Just Surfer Girly Things

Since it’s almost the official start of Summer, I figured it’s a good time to share my honest opinion about Surfer Girl related stuff out there in SurfyLand that I’ve personally purchased and/or tried recently. As always, y’all know I’m not sponsored, a “rep”, nor am I worthy of touching Kelly Slater’s bald head. Just an average surfer chick with some info for ya.

N-Joy!

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LOVE: Costa Bikinis

I recently decided to try this company’s swimwear since I really admire some of their team surfers like Keala Kennelly from Hawaii, and Kaydi Archer, who is an extremely charitable and talented local surfer lady who is VERY active with Surfers for Autism. Plus, their suits are made in Spain. You know, I went to a Tapas Restaurant once, so I’m an expert about Spain.

They have a sale going right now, so I picked up 4 pieces for $80 with free shipping. It took a while to receive my package, but the wait was worth it. Reversible construction, nice prints, comfortable to wear, and stays in place when I’m surfing- I’m sold. I can see paying full price for one of these instead of a poorly manufactured, pricier Roxy suit.

Their online shopping area was difficult to use on a mobile platform, however, so I hope that gets worked out soon. As far as sizing- if you’ve got some interesting curves, go for the next size up from your normal size. I was glad I did. On Instagram, they put “costafriends” as a 15% off coupon code- I’m assuming that’s open use, and not a one time only deal, but I can’t confirm.

LOVE: Sally Hansen X-Treme Wear Nail Polish

This is my #1 recommendation to all surfer girls who paint their nails or toenails. This particular line has been the ONLY nail polish that will stay on my toenails for a hot minute when I surf. I’ve tried OPI, Essie, Chanel, etc., and none hold a candle to this bargain. I can take the bits of wax stuck to my toes after a sesh, and the polish still stays intact underneath. Even after knee paddling, duckdiving, Rickrolling, etc. this polish can last me almost a week of surfing every day, and still look halfway decent afterwards. Amazeballs.

The best part is you can find it at the drugstore for cheap. Yeah, there’s not a huge selection of colors usually. Get over it. Just stick with lighter shades, use the matching clear topcoat, and stick to only 1 coat of each. Even makes my funky feet look passable. Don’t ever stare at your feet too long….trippy……

LIKE: Sun Bum Deep Conditioning Masque

This is the only time of year I’ll pick this up, since it seems to help with the summer heat and saltwater that dry out my hair. Honestly, I really dig the beachy smell of the conditioner, but it sucked 20 bucks out of the Surf Trip Fund.

This is great to use every Monday morning before work, so you can think of the beach and “bum” yourself out even more when you’re at your desk. Nice.

LIKE: Sand Cloud Towels

I finally broke down and ordered one of these towels. They are expensive for a beach towel (I ended up paying around $40 for mine total), but they are nicely woven and shockingly light.

The first time I used it was to watch a rocket launch on the beach. At first, I wasn’t too jazzed about the braided knotted tassels that finish off each side, but they seem to give the towel a little weight against a windy beach which was a nice bonus.

Mine seems to wash well in warm water even though the tag says hand wash only. Yeah, right. Make sure to use a 25% off coupon when you buy a towel online- it usually consists of a girl’s name (they’ve got loads of “reps”) and the number 25 (example: JANE25, MARY25). Check a coupon code site for one if that doesn’t work.

MEH: Pura Vida Bracelets

Ever since Pura Vida was found to be manufacturing their bracelets in other countries outside of Costa Rica (the whole basis of their sales pitch), they’ve sure had some backpedaling to do (read the Mia Culpa here). So with that, I’ve just been making my own, or opting for 4Ocean Bracelets this summer.

MEH: Rip Curl G-Bomb Front Zip Jacket

I was so disappointed about this one. When I first tried it on, I noticed I had to go waaay up in size compared to other brands, and it was still a bit difficult to get on and off, but the half front zipper’s teeth were covered well (protects from the surf wax). I really wanted that feature, and I was having a tough time finding it on other vests, especially on front full zip jackets.

If only this vest had a slightly larger chest circumference and a full chest zip like a true jacket did. Boo. Instead, I guess we’re supposed to pull our zippers down a little and let the tight torso give us cleavage whilst surfing like a pro, like freakin’ young Alana Blanchard. Mmmkay.

You know, if I ever make a surf wear brand, I’ll call it “Surf Cougar,” for all of us older surf chicks out there who haven’t totally blown out a knee or hip quite yet. Hey, it takes a certain degree of confidence to keep on surfing into the sunset. No apologies, brah.

DIY Surfboard Carrier Sling

I think these surfboard carriers are pretty smart, but they can also get a bit over the top. I just need something to take some pressure off of my

Kinda pricey, but nice

 carrying arm when I’m taking my board down to the beach. More so now with my recent shoulder injury. There’s some on online stores that are well-designed, could probably take a bullet, but also cost some real cash (plus S&H, too).

I just figured I’d make my own simple one out of an ancient bath towel, a couple of surf tees, and a bit of rubber kitchen drawer grip ($1 for a big roll from the thrift store originally). Kinda has that MacGyver feel. Nice.

I LOVE this shirt, but it’s a little big

I did this one mostly for my 7’0” funshape, so this not-too-big, not-too-small shrunken bath towel would work fine. This towel’s width was around 1/3 of the length of my funshape board, which I thought would help for stabilization.

The only machine stitching I did on this carrier was to make the top casings for the handles. I just folded down each end a bit to the outside of the carrier, pinned it, and ran a straight line of stitching down each end. Also hid the fancy pants brocade strip so common with bath towels. Takes away from the Surf Cred, ya know.

If you want, you can add the kitchen drawer grip as a strip to the bottom of your carrier, like I did. I made mine 6” wide, and around 26ish” long, approximately the width of the carrier sling. This will help the board from sliding out of the sling as you move around. I used a heavy hand-sewing needle and Button and Craft thread (thicker than sewing machine thread) to sew in the strip to the bottom.

Next, I applied interfacing to the back of the surf tee logo to give it some stiffness for use as a pocket. I sewed the cut out patch pocket onto the front of the carrier, being careful not to overlap the kitchen grip attached at the bottom. I used a triple step zig-zag stitch around the curved edge. The top edge was open, but I had hemmed it already.

Taking the remainder from the surf tees to make the handles for the carrier sling using t-shirt yarn (learn how to make t-shirt yarn), I braided the strands, then sewed two braids together to give it some width. The t-shirt knit makes it comfortable on the shoulder, too, and also stretches a lot.

The handles were made by feeding 1/2 of my doubled braid into the casing I made on the towel, and sewing the ends together. Same for the other side.
Done!

I’m in full GNAR mode now

I was pleasantly surprised that it will carry my biggest longboard, my 9’0” Dewey Weber:

Schweet

Now that’s how you MacGyver, kids.

Yikes. World’s over.

One More Beach Towel Summertime Coverup DIY….

It’s become toasty hot this week in Rocket Town, so it’s getting about that time to finally lose the wetsuits for the Summer. Hallelujah. Warm water, warmer muscles, less problems for this middle-aged surfer chick.

I usually wear a rash guard and long Lycra shorts or leggings when I surf in the Summer- I don’t want to get yet another gnarly burn. I’ll wear a bikini underneath, but rarely on it’s own. Yikes.

Those are far easier to get out of than wrestling a wetsuit off in the cold, potentially pulling down my bikini bottoms with it. More yikes + TMI.

That’s why I made the style of towel in my last post, and it works year round. This type reduces the possibility of showing something whilst changing, but it can be quite hot to use for changing if it’s a 100 degrees out. 

Enter the style of towel I made for myself in this project. I’ll admit it’s not my idea, it’s a knockoff of another idea for a changing towel sold commercially that I saw on a friend. But, like I said in my last post, it’s a towel with a slit in it. In this case, you’ll just slice it all the way in half. Ooooooh.

Believe in your dreams

So, the old version I made years ago is super boring faded gray blue, made from an old guest bath towel. For this one, I splurged and got an actual beach towel from T.J. Maxx with crazy bright flamingoes covering it. The dimensions after washing it several times (reduces the pile of the terry too, so the gathering won’t be so bulky) was about 60″ by 36″. Pretty huge.

This looks about par for the course for me

I found the center, and used the print as a cutting guide, instead of the actual dimensions of the towel. If I measured it that way, the print could come out looking wonky.

Using the metal straight edge- like a pool cue line- I cut down the middle of the beaks of the flamingoes with the rotary cutter. This will make a good length for each half.

Lining up the cutting line

Using the rotary cutter tool

Time to change my blade- didn’t go on the first pass, and it’s ALREADY fraying

 

Of course, I needed to overlock the edge right away to prevent crazy fraying. I just used my machine for this one with an overlock foot:

I like to use a longer stitch length on terrycloth

So, I’m going to take the halves, turn them so the edge I just overlocked is now the top edge to be gathered. I overlapped one side edge over the other by two inches and pinned the halves together. Since I’m going to make a casing for elastic on the top edge of 1″, I’m going to sew the halves together straight down at least two inches, stop, and tack it well. I measured down 15″ from there, put in another marking pin to show where to resume stitching. This will create a pseudo pocket opening with some cover. Bluntly, this will allow me to access my bikini to remove it without anyone seeing what’s underneath, and allows me to put on a bra and fasten it while the towel’s on. Also while not being an over-your-head towel for Summer. Bonanza.

Overlapping two inches

15″ side access opening

The second side was tricky since I was sewing the cylinder shape shut, but I just sewed down from each edge, and it barely worked, but it worked, giving me a decent sized but not too wide access panel /pocket.
Before making the casing for the elastic at the top, I wanted to reduce the bulk and minimize hang ups of the elastic when I was threading it, so I cut out the area where the towels overlapped.

Cutting the bulk out with pinking shears

Bye dude

Next, I folded down the top two inches to make the casing for the 3/4″ non-roll elastic. I sewed the casing down just off the overlocked area, allowing for plenty of space to draw the elastic through.

Sewing the casing

Sewn down, leave an opening for the elastic

A bodkin’s handy for this

Make sure the elastic’s not twisted in the casing

I spread out the elastic in the casing evenly, tacked it down in a few spots, and DONE.

The “front” of this coverup should be where the front half of the towel overlaps the back for easiest access. Hopefully the pseudopockets are both facing in the right direction (a major worry always). Putting a bow on the front helps you know quicker than a tag inside the coverup.

Rainbow Brite goes to the Beach

I had just come back from a surf session- showing you a reflective modeling moment

More Beach Towel Cover Up DIY Fun

When I first made one of these towel cover ups a few years back, I noticed a lot of surfers were interested in making their own too- that includes the bros too! A lot of the mass market surfing coverups are outright expensive and they usually come in Henry Ford’s idea of color selection of products: black, black, and black. These coverups are so easy to make, even if you must hand sew them, it’s still worth the effort for a useful object. They won’t last forever, but it’s nice for objects to pull double duty as a towel/changing robe. Has a nice Zen quality….

I love using store bought beach towels (or used!) for this project. Buying terrycloth off the bolt from a fabric store is PRICEY and usually limited to baby blue, pink and yellow solid pastel colors. This use is also a great way to reuse older, thinner towels too. In this case, I used new beach towels in this project, but do I save old terrycloth??? Of COURSE I do!

A friend of mine wanted me to make her a changing robe with a hood in a nice ocean blue color, so I found a nice ocean themed beach towel at the outlet store, and I chose a hand towel in a contrasting shell pink to use for the hood. Together, the cost was $15. Yay! A lot better than $75 for a plain black RipCurl changing towel. Bleh.

Pretty!!!

I made a changing towel similar in style to my Deluxe Terrycloth Changing Towel I made last year- with just a few changes.

Some more things I learned from working with terrycloth, at least from these type of projects:

1. Wash the heck out of the towels at least twice in HOT water BEFORE sewing. It seems to minimize fuzz, and I get to see if the quality of the towel is good, while removing whatever chemicals may still be on the surface of the towel after manufacturing.

2. Overlock or serge your cut edges ASAP after cutting. Terrycloth frays out very easily.

3. Use a roller foot or walking foot for easier stitching on terrycloth. It glides over the material better, and seems to be a lot more forgiving.

4. Use a lighter tension and longer stitches when sewing. Since the material is pretty thick, it seems to keep the stitching more even.

Basically, on a 36″ by 60″ beach towel, I’m going to cut a hole in the middle of the towel for the head, fold it over, and stitch a little up each side, leaving openings for the arms. That’s really all there is to it! I added a hood by measuring the length of the hood base, and allowing that to be the neck circumference. I made a front slit in the neckline to allow a bit easier donning.

Checking out where I want the hood to be

Measuring how big the neck opening is going to be

Raw cut- I need to overlock ASAP!

Using quilter’s clips to attach the hood for sewing

Closeup

Stitching the hood in place

Using the edge of the towel as seam tape keeps the raw edge protected- I topstitched it down

I ended up cutting this in for ease

Freakin’ overlock that crap NOW

I hand hemmed this section because of the tight space

I bar tacked the heck out of the base of the split to avoid tear outs

Arm opening on side

Now THAT’s a happy changing towel

 

One of my favorite shows is Shark Tank, and if you’ve  watched this show for a while, you’ll remember a lady who pitched “ShowNo”, a:

“Towel with a slit in it”

– Kevin O’Leary, Shark Tank

So this idea has been around a while, but that lady was smart and inked a sweet Disney deal out of it. 

We can’t let her win. It’s a towel with a slit in it. Go for it. Make your own and don’t let that Disney sellout get you down, yo. DIY’ers can’t hold back the gnar- thrash it, bro.

Where’s my freakin’ Disney deal? Hahaha