Under the fender or in the gas cap compartment were the typical spots. Then wetsuit and leash manufacturers clued in and started including discrete pockets. While these work for some surfers, a universal solution to the age old problem remains – where do you put your keys?
With the growth in popularity of surfing, so too has surfing related theft seen a dramatic rise. Stories abound of low lives staking out surf spots watching where surfers hide their keys. In a particularly brazen series of thefts in Huntington Beach, California, the thieves would wait for the surfer to be out in the lineup, get into their car, write down pertinent credit card information, and leave everything just as they found it. It wouldn’t be for another few weeks until the fraud alerts, if you were lucky, would start going off. By then, there could have been a dozen possible instances of where your credit card information could have been compromised.
You could take your key with you. All wetsuits now have pockets inside the back panel and some even have zippered “stash” pockets along the leg panel. Boardshorts and leashes are also increasingly equipped with pockets that accommodate your car key. While this may be a solution for some, more and more car keys are being made with microchips inside as, ironically for surfers, a form of theft prevention. Add to this the buttons to open doors and trunks and you’ve got an electronic gizmo costing hundreds of dollars that doesn’t get along so well with salt water.
There are a few solutions out on the market, one of the more promising applications being the Surf Lock
car security padlock. I had the chance to test out the Surf Lock extensively and I must say that it is very well thought out and works like a charm.
The Surf Lock sells for $69.95 Australian dollars plus $10.00 shipping (or about $70 U.S. dollars total at the time of writing) and is manufactured out of Australia. Since they are still looking for U.S. distributors, the best us Californians can do is order directly from them. Shipping is surprisingly fast though.How It Works
The Surf Lock is essentially just that – an oversized padlock with a compartment large enough to fit your keys. The padlock can be secured onto any part of your vehicle including a rim spoke, tow hitch, front grill or secured roof racks. A nine digit combination code keeps your keys secure while you’re out in the lineup.
A lot of thought went into the design and build quality of the Surf Lock. Just holding the lock, it’s noticeable weight suggests strong materials were used in fabrication. An included rubber sleeve protects the combination dials from inclement weather. Soft rubber padding on the underside of the lock as well as a thick clear rubber coating around the hook ensures that the lock does not scratch up the finish of the car or anything that it rests against. Some Stoke
A lot can be said as to why the Surf Lock is the ideal application for securing your car key. Everyone that has seen me use it at the beach is intrigued by it and wants one. Here are some of the reasons why.
- It Works – For starters, whenever I’ve used it, my car is still there when I get back. I’d venture to say that is definitely a good sign.
- Spacious Compartment – There is enough room in the compartment to hold a typical car key as well as the “keyfobs” (keys with “finger operated buttons”) as well as keys attached to keyfobs. So basically, everything. If for whatever reason you have a particularly long ass key, there is a clever slot cut into the compartment to allow your abnormally overgrown key to jut out while still being secured.
- Scratch Conscious – As mentioned, the Surf Lock was designed with scratch prevention in mind. The backing is entirely covered with neoprene-like material so the Surf Lock can rest against the car or any surface without worry of scratching the paint. The loop is also covered in rubber tubing so whatever it is latched onto will not suffer from scratches or dings.
- Accessible Combination Dials – The nine digit combination dials which provide for a very high number of possible combinations are easily changed. This is important since you may decide to latch the Surf Lock under the car or in less accessible or noticeable locations. Even in tight quarters, with the weather shield, it is fairly easy to turn the dials.
- Weather Shield – The Surf Lock comes equipped with an optional rubber shield that covers the combination dials. I presume this would come in handy in muddy conditions where you don’t want to come back to a lock with mud jamming up the dials. Personally, I just leave it on.
Try as I might, I could find very little to complain about the Surf Lock in terms of functionality. While the product does its job and does it well, its major drawbacks are a lack of U.S. distribution and simple lock boxes as a cheaper alternative.
- Oi Oi Oi!! – The Surf Lock is manufactured out of Australia with distributors in Africa, Japan, New Zealand, and Spain. For reasons which baffle the mind, nobody is distributing this security device in the U.S. In the meantime, you can order directly from them and shipping is surprisingly very quick.
- Lock Boxes – You can pick these up at Home Depot for under $30. They do exactly what the Surf Lock does in terms of keeping a key secure inside the compartment of a padlock. However, the lock boxes were meant to do just that – lock a key. Do not expect the thought that went into the Surf Lock which makes them ideal for surfers. Showing this to a friend of mine, he said he would still prefer to pay extra for the Surf Lock for all the added touches.
Currently, the only way for Californians to get their hands on a Surf Lock is to order it directly from them. Fortunately, they are a very responsive company and those Aussies know how to ship fast.
At the time of writing, a Surf Lock cost about $70.00 in U.S. dollars including shipping.The Word
Being the paranoid schizo that I am, I take my key security seriously. I’ve tried a number of various methods involving both in- and out-of-water solutions. The Surf Lock is easily one of my favorite solutions. Yes, at first I was a bit nervous leaving a huge padlock on my car which anyone with a half a brain could guess it’s content. Having used it on a number of occasions now, I am extremely comfortable using the Surf Lock.DISCLOSURE: THE AUTHOR OF THIS ARTICLE WAS PROVIDED THIS PRODUCT FOR FREE FOR PURPOSES OF TESTING.