Professional surfer Kyle Thiermann has logged a lot of miles over the years in his pursuit for waves. Thiermann’s impetus for travel isn’t just surf though, he’s an award-winning gonzo style documentary filmmaker that brings environmentally threatening issues to light and realistic solutions that both you and I can implement in our daily lives to help curb. When not in the water or behind the lens, Thiermann hosts an engaging podcast and can be found delivering empowering messages as a guest speaker at universities.
Thiermann’s extensive travel experiences, often to rough and rugged locales, combined with his problem solving pragmatism make him an authority on what to pack in a boardbag for any surf destination. Thiemann’s surfed Irish slabs with snow on the shore and his hometown of Santa Cruz isn’t exactly known to have the warmest water–he knows what works for staying as comfortable as possible in extreme conditions. You’ll notice a lot of Patagonia gear in Thiermann’s bag, that’s because the company sponsors him. Checkout Thiermann’s coldwater surf trip essentials below.
- Patagonia Men’s Yulex® Impact Wetsuit Vest - One of these provides both flotation if the surf gets heavy and an extra layer of core-warmth under your wetsuit.
- Patagonia R5 YULEX® Hooded Fullsuit - Don't let your wetsuit be an excuse not to go surfing. Make sure to pack a warm hooded-wettie that you can trust. Check out more facts about Thiermann’s specific suit here and compare and contrast with other frigid-water-worthy rubber here.
- Patagonia R3 Yulex® Split Toe Booties - This may seem obvious but making a conscious effort to pack booties will ensure you're not frantically searching through your bag while simultaneously questioning whether or not you remembered them as the surf fires. It will also ensure you're not stuck with two-left footed booties and vice-versa. Wetsuit gloves and fin keys also fall into this same category. Get dialed for the best booties for the water temperature of your destination here.
- COR Quick–Dry Changing Towel - Aside from the convenience offered by a poncho-like changing towel, one made out of quick-drying material can help reduce that mildew-y stench after a few days on the road of lazily wadding up your gear. It’s like wrapping yourself up in a Shamwow Snuggie each change. Also, an extra layer of protection for your boards is an added benefit.
- Thermal Underwear - Thermals? On a surf trip? Packing thermal underwear for a surf trip may seem like an oxymoron but cold-water will chill a surfer to the bone, slide into a pair after a session and get warmed up quick. Browse thermals here.
- Dry Bag - A dry bag with shoulder straps and an exterior compartment for goods you prefer to keep dry is convenient for surf spots that require hiking in and out of, as well as preventing your water-logged wetsuit from soiling your gear. Dry bags come in all shapes and sizes, browse here.
- Hiking Boots - Speaking of hiking, a pair of boots in your bag will have you prepared for muddy and slippery trails that lead to surf and/or other fun. If you’re not lucky enough to score a pair at a flea market for $10 like Kyle, then you can browse a wide selection here.
- Rain Jacket and Rain Pants - Because the only place you'll probably want to be wet on a cold-water surf trip is in the ocean or in a hot tub. Browse water-repellent gear here.
- First Aid Kit - One of these should be the first thing in your bag no matter where in the world your surf destination might be. The specific kit that Kyle references can be found here, including an itemized list of the medical supplies that are included. If you’d like to assemble your own first aid kit, you can watch a how-to video here. Remember to keep your first aid kit in your checked bag if it contains scissors, blades and/or any other sharps.
- Leatherman Tool - You never know what type of Mickey Mousing, McGyvering and jerry rigging a trip will throw at you, but a good multi-tool will help you pull the job off. Make sure to pack your multitool in your checked bag though, otherwise TSA will snatch it from you. Check out the varieties Leatherman offers here.
- Sleeping Pad - As Kyle mention’s in the video, the combination of the following three items allow him to sleep outdoors most places in the world. A sleeping pad is essential not only for comfort but for warmth too, the pad helps re-radiate your body's warmth so it doesn't get absorbed into the ground. Learn more about REI’s Flash Pad here.
- Sleeping Bag - It's always better to be too hot than too cold, learn more about the temperature ranges and Patagonia's sleep bags here. Compare and contrast a wide range of sleeping bags here.
- Sleeping Bag Liner - The one-two punch of added warmth and the convenience of not having to wash your sleeping bag, buy one here.
If you’re more likely to opt for a tropical surf destination, watch Thiermann’s warm-water essentials below and click here for more details.