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Articles about surfing, surf companies and other usefull stuff

Reviewing summer wetuits

Learning to surf Pt I

The Realm mens beach cruiser bike

Reviewing summer wetuits

June 19th, 2009 No comments

Doing a review on summer wetsuits is a much easier task than the winter suits.

For one reason there are so fewer criteria, a good number of the requirements / features of a winter wetsuit or 5/4/3 are to make sure they keep you as warm as possible, as much water out as possible whilst maintaining as much movement when in the suit as possible.

With the summer suits the criteria is different. For a 3/2 suit its all about flexibility and comfort, warmth is still important but as the water temperature is vastly warmer it becomes less of a high priority issue.

The top of the range summer wetsuits are all boasting lots of “features”. Some have ported liquid seaming over from their winter range, which keeps more water out. Most are now boasting super stretch neoprene which is fantastic - as I mentioned above the flexibility of a summer suit is one of the key features. Quite a few manufacturers have had issues with the super stretch neoprene causing the knee pads to wear through quickly, often because this is a prime pressure point for duck diving (unless you use your feet like me!) The suits also can come with anti-flush systems and a wide variety of other small “perks”, the popular front zip is also being ported over from the winter suit ranges which again keeps more water out.

In this country ( UK ) we are not in a state yet – global warming might change this but, currently our water is generally cooler more of the time than it is warm, so another important factor for a summer suit is cost. If you are only able to use it for a few months of the year before it’s into the 4/3 or 5/4 then you are not going to want to pay the same cost as a winter suit.

We review the suits in a similar style to the winter suits. We will be looking at the things that matter – how the suit looks on you! (That’s a joke by the way!) But seriously we will be looking at how well the suit is made, how warm it keeps you, how flexible it is – whether the features are worth the extra if you have paid a little extra for them! As with our winter suits we must stress that size is a huge factor – equally as important as with the winter suits as you are wearing less neoprene, although the water temperature is higher, in the summer you are more likely to want to stay in the water longer whilst you can without loosing toes. Therefore having a suit that doesn’t hug your body in all the right places is a bad way to even start. So make sure you get properly fitted and always try the next size down before you decide!

One final note – again we must say a huge thank you to the manufacturers who participate in our reviews, without them it wouldn’t be possible. We don’t make any money from Sunset Surf so to have support from the big names really makes the little guy feel important. After all, we know the industry is booming – even in a recession, we may not like it, but to know that the manufacturers are not leaving the “real” surfers behind and without a care is an important factor.

Check out our summer suit reviews

Learning to surf Pt I

June 19th, 2009 No comments
To follow is a series of articles on learning to surf. Whilst there is no substitute for “water time” there are a few hints and tips that can help you on your journey to becoming a competant surfer.

The first in this series of articles is about preparation. That means your equipment, your fitness, your goals and your choice of location.

Whilst the water is there for you to have fun in and enjoy, you will get more out of a session if you have made some basic preparations.


It may be that for the first few times you choose to rent a surf board. This is probably a wise choice, as buying surfboards isn’t a particularly cheap process, and while you are learning it can be quite easy to ding or damage a board. Rental beginner boards are usually reasonably tough to take a few knocks and can easily be fixed up once you have returned it, unless its snapped! The guys and gals from the rental shops will probably advise that certainly for your first few times at the very least, you choose the biggest board thats manageable for you. This is because the bigger the board, the more stable it will be for you, and whilst you are learning it takes a while for your balance to get up to speed.

If you do decide that you want to buy a board, again it is suggested that you start with a board that isnt going to cost a great deal so that when rather than if you damage it, it will either be easy to repair, or not so expensive that you need to be overly cautious about it. Second hand boards are great for this, they are usually cheap and often are a bit bruised already, meaning you dont need to worry about the board and can focus on what you are doing.

If you have made up your mind that you want to buy a board for the long haul, I recommend (if you are from or surf near devon or cornwall) The Woolacombe bay surf shop has a great selection of boards, but more importantly they know what they are talking about, and can advise you on the best board for your size / shape / goal. If you are not close enough to be able to pop in, then either check out your local surf shop, make sure if you do that they take into consideration your height, your weight and your experience before advising you on a board to suit. Unfortunatly not all surf shops will be looking to sell you the best board, rather the one with the best markup, so be a bit carefull and ensure they are asking the right questions.

If you fancy buying a board online, and feel you know what you want, then try extremepie.

The next important bit of kit you will need, unless you are planning to surf somewhere nice and warm, is a decent wetsuit.

The most important thing to get right on a wetsuit is the fit. You can buy the most expensive suit in the world, and if it doesnt fit right you will be cold and uncomfortable, which will ultimately mean you wont stay in the water for very long.

Again if you are in the south west, its recommended to check out the bay surf shop, but if at all possible, wherever you go, try the suit on. All the manufacturors make their suits very slightly anatomically different, and one size might fit like a glove, and the other be baggy like an old bin bag! Try to forget the brand to start with and focus on a good fit. Here at Sunset Surf we have reviewed a number of different suits, to help you create a shortlist, check out our reviews section here for details.

Fitness! A tricky one this. The bottom line is to get surf fit, you need to surf! There is no substitute for water time, however there are things you can to do help. Ensure that you have a good level of cardio fitness. The best way to do this if you can’t get out to surf, is to swim. Swimming excersizes a significant number of the muscles required for surfing, and will help your overall cardio too. You also will benefit from a strong core, as well as good upperbody and back strength for all that paddling. Its important to note that its also beneficial to be nice and flexible too. I’ll say it again, surf surf surf, to get surf fit… even if its flat, paddle around the bay. For professional help! Try this book > Fit to Surf: The Surfer’s Guide to Strength and Conditioning or if you prefer to watch something on your TV, try this DVD > Surf Stronger 2 – The Surfer’s Workout DVD – Volume 2 – Core Training with Serena Brooke

Finally for this part of the series, your goals and location.

Its important to set yourself small goals so that you can see yourself progress, even if it is slowly to start wtih. I would always suggest that your first goal you always have is to enjoy yourself. Sometimes it might be really frustrating, sometimes the wind might be blowing so hard you can’t even get out the back, but remember, enjoy youself and think that every session you are a little fitter than you were before you went out. Remember, whatever goals you set make sure they are attainable, otherwise you will just get more frustrated when you dont meet them!

Location, chat to the locals, and the guys in your local surf shop if you can, but make sure that where you go to start with is a good beach for beginners. Thats not to say it likely wont get good waves, but it will mean that you are less likely to be caught in a really bad rip, or injure yourself if its tight between lots of rocks or reef.

The Stormriders guides are very good, with a great rating system to help you find local beaches that are suitable for your current ability level, check the latest one out click this link > The Stormrider Surf Guide Europe or for the world guild click this link > The World Stormrider Guide: v. 3

Thats it for part 1, be sure to check out part 2 where we will be talking about surf ettiquette, beginner techniques and lessons – will they help?

If you wish to be alerted when part 2 is available click here and enter your details along with the subject “Subscribe to the guide!”

The Realm mens beach cruiser bike

June 19th, 2009 No comments

The “Realm” men’s beach cruiser. This newer cruiser has a striking color combination of orange and silver. Low mileage 26 inch knobby black wall tires, mounted on light weight alloy wheels. An ultra strong 3-piece crank, not found on most cruisers, and high-end aluminum pedals. Quick release seat adjuster and a new black seat makes this a very comfortable ride and sure to turn eyes where ever you ride.

Tom Curren riding realm cruiserRealm Cruiser  


manufacture: The Realm
model: Cruiser
wheels: chrome
wheel size: 26 inch
fenders: none
tires: black wall, knobby
tire size: 26 x 2.10
crank: 3-piece, polished alloy
front brake: none
rear brake: coaster
shifter: none
rear hub: freewheel
seat: black (new)
frame color: orange & silver
extras: none