Just spent 2 months test-driving my Oakley Motion drybag backpack in Indo. And it delivered. Used and abused it every single day during our holiday and it passed with flying colours.
I always take a drybag with on surf trips, as they're indispensable when it comes to keeping your gear and camera stuff dry. Up til now I'd been using the normal drybags which are just the waterproof bag that rolls up at the top and clips shut.
However, these are a bit of a hack if you're swimming in to shore from the boat, as you have to kinda swim them in like a waterpolo ball and keep chucking them in front of you. Mission of note - specially if you're planning to swim in over reef or a gnarly shorepound. And then when you're on land you have to carry the damn thing in your hand. So hassle factor all round.
So I started to look for a drypack that was a backpack as well, and found the Oakley Motion. Managed to get hold of one the day before we left. So glad that I did!
All the advantages of a drybag with the added convenience of being a backpack. Just gooi all your goodies in the bag, clip it shut, chuck it on your back and you good to go - sooooo much better than having to carry it.
What's great about the Oakley Motion is that the straps are proper straps, so it's a really comfortable all purpose backpack. They're padded and have lil vent hole thingy's so you don't get all sweaty. Am sure Oakley has some uber-technical space age name for them, but whatever they called they stop you getting sticky.
Same goes for the area of the bag in contact with your back - nicely padded cushioning so no matter what you've chucked in the bag it isn't going to poke uncomfortably into your back. Cleverly designed back padding means a good airflow, which means no sticky sweaty issues. Important if you're in the tropics!
The fact that it's so comfy to wear makes the bag really useful, cos it means it can double as your every day backpack when you missioning around the islands, hiking up mountains or exploring the jungle. And it doesn't matter if you get caught in a tropical downpour cos your stuff will stay dry - even if you don't.
The Oakley Motion can handle some pounding. Chucked my Canon and a big zoom lens in it and swam to shore through a fairly decent shorey no prob's. So much nicer to just be able to strap it on and swim instead of having to paddle a pack to shore.
It has compression straps on the side of the bag so you can tighten it up nicely to make sure stuff doesn't move about too much, and then has a chest and a waist strap which makes sure it stays nice and vas on you.
The chest & waist straps are also handy when you using it as a normal daypack cos it distributes the weight of the bag so you aren't carrying everything on your shoulders.
Space-wise you can fit a fair bit into it. It's cleverly designed and has a thick padded central divider across the middle, which makes 2 equal sized compartments. Useful if you wanna chuck a laptop on one side and all you gear on the other.
You're not going to fit your grandmother in there, but it happily takes a full size camera, a big zoom and a bunch of other lenses, a coupla small action cams, a towel, coupla sunglass cases, water bottle, a book or two, a few shirts and other bits and pieces with room to spare. I never had a situation where I couldn't fit in everything I wanted to carry.
There are a bunch of attachment points on the straps, so you can just chuck on a clip or two if you wanted to clip on more stuff. At one stage I had 2 water bottles dangling off either side and my travel pillow hooked up top.
There's a useful grab handle at the top to lift it with when it isn't on your back. It also makes it easy to hang the bag up if you don't wanna put it down on the sand for instance. Just hook it on a branch or on a stick. Closing it's easy - just roll the top over a few times and clip it closed. Simple, yet watertight.
There's a small slim-line zippered pocket on the front of the bag where you can stash your phone or some cash. Just note that this is only water resistant, not waterproof - the main compartment of the bag is waterproof cos of how it closes - but the pocket is zipped - and zips ain't waterproof. So if you taking it swimming just remember to put anything electronic in the main part of the bag. There's some cool reflective tape round the edge of the zipper so you can glow in the dark.
Overall impressions? The Oakley Motion rocks. Will never go on a surf trip without it. Works great as a drybag and doubles up as an everyday backpack. Two for the price of one. Happy.
Want one? Tune the ou's at Oakley and they'll make a plan to get one to wherever you at.
Yoh, I love my Surf Capsule!
Ladies - your prayers are answered. Finally we get some chick's surfwear made for fashion and function, instead of just fashion. Fashion is great - but not all of us still have the bean-pole legs and the perky butts of youth! Up til now I've had to resort to guy's wetties and boardies cos the girl's stuff is just nowhere near as functional, so am uber-stoked to at last be able to surf in something made for surfing girls instead of boys!
It's taken a while, but the ou's in the design department have finally worked out that girls actually surf and don't just loll about the beach all day. Which means we now get some beautiful wetties that work.
One of the big drivers for more functional surf wear is Rasta's lady, Lauren Hill. She's been giving Billabong lotsa feedback during the development of the Surf Capsule, and is one super styling logger. We shared a solo session with her and Rasta in the Maldives last year, and she was trying a whole lot of different Surf Capsules out. So every hour she'd pop off back to the boat, change into another suit to give it a test-drive, or rather, test-surf.
Got chatting to her about them and she was just frothing on how great they were.....so first thing I did when I got back was find out from the Bong peeps when they'd be hitting our shores. Soon as they arrived in SA I dashed off to the shop to grab one.
Turns out they were all so kiff I couldn't decide which one to get, so with true chick logic I bought three. However, buying spring suits in winter means you unfortunately don't get to surf 'em. So they sat in the cupboard until our recent trip to Indo.
I nearly didn't even take one with, thinking "why would I need rubber in Indo?" Shew, just as well I did. A thin layer of neoprene can be your best friend in the tropics for many reasons.
The obvious one is to keep you safe from the sun (tick #1 for the Surf Capsule). But then there're other advantages too - like no sore ribs - which you get pretty quick if you're paddling about in a T or bikini all day. Nothing worse than about a week into your trip and you can't even lie on your board cos your chest is so eina. So that problem solved. Tick #2 for the Surf Capsule.
Speaking of things that get eina from lying on your board.....hip bones! Mine stick out and get bruised so quickly if I'm in boardies all day. Enter the Surf Capsule - nice lil layer of rubber over the pointy bits, and bruises no more. Tick #3.
Staying on things eina. Reef, rocks, coral. All sorts of things just waiting to scrape some of your skin off if they get the chance. The Capsule came in handy when I was surfing some super shallow spots, where a wipe-out usually meant a skin donation. One particularly shallow possie saw me bouncing off the reef on my ass, and was only too happy to have some rubber padding there to collect the coral scrapes instead of my skin! (Tick #4)
After being in Indo for a while you get pretty used to the sticky hot weather. Which means when the temperature drops to say 24C, well - you feel freezing! Add in a bit of rain and wind chill factor, and you're only to glad to have a Surf Capsule to keep the chill off. Also used mine whilst diving in Indo - definitely need a suit when you're down there, but no reason to schlep into a full suit - the Surf Capsule does the job just fine.
So there you have it - five reasons why your Billabong Surf Capsule should accompany you on any holiday to the tropics - and of course any summer session at home.
Sizing seems to run true - I'm normally a size 8 in full wetsuits and took and 8 in the Surf Capsule. The fit is super comfy. Plenty of stretch thanks to the 2mm neoprene.
There are a variety of option available, but my preference was for the swimsuit with long arms. You get the choice of zip at the back or at the front, depending on which style you opt for.
Don't be nervous of the zippered front - as the zip doesn't poke you anywhere and you aren't aware of it at all. One comment I'd make is that maybe the zip on some of the styles could have been that wee bit longer, as the shorter zip can make it tricky to be able to pull the shoulders off yourself when getting outta the suit. But you'll get plenty offers of assistence if you're struggling with it in the car park!
Depending on the style, you can choose to go for perky butt, normal butt or the hide-my-ass option. Nice to see that they're not only catering for the nimble 20 something's!
Now if only each Surf Capsule came with a voucher for some free sunny weather and warm water, life would be good!
Ladies - should you buy one? Abso-bloody-lutely.
Billabong Surf Capsule's available at all Billabong stores.
What's Gear Guide?
I hate shopping, but I LOVE buying surf stuff. So I'll be posting reviews of whatever new kit I lay my hands on. No sales talk fluff, just telling it like it is. If it rocks I'll say so. If it sucks I'll say so. Simple.