Surfing. Oh how I love getting stuck into all that Mother Nature has to offer and use her salty H2O to temporarily wash away all of my perceived problems. The only issue is that where I live in Scotland… that water is… how do I put it… UTTERLY BALTIC. Even in the height of summer, not only do I battle with my hooded wetsuit, but I don my 5mm wetsuit boots to avoid my toes cramping up. I can handle this, as it allows me to do what I love. However, the bit that has always grinded my gears is what comes after the surf.
My go-to method of stashing my wetsuit post-surf has always been my trusty gardener’s bucket – this does the job of keeping the rest of your car dry but doesn’t solve the problem of my wetsuit being soaking when I get home. So, on my return home from a post-work surf on the icy East Coast waves, I am faced with my reoccurring head-scratcher: where do I dry my wetsuit?
I suppose I could hang it up on the fence in my garden? No way. If it doesn’t get nicked then on the rare occasion that it’s sunny in Scotland, I don’t want my suit getting damaged by the UV rays. But, more likely: it will be raining, which doesn’t help things at all. In the airing cupboard? Next to the kids’ clothes? Aye, right.
Oh well, I’ll just leave it in the bucket until next time. When it will be still damp. And smelly. Lovely.
So when I discovered the Dry Bag, I could sense my wife’s impending joy. No more honking wetsuits in the car? No more trails of saline drips on the kitchen floor? It was time to put it to the test.
Dry Bag currently offer two styles of bag: the Elite, for the more regular surfer, and the Pro, for the Weekend Warrior. These days, I am definitely the latter. So, with my Dry Bag Pro’s arrival coinciding with a decent run of swell, it was time to head off in search of waves.
As usual, the waves were average and my surfing even more so. But after the session, I found myself to be more excited than usual at the prospect of taking off my soaking wetsuit. After going through the ever painful process of removing my sodden suit and boots (no gloves needed today – it is ‘summer’ after all), it was with great pleasure that I chuck my wetsuit on the sturdy hanger provided with the Dry Bag, and zip it up.
The hanger allows you to hang the bag from, well, pretty much anywhere, but until I get my dream camper van (which I’ve only been designing in my head for over a decade), I hang my suit from the tow-bar of my family-wagon. The vents either side of the bag allow the air to circulate around the wetsuit, and with gravity doing its thing, the water is encouraged to drip off into the watertight bottom section of the bag. This section is sealed and has a removable plug to keep the excess water locked up until you’re ready to release it.
With the knowledge that the Dry Bag hanger can easily support up to 25kg, I lock my car and clip the bag onto a nearby fence, leave it to work its magic and go and have a peek at the remainder of the swell that’s peeling in. As usual, it looks as if the waves are getting better than when I was in the water. I’d never normally consider putting my wetsuit back on and returning to the sea for a last few dusk waves… but my suit is nearly dry. Should I? Shouldn’t I? I decide that I owe it to the future me, sitting at my desk tomorrow, filled with regret, obsessively checking the surf-cam. In I go, for just one more wave.
To find out how to buy dry bags and more about the Dry Bag, which is available to buy online or at selected stockists, please visit: https://thedrybag.co.uk
John Harfield is a travel writer and photographer based in Edinburgh
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