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Neoprene saves the day!

A couple of weeks ago my good friend Tracy stopped by the shop for some warmer booties to keep her surfing addiction alive through the winter. She picked out some new boots, but then I convinced her she really ought to wear gloves, too. That wasn’t easy because Tracy despises how gloves feel and would rather suffer from the cold than have neoprene impede her paddling prowess. But alas, Tracy left with new booties and gloves and a pledge to report back on her new “session extenders.” Tracy is a straight shooter. If they sucked, she’d say so. (–Kim Rueter)


I’m hesitant to go here because none of us really want more people in the water, but winter surfing is totally doable with 2 key steps. 1) Gumption and 2) Gear. And I’m from the tropics so this was a serious transition.


I’d still paddle out in 35 degree air temps and 50 water temps but I was always limited on how long I could stay out based on how much pain my hands and feet were in. Upgrading from bare hand paddling to the trippy “liquid neoprene dipped” Rip Curl 2mm Rubber Soul gloves was genius! For $40 I’m now able to sit with my hands free instead of aching and stuck in my armpits. I got XS because I’m cursed with the perpetual hands of a 5 year old girl and they totally fit snug. I’m historically anti-gloves because they always filled up with water and become 2 lbs weights on each hand – huge fail. But these gloves are right against my skin and I can still make a fist and pull the middle finger on the regular.


Now the bootie situation is for the story books. Bonus to warm booties; cold feet suck beyond words! Drawback of warm booties; intensified need to urinate. Hey, I’d want to know. O’Neill 7mm, Heat round toe booties….I love you. I got a size a little bigger so I can wiggle my toes around. I despise the pre and post wetsuit struggle so why not make one of the steps easier? In my opinion, bigger is good for bootie size but bad for glove and wetsuit size. Water gets in the booties, but it stays warm forever (like “3 hrs in 35 degree air temps and 50 degree water temps” forever). Water will get in the gloves after an hour or so and it does not warm up. But something has to make this hard or everybody would do it.  So stop whining about the temperatures and get warm gear (or not…more waves for me!).

— by Tracy Solomon

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