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The Best Surf Ponchos for 2024

Updated: May 7

Do you need a surf poncho?

The truth is that there’s an art to drying off after a surf session.

You can dry off in one of two ways: with a soured, cold towel that falls, leaving you mooning the parking lot or those on the beach.

Or, you can try off and change easily, and without the risk of baring all, with a surf poncho.

But surf ponchos have a complicated reputation.

Are they…cool?

We’re here to argue that yes, they are cool, but more importantly, they are practical.

In this article, we’ll explain what a surf poncho is, and help you find the best one for your drying off needs.

What is a Surf Poncho?

A surf poncho, a loosely fitted soft robe, is ideal for drying off and getting changed, all while staying warm.

The epitome of a 2 for 1 special, the surf poncho is a towel and shirt wrapped into one.

What Should You Look For in a Surf Poncho? 4 Factors

With many types of surf ponchos on the market today, what are the important factors that differentiate each one? We’ll look at them next.

Feel

The most important aspect: you want it to feel soft. That’s the whole point of a surf poncho: soft fabric.

Length

If it’s not long enough to cover you, what’s the point?

Look

Is it your style? Bright? Muted?

Price

Prices for a surf poncho range from $60-100. With this spectrum, there is room if you’re trying to get one on the cheaper end, and also ones available on the higher end.

The Best Surf Ponchos for 2024

Now that you know the advantages of a surf poncho — and why we recommend it — let’s take a look at some of the leading surf ponchos today.

Slowtide’s "The Digs" Changing Poncho

“Stop flashing the tourists."

We couldn’t agree more with Slowtide’s motivation behind their surf poncho, known as The Digs Changing Poncho.

It’s comfy, warm, absorbent and, if that's not enough, it’s got a bit of style to it.


Here are additional details:

  • $80

  • Chest: 31.5"

  • Length: 44.5"

  • Ultra Soft and Absorbent 100% Winter-Weight Cotton Terry

  • Internal Access Dual Pocket that keeps your hands warm and makes changing a breeze.

  • Comes in three stylish colors: green, heather gray or black

You can buy the Slowtide surf poncho here.

Billabong Surf Poncho

Billabong’s take on the surf poncho market features one on the lower end of the price spectrum — $65.95 — while also maintaining quality with 100% cotton.

Warm? Check.

Comfy? Check?

Length? Just long enough.

Plus, it features a handful of style options, including Aqua, Marine, Military, Navy, and Dark military.

Here’s a few other details:

  • All-over print.

  • Pullover style with hood.

  • Chest pocket.

You can purchase the Billabong surf poncho here.

Rip Curl’s Icon Hooded Towel

Rip Curl’s take on the surf poncho is one to take into consideration when you factor in its styles (navy, gray, and black) — along with the details — made from Cotton terry as well as its price point ($69.95)

Learn more about Rip Curl’s surf poncho here.

Ho Stevie! Surf Poncho

Another surf poncho option comes from Ho Stevie! What makes their ponchos great is that they take the time to go into the details — from the thickness of the poncho itself to the lack of lint, a hanging loop, and more — to ensure customers get every bang for their buck.


Here’s a few details:

  • Soft, thick microfiber or cotton material that dries fast…and dries you off fast

  • Low lint

  • Makes changing easy, comfortable, and private

  • Hood keeps your head and face warm when it's cold and windy

  • Hanging loop for easy hanging back home

  • Made from 100% cotton material

  • Comes in one size.

  • Ponchos fit men and women both and measure 47" from top of shoulders to the bottom hem, and 33" wide.

If you want to buy this surf poncho, or support this surfer-owned business, you can do so here.

Kassia’s Your Favorite Changing Poncho

While Kassia’s take on the surf poncho is on the higher end of the price spectrum — $129 — there are several unique aspects to take into consideration: a surf poncho constructed from Deadstock Cotton, low impact dyes, and is entirely French seamed.

Plus, the surf poncho includes:

  • Roomy Hood

  • Big Front Pocket

  • Extra Cozy Fit

  • 35in Length ( Shoulder to bottom hem )

  • 26in Base Width ( Bottom hem opening )

  • 39in Chest

  • 10.5in Arm Opening

You can buy this surf poncho here.


Volcom

Volcom’s addition to the surf poncho game isn’t anything special but it gets the job done. It’s only $33.99 and is made out of cotton terry cloth so it’s perfect for when you get out of the water. Not only that it’s also great for wearing in the car after a surf.


Here’s some extra details…

  • Hooded

  • Clamp Label at hood

  • 100% cotton, essentially like a towel

  • Great for drying off

  • Floral design and embroidered Volcom logo contribute to make a stylish changing hoodie


Learn more about this surf poncho option.


Nomadix Changing Poncho

Not only is the Nomadix Changing Poncho a super cool addition to your beach wardrobe, it's also incredibly environmentally friendly.


The material is made up of 90% post-consumer recycled polyester. It’s also incredibly absorbent and comes in a variety of patterns that all look amazing. Its surprisingly affordable as well, coming in at $49.95

Here’s some additional details…

  • 4x its weight in water, so it absorbs a lot of water

  • 1 changing towel is equivalent to 18 plastic water bottles

  • Sewn up sides for added privacy

  • Has a loop that enables it to be hung up for drying

  • Sand resistant

  • Front pocket and hood

Learn more about this surf poncho here.


Creatures of Leisure Icon Surf Poncho

The Creatures of Leisure Icon Poncho is another pretty standard changing surf poncho. It's a great option if you're looking for something a little more lowkey.


It’s all black with a center logo on the front so it shouldn’t draw too much attention to you in the beach parking lot. This poncho is also pretty pricey at $92.


Here’s a few more details…

  • 100% cotton

  • One size and is very large

  • Length 107 cm

  • Width 88 cm

  • Made from towel material, perfect for drying off

You can buy this surf poncho here.


Xcel Wetsuit Changing Towel

Another pretty standard changing towel, Xcel’s wetsuit changing towel is another great option for someone looking for a lowkey alternative compared to the more expensive surf ponchos with flashier patterns.


It’s also made from a super absorbent towel material for drying off quickly.


Here’s some more details…

  • Heavy Weight 100% Cotton

  • Kangaroo pocket

  • One size fits all

  • Hooded

You can buy this poncho here.

The Passenger Waves Recycled Lined Changing Robe is a little different than the other surf ponchos on the market.


It’s not made of towel material, instead it’s a sherpa lined zip up robe.


It’s better for changing out of your clothes while you’re still dry, but the exterior lining is still water resistant.


Here’s some more details…

  • Made out recycled polyester

  • Two way front zip

  • Sherpa lined fleece for staying warm

  • Hooded

  • Has ability to be packed

  • A few different patterns

You can buy this surf poncho here.


West Path's Surf Poncho


Whether it's a male surf poncho or female surf poncho, our friends at West Path have one of the best options on the market today.


The surf poncho is made with custom southwestern diamond design print on a light and airy turkish towel.


You can trust their motto: "Say good-bye to the hassle of changing in a towel, and say hello to your new favorite surf accessory."

Features include:

  • Wetsuit changing made easy

  • Special dimensions to provide all the right coverage

  • Unisex sizing - fits both dudes and chicks (male model 6'1", female is 5'4", poncho is approx. 40" tall)

  • 100% Cotton - because we don't like synthetics

  • Lightweight, great to travel with (or just leave in your car).

  • Stoke guaranteed


Learn more about this surf poncho option.



Surf Poncho: Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What should I Look for in a surf poncho?

First look for material. You want something that dries quickly and absorbs a lot of water, usually terry cloth cotton is your best bet.


Then look for length, you want to make sure the poncho covers your whole body so you won’t flash anyone when changing.


Price is another important factor, depending on what you need out of a surf poncho something in the $50 range is perfect.


Q. Why do surfers wear ponchos?

They are great alternatives to towel changing and offer way less risk of being seen without any clothes. Surfers will wear them when changing in and out of a wetsuit. They are usually great towels for drying off too.


Q. How do you wash a surf poncho?

The best option is to machine wash cold and depending on the material the best bet is to tumble dry on low heat.


Q. Are surf ponchos worth it?

For sure! They are a way better option than just your standard towel.


They are incredibly practical and many brands offer stylish colors and patterns to go along with the practicality.

The Bottom Line: Surf Ponchos

There you have it — the surf poncho, the ultimate 2 for 1 special.

Not only is it cool; it’s functional.

While there are many styles to choose from, at the end of the day, choose the style and price that works best for you and your budget.

And if your friends wonder what you’re wearing after a surf session, let them try it on.

A test drive may be all that’s needed to convince them to buy their own surf poncho.

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