WHERE TO USE IT: The best surf road trip begins in San Diego and heads north. Start mellow, with the friendly Tourmaline break, in Pacific Beach. Camp on the bluffs at San Onofre overlooking Old Man's, a longboarder's heaven (parks.ca.gov), then switch to your shortboard and hit Newport's jetties midweek to avoid crowds. Malibu's iconic First Point and Rincon's 300-yard rollers are mustsas are the tacos at Santa Barbara's La Super-Rica Taqueria (805-963-4940). Last stop: the cold-water pier break at Pismo. Save everything north of there for winter.
1. Since the six-foot Firewire Arbor Colab Koa Dominator can be set up with three to five fins, it thrives in most surf conditions. Testers called it a "quiver killer." $750; firewiresurfboards.com
2. Yep, that's the Hawaiian flag on Oakley's polarized Bruce Irons Signature Dispatch. $230; oakley.com
3. With a barefoot-friendly foam topsheet and chatter-free wheels, Santa Cruz's West Cliff longboard is one smooth ride. $133; santacruzsurfboards.com
4. Teva's Bowen Coastal sandals are made of comfortable full-grain leather that will never get natty like old nylon. $50; teva.com
5. Tide info, wave counter...Nixon's waterproof Housing provides all your surf intel. $140; nixonnow.com
6. Hoodie as headphones. Rusty's fleece Stealth has covert, washproof earbuds at the ends of its drawcords. $70; rusty.com