What is a hack?

A hack is a simple procedure, technique or habit used to enhance our lives whatever our chosen vocation.

Obviously we chose surfing at the Margaret River High Performance Centre so here’s a few things I’ve picked up along the dusty road of surf travel and lifestyle.

Some of these things you guys will know but maybe there’s a gem of new information in this blog that will make your surfing life that little bit easier.

Let’s face it if you’ve got lots of hacks then you’ve got the knack!

Surfboard Hacks – Look After Your Craft

#1 Surf Hack

Never ever sit your board down wax up. The hot West Aussie sun will melt your wax in less than 5 minutes. This will make your wax glazed and slippery so always sit it down fins up when outdoors or at the beach.

#2 Surf Hack

Never put sunscreen on your feet before going surfing. It will run into your wax and make your board slippery. It could make the difference when trying to reel in that big Hail Mary manoeuvre.

#3 Surf Hack

When walking over shallow reef to get to waves, if the water is less than waist deep, you need to lean on your board with the fins up to avoid knocking the fins out.

#4 Surf Hack

Legrope string Middle
Legrope string Left
Legrope string Right

Always double your leg rope string over in the plug before velcroing your leg rope to the board at the rail saver. This ensures there’s no chance of the string burying in to your rail and damaging it. Also doubled over means twice as strong so heaps less chance of the string breaking.

#5 Surf Hack

Always travel with solar quick drying resin and some sand paper. If you get a small ding you can fix it on the spot and get straight back to the business of surfing. Remember to get the correct resin for your board whether it is urethane or epoxy. 

#6 Surf Hack

Never let your mate stack their board wax down on the bottom of your board for surf missions without using the simple old hack of putting your beach towel laid out flat between the boards as a wax barrier.

#7 Surf Hack

If you’re one of those people who likes to sit their board upright in the corner of a room always have something soft between the tail of your board and the floor. This will avoid your tail getting chipped or dinged. I suggest next time you have a thong blow out save your old thongs for this very purpose. They are rubbery and soft and work a treat.

#8 Surf Hack

To remove old wax from your board leave it deck upright in the sunlight for about ten minutes. Your wax will become really soft then simply run the straight edge of your wax comb from tail to nose and repeat. The wax will come off so easy that it turns a half  hour job into five minutes. When you’ve finished this process get some absorbent paper towel and clean up any excess the wax comb left behind. To keep your work area clean have a plastic bag on hand and place all the old wax in the bag as you remove it from the board. Simply place the bag in the trash and boom you’ve covered your tracks and left no trace of this messy job!!

#9 Surf Hack

When waxing up a fresh new shooter, cross thatch lines of wax with half centimetre gaps both horizontally and vertically. Then just a little bit of circular waxing will produce perfect bumps really fast every time. This will use less wax overall and your blocks will last a lot longer. At 7 or 8 dollars a shot you can save a bit extra for your fuel tank to get you to more waves. Winning!!

Wetsuit Hacks – Dryer Warmer Better

#10 Surf Hack

Never leave your wetsuit wet in the car overnight. This will make it mouldy and stinky in the warmer months and no one wants a stinky suit!

#11 Surf Hack

Always wash out your beloved body suit by getting a large round 20 litre bin and filling it 5/6 full of cold water. Put a capful of fabric softener into the water. Hold your wetsuit open by the neck and dunk it under the water repeatedly 3 times  to ensure the water goes through the whole suit legs, arms and body. Now you can hang it on the washing line to dry. Next time you wear it will smell amazing and be soft to the skin. The fabric softener also helps with durability. It stops the seams from cracking and splitting whereas salty seawater dries it out and makes it crack. Why not get more seasons out of your suit and that way you can have them on rotation all winter long and never put on a wet wetty. Now that’s living!!!

#12 Surf Hack

Keep a flex tub in your car so your wetsuit always has a home in your vehicle. This will look after your car interior and your wetsuit simultaneously.

#13 Surf Hack

Use a plastic bag over your foot when sliding your wetsuit on. It works a treat and will get you suited up quicker for more surf time.

#14 Surf Hack

Stand inside your flex tub in the carpark when taking off your wetsuit. This will ensure your suit won’t get worn by the rough bitumen and will stay cleaner.

#15 Surf Hack

Recycle your suits wherever you can. For example, if your steamer has a lower leg blow out and it’s out of warranty, why not cut the legs off at the knee and make a spring suit. If the crotch area blows out, cut the legs off completely and make an awesome wetsuit jacket for wearing with boardies in summer. Remember those arm and leg off cuts make great drink bottle holders. Use the legs for larger bottles like your coffee thermos and the arms for smaller bottles.

Sun Smart Hacks – Shielding From The Heat Sphere!!

#16 Surf Hack

Try to use zinc on your face rather than sunscreen. Sunscreen often runs into your eyes and is not as affective at shielding the harmful rays. Also you can see when zinc needs to be reapplied rather than playing the guessing game with sunscreen.

#17 Surf Hack

Why not use your sunglasses as a mirror when applying your sunscreen or zinc. Simply take them off your face turn them around and bobs your uncle. 

Tropical Wound Care Hacks – Sea Ulcers A Thing Of The Past

So often you go on a surf trip and bump in to a weary traveller who’s let their sea ulcers go and been relegated from the ocean as a result of these ugly looking salt craters in their flesh.

I’m going to share with you a few simple wound care techniques that ensure you will heal your wounds and still surf your head off every day when you’re in Indo next season. 

#18 Surf Hack

So you’ve just kissed the sharp coral reef and you’ve taken bark off and it’s only day two of your annual one month surf binge in the tropics. First thing you need to do is sterilise the area. Simply cut a lime in half and rub the injured area. This will kill all the microscopic tropical bugs and germs. Be warned this doesn’t tickle but that momentary sting you feel is the lime juice killing off all the nasties.

#19 Surf Hack

Now it’s time to start the healing process and keep those bugs out. Simply smear a tiny bit of Betadine ointment over the area then dust it with antiseptic powder. Keep adding powder and padding the area until the powder soaks up the Betadine, forming an instant dry artificial scab. Put a bit of gauze over the area and stick that down at each end with a Band-Aid tough strip.

You want the cut or graze to be able to breath so don’t cover your gauze with tape or bandaids as it will make the wound sweat. What you want is the air to get to it so the gauze is basically a dirt and dust cover for that artificial scab you’ve created. This is your land configuration for healing the wound when not in the surf, especially when you’re sleeping at night as bed sheets are full of bacteria. 

#20 Surf Hack

Now your wound is starting to heal and it’s time to get straight back in the water for some more barrel time. Simply wrap the wound you’ve dressed firmly with duct tape so the gauze and tape stop the scab from being washed away while you surf. The whole knack of this hack is to leave the scab uninterrupted. This means the cut or graze continues to heal and cannot ulcerate. 

#21 Surf Hack

When you get out of the surf have a shower in fresh water and dry off completely then very carefully remove the duct tape and the old gauze dressing and repeat hack number 19 or your land care configuration dressing but this time replace the Betadine with raw honey and lots of antiseptic powder. Raw honey promotes the growth of good bacteria and skin cells whereas Betadine can kill off the good bacteria as well as the bad and slow down the healing process.

This will be your process for the rest of your time to heal. When it’s time to surf again wrap the wound in duct tape to avoid having the scab removed. This is quite a process for 5 minutes before and 10 to 15 minutes after every surf and or shower but it really does work. You can heal and surf in the tropics all at the same time. This process works even better here in the temperate waters of Australia. Like I said, sea ulcers will be a thing of the past as long as you put the time in before and after every surf.

Don’t get lazy or complacent with wound care and you will never miss a swell or that magic session that could result in the barrel of your life. This year in Indo I hit the bottom pretty hard on day two of a month surf trip, removing bark and flesh from my forearm. I was only out of the water by choice for two days and didn’t miss any epic days of surf due to infected or ulcerated cuts. I arrived home without a scratch on me! This hack is tried and proven!!! Yewww

So these are just a few little tricks of the trade to take with you on the road to cylindrical perfection and hope I’ve put the fire in your belly to keep surfing. Here at the Margaret River High Performance Centre we live, breathe and eat surfing. It’s a passion, an obsession, a lifestyle, an art form and the very life source that keeps our hearts beating and our brains ticking over. Along with the love of our people it’s the reason we get out of bed everyday. Keep frothing.

AND if you are really serious about your craft and want to accelerate your progression curve faster than a Ferrari on the auto barn, get yourself a session at the Margaret River High Performance Centre. If you haven’t surfed before, why not grab a lesson at Margaret River Surf School. No excuses now… go surfing!!

Author – Matty B

PS. We would love to hear all about your surf hacks in the comments below!


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