Ever wanted to buy something but didn’t have an occasion to do it for? Fear not, the best time of year for purchases has arrived. Gifts for surfers can be a difficult task for those that don’t participate in the pastime. Questions may arise: Another board? Why not the Wavestorm, those are popular right? Won’t goggles help you see if the water splashes into your eyes? Maybe a waterproof speaker so some jams can be jammed in the lineup? The mystery around what gift to get a surfer continues, but this guide should help bring you to clearer waters. Whether the surfer in your life is your family member, partner, friend, or maybe yourself (don’t worry we won’t tell anyone) this list should serve as some inspiration for the holiday season.
P.S.: There are no seasonal restrictions on this list, feel free to use year round.
Here we have gifts that will actively improve a surfer’s experience in the water. If the surfer in your life surfs more than once or twice a week, this might be the section for you.
This depends on your locale. If you live near cold water go for a wetsuit or some extra rubber like booties or gloves. Make sure to get the right thickness for the water temperatures though! If you live near warmer water, go for boardshorts, bikinis, or rashguards. For wetsuits check out NeedEssentials, O’Neill, Feral, or Patagonia. There are plenty more but these are good places to start and offer a wide range of prices. For warm water gear any major brand will have what you need, check out Billabong, Volcom, Birdwell Britches, Rip Curl, Quiksilver etc…
Every surfer uses gear daily that cannot be reused or at least not used forever, but always needs a restock. This includes: Surf wax, sunscreen, leashes, and traction pads. The type of surf wax you get will depend on the temperature of the water, make sure to get the right one! Some good brands are Sexwax, Sticky Bumps, and Fu Wax.
Sunscreen is key for every surfer that isn’t the biggest fan of skin cancer (hopefully all). Generally you need some ultra water resistant, reef safe, and powerful goop. Some go to brands are Badger, Sun Bum Surf Paste, and Surf Mud.
Leashes are vital as well, always replace before you need to! There are plenty of options but Dakine, Captain Fin, and FCS all have quality products. Traction pads need to be replenished less often that everything else on this list, usually once or twice over a board’s career, but are important none the less. Check out FCS, Dakine, Rage, and Octopus.
Tech has come to surfing! There are some awesome gifts for your gadget oriented surfer out there nowadays. For the punctual wave rider a waterproof watch is essential. Welcome to 2022, even Apple Watches are waterproof, but some all time classic brands in the surf world are Nixon, Freestyle, and Casio. A surfer that likes to see what he looks like surfing will be grateful for any camera that will take a shot of him. This could be a Go Pro, Soloshot (Tracks you from the beach!), or a hired photographer for a session.
Earplugs are less glitzy but very important to prevent surfer’s ear (gross, painful, needs surgery). Some options: Surfears, Mack’s, or Doc’s Proplugs. For those who care to lower their chances of a visit from a shark, SharkBandz claims to ward away the apex predators.
Pre and Post Surfing Gifts
Watching surfers before and after surfing is always entertaining. Everyone has their own ritual of getting their gear out or back into their vehicle, getting the sand off them, and changing. Here are some gift ideas to make the process leading up to and after surfing easier and more enjoyable.
Make care rides and getting into a tight rubber suit better! To be clear this is about surfing in a wetsuit. If you live in a cold area a good thermos is essential. Having a hot beverage of choice while checking the surf makes everything better. Bonus, get a good enough one to keep the beverage warm for after the surf as well! Check out Yeti, Stanley, and GSI Outdoors.
Something very underrated is a changing mat. These reduce wear and tear on clothes and wetsuits as well as being much more comfortable than concrete and much cleaner than sand. Some options here: Rip Curl, FCS, Dorsal.
Surfboards are always important, but what do you bring it in? To have a thin layer between a board and the elements get a board sock: Pro-Lite, Creatures of Leisure. For heavier duty options get a day or travel bag: DB, FCS, Dakine.
To ensure warmth and decency while changing, the surf poncho is a game changer. It is by far one of the most functional pieces of clothing ever. Here are some options: Dryrobe, Slowtide, Corsurf. Nowadays with everything going electronic it has become much more difficult to keep a key on you while surfing. All electronic FOBs do not agree with saltwater. Damn you car manufacturers, give me back my non electronic keys! Here are some during surf options that will keep your key safe (no guarantees): Kguard, Aquapac, Hitchsafe, Masterlock.
The after session change is usually harder than the pre surf ritual. Here you might be exhausted, cold, and still wet. The best thing you can have right now is a fresh water shower to get the sand and salt off. Here are a few ways to facilitate this, both hot and cold: ebodyboarding, Watersport, Pomo. A big issue most surfers have is sand in the car. Storage options for wetsuits or boardshorts is key. This could be as simple and functional as a bucket: For example. Car seat covers also aid this greatly (and the resale value of your car will appreciate you): Carhartt, Seatshield.
A good waterproof and compartment filled backpack is a great option if the surfer receiving the gift tends to surf spots that require a walk, and will allow he/she to change at the spot and bring whatever they need there and back while separating dry and wet: O’Neill, Corsurf, Creatures of Leisure. Last but not least, surfing tends to create problems with boards. A solid repair kit is every serious surfer’s best friend: Dingall.
If there is one thing surfers always want it is more surfing. This isn’t always possible, especially for the land locked, injured, or family having surfer. Gifts for surfers that don’t surf often, or surfers that surf often and have what they need can be found below.
Around the House
This is a fun category, and a good one if you are struggling to pick the perfect gift out from the options above. Surf art, either photography or painted, is always welcome in a surfer’s home. The plus side for non surfers is that the prints are usually beautiful even if you don’t mind surf them every time you pass by. Some places to start: Jackbober, Ted Grambeau. For the avid reader, surfing books can be much appreciated. There are some really bad ones out there though, so beware! Here are some classics: The History of Surfing, Barbarian Days.
A problem many surfers have, especially those without a garage is storage of boards and wetsuits. Here are some board rack options: Gnarwall, RadoRacks, RadoRacks. Here are some wetsuit rack options: C-Monsta, Malo’o.
Surf Lifestyle and Attire
Clothes clothes clothes. Functional but also fashionable is the key intersection that surf lifestyle branding tries to hit. This could look like hats from your surfers favorite brand (see any of the brands linked on this page) or something a little more. Shorts are an easy and popular gift, especially in the warmer climates: Marine X, Vissla. For colder climates a fleece or some sort of layer to stay cozy while checking the surf is always a good choice: Outerknown, O’Neill.
Shoes or flip flops are great as well: Reef, Rainbow, Havaianas. Surfers always tend to be sponsored by sunglass companies, and there are a ton of stylish and not-as-expensive-as-ray-bans shades to keep your irises covered: Mauijim, Oakley, Dragon.
Make a Difference
These last gifts can either be a slam dunk or fall a little short. If the gift receiver expects something concrete this is not the section for you. First is a donation to some sort of ecological fund. As surfers we interact with nature to a greater extent than most of the world, and with pollution and climate change the ocean is rapidly changing (and generally for the worse). Here are some excellent options to donate to: Surfrider Foundation, Save the Waves, Wildcoast. There is also a huge range of surf charities that span from helping street children in South Africa connect to the ocean to helping veterans of horrific wars recover from PTSD. Here are a few that could use your help: Operationsurf, Surfingdoctors, Surfersnotstreetchildren, Citysurfproject.
Okay, this is not set in stone, but there is one gift that you should avoid like the plague: a surfboard. Now this may sound counter-intuitive, but you should only buy a surfer a surfboard if you know the exact model and dimensions that the surfer wants. If you know or can guess that then you probably don’t need to be reading this guide. Foamies might be an exception, as these are not finely tuned surfcraft and have a lot of fun value not dependent on having the perfect dimensions. If you want to get your surfer a board, it might be best to give them the cash and allow them to pick and order the board of their choice.
Don’t forget though, it is the thought that counts. Whether you’re getting a bar of wax or a brand new travel bag, choosing from the list above should steer you in the right direction and make your gift receiver happy as a grom with a new stick. Happy Holidays!
If you’re still looking for gift Inspiration check out Surfd’s Gifts for Surfers article, they have some great stuff listed there.