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Maybe it’s just us, but a surf poncho is one of those things many surfers get as a gift, but few surfers actually buy for themselves. Or, at least that’s the case with every hooded towel I’ve ever owned! But, now that I have one, I’m glad I can get changed without worrying about flashing the goods.
In this guide, we’ll show you the best surf ponchos for every type of surf session and cover what to look for when choosing the right changing poncho for you.
Table of Contents
The Best Surf Ponchos (Hooded Towels): Quick Picks
This 100% cotton poncho is comfortable and stylish, a rarity in the surf poncho world. They’re towels with hoods after all–not exactly the most flattering of items.
This soft poncho from Open Road Goods is cleverly made with a drawstring hood, button-down neck, and front pocket with a zipper. It absorbs water, dries quickly, and keeps you warm. This fashionable poncho comes in two colors and supports the SEE Turtles non-profit.
Overview: Super cozy oversized surf poncho that’s simple and does the job.
The Catalonia Surf Poncho is convenient and warm even during the winter months. It blocks wind and gives enough room for you to change inside of it. It absorbs water quickly without feeling too heavy; comes in twelve colors.
Overview: Long surf poncho with front pocket and adjustable sleeves.
Sun Cube has made a warm poncho that provides a convenient pocket so you don’t drop your belongings while you change. The armholes have buttons for greater flexibility when you need to maneuver around a tight wetsuit or bikini top. It comes in three colors.
Overview: Oversized changing towel with adjustable sleeves; made from microfiber.
This light and compact poncho provides great protection from the weather and comes in ten different colors. This warm surf poncho from Hiturbo absorbs water well without becoming heavy. There is a small hook on top of the hood to hang it when you don’t need it. This changing towel has flexible buttons underneath the sleeves to make changing easier, especially when trying to get out of a wetsuit or one piece.
Overview: Quick-drying hooded towel with cool color variations.
This changing towel keeps you warm with its soft microfiber material and comes in eight different colors and patterns. Cor has provided a versatile surf poncho that is warm and convenient. You can use this as a changing robe or as a towel to lounge on thanks to its large size. This durable hooded changing towel also includes a front pocket.
Overview: Solid overall surf poncho; value for money.
This Vulken hooded surf poncho is extra-large, perfect for changing in public. The hood helps dry your hair faster and protects you from the sun and wind. The large armholes have buttons to give your arms more room and greater privacy. Comes in three different colors.
Overview: Stylish changing towel for warm weather and general beach days.
Lost & Leisure has designed an incredibly soft surf poncho. It is made of 100% natural cotton and uses a hand-loomed design to get water off your body. It’s not the warmest of hooded towels, so best to only be worn in warm weather. This Turkish towel has front pockets and includes tassels at the bottom to add some flair. Comes in two colors.
Overview: Comfortable and simple oversized surf poncho.
The Tirrinia surf poncho is super absorbent and cozy. This changing towel can quickly dry your hair and body and keep you warm. Its oversized hood protects your head from the sun and wind. It is large and roomy so you can easily change underneath. Comes in six different colors.
Overview: Roomy and comes in two sizes and three different colors.
This super-absorbent poncho from Winthome is warm and thick so you don’t have to worry about it flying around while you change. You can choose from two sizes and three colors. It becomes more absorbent and softer after a couple of washes.
Overview: Basic and soft surf poncho available in four colors.
This multipurpose poncho is perfect for sun and wind protection. The MWTA poncho is windproof and highly absorbent. The hood protects your head from UV and quickly dries wet hair. It comes with a lining pocket so you can keep your valuables close to you. It comes in one size and four colors.
Surf ponchos are worth the price if you struggle with changing in and out of your wet clothes or wetsuit and want to maintain a bit of modesty. Gone are the days where you’re forced to shimmy in and out of your bathing suit, holding your towel closed with one hand while slipping your dry clothes on with the other.
When my friend gave me a surf poncho, I wondered if I’d actually use it. Surprisingly, it does make its way into my surf bag more often than I’d expected. However, it’s not a make-or-break piece of surf gear. I do find myself reaching for it even after a shower at home, though!
What To Look For When Choosing a Hooded Towel
Wondering what to look for when it comes to choosing the right hooded towel for you? Here are our tips based from personal experience.
Some surf ponchos have pockets. This can be super convenient to store your phone and car keys while changing, lest you forget it on top of your car.
Surf ponchos come in a few different types of fabrics; terrycloth (typical towel); microfiber; and thin cotton. If you want a go-to surf poncho, choose the terrycloth option. This will keep you warm, soak up water, and be comfortable.
If you’re traveling, consider the microfiber option. It’s a little more lightweight, but doesn’t dry as well or keep you as warm as the terrycloth option.
The thin cotton (Turkish cotton fabric) is the most stylish of the three in our opinion, but it isn’t as warm as terrycloth. These changing ponchos work great for warm days where you simply just want a terrycloth to cover up.
Most surf ponchos are unisex, made to be one-size-fits-all. Because you’ll want plenty of space to change underneath the hooded towel, opt for a larger surf poncho rather than a smaller one. You’ll want enough rooms to reach your arms inside and outside of the poncho. It should also be long enough to cover your backside when you bend over.
If the surf poncho is really long, make sure it has slits up the side to provide extra room to pull off your wet clothing underneath.
Style is a personal preference, and those of us looking for a surf poncho probably won’t find the most stylish item on the market. When it comes to hooded towels, opt for function over fashion and stick to your favorite outfits and cover-ups for everyday wear.