The Best Beach Gear, According to a Pro Lifeguard
Recommendations for how to safely enjoy the sun, sand, and water
Bruckner Chase is a lifeguard and long-distance swimmer who oversees the annual Red Bull Surf and Rescue competition in New Jersey. At the event, pro beach lifeguards from the East Coast duke it out in a series of rescue competitions that involve swimming, paddleboarding, running, and dory rowing.
We thought he'd be the perfect person to tap for beach gear and safety recommendations so we called him up and asked.
1. Check the Weather
Before you pack a bag, you want to know what conditions you’re going to get when you get to the beach, just as a safety precaution. NOAA as an up-to-date forecast of surf and rip currents.
2. Find a Reef-Safe Sunscreen
That’s the number one item everyone should put in their bag. Look for the ree-safe certification on any bottle you buy.
3. Pack a Whistle
It's the best way to signal for help if you see someone else in trouble. Have it with you anytime you’re in or near the water.
4. Pack Cold Water
Even though you're in the water, dehydration is a huge concern, especially when people are mixing alcohol into their day. We see heat stroke way too often.
5. Don't Forget Food
Think of your time in the water, whether you’re surfing or swimming in waves, as a workout. You need to pack good food—something for quick energy. The funnel cake and fries look like a good idea, but those aren't the best foods to refuel. I always pack a Gu Gel and Gu StroopWafel.
ENO Islander Deluxe Blanket ($60)
Ditch the beach towel and stake this blanket into the ground and you'll have room for the whole family. The best part: the parachute nylon is easy to clean, quick to dry, and the sand brushes off in no time.
Allgood SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen ($15)
We shed lots of toxins from our sunscreen into the ocean every year, some of which can damage the ocean's flora and fauna. All Good makes a complete line of toxin-free sunscreens that keep you protected without hurting fragile reef ecosystems.
Costa OCEARCH Half Moon Sunglasses ($250)
All the proceeds from Costa's OSEARCH line of sunglasses go to benefit shark research. I like that the Half Moon's come with matte black frames and polarized, mirrored lenses.
Astral Filipe Flip Flops ($75)
A performance flip flop? Yeah. Astral uses their super sticky G-Rubber on the outsole and footbed, then adds a “Super Strap” to keep your heel in place for when you’re scrambling over jetties or sand dunes.
UE Wonderboom Speaker ($100)
It’s small, sure, but the sound quality is top notch with this fully waterproof speaker. Even better: the battery will last all day, and you can pair two devices to the speaker at once.
Rip Curl Search GPS Watch ($400)
Rip Curl’s surf-centric fitness watch lets you log your surf sessions by tracking your speed, distance, and wave count. You can also share everything in a Strava-like series of maps, images, and charts.
Gili Beach Bag ($30)
Avoid taking home half the beach with this bag which is handmade in Colorado of repurposed vinyl mesh. The bag is big enough to hold all the essentials and the small holes in the mesh let sand fall right through.
Alite Mayfly Chair ($80)
Technically, the Mayfly is a backpacking chair, but it may as well have been built for the beach. The chair sits a couple of inches off the sand, weighs next to nothing (1.5 pounds), and packs down into a small stuff sack when it’s time to leave the beach for the tiki bar.
Topo Designs Accessory Bag ($15)
One of these (choose from three sizes) can act like a purse for your beach bag, where you can keep all the small stuff like Chapstick, gum, and your wallet.
DrinkTanks Growler ($75)
Beer or water? It’s a tough choice, but regardless of your decision, the DrinkTank 64-ounce insulated growler will keep your liquids perfectly cold, even while sitting in the sun at the beach. You can also add a Keg Cap Kit ($45), which pressurizes the growler, and turns it into a portable keg.
Innova Pulsar Disc ($10)
Throwing a disc (don’t call it a Frisbee) is the classic beach pastime. Innova’s Pulsar is good enough for professional Ultimate, or for idly tossing while you have a beer in the other hand.