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Ultimate Guide to Changing for Surfing

After a long day surfing at the beach, it鈥檚 now time to head back home and pack your surfing gear. But before all these, there鈥檚 just one more thing to do; how do you get out of those board shorts or wetsuits when there are no changing rooms?

If you ever find yourself without the benefit of a public shower or changing room, there are quite a few ingenious ways of switching back to your casual clothes. These include using a surf poncho, surf towel, or surf changing robe.

Surfer Taking off Wetsuit, standing on Surf Turf mat

What is a surf poncho?

A poncho is a type of clothing with roots going back to South America. Basically, it鈥檚 a piece of clothing that is slipped over the body with a slit in the middle for the head.

A surf changing poncho combines the benefits of a surf towel and a changing robe. It is designed to help you change clothes in privacy, even in the middle of the beach. It can even keep you warm while getting a breather during those cold surfing months. Some surf robes are also made out of towel material, making drying much easier. These can often be found under the name towel hoodie or hooded towels. Check out the popular surf changing ponchos from LEUS and Slowtide to check out their wide selection of styles and colors.

The Leus Renegade Poncho Towel

Things to check when shopping for a surf poncho

When it comes to changing, a surf poncho is your all-in-one portable changing room. When you place high-quality and standard surf robes side by side, you will surely know the difference immediately. You can see it in the stitching, softness of the material, and how these are constructed. Once you know what a quality surf changing poncho is, you won鈥檛 use something less ever again.


Selecting the best surf poncho starts with quality materials. And when it comes to materials, nothing beats 100 percent cotton. It is best at absorbing moisture, helps you dry faster and easy on the skin. LEUS' ECO range is constructed from materials made of recycled plastic, while their cotton is sustainably sourced, making them a great eco-friendly option. Check out the popular Baja Norte ECO Poncho and the Iconic Beach Towel for some examples.


Having the best materials is half of the equation. How these are put together is equally important. A well-crafted surf poncho will have solid edging, which prevents unraveling. If you鈥檙e going for a colorful poncho, make sure that these are properly dyed. Prolonged exposure to the sun and elements would surely test what your poncho is made of. LEUS has a wide range of colorful ponchos and towels that can suit anyone.

The Fit

When it comes to fitting, choose something that gives you more than enough room to change your clothes comfortably. It is especially important when you鈥檙e getting in or out of wetsuits. When buying a surf poncho, look for something that makes it easy for you to wiggle yourself out of your clothes without being too big, making you look like a sack of potatoes.

Best Surf Poncho

One of the most common yet simplest problems facing surfers is how to change clothes when there are no available changing rooms near the beach. This could easily be done by strapping a beach towel over your waist for those wearing board shorts, but what about those wearing wetsuits or female surfers. Merely using a beach towel may not do the trick.

Below is a collection of our most recommended surf robes. We have narrowed the list down to some of the best surf changing ponchos available in the market today.

Captain Fin Co Hooded Towel

If you're looking for something that will keep you warm and that will dry your body quickly, look no further than this changing poncho.

  • Pouch on the front for storing items

    Captain Fin Changing Poncho Towel

    West Path Surf Changing Poncho

    If you're looking for a warm, heavyweight changing poncho, then the West Path Surf Changing Poncho is the pick for you. Made from heavy woven 100% cotton and featuring an internal fleece lining, this warm changing poncho has been designed by surfers, for surfers with specially designed arm holes that won't leave you overly exposed (ladies) and offers a generous length that can ensure even the tallest of people covered.

    If you're looking for something similar, but for the kids, check out the West Path Youth Surf Changing Poncho with a couple styles for kids ranging from 2 to 12 years old.

    • 100 percent woven cotton
    • Warm internal fleece lining
    • Specially designed arm holes to minimise exposure (for the ladies)
    • Large external front pocket & chest zip pocket for stashing smaller items
    West Path Surf Changing Poncho on male and female West Path Surf Changing Poncho

    Oso Hoodie Towel by Slowtide

    This has to be one of the easiest and fastest ways to get out of wet swimwear. It's functionality meets style and sustainability.

    • 100 percent winter-weight terry cotton
    • Double layer woven hood
    • Kangaroo pocket
    • Hidden internal access openings for privately changing in public

    Slowtide Oso Hoodie Towel

    LEUS Renegade ECO Changing Poncho

    LEUS prides themselves on being towel geeks and the quality of their ponchos and towels prove their dedication to this. The Renegade ECO Poncho features pockets on the inside and outside giving you all the stash options you need and it is made from sustainably sourced cotton which contains recycled materials.

    • LEUS fit with large hood
    • Hanging loop for easy drying
    • Extra soft and cozy
    • Inside & outside pockets
    • 360 EcoTech (20% Recycled Polyester, 80% Cotton)

    Leus Renegade Changing Poncho

    Rip Curl Changing Poncho

    One of the biggest names in surfing apparel, the Rip Curl Changing Poncho is made of 100 percent cotton making it one of the most absorbent and comfortable ponchos on our list. This easy to slip on surf robe comes with an oversized hood and armholes, and a front pocket. It comes in one size and is perfect for keeping you dry and warm while changing outdoors.

    • 100 percent cotton
    • Velour fabric
    • Large adjustable hood with shoelace
    • Kangaroo pocket
    • It comes with integrated bag for easy storage

    Dryrobe Advance Adult Changing Robe

    The Dryrobe Advance Adult Changing Robe is a versatile surf poncho that works as a towel, changing room, and all-weather protector. However, it is quite bulky and heavy and is more suited for rainy or less than perfect weather conditions. These are perfect for keeping you dry and warm but may not be the best idea for sunny conditions because of their weight and poor ventilation.

    路 Waterproof

    路 One of the heaviest in the market (4.5 pounds)

    路 Multiple pockets

    路 Two styles (long and short sleeve)

    路 Made from synthetic lambswool and nylon

    Bomb Waves Surf Poncho

    One of the best-looking and most comfortable surf changing ponchos, the Bomb Waves Surf Poncho is made of 100 percent cotton and comes with a large fit. It is highly absorbent and can keep you warm and dry after your foray into the beach. The Bomb Wave Surf Poncho also has a front pocket for storage.

    路 Made from 100 percent cotton

    路 Come with a hood and front pocket

    路 Very absorbent

    路 Stylish print designs

    路 Made in the U.S.A.

    Surf Changing Mats

    Sand tends to stick and find its way into every nook and cranny, especially when dealing with wet clothing. This is why we must have something at least on our feet that works as a barrier when we鈥檙e changing. And here is where a surf-changing mat comes in.

    Surf changing mats prevent your wetsuit from coming in direct contact with the surface (sand, ground, tarmac) and protects it from coming in contact with sharp objects, which can damage your wetsuit. Most of the best surf changing mats also double as bags, so all you have to do is drop your wetsuit, change your mat into a bag, and you鈥檙e good to go.

    Best Surf Changing Mats

    We give you our top recommendations for surf-changing mats. These changing mats are designed to prevent your wetsuits from getting damaged and even turn into a bag for better convenience.

    surf turf changing mats Surf Turf changing mat

    BeachBox & Shower Tank

    The innovative BeachBox & Shower Tank is an all-in-one portable shower, changing mat and storage box! This is the ultimate product for a post-surfing rinse and changing due to the integrated storage box and insulated pump shower (which keeps water warm!). The 7ft multi-spray gun is attached to a 1.3gal tank to give you approximately 4-5 minutes shower time. Once rinsed off, you can store your wet gear in the box and keep it separate from your dry gear due to the wet and dry dividers. Well done, Beachbox!

    beach box Beach Box

    Surf Grass Mat

    Surf Grass Mat make changing mats from high quality synthetic grass and provide a clean and convenient way to change from a surf, keeping dirt and sand off your feet and wetsuit. When you're not surfing, these Surf Grass Mats can be used to keep your car, tent, caravan and home clean from unwanted sand and dirt, making them versatile.

    surf grass Surf Grass Mat

    Toygogo Surfing Diving Wetsuit Changing Mat

    The Toygogo changing mat is made from waterproof Oxford cloth, which is not entirely leak proof but does a great job of preventing your car from getting soaked by seawater from your surfing gear. It doubles as a bag allowing you to carry your surf poncho or towels to the beach. It also has a shoulder strap which makes it easier to carry rather than having flimsy cords.

    Opening the bag turns it into a surfing changing mat with an 33 inch diameter that is more than enough surface area when you get out of your wetsuit. It also has a small internal pocket for keeping your keys while you鈥檙e surfing.

    Sportlite Surf Changing Mat

    This self-draining, non-slip surf changing mat has 24 inches by 36 inches surface area. It is made from a Phthalate-free material and is highly durable and versatile. The Sportlite changing mat folds for easy storage and cleaning can be done by simply flicking it. The surfing mat has a waffle pattern for easy draining.

    Cor Surf Changing Mat

    Perfect for the budget-conscious surfer but don鈥檛 want to miss out on the best features of a surf changing mat. This mat is ideal for use by people across different water activities. This mat can be used for any sport that involves sand and water. The Cor Surf Changing Mat is constructed from PVC poly fabric, both durable and easy to clean. This also doubles as a bag making it a piece of versatile surf equipment.

    Osprey Wetsuit Beach Changing Mat

    Tough, easy to carry, and with its 39 inch diameter, the Osprey Wetsuit Beach Changing Mat is sure to keep your wetsuit protected. The changing mat also doubles as a bag for additional carrying convenience. Keep your wet stuff safely stored and away from all your dry gear.

    Guide to Changing for Surfing 鈥 Final Thoughts

    The best surfing locations are often found in isolated locations away from popular beach destinations. Making it difficult, if not impossible, to find any nearby establishments or changing rooms in the area. In cases like this, a surf poncho and surf changing mat give you all the privacy and protection you will ever need.

    Surfing ponchos are more than portable changing rooms. If you鈥檙e the adventurous surfer who finds themself in some of the most remote destinations searching for the perfect wave, then a surfing poncho is one piece of equipment you should consider. It will keep you dry, warm and give you the privacy you need when changing.

    Conner Coffin Conner Coffin and his signature poncho towel from Leu

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