Surf Ponchos—Are They Really Worth It?

"Do I really need a surf poncho?"

Depends. If you've ever surfed before, you know the wetsuit changing process can be alright at best, and a public nudity nightmare at worst. For years people like you have been wrapping regular beach towels around their waists, tucking them in, and praying that their suits don't fall to their ankles. It does the trick but it's certainly not fool-proof.

Along came the surf changing poncho, a brilliant solution or an overpriced piece of terrycloth depending on how you see it. You've seen them around—hooded, cloaked surfers huddled against their cars at the beach, wrapped in a plush towel bath robe, without fear of flashing a single soul.

Amidst a seemingly infinite (and still growing) collection of surf accessories this one might be the most contentious on the market. Some swear by them while others swear them off. Why has a hooded towel caused such a rift in the surf community?

Perhaps one could attribute the steadfast rejection of changing ponchos to traditionalism—a commitment to the way things have always been. Others might chalk up the purchasing of a changing towel poncho to needless consumerism and laziness—What's so hard about holding your towel up around your waist? Maybe its classic surf machismo—wetsuit changing is an annoying but necessary part of the sport, no need to make it easier.

In contrast, advocates of the surf changing poncho argue that the convenience and ease when changing clothing is well worth the higher price tag—If you're going to spend money on a towel, might as well get one that's a practical and useful shape. Tall guys also seem to benefit from using a changing towel poncho robe as they're often one size fits all and cut quite long covering far more of their legs than standard beach towels or bath towels. Perhaps the most popular argument in support of using a poncho towel while beach changing is that they're fantastic for standing around after a session while sipping your morning coffee.

Whether you love 'em, hate 'em, or aren't quite sure how to feel about 'em, here's a look at some of the most popular poncho wetsuit changing towels out there:

FCS Wetsuit Towel Changing Robe

This plain black changing robe towel is one of the more basic options out there and is made from 100% terrycloth towel material. It's machine washable and features an interior kangaroo pouch pocket that's perfectly sized for a bar of wax or your hands on a chilly day.

Slowtide Poncho Wetsuit Changing Towel

This changing robe was designed with aesthetics and warmth in mind. Made of 100% terrycloth and offered in various colorful prints and patterns, this robe towel makes changing in and out of your wetsuit an easy and stylish affair.

So, are they worth it? Ultimately, that’s a decision you’ll have to make. If it helps, those who have converted from regular towels to poncho life often claim they now can’t imagine life without one!

Ready to grab a surf poncho and live the good life? Still committed to regular beach towels? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Not sure what surf gear you need? For a comprehensive rundown of other surf accessories, check out our gear guide!

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