Buying a gift for a surfer is not always easy. Here are some things you need to consider:
Conditions: what is the water temperature where they surf? How hot is it in summer and how cold in winter? Buying high-performance boardshorts for a surfer in the UK or Canada may not be a good idea. If you’re going to buy wax then make sure it is appropriate for the water temperature.
Skills: how skilled is your giftee? If they are brand new to surfing then they’ll probably need things like a rash vest, wetsuit, legrope or their own surfboard. Talk to a surf shop assistant to get ideas and don’t spend too much. If they are intermediate or advanced, leave them to get their own technical equipment. It is better to focus on apparel, accessories and gadgets. Quality towels, surf hats, sunscreen and changing mats are all excellent options.
Frequency: how often do they surf? If they surf once a year then perhaps buy them a surf book or surf art for their home. If they surf once a month then you might consider gadgets and accessories. If they surf every week then chances are they need to upgrade their gear, so boardshorts, rash vests and other items are options they may appreciate.
Most importantly, if you’re unsure what to buy the surfer then ask them! I would be disappointed if I received a cheap wetsuit for Christmas because I’d rather save up for a premium model that will offer better performance. Don’t buy an intermediate surfer a surfboard unless they’ve been talking about a specific model for ages. Even then, you may get the volume and sizing wrong. If you’re intent on buying them their dream board then definitely closely examine their current favourite surfboard and try to match the volume (literage) as closely as possible in the new model.
Hint: a covert strategy for discovering what the surfer in your life wants is to go to the surf shop together. Pretend that you really want a new surf brand t-shirt and then follow them as they browse the aisles. They may wonder why you’re suddenly so interested in surfing but you’ll definitely get some intelligence. Note: this works best with young people – don’t try it on your 45-year-old spouse.
Don’t forget to check out our product reviews for more insights into surf gear tested by our team.
Quick links to our favorite shops and gift options
If you are busy and want to purchase a gift from one of our favourite brands or shops then scroll no further. The following options are what we would choose for our Christmas stockings.
Quality clothing and accessories from Kelly Slater’s Outerknown
For the ultimate in surf clothing for men and women skip the rest of this article and check out Kelly Slater’s surf brand, Outerknown. We reviewed the 2020 Outerknown range and loved the sustainably sourced and ethically manufactured gear.
Shark protection from Sharkbanz
For proven protection from sharks grab a Sharkbanz shark deterrent. They’re simple, hassle-free and don’t require charging. Just don’t store it next to mobile devices and other technology because the shark repellent magnet is strong! Note: it’s fine while in the box 🙂
Sustainable surf gear from Patagonia
For sustainable surf gear, including awesome eco-friendly wetsuits visit Patagonia. They currently offer free shipping on all orders of $75 or more. We’ve reviewed the Yulex range of wetsuits and really like their surf hats.
For a surf watch that provides comprehensive wave tracking via GPS you still can’t beat the Rip Curl SearchGPS.
20 specific surf gift ideas for 2020
For those of you interested in exploring a diverse range of surf gear, we’ve formulated a list of surf gifts that we really love. Some of the products featured are for men (Rash vest, t-shirts) but the brands do have matching women’s versions.
In my video guide, I decided to test out the first 8 products… all at the same time! Talk about surf accessorizing.
Unfortunately, the waves were mediocre but I paddled out despite the cold water, proving that that gift number 4 on our list – the Rip Curl Aggrolite 1.5mm Front Zip Jacket – really works.
Check out the video guide and product list below.
1. Ho Stevie surfboard sock
This surfboard sock features a super fluffy, durable knit stretch fabric, a reinforced nose area, drawstring closure and even a Velcro pocket for your wax or keys. The wide tail area means it’s easy to slide your board in and out, even when the board is wet.
Hakuna Wear boardshorts are made in California from recycled ocean plastic and water bottles. They’re super stretchy, quick to dry and feature a unique side tie so that you no longer lie down on your drawstring while paddling. They have versions for men and women.
3. Hurley Dri-fit T-shirts
T-shirts make great gifts and I’m enjoying the Dri-fit range from Hurley which, in my experience, tend to be made of more durable, premium fabric than some of the competition. The designs are classic and understated – no crazy big logos plastered across the shirt.
This is the perfect solution to keep you warm when the seasons change or when you want a little more protection than a standard rash guard. I used it both in Fiji and New Zealand and love the design – you don’t notice the front zip when paddling and wind chill is a thing of the past.
I’ve been searching for the ultimate surf hat for some time and this might just be my favourite! It has a floating brim, comfortable fit and the drawstring clips perfectly onto the Aggrolite Front Zip Jacket. They’re a match made in heaven, available from Surfstitch and Rip Curl.
6. The Surf Wax Box
Created by surfwaxbox.com, these boxes are made of ash wood, come in cool asymmetric shapes and can even be customized with your own message. The box includes a wax comb that clicks magnetically into the lid.
My favourite sunscreen for surfers – check out the full review on Surfd.com. It’s easy to apply and comes in a neat round tin. Most important it is natural, reef safe and seriously effective.
This is designed to store car keys safely while the surfer in your life is in the water. Many of us hide our keys… I won’t reveal where… but this waterproof utility product, with a heavy-duty combination lock will keep them much, much safer. Get it on Surfstitch or Amazon.
17. The Gnarwall surfboard hanger
A great way to store boards flat up against the wall. They’re mounted using an FCS or Futures fin adapter and turn your board into a piece of wall art – or simply get it out of the way. We use it here at Surfd!
When we saw that cbdMD were sponsoring the WSL Jaws Big Wave Championship we decided to give the product a try. It is fast-acting and effective – perfect for easing the aches and pains of both surfing and life. Check out cbdmd.com.
19. Rheos floating sunglasses
These polarized sunnies are lightweight, floatable and hydrophobic – the water quickly runs off the lenses and they feature anti-fog technology. This means you can even wear them surfing… when the waves are not too intense.
That’s it for this gift guide for surfers! If you have any ideas or suggestions please comment below. If you haven’t already, do check out the video above or on Youtube.
Note: we may receive commissions when you click a few of the above links and make purchases. However, this does not influence our reviews or guides. It simply helps us to cover the costs of running this website.