The Guide and The Gear You Need to Surf Secret Spots This Winter

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Surfers have two types of secrets; ones that are too good to keep, and ones that aren’t worth keeping.

Yet secret spots remain a fundamental part of the surfing experience and mythology. And in Europe, winter time is when they come to life. So without blowing ’em up, here’s the guide, and the gear, you’ll need to navigate that surf spot that only a few, hundred, other people know about.

Up high, in the bushes, a shooter gets the shot. Photo by Luke Gartside

Cans and Camera

Secret spots and Instagram go together like orange juice and sick. Yet it is in a surfer’s nature to document a session at the winter secret spot. Well, we have the solution. The Poler Camera Cooler Bag protects your camera and accessories, but when the insert comes out, transforms into an insulated lunchbox or cooler for a post-surf six-pack. The gnarly locals will think you’re just packing a picnic, rather than a 300dpi weapon that can freeze an epic lineup forever. Give it six hours before you post though, yeah?

Rubber High, Profile Low

Grant “Twiggy” Baker, warm, slotted and in secret. Photo Greg Chapman

You’ve made the effort. You’ve gone undercover to get the secret tide dimensions from a non-discreet local, and the forecast looks good. To maximise your time in the water, you need to stay warm and toasty for a big sesh. We’d recommend the Sisstr 5/4mm Hooded Chest Zip Wetsuit or the Vissla 7 Seas 4/3mm Full Hooded Chest Zip Wetsuit. Both will handle anything the Atlantic can throw at you, and with the attached hood means you can keep the profile low and the temperatures high.

Hug a Hoodie

A UK secret spot, designed for hoodies, and stealth. Photo: Ollie Howe

Secret spots are about keeping it real, and on the down-low. While we are all for freedom of expression, turning up in an Ice-Cream Van (playing Coldplay at 120 decibels) and hopping out wearing a, all be it on trend, 1990s fluro jumpsuit, isn’t the attention you want to be drawing to yourself. Instead, come in dark, but fresh in an autumn-coloured Dark Seas Strand Fleece or a black Florence Marine X 2.5-Layer Waterproof Shell. With both you can keep the hood up, and the eyes down.

A Toasty A Go-Go

Build it, and they will come Photo: Tim Nunn

An epoch ago, before I had my driver’s licence, I convinced my non-surfing dad to take me and three mates on a camping surf trip to a fabled, though secret spot, three hours down the coast. To his credit, Colin would awake in a tent filled with teenage gases in the pre-dawn darkness and drive us to a local secret point for the early. 

On the first morning, Dad took a camping sandwich maker (what he called a waffle iron) so he could make a fire and cook his breakfast. I was mortified, as it was a) severely embarrassing and b) blow our cover. 

That was until I came in after a two-hour session and found my old man surrounded by three grizzled locals who were all chowing down on a tomato and cheese toastie. They said we were welcome as long the old man kept the free sangers coming. Dad kept cooking, and so did the waves for three days. It may have been the best three days of my life.  You can repeat the trick with Snow Peak Tramezzino Camping Sandwich Maker

Transition Time

You don’t want to hanging around in the car park at this UK secret spot. Photo Alan Danby

The mission to a secret spot is all about stealth. You want to get in, get out, and tell your story walking. With time of the essence, you’ll need to transition from civilian clothes into neoprene quicker than an Olympic triathlete. This is where the Ocean & Earth Superstorm Waterproof Poncho comes into its own. Unisex and with a water-resistant outer with warm sherpa fleece inner, it turns that horrendous transition phase into something, well, slightly less horrendous.

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