Where To Hide Your Keys & Phone When Surfing

Are you new to surfing and find yourself fumbling with your keys not knowing where to put them before you go in water?

Have you wondered where surfers hide their keys when they surf? After all, a car key in a boardshort or wetsuit pocket can easily find its way onto the ocean floor. If you stick your key in the sand you can lose it or the tide may get to it.

So what’s the alternative? How do you keep your stuff safe while you’re out in the water?

In this guide, we’ll look at lock boxes for surfers, focusing on reviews and emphasizing quality and affordability. We will also take a look at a few other less-secure ways to store your keys while you surf if have a higher risk tolerance.

Why Use A Lock Box To Store Your Keys When Surfing

Let’s start with the basics: People steal things.

We’ve had our 3-dollar heavily used flip flops stolen from the beach once. We left them on the sand before hitting the surf and they were gone when we got back.

We’ve also had a car key stolen that we wrapped in a towel that we left on the beach. That made for a very tough time getting home after surfing. Luckily we parked far enough away that the thief couldn’t easily find our car.

We’ve heard nightmare stories of surfers coming out of the water to find their keys and wallets missing from their cars because they “hid” their keys in the sand or on the tire of their car.

We’ve heard even worse stories of surfers who find that they don’t have a car because a thief took it while they were in the water. All due to “hiding” their keys.

Probably the worst story we have heard of is that of a surfer who got out of the water to find that her car was stolen, and to find that when she got home she found her house ransacked and cleaned out. The thieves used her driver’s license that they found in her car to find her home and steal her belongings while she was out for a surf.

You can read more stories on Swaylocks.com about surfers who had their stuff (wallets, phones, cars and more) stolen while they were surfing because they “hid their keys” instead of using a lock box.

Are trying to scare you? A little bit, yes.

Why? We’ll say it again: People steal things and we don’t want them to steal your belongings while you are surfing.

Lock Boxes For Surfers

Hands down, we recommend using a lock box to store your keys when you go for a surf. It’s the safest method to keeping your car, wallet, phone and other valuables safe when they are out of sight and you are in the water.

Lock boxes are what realtors use to keep keys to houses in that are for sale. They don’t hide the keys under the mats or in other less-secure places.

If a lock box is good enough for realtors, it’s good enough for surfers to store their keys.

Creatures of Leisure Stash Lock

Creatures of Leisure Stash Lock One Size Black

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We are fans of the Creatures of Leisure Stash Lock. It’s what we use and we like it a lot.

It has a four-digit code to keep it simple and a weather protection cover that you can slide up and down to hide the fact that it is a combination lock and to protect the combination lock from rain, snow and sand.

You can attach it to a hitch, a surf rack, or a car door knob. Whatever works for you.

It also comes with a plastic cover that surrounds the box which acts like anti-scratch feature if you do want to attach it to a car door.

The Creatures of Leisure Stash Lock has a good amount of capacity to it and can hold a lot of keys at once. This is our favorite feature of it and is a big reason why it is our go-to lock box.

The Creatures of Leisure Stash Lock comes with 2 faraday bags that block the radio frequency signal from proximity keys. This is very useful for surfers who have cars with proximity keys that help you unlock your car as you approach or when you touch the door handle. If have proximity keys be sure use these bags or you will be locking away your keys in the lock box but you will be leaving your car unlocked due to how proximity keys work.

Last, but not least the back of the Creatures of Leisure Stash Lock is made of rubber foam that has a little bit of grip to it. We don’t recommend putting the lock box on the roof of your car and driving away with it, but we did this more than once and the lock box was still on the roof of the car when we got home … the first time. It didn’t make it the second time and we ended up buying the lock box a second time.

Hitch Safe

HitchSafe HS7000T Key Vault, Black

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The Hitch Safe is a neat little tool that allows you to hide your keys right on your vehicle. If your car or truck is equipped with a hitch receiver, you’re ready to use the Hitch Safe.

Just insert the little lock into the standard receiver and set the combination. The lockbox is covered by a rubber cover, disguising it as just another run-of-the-mill truck hitch receiver. 

We love that you don’t need tools to install this lock box for surfers, and that it can be used by anyone.

Whether you’re going surfing, heading out for a run or just always lose your keys, the Hitch Safe is a great option. 

Master Lock Lock Box

Master Lock 5400EC Lock Box, 5 Key Capacity, Black

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Master Lock has been around for a long time and is a solid choice for a lock box.

If you have one key to store while you surf this can be a good choice.

It also has a thin rubber backing and a vinyl coating on the shackle that helps prevent scratching the car paint and a weather protection cover that slides up to hide the combination lock.

WordLock

WordLock KS-052-BK Stor-More Key Storage Box with 4 Dial, Black, Model: KS-052-BK, Outdoor & Hardware Store

Buy on Amazon

If you’re terrible at remembering numbers, you may choose to try the WordLock lock box.

With this lock, you enter—you guessed it—a four letter combination that you’ll enter when you want to access your keys.

Of course, it should go without saying that your word should be hard to guess.

Something like “surf,” “wave”, or your dog’s name is probably not the best idea. 

The WordLock cylinder can be attached to several different parts of your car, and it’s made from reinforced steel and other durable materials.

As always, use caution and if possible, affix this lockbox onto a less visible area of your vehicle. 

Customers who have used the WordLock don’t just love using letters instead of numbers.

They also appreciate the larger capacity of the WordLock—you can fit credit cards and garage door openers in this handy little lockbox. 

Lock Box & Security Tips

A Carlsbad, CA Police Department sign giving helpful advice to beach goers.

Treat your lock box with WD-40 ever so often as the sand and salt will cause the combination lock to stick and corrode over time.

Also:

  • Keep your valuables out of sight. Store them in your truck, in your glove box or some other place where they don’t look attractive to a thief.
  • Lock your car. Thieves walk around checking car doors to see if they are locked.
  • Don’t hide a key. Use a better system, like a lock box.

Other Ways To Store & “Hide” Your Keys When You Surf

Here are a few less-secure ideas to explore if you don’t want to buy a lock box. Some are better than others.

Hide Your Keys On Your Tire or In Your Bumper

The old “I want to be a valet car parker” routine. Valets don’t even put keys on top of car tires anymore. They at least have a big wooden board where they put all of the keys.

But if you want to pretend you are a valet when you go for a surf, just drop your keys on your car tire or find a “secure” place in your bumper and cross your fingers that your belongings will be there when you are finished surfing.

Hide-a-Key

A hide-a-key is a little box that has a magnet on it. You can put your car key in it and then stick it to your car in place where someone won’t look.

Or, a thief will see exactly where you put it, wait until you paddle into the line up and then steal your wallet and phone from your car.

Hide Your Keys In A “Dirty Diaper”

The most creative storage option we have heard of is to hide your keys in a wrapped-up diaper.

You can easily stash this diaper on the beach near your other belongings, or even somewhere in the vicinity of your car.

Just be mindful of where you put it—it would be a bad day for you should the park ranger or beach cleaner, whose job it is to clean up the beach, come by and clean up your “mess.”

Put Your Car Key In The Pocket Of Your Boardshorts or Wetsuit

Some boardshort pockets have an elastic loop you can tether your car keys to. This works well.

You may also choose to keep your car key in a zippered pocket on your swimsuit.

This is risky, however, as you may not notice your pocket coming unzipped or the velcro coming undone when you’re in particularly rough surf. 

The one exception here is when your boardshort pocket has an elastic loop that you can tether you car key to. The problem with this solution is that many of us surfers are wearing a wetsuit almost all year long.

Bury Your Keys In The Sand While You Surf

You can bury your key in the sand. Dig a small hole, place your key in, and cover it back up.

Then, place your towel over your treasure to mark your spot.

Do note, though, that this is a very bad idea for those of you who are surfing on a windy day. 

Wear Your Key Around You Neck

If you have a key that isn’t going to get ruined by the ocean (aka a fob key), you can use a necklace or shoelace to keep it around your neck. If you wear a wetsuit you have a greater chance of it not coming off of your neck.

We used to use this method, who are we kidding, we used just about all of the ways to hide a key that are on this page, but really the best way is to get a lock bock.