Surfline's Gear Insider: Family Beach Day Essentials
There’s not too much better than an Easter Weekend spent with the family at the beach. And knowing that your highest risk of breaking your surfboard or anything else for that matter increases exponentially when your kids are involved. We’re happy to see that Surfline also recognizes that risk, including Surfcare Surfboard Protection Plans in their Gear Insider: Family Beach Day Essentials.
Written by Beau Flemister
Photos by Paul Strouse
A wise man once said: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” That wise man was Benji Franklin, who eventually got his humble visage on every C-note. And while most believe he was referring to military strategy when delivering that quote, we like to think he was really talking about a rad beach day with the family — where, like battle, improper preparation can lead to disaster.
While the following list isn’t an all-out declaration (get it?) of necessities for a truly productive family beach day, we’ve found these 10 items to be particularly useful.
Costco Folding Wagon
No one wants to be that kooky Daddy of the Year wannabe who clogs up the trail while tripping over his soft-top, beach tent and 20-liter cooler. Pull the trigger instead on one of those reasonably priced Costco folding wagons. Key word: folding. So easy, so packable in the vehicle, with big ol’ tough wheels for tricky paths and sand (depending on the softness, mind you). Fits most if not all of your load including a couple groms. FYI, though: it doesn’t like tight turns, it’s a lil’ tippy.
YETI Tundra 35 Cooler
Ask any tailgater, hunter, fisher or outdoors enthusiast, and they’ll agree: YETI makes one hell of a cooler. Like Kleenex, the brand name is synonymous with the thing. The Tundra 35, while a tad bulky, is our favorite cooler for an extended beach day. Fits over three six-packs and even has a dry goods rack to keep your sammies from getting soggy. There’s a drainage screw, too. The Tundra 35 is also critter resistant, coming with two padlocks. Easily schleppable via wagon — or however one prefers to schlep their coolers.
Haydenshapes LOOT Soft Series
From the Hypto Krypto and the Holy Grail to the Cohort I and beyond, Haydenshapes has built some of the most ubiquitously rideable (sometimes award-winning) surfboards over the last decade. It’s only proper that they would eventually build an affordable softie that you could beat up a little. HS does offer a Hypto Krypto softie, but we particularly love The Loot, based off their popular groveler model. It’s available in harder “Performance” sizes with smaller dims; or if you’re still learning, you can get an upsized model, perhaps even a Loot Glider as large as 9’0”. Either way, the Loot softie rides surprisingly well. You can put in whichever Futures fins you please, but two K2 keel fins will really get you down the line in a flash. Textured grip deck, too, so wax isn’t really needed. A solid grom board that can take a whooping.
Surfcare Surfboard Protection Plan
This just in: Surfboards are fragile. Of course, there are ways to mitigate the risk. The very necessary company Surfcare has been offering easy and affordable surfboard protection plans for a couple of years now. They’ve got ‘em for SUPs, too, and soft-tops (which, as durable as they appear, just beg to be ridden right onto the shoreline, so their fins can break, too). We recommend their Premium plans for coverage on dings and breaks. With reckless groms in the picture, might as well.
KEUMER Beach Tent
A solid shelter of some sort is clutch for all-day, or even partial-day, beach outings. Groms need shade. Groms’ parents need shade. And groms’ parents’ precious surfboards definitely need shade. Only thing is, the average beach tent is a b-word to assemble. Pushing sticks through holes? Nobody’s got time for that. Stakes in sand? Yeah, right. And the break-down is like stuffing an inflated dancing man from the used car dealership back into a fanny pack. It’s a struggle. Amazon somehow got it right with their popular Venustas Pop-Up beach tent. With a quick twist and a bend at the waist, she’s all coiled up. Lightweight and super easy to carry, with built-in sandbags to keep the tent from blowing away, this one is money. Highly recommended.
Slowtide Chico Quick-Dry Park Blanket
It’s the beach, so you’re just not gonna evade the sand. But you can add a layer of protection to your beach tent, so peanut butter and sunscreen don’t sink into the nylon forever. Lightweight, insanely packable, large enough, and quick-dry-AF, Slowtide’s Chico park blankets are ideal for any outing, beach days especially. Made from 100% recycled materials, it also has a zipper pocket in the corner for phones and other tchotchkes. A pretty clutch spread to keep in the car for the constantly outdoors.
Octopus SMOT 86L Tote Bag
If you’ve got young kids in the mix, whatever was brought will inevitably be strewn about, violently. Thus, consolidation via a solid tote bag to just chuck all the junk into is key. Problem is, most tote bags are: a) too small for it all; and/or b) made of cloth and leak when sopping towels, wetsuits, swimsuits or drinks get thrown in it.
Octopus, however, solved all that with their sturdy, whopping 86L Super Massive Octo Tote (SMOT) bag. Really collapsible, easily cleanable, and epically waterproof (hello, welded seams), the Octo SMOT has become our go-to beach bag. Throw it all in when the day begins, then hose it down when the day is done. Holds ice and, like, a hundred beers.
Brought to you by stylish Aussies Kai Neville, Dion Agius, Mitch Coleborn and mates, Epøkhe makes some great-fitting shades. Are they considerably better or more ethically built than all the others? Not really, but we love this new Dylan XS frame specifically for the size. Large enough for an adult with a normal-sized head, yet small enough for a baby to wear in photos — the Dylan XS may say XS, but we think they’re JR (just right). However, if you’re going for the whole captain-on-a-Key-West-fishing-charter look, these frames probably ain’t for you.
We Are Feel Good Inc. SPF 50+ Sunscreen
Another Aussie export we’ve been pretty psyched on as of late, the We Are Feel Good Inc. brand makes some topnotch products. With sunscreens custom-made for babies and kids, among other moisturizers and thicker face zincs, their SPF 50+ sunscreen sinks in just right and isn’t greasy or pasty on the skin. Slop it all over yourself and your kin before coming into contact with the sun on your beach day. And if you happen to reside in Oz, they’ve got an awesome recycling program with the empty bottles.
GoPro HERO10 Black
You know GoPros, they’re like iPhones: The 9’s a little better than the 8, which was a little better than the 7… But the HERO10 Black just hits different, going into full beast-mode. More mega-pixels, better stabilization, better low-light and waterproof up to 33ft, just to name a few improvements. Bottom-line, having a GoPro handy on a beach day is just good parenting. So many firsts could occur — your son’s first wave; your daughter’s first air-reverse; your infant’s first bite of surf wax — and no one will forgive you for missing any of them. They’re more durable than ever, and you can whine about the subscription fee later. Your kid’s about to go viral.