2018 Holiday Gear Guide: Surfing

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Surfing doesn't require the prodigious amounts of gear that some sports demand. But the gear that it does call for is just as important as it is in any other hobby. And surfers aren't all that much different than, say, a gear head skier or biker. They might have the laid-back demeanor, but underneath the salty dreads and leathery skin they experience the same sense of excitement anyone else does when unwrapping their new surfboard or wetsuit. Plus, Christmas is the heart of surf season, so think about that wistful surfer in your life who probably can't afford a new watch or travel bag, and buy them a damn gift. You'll feel good, they'll feel good. Isn't that what the holidays are all about?

SEARCH GPS 2 WATCH - $299.95

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Sure it’s nice to paddle out on a Sunday and completely lose track of time because time doesn't matter, but for the days when you have a few deadlines back on shore and things to get to it can be stressful not knowing when to paddle in. And let's face it, no one likes that guy in the lineup who's always asking the next guy what time it is. The Search GPS 2 Watch tracks every wave, swell, wind and tide. It comes with real-time surf conditions and GPS tracking for all your activities, from surf to snow, run to swim.

Patagonia Men's R1 Yulex Front-Zip Full Suit - $429.00

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Wetsuits are obviously an essential item for winter/cold water surfers. You know what sucks? Surfing in a wetsuit that either leaks or is too stiff to paddle effectively. When wetsuits get too old they start to crack and it can get dangerous. A friend of mine had a wetsuit crack open on him during a cold November Nor'easter sesh in Massachusetts. It filled up with water and he sank like a rock to the bottom. He narrowly escaped with his life. True story. It’s important to have a good wetsuit. And there's none better than the Patagonia Men's R1 Yulex Front-Zip Full Suit which is made with natural rubber that meets Patagonia's rigorous standards for performance, durability, warmth and sustainability.


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John John Florence is a legend on and off the waves. He's been injured this past year, but instead of moping he's been running around convincing restaurants to stop using plastic. Like I said, legend. Besides saving the world, he worked with Dakine to create a light weight durable, portable surf bag with heat-reflective Silver Energy Shield Lite and vented design, which keeps your waxy board cool in the midday sun. Plus it's only $80 bucks. I know what I'll be asking mom for this Christmas.

Yeti PANGA 50 Dry Duffel - $299.99

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Who likes to get into a car that's full of random surf gear. It’s annoying. You know what’s not annoying? Having your gear compiled in a nice travel bag. It keeps the wax from melting all over your car seats, it keeps the fins consolidated, and it keeps your spare leash from uncoiling like a snake. Also, how many fin keys have you gone through? If you're like me, a lot. Consolidate your junk! Buy a nice surf bag. Buy the Yeti Panga 50.

Sticky Bumps Surf Wax - $13.99

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Sticky Bumps is the only way to go for surf wax. It’s like room temp butter; it’s easily spreadable and it comes in all different varieties for whatever water temperatures you're dealing with. And it smells so damn good. Let's face it, SexWax has a great name, but it’s hard to spread! Or maybe that’s just me.


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Back pads are really important. There’s nothing worse than pressing hard into your tail and having your back foot slip off the board. Boom, barrel gone. It's embarrassing - don't let it happen. Buy a back pad. The second worst thing is having your back pad lose it's stick and peel off during a shreddy day. Buy a good one, like the John John Florence Pro Pad which has a perforated surface to allow water to flow through the kick while eliminating drag, plus it has a 2 year limited warranty. It’s worth it.

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan - $12.23

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Besides a hurricane on the forecast or planning a surf trip, nothing stokes the surfer more than reading about other surfers catching the waves' of their life. Videos and surf movies are always sick, but you can’t really gift someone a surf edit on Vimeo. Change it up this year and give that special surfing buddy of yours a great piece of surf literature, like Barbarian Days.


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If you've ever had to swim in from the lineup to retrieve your board from the coral or rocks because your leash snapped, you know how infuriating it is. The whole swim in you're cursing your fate and the leash, and praying that your board didn't get smashed to bits. It can be really dangerous too. Buy a leash that won't snap such as the John John Florence Kainui 7' X 1/4" Surf Leash John John's riding style calls for a serious leash. The Kainui leash is constructed of the the highest quality 1/4-inch (6.5mm) urethane Dura-Cord for maximum strength which gives you the security you'll need in double overhead to triple overhead waves.

Hoody - Hooded Changing Towel - $49.50

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Who here has ever had to drive home in a wet wetsuit because it was too cold to take off outside and a towel wouldn't suffice? Your car seats get damp and since it's winter it never dries out. It's no fun. The Hoody Changing Towel is such a simple invention, but often the simplest creations are the best. It's ridiculously comfy, it keeps you warm post-shred, and it looks pretty cool too.

FCS Change Mat/Wet Bag - $28.98

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Wetsuits are troublesome, fickle beasts. You can probably tell I have a few issues with them. One of the worst things, and I hate to be so negative but this is a serious problem for most surfers, is when you do manage to finally get your wetsuit off, it pathetically lies in a heap on the sandy ground collecting all sorts of debris. In the great words of Anakin Skywalker: "I don't like sand. It's coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere" is a very relatable quote to wetsuiters. The Change Mat/Wet Bag is a perfect solution to this classic problem. You stand on top of it, take your wetsuit off, it closes up around your suit. Your car doesn't get wet, your wetsuit stays clean, and you drive home happy.

The HaydenShapes Hypto Krypto - $795.00

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The Hypto Krypto is one of the best all around boards on the market. It's a ripping little thing that can be surfed in all types of conditions by all levels of surfers. From mushy mid-summer beach break to barreling hurricane swell, this board will suit all your needs. It's a fast board with a fat nose but it can stomp a steep drop with ease. It's got enough volume for small days when you'll need the extra weight, but it won't feel like too much board when the waves pick up. If you're in the market for a ‘one board quiver’, the Hypto Krypto is the board for you.

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