Francesca

This article was added by Francesca Bingley 

Maximising your time in the surf is the aim of most surfers. We all want to catch the most waves, improve our surfing, have oodles of fun, and not be hindered by water temperatures… So the existence of the wetsuit is a godsend for any surfer living in cooler climates.  Even though most of us would happily jump on a flight to the tropics, surfing at home is something very special, and having a wetsuit that enables us to get into the surf no matter what temperatures are doing is very important. So check out our quick guide for how to choose your next wetsuit and get yourself sorted:
  • 1- Water temperature
Where are you going to surf most of all? Or what time of year are you going to be using your wetsuit? The colder the water temperatures, the thicker the wetsuit needs to be.  For summer and sometimes even autumn you can get away with a 3/2mm short sleeve wetsuit, or even a full spring suit 3/2mm, but during winter and spring when the ocean is at its coldest a 5/3mm winter steamer suit is needed.  If the water is sub 10 degrees Celsius, then make sure you invest in booties, gloves, and even a hood… nothing worse than ice-cream brain.
  • 2- Fit

Luckily wetsuit designs and materials have improved a lot since their creation in the 50s and now have more flexibility than ever before.  Although most modern suits will have the same foundations, that of neoprene panelling, the fit of a suit can be very different.  So the key to finding your ideal wetsuit fit is to try on every brand you can get your hands on.  Feeling comfortable in the surf and being able to move your shoulders and arms freely makes all the difference to your fun factor in the water.
  • 3- Budget

Finding a wetsuit at a good price is all about being smart and planning ahead if you can.  For a good range winter wetsuit you are looking at spending around £200/€250 plus.  However if you buy your wetsuit at the end of the season (for the next year) you can get some serious discounts.  Before you purchase, know what makes the difference to warmth, such as blind stitched and double taped seams, sealed cuffs, and flush proof zips.  

Once you’ve sussed out what is good for your body type and fit, you can always look for simpler surf brands with the same features as the more elite labels if you are looking to save a bit of money.  However, if money is no object, maximise and invest on the best suits that surfers like Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, or Kelly Slater wear, as you can get the best stretch, durability, and warmth for your money. 

Posted: July 24, 2014 by Francesca

This article was added by Francesca Bingley 

The sensation of melting into soft sands, being lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves, and the warmth of the sun on your skin is what being at the beach is all about.  Choosing which beach is going to be your holiday home for you and your friends or family is all part of the fun.  So to inspire, excite and energise you for your next surf holiday, here are a few top tips for how to pick your own perfect beach:
  • 1- Surf

It may seem ridiculously simple, but choosing waves that you and your party can play in is essential to having a great time. There is no point setting up camp on a surf beach where the waves are too powerful or too weak for your surfing ability. So talk to your surf instructor, or local guide and find out where the best surf is for you and your group’s levels.
  • 2- Sand or no sand?

Beaches are all made of golden sand right? Wrong… Part of the beauty of beaches you will discover whilst on holiday is that they can really vary.  Rocky, stoney, white sand, golden sand (think of the Côte Atlantique and the surf town of Hossegor)… even black or mink coloured sand (like in Fuerteventura), have a think about where you want to sunbath for the day, especially if you’ve got young kids, as black sand beaches can be notoriously hot.
  • 3- Cafes

One of life’s great pleasures is being able to sit back, watch the ocean lapping away, and have a drink in hand. So when picking your beach check out whether there are beach cafes nearby to keep you refreshed during the day. One of our favourites is the promenade that runs alongside Ericeira’s main surf beach Foz do Lizandro. Perfect for when you want a light lunch of fresh local cuisine, or simply a cool drink by the water.
  • 4- Location, location, location

You’re on holiday, so make life easy for yourself and your group. Think about visiting beaches that are easy to get to from your accommodation, then you always have the option of doing other things/your group having the flexibility to do their own thing during the day.  If you want to leave the beach for a spot of shopping, or maybe even for a siesta, if you are close to your accommodation/a town you have options. Check out the photo of San Sebastian's surf beach above- it's beach is next to the city's shops, cafes, and hotels, so would keep everyone happy throughout the day.  

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