One of the many frustrations of surfing, is there is a lot of time waiting around. Be it bobbing around in the water between sets, or sat on shore wondering where the waves are, it’s fair to say the ratio of downtime to actual wave riding is pretty one-sided. Now, I don’t always mind the quiet moments. I appreciate the solitude and the time allowed to gather my thoughts… as long as I’m not cold. So as I find myself on the north coast of Scotland, once again staring out to the waveless sea wondering why I obsess over this ridiculous past-time, it’s fair to say that I am glad to be wrapped in my L.L.Bean 850 Down jacket.
L.L.Bean have been making superior outdoor garments for decades, and are my – and a lot of surfers’ – go-to choice for comfort for cold water adventures. What I love about this particular jacket, is that it is ridiculously lightweight, which is essential when travelling on a surf trip. What with wetsuits, surfboards, thermal underpants (maybe that’s just me), the last thing you need is extra bulk. The 850 Down Jacket has an internal stowaway pocket which doubles handily as stuff sack. Since I’m in Scotland and it’s utterly freezing, I won’t be stuffing this jacket away any time soon. But it’s nice to know that I could, if the sun ever dares to shine again. I know I’m supposed to be at one with nature right now, but I’ve been sitting on this rock for an hour now without even a hint of the promised swell on the horizon, and as the drizzle starts (which isn’t an issue as this down jacket uncharacteristically repels water), it’s time for some motivating music. Inside the tailored 850 is a media storage section, where I have placed my smartphone of choice, and the headphone ports allow me to get my earphones in and listen to some motivating music. Well, if I had charged my phone that is. Today isn’t going quite to plan – oh well, at least I’m not cold.
Being a lofty 6’3”, I adore how these jackets are sized – I have gone for a Medium Tall which eradicates the icy draft that would be sprinting up my back right now in a regular length coat. With the rain getting slightly heavier, I am thankful that I went for the hooded version of this jacket; it’s like being wrapped up in a cocoon-shaped hug.
Do you know what, I am here to surf, not to sit sulking on a rock. I get my positive mind frame back in gear and head back to my motorhome to don my thickest wetsuit. I stare lovingly at my jacket as I place it on my sleeping bag, promising it that I will be back soon. Very soon probably – I’ll need warming up after this Baltic paddle.
If you need to stay warm, especially if you have long back like me, do yourself a favour and have a look at the L.L.Bean Ultralight 850 Down Hooded Jacket.