Wetsuit Boot and Glove Drying Rack

It may be a bit late in the season for this how-to, but we may still have a few more weeks of boots and gloves, and you will likely want to give yours a good drying before storing them away, so maybe it is more timely than I think.

Constructed of 1/2” PVC pipe, T-fittings, and caps.  I find this diameter pipe provides plenty of support; going with a heavier pipe would likely restrict circulation and reduce air exchange (stagnation of moist air is what fosters fermentation and the growth of mold and bacteria that results in stinky bootie syndrome).  The fittings are pretty tight as-is, but I take the time to use PVC primer and cement to fix each joint in place and make them air-tight (more on that below).

 

I will spare you the detailed measurements as your needs will vary based on hand/shoe size.  You may want to consider making it so that it fits inside a plastic bin so you can relocate the entire setup while still dripping wet.

 

Finally, if you really want to soup it up, tap a brass hose barb (this one is a Watts 1/8” ID x ¼ in MIP; part number LFA-85, available at Home Depot) in the center of the rack, drill one hole in the end of each pipe ending inside the boots and gloves (you may be tempted to go crazy with the drill and make each pipe look like a Wiffle Ball, but that would actually reduce the airflow to the toe and fingertip areas; one ¼” hole as high up on each pipe as possible will maximize the flow from fingertip/toe to cuff).  Finally, hook an aquarium pump up to pressurize the system and get some air flowing through the system.  The airflow does not have to be forceful; just a little bit of flow will carry dampness out of the wet items.

Finally, I sometimes get asked for advice on how to de-funk boots and gloves.  For the most part I just keep up with rinsing with fresh water and drying them completely after every use, but for best de-stinking results, you can wash them in a rubber-safe soap; there are a number of commercially-available wetsuit shampoos, but when the smell starts to get bad I add a little Simple Green in a bucket of warm (not hot as it can damage the rubber and adhesives) water, soak them for a bit, rinse generously with cold water, and dry them out using this pressurized drying rack.

You need a Variant surfboard

Maybe this sounds familiar: Recently, the wind was onshore for over a week with conditions ranging from junk to “meh”, and once the waves finally cleaned up last weekend my schedule was jammed.  So, I was dry for almost two weeks, miserable, and going absolutely looney.

After watching the cameras from my desk at work (and anxiously watching the hard offshore winds beat down what little swell lasted into the early work-week), I finally found a window to surf last night, and arrived at the beach to dead low-tide and knee- to thigh-high conditions at best.  I contemplated running home to grab a longboard, then thought about bagging it, and finally decided to just get in since I had my Variant (by Gallery Surfboards www.gallerysurfboards.com ) and I’ve rarely had a bad session on it, even in the most craptastic conditions.

What happened next was either great luck or something magical if you must assign a metaphysical angle to it: the waves bumped up to chest-high, maybe even shoulder-high on mega-set, on the incoming tide resulting in conditions that really allowed me to generate blistering speed, let loose, clear the cobwebs, and return to a state of sanity.  Eventually the winds turned North and made a mess of the conditions, but that hour-and-change of pure fun was a bonus that I would have missed out on if not for the fact that the Variant lured me into the originally-borderline-pitiful conditions.

With summer (and summer surf conditions) rapidly approaching, I’m less anxious about the crowds and weak conditions than in past years now that I have this secret weapon in my quiver.  I know that I can only glide in straight lines on a longboard for so long before getting bored out of my skull; the Variant allows for speed, driving, and rail-turning that you may think impossible in waves that barely break, and can hold its own even when the waves approach the head+ zone.

The board in question:

 

Since this was a totally-solo session (at least until a pack of teens and early-20-somethings paddled out on top of me despite there being miles of empty beach and peaks in either direction… what’s up with that?) there are no photos from last night, but here are some past photos in similar conditions (All action photos credited to Gina Petruzzelli) .

Sak on a Variant by Gallery Surfboards

And a little proof that the board can handle bigger conditions as well: