Product Reviews

Best Gifts For Surfers 2018

The Best Surfing Gift Ideas

If you have a surfer in your life, then getting them something surf related for a gift is a surefire way to please them.  Most surfers are rabid about their favorite pastime, and there has never been a better time for interesting and fun surf-related gadgets and gifts.  Of course, if your surfer is asking for a specific board or wetsuit, then that might be outside of the scope of this article (or, check out our guide to the best surf wetsuits).  But if you’re looking for interesting ideas, then this is the perfect place to start your search for the perfect gift.

Surf Watches

There are a huge array of technical and tide surf watches available.  Some of them are extremely tech oriented, and some are simple tide watches.  It all depends on your budget, aesthetic, and a sense of what the person you’re buying for might enjoy.  Make no mistake though, these watches make great gifts!

Apple Watch Series 3

Really?  The Apple Watch?  Yep.  This may be an aesthetic choice for some as Apple watches only come in one shape, but the Apple Watch has come a long way.  It is now water resistant enough to withstand an average session, and with new apps such as Dawn Patrol you can track your waves, distance paddled, calories burned, and log sessions.

The Series 3 also has support for LTE cellular connectivity, so you can receive and send texts and calls in the water.  Now, I know what you might be thinking…however some people may really need such functionality.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had friends who have been on call for work but can’t surf because they need to be by their phone.  With the Apple Watch they can get those work calls in the water and leave immediately if duty calls.  Those with small children or elderly relatives that are afraid to miss emergency texts or calls can also benefit from this.

If you have an iPhone the Apple Watch might be a better option than our next choice simply because the connectivity works much better between the devices.

If you want cellular connectivity ensure that you are buying the right version – look for “cellular” or “LTE”.

 Amazon has some great prices on the Apple Watch.

Nixon Mission

The Nixon Mission is a high end tech watch focused on action sports, especially surf and snow.  With an enormous array of functions it’s one of the most advanced action sports oriented watches on the market.  Run by Androidwear 2.0, the watch now had compatible iPhone apps that allow it to be used with the iPhone as well as Android phones.  The watch is definitely on the larger end (4.8cm face) which might make it a better choice for men, but I know more than a few women who would gladly rock it.

I really like this watch – despite its size it’s very good looking on my wrist and the functionality and different watch faces are a lot of fun.  For action sports enthusiasts this is the go-to smartwatch that will withstand a beating in the water and snow.  Check out our full Nixon Mission review for more information on this watch.

 Click Here for the best prices on the Nixon Mission

Rip Curl Search GPS

The Rip Curl Search GPS is a great gift for any surfer.  This surf watch was specifically designed for surfers in mind, and provides the ability to track your session data in terms of waves caught, distance paddled, distance surfed, and top speeds.  After a session the waves can be plotted on a map of the surf spot.  Social media read, the session data can then be posted on Facebook or Instagram for a fun post surf report.  Because of its GPS capability you will always have the most accurate tide and time data on your watch, meaning this is one of the most accurate tide watches on the market as well.

Stand Up Paddle enthusiasts, kiteboarders, and boogie boarders can also use this watch, so it’s not strictly for prone paddle surfers.

I have a lot of fun using this watch to track my sessions and seeing all my stats tabulated.

 Click Here for the best prices on the Rip Curl Search GPS watch

Freestyle Shark Tide

If you’re looking for a lower price point tide watch, my favorite are the Shark Tide watches.  They come in a variety of different colorways, styles, and band types so you can find one suited for whomever you’re buying for.  I personally find the Shark Tide to give the most clear display of the tide and time.  Plus, it’s one of the most reliable and durable surf watch brands on the market.  These watches stand the test of time, and my surfing friends who rock Freestyle watches always have good things to say.

Click Here to get the best prices on Shark Tide watches

Check out our guide to the best surf watches where we review several different tide and surf smart watches.

Surf Books

Barbarian Days

This Pulitzer Prize winning book is an autobiographical look at a life spent surfing.  It’s an excellent work that follows the adventures and tales of the author, William Finnegan, from his childhood through his adult life.  It’s one of the most well written and poignant surfing books that I’ve ever read, reading like both and adventure tale as well as a study on American boyhoood and growing up through the fifties and sixties.  The author, a regular writer for publications such as the New Yorker, weaves together stories about both his life in and out of the surf, making Barbarian Days a well written and compelling page turner.


The Wave

The Wave by Susan Casey was published a few years ago, but I wanted to add it to this list anyway because of how much I liked it.  I found it to be thoroughly engrossing and interesting.  Author Susan Casey takes a look at the science of rogue waves in the open ocean; what makes them form, and how they can be responsible for the sinking of entire container ships in a single blow.  She also takes a look at the sport of big wave riding, with a special focus on Laird Hamilton and his exploration of big waves in Hawaii.  I ripped through this book quite quickly as I found the science behind the big waves quite fascinating, and also found the stories of Laird Hamilton’s feats jaw dropping.

Surf Is Where You Find It

Written by one of the most revered names in surfing history, Surf Is Where You Find It by Gerry Lopez is an autobiographical collection of stories revolving around the author’s time surfing Hawaii and around the globe.  Lopez is a gifted writer, and hearing his take on surfing Pipeline and other spots in the sport’s early days is riveting.  Not only are his stories rich with surfing history, but they also make some deep and insightful connections to life lessons that Lopez has learned over the years.  I quite enjoyed this book as well as the many rich, full color photos that it contains.


The History Of Surfing

The History Of Surfing is a full color, beautiful coffee table type book that is packed full of interesting stories, narratives, and photos from surfing’s past; from its inception to present day.  You can’t go wrong with this – I actually got this as a gift myself and I love having it out in my room, and page through it now and then.  It’s also a magnet for my friends who come over.  It’s over 500 pages and chock full of 250 rare photographs.  Matt Warshaw is synonymous with “surf history” and he has done an incredible amount of research into all the nooks and crannies of surf history.



Surf Gear

GoPro Hero 6

The latest and greatest from the masters at GoPro, the GoPro Hero 6 is an amazingly innovative little camera.  Perfectly waterproof, this is an excellent camera to capture surf shots of yourself or your friends.  And it’s not just for water sports, the GoPro Hero 6 shoots anything from the family pet to snowboarding to weddings to skateboarding to traveling.  The Hero 6 updates almost every area of the GoPro camera, with a touch screen and 4k resolution. It’s also waterproof to 33 feet without a housing, which is a nice departure from previous GoPros.  It also doubles the video capacity of the previous version of the camera, with 4k video at 60 frames per second and HD footage at 240 frames per second.  That will make for some insane slow motion shots.

One of the coolest additions to this camera is the digital stabilization, which can render shaky hands perfectly smooth–it’s pretty amazing to see in action.  It also performs excellently in low light conditions, improving on the color range and subtleties, making for much more professional-looking shots.  As a professional videographer, I think this camera is finally one that can be used for professional shoots.

GoPro HERO6 Black — Waterproof Digital Action Camera for Travel with Touch Screen 4K HD Video 12MP Photos
  • HERO6 Black automatically sends your footage to your phone where the app turns it into a QuikStory-an awesome edited video
  • With 4K60 and 1080p240 video,HERO6 Black delivers 2x the performance compared to HERO5 BlackWith an all-new GP1 chip optimized for GoPro capture, HERO6 Black delivers vastly improved image quality
  • With our most advanced video stabilization yet, HERO6 Black captures super smooth footage, whether it's handheld or mounted to your gear HERO6 Black is waterproof to 33ft (10m) without a housing
  • Now featuring touch zoom and an updated UI, the 2-inch display makes it easy to frame shots, change settings and play back footage
  • Featuring 5GHz Wi-Fi, you can copy photos and videos over to your phone 3x faster than with HERO5 Black. Note-low or high temperature conditions may temporarily shorten the battery life or cause the camera to temporarily stop working properly

Open Roads Goods Surf Kit

The Open Roads Goods Surf Kit is a trendy case that can hold surf wax, sunscreen, a wax comb, and has a stash pocket for other personal items.  It also comes in several other prints and colors other than the one pictured here.

This is an excellent idea for travelers or those who just like nice ways to organize their supplies.  The kit comes completely filled with all the essentials – simply choose Sex Wax or Sticky Bumps wax and you’re all set!


 Click Here to find the best prices for the Open Roads Goods Surf Kit!

RinseKit Portable Shower

The RinseKit is a portable outdoor shower that is a perfect accessory for any surfer.  The Rinse Kit can be filled with hot water for an easy and convenient post surf rinse, making it easy to get all the sand and saltwater off of your body after a session.  This is especially helpful for those who surf at spots without beach showers, but even if there are beach showers they are usually cold and often you have to wait in a line to use them.  The RinseKit doubles as a great tool for washing the dog, camping, and other outdoor activities.

Click Here to find the best prices for The RinseKit

The Leatherman Thruster

Anyone that has been surfing long enough knows the feeling when they are lacking a certain tool when they really need it, whether it’s a screwdriver, fin key, wax comb, or bottle opener.  The Leatherman Thruster incorporates all of these tools into a cool all-in-one gadget that every surfer should keep in their car or truck.  Having these tools handy can sometimes save an entire session!  This is a great gift idea for any surfer who wants to be prepared.

The Hitch Safe

The Hitch Safe has been one of my own personal favorite purchases.  It’s a combination lock drawer that fits into the hitch on the back of your car or truck and allows you to store keys, money, and anything else.  But its main use is for keys – and it’s not just for surfing.  I’ve used my Hitch Safe to stash my keys when I go snowboarding, hiking, and even out to bars and restaurants.  If you have at least a 2″ hitch this is something that all action sports enthusiasts can use, not just surfers.  NOTE: if you’re buying this for a Toyota Tacoma 2005 – current and Tundra 2007- current you have to buy these pin adapters.

 Click Here to shop the best prices on The Hitch Safe

The Board Buddy

Sometimes carrying a longboard is difficult for those who are older, have shorter arms, or who usually walk a long way from their car to the water.  The Board Buddy is designed to help ease this burden and provides a comfortable and ergonomic handle with which to grip your longboard.  This handle gives you more control and leverage, making the necessity of carrying your board quite a bit easier.

HangAir Wetsuit Drying Hanger

Having a dry wetsuit before a surf is a luxury that we don’t always get to experience.  This is especially true on cold winter days when putting on a damp wetsuit is not all that inviting.  The HangAir Wetsuit Drying Hanger is a clever device that encourages airflow through the suit to ensure that it dries out quickly.  This hanger also helps prevent wetsuits from starting to smell due to constantly being damp.  And it’s not just for wetsuits!  You can use this on snowboard gear, diving suits, and anything else you can think of as well!


GoPro Grill Mount

Does your favorite surfer already have a GoPro?  Do they struggle to get good surf shots?  Give them the GoPro Grill Mount, one of the most innovative GoPro mounts created.  Paddling with a GoPro is almost impossible, and the risk of dropping it is high.  And because surfing is so dynamic, there are very few places to actually put the camera on your body.  However, holding it in your mouth actually works extremely well!  The Grill Mount was designed to be extremely comfortable and safe – and even molds to your teeth!  This is the perfect gift for someone looking to capture the perfect barrel shot.


Surf Grass Mat

If you’re a surfer you know that it’s a luxury to change in and out of your wetsuit in freshly cut green grass.  It’s clean and keeps your feet and suit free of dirt and sand.  However, this is a rare luxury.  UNLESS you have the Surf Grass Mat, which is basically a small patch of artificial turf that allows you to have your own private lawn to change on wherever you go.  I really like having one of these – they’re fun and unique.  Plus, with its stitched edges and velcro closure, this is a bit more nice and gift-worthy than simply cutting a square at the Home Depot.  This makes a perfect gift for any surfer.

Changing Poncho

Wetsuits these days are so good that surfers go out in all sorts of extreme conditions.  However, getting in and out of the wetsuit is a different story.  Early morning dawn patrol and late evening sunset sessions often mean changing in a cold parking lot.  Changing ponchos are a perfect way to stay reasonably warm while you get in and out of your wetsuit.  These can be a game changer and makes everything that much more comfortable.



Changing Mat

Changing mats are very helpful when it comes to changing out of a wet wetsuit.  You simply stand in the middle and peel of your suit, then cinch the mat up to make a waterproof carrying bag keeping all the salt water and sand off your car or truck.  This is a great and useful gift that most surfers would use but don’t have.




Surf Videos

Church Of The Open Sky

Nathan Oldfield knows how to shoot a good surf flick.  His latest offering, Church Of The Open Sky recently won the cinematography award at the Carolina Surf Film Festival.  It’s also one of the only recent surf movies that you can get on DVD (everything else is download or streaming these days).  This video showcases  Dave Rastovich, Lauren Lindsey Hill, Tom Wegener, Belinda Baggs, CJ Nelson, Alex Knost, Johnny Abegg, Neal Purchase Jr, Jasson Salisbury, Devon Howard and more.  This video is less high performance shortboarding and more soulful surfing on longboards, fish, and other shapes.  Grab your copy from Nathan’s website here.

The Church of the Open Sky from Nathan Oldfield on Vimeo.

Random Surf Stuff

Lego Surf Rescue Set

This is awesome for kids who like surfing – Legos are always a hit and this Lego Surf Rescue set features a surfer, jetski and rider, and a shark.  Perfect for staging a shark attack and dramatic rescue.  I remember loving Legos as a kid, and if your boy or girl is the same they’ll dig this set.  Recommended for kids 5-12.





Surf Trip World Map

The “Surf Trip World Map” is a pretty sweet map from Awesome Maps featuring a colorfully illustrated world map with premier surf spots labeled on pretty much every inch of coastline.

This is a great gift for a surfer of any age.  I love staring at maps and thinking about visiting far flung destinations, and this gives a bit more of a surfing edge to those daydreams.  They also have a corresponding “Snow Map” for those who are more mountain-inclined.




Hayley Gordon

Hayley is an avid surfer and the founder of this website. She splits her time surfing between Encinitas, CA and Montauk, NY.

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