Winter not only graces us with snow on the mountain, but with big waves on the beach. I remember surfing with my friend Arsenio at Shortys in late November. Both of us had lips that had turned blue and we were shivering. We kept looking over at each other saying, “One more wave”. Then a nice overhead wave came towards me. I turned, paddle, paddle, paddle. I felt a sudden rush of speed, the wave picked me up, I popped up and turned left, my hand dragging on the wave. It was awesome. Actually, I “pearled” and ate it hard. Pearling is a surf term where the nose of the board goes under the water when you are trying to catch a wave. it sucks. When I got back outside to Arse in the lineup he looked at me smiling and asked, “One more wave”.

If you plan on hitting some big surf this winter these are some things you might consider. First you need a pack. The Creatures Of Leisure Dry Lite Voyager 2.0 Pack is a good one. It’s got a compartment to keep your wetsuit from getting everything else in you pack wet. The Dakine Cinch Mat Bag is another good idea. You can change on it, keeping sand out of your wetsuit and booties, and if you don’t have a pack with a waterproof compartment the Cinch Mat Bag doubles as one. The average temperature of the ocean off the Oregon coast in winter is 45 degrees fahrenheit so you will definitely need some booties and gloves.

Of course you need a good beanie for when you get out of the water. A warm noggin is alway a great comfort. Always have extra fin keys on you. You need them for your fins of course, but you will find it’s a nice little tool to have with you in a pinch. An extra leash is a must. If you snap one, it does happen, then your day of fun is over. Wax is very important. Traction on your board is imperative. Michael, one of our surfers, likes Sticky Bumps. I grew up on Mr. Zogs Sex Wax. My favorite is strawberry then the grape. I just love the way they smell. Willy, one of our surfers, taught me a great trick. He puts a bar of his favorite wax under his seat in the summer. It melts and his truck smells great all year. And last, but definitely not least, you need a good water bottle. You get mighty thirsty after tasting the sea all day long. Sol, another one of our surfers, told me he likes to drink ice cold chocolate milk after a surf session. A great idea. I’ll have to try it.

Top Surf Booties for 2014

It’s about that time of year. You know, that magical time when all those great booties come out. No, not the kind in tiny shorts, the kind you slip your feet into before paddling out. It’s almost winter time so you’ve still got to stay warm. Start with picking a pair of one of the best surf booties for 2014.

Xcel Drylock Split Toe Surf Booties The Xcel Drylock 5mm Split Toe Booties are everything you could want in surf footwear. Liquid sealed seems deny entrance to water and an ankle seal won’t even let the wet stuff sneak in by coming down your leg. While the neoprene is thick and warm, it is quick to dry and the split toe feature keeps your foot from rolling in the boot for advanced stability. If toasty toes are your priority, you can’t go wrong with the Xcel Drylock.

Can’t get enough Xcel? Well here’s another taste. The Xcel Infiniti 5mm Split Toe Surf Xcel Infiniti 5mm Split Toe Surf BootiesBooties are some of the most burly chunks of footwear in the ocean. No matter how frigid the swells are, your feet are guaranteed to enjoy premium warmth thanks to ThermoCarbon materials made from recycled fabrics and bamboo charcoal infused fibers. If that sounds techy and environmentally friendly, that’s because it totally is.

O'Neil Skins Psycho Split-toe 4/3mm Surf BootiesOne peek at the O’Neill Skins Psycho Split-toe 4/3 Surf Booties and the high level of quality and craftsmanship is clear. But what else would you expect from O’Neill? The Psycho rocks an Ultraflex Firewall for the ultimate in comfort and warmth. A cuff strap prevents any flushing and even though this split toe model enhances control, it also features a toe guard to stop your leash from getting stuck in the split. Work the waves with authority in the O’Neill Skins Psycho Split-toe 4/3 Surf Booties.

While the Quiksilver Syncro 5mm Round Toe Surf Booties are obviously dedicated to Quiksilver Syncro 5mm Surf Bootieskeeping your feet warm, they are also super focused on delivering crazy advanced traction. The rubber soles feature all kinds of texture and gripping powers that give you the ability to really feel the control placed beneath your feet as you forge a legit connection with your board. Reinforced stress points make the Quicksilver Syncro Booties some of the toughest around, so if grip and durability are your style, this is the pair for you.

O'Neill Heat 5mm Surf BootiesLock in some serious performance with the O’Neill Heat 5mm RT Surf Booties. Velcro straps snuggle you comfortably while providing dynamite warming capabilities.  Loads of attention to detail is commonplace with all O’Neill boots, but it is the Heat’s commitment to functionality in icy conditions that really sets it apart. Glued and blind stitched to perfection, the O’Neill Heat Booties have no equal.

Legendary along every beach and in each lineup, the Quiksilver Cypher 5mm Split Toe Quiksilver Cypher 5mm Split Toe BootiesSurf Booties will transform you from a boogie boarding squid to a billabong ripping shark. Nylon webbing locks everything into place while plenty of Biofleece Neoprene does absolute work to crank up the warmth. Beadlock angle gripping features give you more control so you can really make that rip stick your own.  Mangle those chilly waves with a true passion thanks to the Quiksilver Cypher.

Roxy Syncro 5mm Round Toe Surf BootiesLadies, don’t think we would forget about your feminine feet. Specially designed just for chicks who chew up waves and spit out excellence, the Roxy Syncro 5mm Round Toe Surf Booties give you the advantage you need in cold water. Advanced gluing and blind stitching processes have taken these booties to the next level of functionality and performance. Make it happen harder than anyone else who paddles out with the Roxy Syncro Booties.

Summer is here and the booties are out. It’s easy to see that there are some highly desirable options. So grab your favorite pair of top surf booties for 2014 and give your feet the protection they need to stand up to cold conditions.