Don’t Leave Home Without It
Going from living in the Big Apple and working a corporate job to dancing with waves in Costa Rica, my daily gear has gone from high heels, pencil skirts, and leather purses to flip-flops, bikinis, and a waterproof backpack. Since moving to Costa Rica, I have found some new gear and tricks to help survive the elements here in Costa Rica. So just in case you were wondering what to pack for your next surf adventure or tricks of a surfer chick, check out the below. Be sure to stay tuned for new new great products and tricks as I get my dirty paws on them.
Bikinis that stay on: When you start surfing, you quickly learn that you need to have the right bikini, otherwise you will be giving the lineup a free show. After some research and personal product testing, I have found that the best type of suits that stay on are the cross-back tops and the bottoms that have, well, skimpier coverage. Why the smaller bottoms? My theory is there is less fabric for the white-water to drag down. Talk about some toasty buns! Check out the suits made some of my favorite brands: Mi Ola, Calavera, Dkoko, and Del Toro, all of which have Costa Rica roots.
Neoprene: Neoprene in Costa Rica?! I know, you must think that that I am crazy. So yes, maybe my blood has thinned a little and water colder than 80 degrees is “chilly” for me. But seriously, the water temperature here in the Tamarindo area does tend to drop in the dry season when the Papagayo, offshore winds howl causing a thing called upwelling; the wind blows the top layer of water and the cold water rises from below. Sometimes the temps drop enough to need a 2mm spring suit. Thankfully, when the water temperatures change even the slightest, I have found some pretty awesome 1mm suits that are stylish from Rip Curl. So styling’ that in fact several of my friends have purchased the same suit…
Board sock: When you get a new stick, you gotta protect it in style. Enter the stylish board bags custom made just for you by Annie at PurksEmporium
Nikon DSLR and iPhone: I never leave the house without a camera (or two). After taking what seems my thousandth sunset picture, I decided to bring my photos to life and make my own postcards and notecards, inspired by Mother Nature. Just saying…these gems are a perfect way to brighten up the day of all you cubicle dwellers…
Yoga mat: As I learned the semi-hard way, yoga is essential when you are surfing a lot. Somehow I went almost a month without practicing and coincidentally strained my back and neck. All the paddling, arching your back, and wipeouts require some good stretching. Plus, being bendy has some other advantages as well….like being able to touch my toes! I recommend Jade and Manduka mats.
Surfboards: I wish I could have a whole quiver of boards, but until I get Robert August to shape me another board, my two magic sticks are a 9’6″ Robert August “Wingnut Noserider” and 7’6″ Robert August “Waimea” model. Smooth like butter and the ride so sweet…and don’t forget the wax!
Goof Board: When I am dry docked visiting my family in the US, I love to hop on my Goof Board balance board. It is an excellent tool for improving your column strength balance and super fun to cross-step on!
Stylin trucker hat: When you are as fair as I am and live 10 degrees North of the Equator, sun protection is essential. Sometimes though, sunscreen is just not enough. And all the squinting from the bright sun looking for next wave is sure to cause some forehead wrinkles. After 9AM, I pretty much always surf with a hat. I know y’all must be thinking how I keep the damn thing on? Magic my friends.
Skin-So-Soft: Not only a moisturizer, Skin-So-Soft doubles as bugspray. Buh-bye mosquitos.
Pañalito: Another product that does double duty; Pañalito is the Costa Rican version of diaper-rash creme (American brand is called Desitin). But, do to its high content of zinc oxide, it is a great, thick sunscreen that stays on. I apply it to my scar and recently started rubbing it in on my ears and hands to make sure I have extra protection on these more exposed and sensitive body parts. Of course, you can use it to treat rashes caused by surfing.
Superglue: What?! No, I am not cray-cray. This suggestion comes via my friend Tim. If you ever get a cut that is not stitch-worthy and plan to be surfing, then superglue is a great alternative to sealing up that wound. I have not had to test this out (yet), but Tim superglued his toe all week during his surf trip here in Costa Rica. Just make sure you don’t superglue your fingers together…
Leave-in conditioner: After living in Costa Rica for almost a year, my hair has been exposed to a lot of sun and salt water. After a surf session, my beach-blonde locks scream for moisture. After every surf session I put leave-in-conditioner in my hair and a couple times a week I deep-condition my hair in the shower and leave the conditioner in until I remember to rinse it out. I use a deep conditioner by Dove and an AWESOME deep-deep-deep conditioner from Macadamia Natural Oil.
Braided hair: One day I decided to braid my hair before paddling out and I soon realized my hair was not a tangled mess after getting out of the water. The braid helps to tame my locks and not dry out my hair as much. And the added benefit of a ponytail braid is it helps keep that trucker hat on…