The War on Sand | Why You Should Wash Your Surf Kit Regularly

Sand and salt are all good, but they can seriously damage your surf kit

As a surfer, saltwater and sand are surely two of your very favourite things in the universe. Friends, allies… perhaps even something more intimate than that. Whatever gets you off, man.

After the Big Bang you see, when those groovy exploding stars gave rise to all matter, forming all the chemical elements our galaxy is made up of, two of their very finest collaborations were surely salty water and sand, right?

“Salt eating away your beloved surf kit, while you’re sleeping? Not cool!”

Saltwater to form the primeval soup from which all life emerged. Sandy particles to form beaches that fringe the ocean’s edge, to dissipate all that wave energy into beautiful, peeling surf.

Sand and salt are great, but not when they’re caked to your kit. Photo: Chris Johnson

But everything has its rightful place. Salt in seawater, of course. Thirty three parts per thousand If you will, without meaning to sound picky. Salt on scrambled eggs? Yes. Please. You can even harvest some, post-shred, from your eyebrows.

But salt eating away your beloved surf kit, while you’re sleeping? Like some sort of sinister chemical attack on the very fabric of your stoke? Not cool!

Sand waging an endless war of attrition on your shred materials? A thousand times no!

On days when the weather’s not great, a portable cleaner is even more important. These are proper Kärcher conditions. Photo: Chris Johnson

When Salt and Sand Go Rogue

After you surf, salt water will go to work on your wetsuit. It’ll crust up your zip sliders, making them more likely to jam and then break. It’ll harden the supple rubber seals. All that wicked flexibility modern wetsuits have evolved to give you? Salt wants to take your neoprene back to the bad old days of stiffness and low performance.

Salt and sand can seriously mess your wetsuit up. Photo: Chris Johnson

Salt will even prevent your suit from ever properly drying out, sucking moisture out the air to keep it damp. Leash velcro, fin screws, traction… a salty crust never did anything good to any of them. With a charge sheet that lengthy, it’s a wonder the stuff can even sleep at night.

Sand is a less subtle enemy, and certainly no less pesky. Sand in your car? Sand in your house? In your board bag, in your life, all over your… vibe. Sand grates, both literally and figuratively. Sand makes for beautiful beaches, but annoying everything elses.

So what can you do?

The Kärcher OC3 barely takes up any room in the boot of your car. Photo: Chris Johnson

It ain’t rocket surgery, people. Wash out your surf gear! Giving it a good clean after every single session will help prolong its life – potentially by years.

You don’t even have to risk getting your car all sandy and irritable as portable cleaners like the Kärcher OC3 allow you to do it in the car park. There’s no need to fret about the water pressure dinging your board or damaging your suit either, as the pressure is a relatively gentle five bar. In fact, it’s so mellow it’s soft enough to be used on dogs.

You can carry the OC3 easily, even when full. So you can take it right to the beach front – or even onto the beach – if you need. Photo: Chris Johnson

It comes with an in-built lithium battery so you’re not restricted on where you can wash. There’s enough volume to wash any quiver you can pack in your vehicle, and you and your crew’s wetsuits.

Cleanliness and stoke never knew they could hit it off so well!

Cleaning your kit properly will help it last longer, so you can make the most of evenings like these. Photo: Chris Johnson
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