Forgive the stereotype, but surfers are dirty.
Travel, Not dirty as in The Grouch from Sesame Street, but dirty as in Pig-Pen from Peanuts. Only rather than a cloud of dust, we carry a haze of sand, surf wax, sunscreen smears, saltwater droplets, and wetsuit stench wherever we go. Need proof? Just look inside any surfer’s car.
But fear not: surfer filth can be minimized by switching to the appropriate vehicle. Because having a proper rig for storing your gear, keeping things tidy, and getting you to-and-from the beach in style is the first line of defense in mitigating dirty surfer syndrome. To get an idea of what we mean, take a look at the whips below, and cue the fantasy surf-mobile envy.
Everything you would ever need. Just add a desolate Oregon beach. Photo: James Barkman
The classic. A staple. Endless opportunity to modify. Never goes out of style. Enough said.
Toyota Land Cruiser
No frills, no hassle, and no getting stuck in the sand. The 4×4 Land Cruiser is a favorite among surfers on Australia’s rugged west coast. And it’s no wonder why: you think they could access all those dirt-road, billy-goat-trail surf spots in a BMW 3 Series? No way.
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van
Whether you’re a struggling indie band, a hotel chauffeur shuttling guests to the airport, or a weekend warrior surfer with a sizable quiver, the sprinter van is ideal for jampacking with gear and humans in comfort. Consider the Sprinter an older, much more refined relative of the classic VW Bus.
Eco-friendly? Not so much. But surfer-friendly for sure.
Are they eco-friendly? Easy to park? Fuel efficient? Absolutely not. But RVs are damn good at packing full of gear and trekking long distances in relative comfort. And the best part is, if the swell sticks around, you can simply park on the beach for a few days and camp (where applicable).
Okay, maybe it’s not an actual car. And it’s not the most convenient vehicle for storage or payload, but if you’re just heading down to your local for a quick session, or cruising through Bali, then a scooter/small motorcycle with racks ain’t so bad. Also, think about gas prices and parking.
This list wouldn’t be complete without a hatchback. And Subaru is the car world overlord of the design travel car. Add to this the built-in roof racks, the extra space for junk in the trunk, and the endearing granola-crunching outdoorsy vibes of the brand and you’ve got yourself a certified surf whip.
Look at the parking lot at any popular surf spot in America. Chances are, a handful of people have the shell of their Tacoma popped open, and they’re ruffling around for a bar of wax. But it’s not just stateside – if you get your Tacoma rigged up, these become the perfect Baja-mobile.
Honorable Mention: Amphicar Model 770
As the only mass-produced amphibious car, the Amphicar Model 770 is unquestionably the best surf vehicle available. There’s just one problem. The only reason you would want one, would be if you could drive your Amphicar from the road to the water, anchor it outside the lineup, and paddle out for a surf. Know of a place like that? One can dare to dream…