'Tis the season to spend, spend, spend. Or so the fine retail giants of this land try to tell us. But us surfers, the engaged and enlightened few, know better than to spend up on cheap, tawdry consumables. Don't we?
Here I present my alternative, essential surf gear guide. Comprised of things you probably already own (but perhaps hadn't envisaged for these purposes) or cost less than one of our rapidly decreasing currency units - the humble pound. Please add any suggestions below.
1 - The 'Frakta' Ikea bag
I know of no other bag more suited to the transportation of wetsuits. Light, cheap, reusable and with wide opening. This humble plastic bag, a true classic, effortlessly transitions from wetsuit bucket for the boot of your car to easy carrying down to the beach. Essential.
2 - Blu-Tack
As a sufferer of Surfers Ear (the bony growth of the inner ear canal that affects many cold-water surfers around the world) I have tried the majority of products on the marketplace designed to block water from and insulate the ear canal. Whilst some are notable for their ability to allow a degree of sound through (Surf-Ears), they are often priced around £35, which is going to be a sticking point for anyone without a serious problem. Or if you are anything like me and end up losing each pair every few months it turns into an expensive habit.
Enter Blu-Tack - cheap, malleable and in my humble view, just as effective at blocking water and insulating the ear canal as any of the myriad of products specifically available. Just one negative point, you can't hear much.
3 - White Spirit
Ah sweet divine nectar, deliver me to my maker. Not an exit strategy for a wave-drought but rather a cheap, effective way of clearing wax off a surfboard. In our sun diminished land of Cornwall, the best way to approach wax removal is to pour some warm tap water (I'd say around 40c) over your board and scrape the majority of the wax off with a comb or old credit card. But what about the discoloured, hard to remove left overs you cry?
'White Spirit' soaked onto a rag I answer, lovingly wiped across your favoured board. A sparkly wax-free board will be yours, without spending £12.30 on a surf branded equivalent.