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Grab Your RTW Beanie Now!

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Time to get your Ride The Wind Beanie before the big snow!  Two styles to choose from.  If you’re feeling hipster the Creeker Beanie can be worn as a watch cap or slouch beanie!  The traditionalist in the crowd would probably prefer the Pointer Beanie perfect for hanging “down point” on those chilly days.  Both are available online or in store.

Win a Ukulele in our Ride The Wind Instagram Contest!

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Want to win a free ukulele?! We are giving one away to one of our Instagram followers! Have your name entered into the drawing to win by following these three easy steps:
1. Follow @ridethewindsurf on Instagram
2. Like this photo
3. Tag three friends in the comment below the photo!
The Winner will be chosen August 1st and shipped out to that follower!
Good Luck!

Favorite Men’s Sandals-April 2015 Edition

Okay, now that the Easter Break and most of April are over the guys at the shop thought it would be a good time to give out some recognition in our Men’s Sandal Category. This highly scientific study conducted by our trained marketing specialists(Rich & Robert!) is based on customer comments, personal opinion, and of course our most important variable….SALES! So here goes with our Easter observations (sandal shoppers pay close attention) and recommendations.

 

First of all with over 2000 pairs of sandals and shoes on the sales floor we’ve got plenty to confuse, frustrate, and hopefully satisfy the savvy sandal customer. We’ve got everything from the high end Olukai Leather program to the low end knock off and believe me not everyone is looking for the same thing. So we broke this recognition down into a number of categories based on our own observations.

 

First up….Most Loyal Fan Base! Hands down this category is owned by Rainbow. Their classic leather sandal is a must have and only have for many of our customers. Its simple, has a great warranty, and the more worn it looks the better it feels.

 

The Rainbow Leather Classic-Bob's Broken in Pair!

The Rainbow Leather Classic-Bob’s Broken in Pair!

Robert sporting the Rainbow Bentley.

Robert sporting the Rainbow Bentley.

Next….Most Comfortable! The Olukai Ohana has claimed this spot for the last couple of years at the shop. Nice footbed, simple look, and oooohhhh so comfy. This model is at the top of our best seller list despite its high price tag.

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Rich is an Olukai Man!

Rich is an Olukai Man!

And then….Most Style Innovation! Sanuk of course! Where else can you get an astro turf sandal and a pair of slip on shoes that deny being shoes. Year after year, Sanuk manages to come up with new fresh styles and colors.

 

Sanuk Economy Anyone?

Sanuk Economy Anyone?

These are NOT shoes!

These are NOT shoes!

Who wouldn’t include…Most Socially Responsible! Since Toms hit the scene most companies have tried to move more in this direction. In the Men’s sandal category Freewaters takes the prize. These guys are taking care of basic needs by helping provide wells and water to places that need them. Add to that a great value and comfort and its a winner for everyone. Their tie in with Thermarest has made for a very unique and comfortable footbed.

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Finally….Most Customer Favored! Hey we’re talking about sales here and Reef has been our number one volume sandal line for years. Minimize the flash and maximize the product. The Reef Rover and Phantom are strong perfomers in the line and based on sales numbers the Rover is this April’s crowd favorite.

 

The Reef Quiver!

The Reef Quiver!

So there you go! This April has been strong in Men’s sandals for us and I expect more to continue! Come by the shop and put some on your feet and make up your own mind.

Dry Case For Your Stuff!

We’ve just gotten in a shipment of DryCase products and as always I’m impressed with this company and it’s products.  In case you didn’t know DryCase was born from a medical supply company that produces devices to waterproof bandages and casts and such.  They figured if it would protect a person why not an electronic device?  So DryCase was born.  The company is home grown too, with its operations and company team living just down the road in Wilmington, NC.

DryCase Bags & Cases

You can divide their products into 3 basic categories; cases, bags, and electronics accessories.  We’ll give you a break down of each and let you know what we’ll be stocking.  All three categories meet high standards of not only water proofing, but also technical usefulness and durability.

 

Lets start with the cases.  The must have DryCase product is the smartphone case.  I think the idea here is to have a way to occasionally waterproof your phone.  This shouldn’t be confused with a hard shell case like the Lifeproof.  First of all this isn’t designed for you to keep your phone in it permanently.  I paid $90 bucks for my Lifeproof.  It only fits the iPhone6 and its a pain to take it out of the case.  On the other hand if you’re only looking for an occasional use, the Drycase smartphone case is $39.99 and can be used on the iphone5, iphone6, or Samsung devices.  It’s super easy to get your phone in and out, and has a waterproof connection for your ear phones that doesn’t require a special adapter.  This case is rated at 100 feet for 1 hour.  The case comes with a special drain fitting that allows you to suck the air out of case.  It also comes with an arm band that allows you to strap it on when you want your hands to be free.

DryCase Smartphone Case

DryCase Smartphone Case

Since we just reviewed the smartphone case, lets talk about some accessories to go with it.  What good is waterproofing your tunes if your ear buds or headphones aren’t for use in the water.  Dry Case has a line of waterproof accessories to meet that need.  The DryBuds Chill is a fully submersible set of ear buds that sells for $29.99.  There’s also an overhead version for a few more bucks and if you want complete freedom there’s the BlueTooth DryBuds Free Flow.  These are not only fully submersible they sound as good as any competing price point.  If you don’t want an earpiece go with DryVibes a completely waterproof, floatable speaker.  This BlueTooth speaker sounds great and comes with a suction cup to mount it to your paddle board!

The final category we’re stocking in the shop is their bags.  We’ve got the standard dry bag as well as a few different backpacks.  The first thing to know is that DryCase bags are feature rich.  They all have two-way valves to help compress the load as well as high quality buckles and attachment points. The dry bags are 10L and come with a shoulder strap and bottle opener built into the buckle. The backpacks come in two different sizes a 20L and a 35L  both have padded waist, hip, and shoulder straps.  There’s plenty of bungees, attachment points, and pockets for your wallet and a water bottle.  For the Duck Hunters in the crowd there’s an awesome version in popular Mossy Oak prints.

 

To sum this up, DryCase has a great range of products at tremendous value.  Come by the shop and check it out, we’ve got a couple of demos on the sales floor you can test out.  See you soon!

Spring is Coming…March on Ocracoke

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Early Spring means a really awesome sunrise!

If you’re heading down to Ocracoke in March you’re going to have to do a little extra packing for the trip. Otherwise you’ll spend part of your visit shivering in your shorts and flops or sweating in those long pants. March is the crazy weather month on Ocracoke. The day I’m writing this in early March started out nice and warm in the mid sixties. I opened the shop in flip flops and helped Robert unwrap some kayaks outside. When I stopped at the house for lunch I switched to a jacket and boots and now the temp in the afternoon is around forty, a drop of about 20 degrees. Throw in a 20mph North Wind and its like I’m on a completely different island from a few hours ago.

 

In early spring on the Outer Banks you need to be prepared for cold or wind and sometimes both. A shell type jacket is a must. Everyone preaches layering and this island is no exception. Even if you’re just heading down to Ocracoke for a quick day trip from up the beach make sure you stuff your jacket in the car. While it’s rarely too cold and windy to walk around the village, on occasion it can be quite unpleasant without long sleeves and a jacket. Of course the opposite is true as well. Never leave home without a pair of shorts and some flip flops!

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Fog is a regular visitor in March

The other issue to deal with in the early Spring is the ferry. We live on an island. You have to take a boat to get here. The vast majority of you will be coming down Hwy12 and taking the ferry from Hatteras to Ocracoke. The ferry’s ability to operate is greatly impacted by the weather. The good news is that the days of showing up at the ferry terminal only to find out that the ferry is not running are pretty much a thing of the past. Modern technology puts a ton of info at your fingertips. First of all the Ferry Division loves to tweet. Their twitter account is @ncdot_ferry. They tweet any changes in the ferry schedule, cancellations, mechanical problems, etc. They’ll also include the impacted ferry terminal’s local phone number so you can get more info. Another great additions are the message boards at the Whalebone entrance to the National Seashore and in Ocracoke Village. They flash messages about the road and ferry.

 

If you’re planning on surfing in March it’s also a good idea to have some options.  A good strong SW wind will warm our water up pretty quick but you’ll need some type of suit.  It’s a safe bet to bring a full suit and spring suit.  I’ve surfed in March in a Spring Suit but the water normally will require a long top and bottom.

 

Having given the previous warnings I still have to say March is one of my favorite months on the island. The surf and fishing can be good and the wild swings in the weather make the good days even more appreciated. The island comes back to life in March, with shops and restaurants shaking off the dust and opening back up. Give us a call at the shop if you want a short term or current forecast or if you know what’s open for business on the island.

Electric Mudslinger Review

We just got in a bunch of Electric’s Mudslinger frame and thought we’d put it through the Robert/Rich Field test. Rich is a retro-fashion surf guy always looking for the coolest shades and we added Robert to the test because, welllll….he breaks things.

Electric Mudslinger

Electric Mudslinger

First off it’s a nice big full coverage frame with an 8 base curve which means its got a bit of wrap. This is a West Coast design built in Italy. Those Italians may suck at surfing but they kick ass in building sunglasses. A+ for coverage and comfort due to it’s light weight.

The Mudslinger has a Grilamid frame, which means it is strong and will hold up to leaving it on the dash in 95 degree heat while you’re out surfing. A really cool feature is the double action hinge. Great for durability and the two stage opening makes it feel really substantial. Rich and Robert both spent hours just opening and closing the arms.

Robert & Rich: Testing the Mudslinger is serious business!

Robert & Rich: Testing the Mudslinger is serious business!

 

 

 

We’re stocking this frame in several different frame colors and lens configurations. Robert checked out the Matte Black frame in Non Polarized, Level I Polarized, and Level II Polarized. Electric’s Level I Polarization uses synthetic melanin to reduce glare and eye fatigue. Level II adds a flash mirror and other performance coatings to reduce reflection and crud from sticking to the lens. If you hang on the beach, especially fishing, Level II is a must!

 

 

Rich checked out the Mason Tiger Pattern frame, which is a cool take on a tort like pattern. The best part is this frame starts at $80 so it gets an A+ in affordability. With this past cold winter I know we all spent all our savings on wetsuits so this may be the frame of choice till some money starts rolling in.

Rich with Mudslingers in Mason Tiger Pattern

Rich with Mudslingers in Mason Tiger Pattern

Overall we’re very happy with this frame. It’s stylish but not over the top and it’s very functional with good coverage and a quality lens and construction. Throw in a price range starting at $80 and this is a must have addition to your eye protection gear. Check it out in person at the shop!

Kayak Tours and Surf Lessons For Christmas Gifts

What better way to spread Christmas Cheer than with the gift of an outdoor adventure on Ocracoke!  We offer gifts of Surf Lessons, Kayak tours, equipment rentals and more.  Just hit the button to start gifting!

 

Purchase Gift

USED KAYAKS FOR SALE AT RIDE THE WIND

We’ve always tried to sell off the bulk of our rental fleet at the end of each rental season.  Since we’re buying new replacements every fall this keeps our rental fleet in good shape and stocked with the latest models.  For our customers, they get the opportunity to buy a higher end boat at a really reasonable price.

 

We have several different categories of boats available this year.  In the recreational class we have models from both Perception and Wilderness Systems in both sit-in and sit-on-top styles.  We also have a few light touring boats, the Perception Carolina 14, that have a rudder to help with tracking.  The Wilderness System Tarpon is also available and makes a nice fishing platform.

 

Perception Carolina 14

If you’re looking for a kayak to take out thru some light surf we’d recommend a sit-on-top since they’re self bailing.  The Perception Tribe is a great all around boat and will work in small waves and flatwater paddling.  The Dagger torrent is a really fun boat for rivers, whitewater, and the ocean.

Perception Tribe 11.5

Our Sit In kayaks are the workhorses of our rental fleet.  These are our “go to” boats for soundside rentals and tours.  The top single is the Pungo 140 from Wilderness Systems.  These boats have adjustable seats and track extremely well, but also have nice roomy cockpits for easy entry and exit.  There’s also a large selection of tandem Sit-In Kayaks so you won’t have to paddle by yourself.  There are two tandem models available, the Pamlico 135T by Wilderness Systems, and the Prodigy from Perception.

Wilderness Systems Pungo 140

You can check out all the models and styles available by stopping by the shop or checking us out online at shop.surfocracoke.com.

Ukulele Jam

Here at Ride The Wind we’ve hooked up with Kala Brand Ukuleles!  You can have a ton of fun in a hurry with a ukulele.  It’s easy to play, small enough to take on vacation with you, and pretty inexpensive.  Here at the shop we’ve got the Makala Shark range of ukuleles.  They’re cool colors and around $60.  Hey it’s a toy, but not a toy, since it’s a serious entry-level musical instrument.

 

You can grab a ukulele and with just a few minutes on youtube or with your favorite App you can be jammin’ away.  I’m a big fan of Ukulenny.com.  Not only is Lenny an awesome musician, but he’s super easy to follow in an online tutorial. Jarret Delos Santos is another one I’ve found online that’s good for beginner tips.  So grab a ukelele and check em out.

Smith ChromaPop Review

We’ve been carrying Smith Sunglasses for as long as we’ve owned the shop and its consistently been one of our favorite brands.  They’re one of the few brands that have been able to keep their models trendy without making them unwearable for the majority of us.  If you’re looking for something that’s reasonably stylish but super technical and functional you’d be well served to test drive a pair of Smith Glasses.

This year we’ve got two new categories from Smith.  First the “ChromaPop” Collection.  This may be over the top, but my guess is this will be our top selling collection this year…but more on that later.  The second new group is the “Archive” Collection.  Smith is celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2015 and to kick off their Heritage campaign they’ve re-released 5 models that were in the line from 1988-93.  These frames have a real retro feel and are definitely trendy.   We’ve got 3 of the 5 styles here at Ride the Wind Surf Shop right now for you to check out.

Smith Delano-Archive Collection

 

Smith Marvine-Archive Collection

Now for the Smith ChromaPop.  Sunglasses technology has rapidly evolved over the last decade.  People expect the product to be optically correct and provide the ultimate in polarization and clarity.  ChromaPop is on the leading age of the next movement, light management technology.  According to Ned Post, Smith President, “we’ve been told that by a number of opticians that the technology has a positive impact on vision, on how you see color, and the clarity is better because the coating we use instead of film. The average customer reaction has been amazing.”

Smith Dolen-ChromaPop Collection

Smith Audible-ChromaPop Collection

Smith Frontman-ChromaPop Collection

With that in mind, we put the Smith ChromaPop lense up against the Costa del Mar 580.  We sell both lines in the shop and have devout followers of Costa as customers.  So here’s the deal, if you’re committed to your 580 lense, don’t try on the ChromaPop.  The other characteristics of the lense, the polarization, clarity, optical correctness, etc.  were very similar…but the light management aspect, how everything looks, was dramatically brighter and had more vibrant color with the ChromaPop.  So at least in our shop, the ChromaPop came out on top.

But don’t go with what we’re suggesting.  We have both lines, along with all you’re favorite brands, here at Ride The Wind Surf Shop and you can come in and do your own test.