Updated: Feb 3
One of the challenges with wetsuits is the battle of taking it off.
During this struggle, it is incredibly difficult not to let your wetsuit just hit the ground and collect mounds of sand and dirt. Not only is this annoying — it can actually tear up your wetsuit and shorten its life.
So, how do you prevent your wetsuit from looking like a big dirt clump by the end of your session?
That's where a surf changing mat comes in.
A surf changing mat can be anything that you stand on while you are changing in or out of your wetsuit, that keeps your feet and wetsuit clean.
What is a surf changing mat?
Which one is the best surf changing mat?
Do I even need a surf changing mat?
We'll answer all these questions — and more — in this surf changing mat guide.
What is a Surf Changing Mat?
A surf changing mat is an accessory that keeps your feet clean while you change into your wetsuit.
It has many advantages — keeping your feet clean, dry and warm, and protecting your wetsuit — and few disadvantages.
Advantages of a Surf Changing Mat
A Surf Changing Mat keeps your wetsuit and feet clean.
Everybody’s home break looks different — and so does the parking lot that you may be putting your wetsuit on in.
Whether it is concrete, dirt, or sand, having a surf changing mat will give you a surface under your feet that can prevent you from unnecessarily collecting layers of dirt.
This will save you an extra couple minutes in the cleaning process.
A Surf Changing Mat protects your wetsuit.
Besides the factor of cleanliness, having a surf changing mat can make your wetsuits last much longer than your ones from before.
As your wetsuit drags on the ground, gravel or rocks can weaken or even tear your wetsuit, causing you to spend additional money on repairs or a new wetsuit.
Disadvantages of a Surf Changing Mat
The only real downside to purchasing a surf changing mat is its cost.
Even though a surf changing mat isn’t extremely expensive, some may see it as an unnecessary expense.
Features to Look For In a Surf Changing Mat
What should you look for when trying to choose one of the many surf changing mats on the market today? Keep reading to find out.
Since a surf changing mat is more of an accessory purchase for surfing, you want to be conscious of the money you are spending on this item.
A surf mat should range in price anywhere from $20-$50.
Another thing to consider is the durability of the surf changing mat.
After all, you don’t want to make this purchase if your changing mat is going to rip after only a few uses.
Is it easy to clean?
Since you may be changing out of your wetsuit on dirt or sand, your changing mat needs to be able to be cleaned or washed so that it can be used over and over again.
Also, so that your car isn’t getting destroyed with dirt every time you put the mat back into your car.
The last thing you should look out for as you make your purchase is the size of the surf changing mat.
The mat has to be large enough that your wetsuit won’t fall off the edge of it and touch the ground as you are changing out.
The Best Surf Changing Mats
HO Stevie Surf Changing Mat
One of the most cost efficient options on the market right now is the Ho Stevie! Wetsuit Changing Mat.
This mat is only $19.97, and has a 100% money back guarantee if it isn’t as durable as it is promised to be.
Beyond this, it has a drawstring feature that turns the changing mat into a dry bag that is big enough to carry your wetsuit and a towel.
So, for only $20, you are ensured a cleaner and longer lasting wetsuit, and a dry car.
Learn more about the surf changing mat here.
FCS Change Mat
Next up is the FCS Change mat at $34.00.
This surf changing mat also has a drawstring that allows the changing mat to keep water from going all over your car.
If you are the kind of surfer who is always paddling out in a group or with a friend, don’t worry, this mat can hold up to 2 or 3 wetsuits.
Even though it is known for holding many wetsuits, it has the ability to tightly roll up, and take up little to no space when it is not in use.
Above all, this surf changing mat option keeps your sandy wet gear inside so your car stays clean.
Learn more about this surf changing mat here.
Dorsal Surf Grass Mat
If you're looking for a more "earthy" surf changing mat, the Dorsal Surf Grass Mat is your best bet.
This changing mat is a 20 x 25 inches of synthetic turf that can be rolled up with a velcro strap, or layed in your backseat to keep your wetsuit on while you are driving home.
Even though the surf grass mat is at the higher end of the market at $50.00, it is one of the most durable options and will last you many years.
Plus, the whole changing mat can be hand washed with wetsuit shampoo and hung out to dry.
Learn more about this surf changing mat option here.
COR Surf Wetsuit Changing Mat
Similar to Ho Stevie’s and FCS’ changing mats, the COR Surf Wetsuit Changing Mat converts into a waterproof bag by pulling its drawstring.
Made out of strong PVC poly fabric, the COR surf mat was made to protect your wetsuit, and for the low price of $22.99.
Learn more about this surf changing mat option here.
DIY Surf Changing Mat
If you want to take matters into your own hands, you can easily create your own surf changing mat — without being a skilled craftsman.
To begin, you need to purchase a piece of synthetic turf that is big enough to stand on and hold your wetsuit.
One place you could find this is Home Depot, where they sell grass carpet for 66 cents per square feet.
This patch of grass is really all you need, but you could also purchase a string or velcro strap that you can roll up and fasten your turf with.
The Bottom Line: Surf Changing Mats
Wetsuits are an expensive investment ,and you don’t want to constantly be paying for repairs or a new wetsuit.
Purchasing a surf changing mat is an easy way to take better care of your wetsuit and ensure that it lasts longer.
The choice is yours when it comes to which mat is best for you, as it fits your intended price range and durability wishes.