Surf poncho, changing robe, call them what you want, but I always thought they were unnecessary. Dorky, even. Having lived my entire surf life north of Point Conception, cold is just part of the game when changing out of a wetsuit. Bring a jacket, pull it on immediately while changing, and that’s been plenty warm enough for me.
Then I tried the Surf-fur Waterparka and I realized how wrong I’d been. Oh, so wrong.
Made of a robust, high quality bonded fleece, the Waterparka ($149) is warm, soft, and--this was the big selling point for me--waterproof. Maybe other waterproof surf ponchos exist, but I’ve never seen one. Meaning I can surf a freezing winter session, get out of the water with frozen hands and toes, toss on the Waterparka and drive home to shower in my suit without ruining my truck’s seats. Or, get out when the peak I’m surfing is ruined by the tide to drive somewhere else while still suited up. In the past, I’d layer a couple towels over the seats to sit on, sometimes a board bag too, but that never really works, and my car seats end up with a funky wetness.
Not with the Waterparka. I’ve been wearing it all week and driving around with it over the top of my wetsuit with no leaking, soak throughs or anything unpleasant transferring from my suit to my car seats. It also works as a wetsuit wrap if you want to just bundle your soaking suit in it for transportation. Plus, the fleece itself seems to shed water and odors, so it hasn’t become funky either.
If wearing a robe around the house is luxurious, wearing one at the beach is even better. The Waterparka is a little time consuming to put on, as it fastens with snap buttons rather than a zipper, but once on, it’s warm, windproof and easy to wear while changing out of a wetsuit. It has pass-through pockets with big slits in them so you can reach through to pull up your pants, underwear, whatever. The hood is nice and roomy, and there’s a collar to keep your neck warm too. The arms are wizard-sleeve sized, and don’t bind up on wet wetsuits while you’re wresting out of one.
Surf-fur is a small, family-owned business in Encinitas, California, and they’ve been quick to respond to my many questions. Customer service seems to be a priority as is quality--the Waterparka feels like it’ll last for many years. If you’re looking to cozify your winter surfing experience, here’s a nice, easy way to do it.