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Free your head from traditional surf hoods
  by brian gomez   | published march 4, 2009  

Not a fan of the dorky look of traditional surf hoods, their inconvenience, or how their brims obstruct your view?  Keep your noggin warm in style with the fitted "skater-snowboarder" look of the new Surf Beanie (retail $21.95).  A leash keeps it securely tethered to you and it's versatile for other water sports.  Owner-inventor Curt Miller was kind enough to send us one to test out.









Model Tested:  
Skull & crossbones model, size M.

Testing Conditions:
e gave the new surf hood alternative, the neoprene Surf Beanie (retail $21.95), a few test drives recently in our cold Northern California winter waves.   On a chilly, rainy Santa Cruz day at Hook and a semi-thumping day at Manresa, we loved how very comfortable, soft and snug the Beanie was you hardly knew you had it on.  Unlike old-school wetsuit hoods, it was nice to be free of restrictive chin straps, the downward pressures on your head, face-squishing cut-outs, view-obstructing brims, and hood designs that might impinge your hearing.  Made with four-way, superstretchy 0.5 mil neoprene, the Surf Beanie felt really natural to wear -- especially if you were former swimcap-wearing competitive swimmers like us.  The simple, but smart lightweight design regulated our body warmth nicely both in the water and on land.  For more warmth and protection (especially from winter rain), you can simply pull the Surf Beanie further down over your ears, while getting added security for keeping your earplugs in.

Speaking of security, the Surf Beanie stayed on our heads pretty well in frequent beach break duck-diving.  However, as we experienced, it can occasionally pop off during a large wipeout, especially if your hair is dry underneath.  For those of you who don't have the "cover-your-head" reflex built-in during wipeouts, wearing this Beanie will perhaps finally reinforce that hand-to-head habit, as you will initially be more conscious of not losing the Beanie.  The Beanie does come with a short leash with a small keyring for clipping onto your wetsuit zipper, making it very easy for pulling the Beanie on or off while in the water or on land.  Safety-wise, when off your head, the Beanie practically lies flat -- a nice bonus for big wave surfers who don't like the liability of having a molded "bucket" hanging on the back of their necks that could catch heavy breaking water, which in some cases, have held surfers down or rendered them immobile -- a dangerous, near-drowning situation.  


Our Assessment:

Overall, the Surf Beanie is an appealing, hipper, new-school step above regular hoods and perhaps it may become standard attire in the lineup. Surf Beanie designer Curt Miller tells us that a number of big wave jet-ski drivers, surf rescue teams, kiteboarders, and snowboarders are starting to wear the product solo, as well as even under their helmets. Our only suggested improvements for Curt?  Perhaps consider adding rubberized gripper teeth on the band (like swim caps) for added security, and provide a more detailed fitting guide.  While the medium-sized beanie fit us well,  we'd like to test-drive a size small to see the difference.

Lastly, while the Surf Beanie initially elicited some chuckles from my surfer-girlfriend,  she and many of our friends all now want their own beanie after testing it out. As they say, 30% or more of your body heat can be lost through your head, the Beanie is worthy addition to your winter surf gear arsenal.  Plus, at $21.95, it's a better deal than most regular surf hoods. 


For more product information, see


The beanie is available in plain black or with a skull & bones logo. 


All AirBags come with a 5-year warranty on workmanship and a 1- year material warranty.

The Surf Beanie is available online at  For dealer inquiries, contact Curt Miller here.


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