Selecting the Right Wetsuit Vest, Jacket or Rashguard for Surfing

Picking out the right wetsuit vest, jacket or rashguard can be a bit of a hassle. Similar to picking out the right kind of wetsuit it really depends on what you’re surfing and where you’re surfing. So before you jump in the water, consider a couple factors that might improve your ocean experience and surf performance.

Water temp

Hyperfreak Crew JacketAlthough this summer’s weather seems promising, the earlier months (mainly June gloom) can put a damper on your beach day plans.  I know wearing things with sleeves in the summer can be frustrating but being comfortable in the water can enhance your performance that much more.  So instead of a vest or a rashguard try something a little more practical like the O’Neil Thinskin Hyperfreak Crew Jacket.  It’s made with UltraFlex DS neoprene, has a super –seal collar and a key pocket.  It’s similar to what the actual fullsuit might be like just with no legs and no over-heating in the summer.  xcel xceleratorAnd though the Hyperfreak is big on function the Xcel suits boast both style and functionality. The Xcel XCELerator is a Nylon-lined 2mm jacket with 1mm sleeves for ultra flexibility.  And since summer is all about the color don’t be afraid to rock a green, grey, or red in the line-up.  The Xcelerator jacket even comes with a waist loop that ties to your boardies to batten down the hatches.  But if you’re looking for some serious core protection, you might just want to take a peek at Rip Curl’s Core Rubber Soul Jacket.  A little more on the soul surfing side, this trendy suit is bringing backRip Curl Wetsuit Jacket the old school look with the old school Rip Curl logo on the front, this jacket is a great way to keep warm.  Use it for dawn patrol, or even just on a windy day.  It’s made with Ultralite and E3 Elastomax neoprene so you can surf and still flex those guns.  The thick neoprene on the core keeps your warm while the flex is all in the sides and underarms so you can keep carving and make those soul turns.

Suns out guns out

Quiksilver Heat Vest

It keeps your core warm and your arms free.  At least this is the case with Quicksilver’s PS+Heat Vest System.  The first of its kind and probable the warmest, this battery operated heating system is built into the suit to keep you warm for hours on end.  By using FAR infrared heating technology the vest ensures warmth of your core and maintains the temperature when placed under a wetsuit.  Looking for something simpler? Look no further than O’Neil’s Hammer Vest.  For under $50 you can keep your midsection warm and your “guns” a blazing in the summer sun. This vest is made with 100% O’Neil’s own premium neoprene, Fluidflex for maximum freedom and minimal restriction.O'Neill Hammer Vest

Guard your goods

Arm freedom of the vest and the protection of the jacket, the rashgaurd is the perfect protection against sunburn, and some gnarly rashes this summer. Both durable and comfortable the Xcel UPF50+ is a Lycra rashguard that does double duty in protecting you.  Despite being thinner than a neoprene vest this long sleeve rashguard comes equipped with UPF 50+ or ultraviolet protection factor with an SPF 50 to block out those harmful rays. xcel rashguardAnd if you’re really feeling like getting your bronze on, it comes in a short sleeve version.  The Xcel UPF50+ short sleeve comes in a blue and white, black and grey, green and white, and a tri-colored black grey and white version.

Performance Core K2.1 FCS Surfboard Fins Review

The K2.1s are a high performance fin for skilled progressive surfers.  The K2.1 design is nothing new to the surfing world. F.C.S. has had these fins around for quite some time with minor changes in template and limited options for materials over the years. Slater has renovated his K2.1 and he ended up his ninth world title with them, that’s a successful improvement at its finest. We’ve stocked up South Coast with these things for that very reason.

The new K2.1s are made out of the F.C.S. performance core fiberglass construction. The performance core fins are stiffer than their natural composite brethren, you know, those plastic feeling ones that look like they could glow in the dark. Now they are composed of a foam core, a fiberglass foil and a satin cloth for aesthetic amusement. This translates to a less forgiving fin but one that is more sensitive and able to handle more powerful waves without sliding out or over flexing while racing down the line for a beach break barrel. They are also much lighter due to the foam inside the fiberglass foil as to not weight down the tail of your board when you’re trying your best Slater impression to get above and beyond the lip on your turns.

Almost all high performance fins now are made with some type of foam core but that’s not what makes these blue and white beauties stand out. The real deal behind them is how their templates work with the flex patterns of the P.C. construction. Most thruster sets have the 3 fins shaped all with the same template and length but not this set, hence the name K2.1. The side fins have more surface area compared to a shorter trailer fin, so responds like a small twin fin plus a trailer fin to balance out the pivoting.

The side fins have a wide base to produce forward drive through turns and allow you to slam your rail into a gouging cutback with confidence that the extra surface area will hold your line. They have almost no rake making them stand straight up like the dorsal fin on a shark. The lack of rake lets your board change direction quickly like snapping a more vertical bottom turn up a wave when you need to do work fast or risk being pitched via a heavy lip into a reef head. If you’re thinking right now that’s too risky, these fins aren’t for you. If you‘re drooling on your computer at the thought of such an opportunity, then you‘re on the right track to qualifying for a set.

The trailer fin is about the size and template of an M3 fin; there is a bit more rake, but less area so when you submerge your tail the board will go into a controlled slide or quickly cutback without sacrificing all your speed in the process.  The concept behind having a smaller trailer fin is to make it easier to break free from a carve and perform a more radical direction change, welcome to fins free surfing. Combine that with the responsiveness of performance core material and you’ve got a recipe for some heavy hitting Young Guns style wave riding.

These fins are not going to let you make a mistake without paying a price. They’re used by a nine-time world surfing champion, they were meant for those with the skill and the sheer guts to assault the most angry of waves at their most critical points. If you don’t set yourself up for a deep bottom turn you can expect these fins to make your snaps feel terribly forced and lacking of all style. They have a very pivotal turning nature so you must surf them more vertically and use more torque from your legs if you want be able to connect maneuvers.

Surf them in hollow beach breaks or in more heavy reefs in the area to understand how they work. Don’t worry about getting stuck behind a section, the side fins have the ability to drive you right around it with some double pumping or if you‘re daring enough right over it with a floater. Now you’re probably thinking these fins are too technical to be practical but it’s a double edged sword that will sharpen any surfers skills to their own benefit. Yes they’re not forgiving, but after you have them dialed in you’ll learn to execute proper bottom turns that produce incredible drive up the face while that smaller trailer fin lets you crank through a turn with style and enough speed to fire off your next blow tail snap.

“Shaper Series” Part 5: The Arrowhead Quad

Summer is quickly approaching and you still haven’t picked up that surfboard that will set you apart from every “Joe Six Pack”, and visiting tourist from Iowa. You’ve checked out our shaper series over the past few weeks and have loved all the great big board designs, but are still left with that desire to break free from the monotony of traditional summer shapes. Maybe you even have a classic fish and have ridden that thing to death. Time to take a look at a design so new shaper Larry Ricci just generated a name to go along with it. A board born by “accident”, the Arrowhead Fish is upon us.

Sometimes shapers tinker with current designs and end up with a shape that they think will rip. Often, in most cases such as this one, a board is created when a shaper is reproducing a standard and gets a little too crazy with the foam. Larry Ricci had this happen to him recently while shaping a classic fish model and decided to run with it. After a few of the South Coast shop riders took it out, they fell in love with this beautiful “mess-up”. As you can see it has a pulled in nose for increased performance and a wider double wing cut. Both of these features as Larry mentions will turn a classic into a speed machine. Perfect for many wave conditions and just a fun board to substitute for the egg or noserider you might be currently ripping on.

All South Coast boards are proudly shaped and glassed in the United States. With quality built into all of our boards, you know that they will last longer and hold up better than new “pop-out” boards, or surfboards that are shaped in China. Support our economy as well as the local surf shop and pick up one at any of our five South Coast locations. This board is available for demo, so try one on before making that big investment. Stop in at South to take a look at our large selection of South Coast surfboards or any of your surf accessory and clothing needs. Check back in the future for more from our shapers and boards they believe you will love.