Life must have been tough for the early pioneering surfers. How did they get changed in warmth and comfort before the invention of the towel robe? Surely they got frostbite on their feet without the aid of a waterproof change mat? What gave their lives meaning if they didn’t know exactly how many waves they’d caught in their last session, or what top speed they reached, because there were no GPS watches around to tell them?

Fortunately such hardships are now behind us, thanks to the groundbreaking advances in the field of surfing accessories. Need to buy a christmas present for a surfer? Going through a mid-life crisis? Suffering from a profound sense of spiritual emptiness? Here are six inessential but awesome surfing accessories that will assuredly fill the void, and make your life so, so much easier.

Surfing Accessories: The Dryrobe

Big wave surfing legend Andrew Cotton, all snug and warm in his Dryrobe.

Surfing Accessories: UK big wave surfer Andrew Cotton in his dryrobe

Change robes are such an evidently excellent idea that people have almost stopped taking the piss out of them. Often the most unpleasant thing about cold-water surfing isn’t the cold water itself, but getting into and out of your wetsuit in the carpark before and after your surf. The Dryrobe is designed to make this process as painless as possible.

Devised by a British surfer from North Devon, the Dryrobe is essentially a vastly superior version of the standard towel change robe, which take ages to dry and provide little shelter from the cold. Wear it to the beach or swap it for your coat before you get out the car, then pull up the hood and get changed inside it, shielded from the elements by the wind- and waterproof outer shell fabric. After you’ve surfed, simply reverse the process; the quick-drying internal fleece lining not only keeps you warm but draws the water away from your skin, leaving you dry in no time.

The Dryrobe Advance Short Sleeve in Navy Grey.

Surfing Accessories: DRYROBE ADVANCE SHORT SLEEVE

Price: £94.99 (add on an extra £35 for the long-sleeve version). Standard towel robes are available for £34.99 from Cornish brand Robies, makers of the original change robe.

Surfing Accessories: Frontfoot Grip Pad

Traction without the scraggly mess: the LUNASURF Alien 4 Piece Front Foot Pad.

Surfing Accessories: LUNASURF Alien 4 Piece Surfboard Front Foot Grip Pad Black

Front-foot grip pads, all the rage in the ‘80s, were stigmatised in the ‘90s and ‘00s almost to the point of extinction, but have enjoyed a resurgence in the last two or three years, particularly among hip free-surfing types of an aerial bent. Benefits include not having to buy wax, not having to scrape your board clean of filthy wax, not having to worry about getting wax on your car’s upholstery, etc. Also, maybe, a pleasing squishiness underfoot. Dion Agius recently teamed up with mates Nate Tyler and Chippa Wilson to launch the very trendy Octopus, which specialises in grip pads for both front and back foot. Arguably even sexier is UK brand Lunasurf, which in addition to its wetsuits does a nice line in full deck traction.

Price: £54.95 for the Lunasurf Alien 4-piece front foot pad, which obviates the need for wax entirely. A smaller, 3-piece version is available for £29.95.

Surfing Accessories: Rip Curl GPS Surf Watch

Record your session with the Rip Curl GPS Watch, then sync your stats to your phone.

Surfing Accessories: Rip Curl GPS Watch in black, with Mick Fanning's stats

GPS tracking is maybe not quite as relevant to surfing as it is to, say, cycling, but various statistics can be recorded from a surf session which are both interesting in themselves and valuable from an improvement perspective. The Rip Curl GPS Watch calculates your speed, keeps a tally of how many waves you’ve caught, measures the distance of your individual rides and charts them on a map of the line-up. All this data is then logged so you can monitor your performance over numerous sessions and compare your stats with those of your mates or even the pros. The whole thing is reportedly addictive: “when I forgot to charge it and arrived at the beach to surf yesterday, I didn’t paddle out," writes surf journalist Derek Rielly, possibly ironically, possibly not. What use would it be if he reached a new top speed? How would he know? How could he tell everyone about it?

Price: £264.99.

Surfing Accessories: Northcore Grass Change Mat/Wetsuit Bag

Leave the freezing cold tarmac for the plebs and get changed on Centre Court with the Northcore Grass Change Mat.

Surfing Accessories: Northcore Grass Change Mat / Wetsuit Bag

Another ingenious aid to changing into and out of your wetsuit. Every cold-water surfer is familiar with the intricate carpark dance designed to prevent bare feet from coming into contact with the cold, sandy ground. But a change mat not only keeps your feet warm and your wetsuit dirt-free, it also transforms into a waterproof wetsuit bag when you pull tight the drawstrings, thus you take your wetsuit off and scoop it up into the car in one smooth motion. Northcore have taken this idea and incorporated an inspired twist: 6mm of artificial grass, which provides a soft, warm cushion for your delicate little feet.

Price: £29.99

Surfing Accessories: Bulldog Lock Box

Store your car keys securely while you're surfing, with the Bulldog Lock Box.

Surfing Accessories: Bulldog Lock Box for car keys

The old car key dilemma: where should you stash your electronic car key when you go for a surf? Perhaps your best option is inside the Bulldog Lock Box, which can be secured with a four-digit combination to a solid anchor point on your car. It’s a tough nut to crack for prospective thieves and I’ve never heard of one being broken into; still, it’s probably best attached somewhere inconspicuous.

Price: £33.99

Surfing Accessories: Northcore Double Soft Roof Rack

Northcore's soft roof rack system can hold up to ten surfboards on your roof.

Surfing Accessories: Northcore double soft roof rack for driving with surfboards on the car roof

It’s generally preferable to drive with surfboards inside the vehicle, but sometimes surfboards on roof is the only reasonable option. If you’re car isn’t fitted with permanent roof racks, detachable soft roof racks are easy to strap on and off the top of your car and are allow you to stack either one or two rows of surfboards on the roof. Lightweight and great for slipping into your board bag when travelling by plane — they often come in handy on surf trips abroad — the Northcore double soft roof rack can hold up to 10 surfboards, board size permitting.

Price: £49.99

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