Thread Spun creates handmade and fair trade surfboard bags in Encinitas, California

Holiday Gift Guide for Surfers

If you are like me, you have a surfer in your life. Someone dedicated to the craft and the sport of surfing and everything that entails. Another thing about me is that I like to give well-made and meaningful gifts, ones that are ideally environmentally-friendly. If this sounds like you and the ones you love, we've got you covered this holiday season with our Holiday Gift Guide for Surfers. Keep scrolling for a variety of small gifts, stocking stuffers and big purchases.


A surfer holds a Thread Spun handmade and colorful surfboard bag and surfboard at the Oceanside pier

Chris Christenson surfboard made in California and sold by Atacama Surf ShopA custom handmade surfboard bag is held by a man. The surfboard bag uses colorful textiles from around the world that are handmade in an ethical environment

Handmade Jeff McCallum surfboard handshaped in San Diego and sold by Atacama Surf Shop

New and Used Surfboards

This is a bigger ticket item, to be sure. But if the surfer in your life has been extra good this year, it made be time to upgrade their quiver with a new or used surfboard from Atacama Surf Shop in Little Italy, San Diego. Atacama has a great selection of hard-to-find surfboards at a variety of price points by shapers like Chris Christenson, Jeff McCallum, and Bob Mitsven and a knowledgeable staff to help you choose the right surfboard for you. Owner Clarke even buys and trades used surfboards so you may be able to just trade up. Free local pickup and international shipping available.

A surfer at the beach holds her surfboard and custom handmade surfboard bag in colorful textiles from Guatemala made by Thread Spun

A handmade surfboard bag with Bogolan mudcloth and handwoven textiles at the Thread Spun storefront in Encinitas, CA

A man holds his surfboard and Thread Spun handmade surfboard bag featuring eco-friendly fabrics at Beacons Beach in Leucadia, California

Handmade Surfboard Bags

Every surfboard deserves a handmade surfboard bag, and so does your special someone. Whether you've got a longboard, short board, or mid-size surfboard, Thread Spun has the surf sock for you. Each of our surfboard bags is sewn by hand by resettled refugee women living in San Diego. Hand-woven and naturally-dyed textiles from around the world are combined with environmentally-friendly fabrics to create unique, one-of-a-kind statement pieces. These surfboard bags are truly pieces of art, and 10% of their sales go directly to charity. Check out our current stock here, or contact us to request a custom surfboard bag or a gift certificate. 

A girl surfs a wave in Australia in an eco-friendly surf swimsuit by Tall Poppy inspired by vintage floral textiles

A man wears RVCA x Birdwell board shorts at a beach that are made in America

A girl models a Tall Poppy surf bikini that is produced with environmentally-friendly materials and features bright florals

Swim Suits + Surf Suits

A new surf suit could be just the gift you need to impress your surfer this holiday season. For us, the key to buying a new suit is finding a piece that is well-made, durable, and preferably eco-friendly.

For women's swim suits, we love Tall Poppy Surf, a sustainable brand out of Australia offering vintage surf inspiration combined with a lycra fabric made from 100% upcycled nylon and polyester fill. These eco-friendly bikinis, one pieces and surfsuits feature fun, vibrant florals and throw-back prints. 

For dudes we recommend Birdwell Beach Britches, which have been handmade in California for more than 50 years.  Their California factory utilizes just-in-time manufacturing practices to keep their carbon footprint to a minimum and they offer a lifetime guarantee on their products. Check out their collaboration with RVCA and grab your guy a pair of board shorts.

A man surfs a wave in a VISSLA wet suit that is offered at an affordable price point by Atacama Surf Shop in San Diego

Photo courtesy of Boardshop UK

A girl surfs a wave in Kassia Meador's line of eco-friendly and vibrant wetsuits in California

Photo courtesy of Kite Sista

Wet Suits

A good wet suit is another big ticket item, but could be what your surfer needs to get into the colder waters that Winter brings. Purchase one that lasts, and you will be set for years and years to come. 

Our favorite mens wet suit at the moment is the VISSLA 7 Seas. It's classified as their entry level suit, but is one of the most durable and best fitting suits on the market. Super stretch light neoprene, sealed seams, quick dry lining, a superb tailored fit, and a minimal bulk chest-zip closure system at an approachable price. Available in several colorways

For women we recommend pro-surfer Kassia Meador's line of wetsuitscreated with the best quality materials to maximize the surf experience. The most durable neoprene on the market is custom dyed to ensure longer lasting suits with visually dynamic, vibrant colors. Kassia's suits pay amazing attention to detail - the seams on each suit feature a double blind stitching with taped and glued seams for additional durability and warmth.

A couple drives down a dusty road to a beach wearing matching West Perro sun hats handmade with fair trade Guatemalan palm leaves

Photo: Sara + Rich Combs

Urb Apothecary Pot of Gold is filled with their organic sun worshipper serum which is an all natural salve for sun damage and sunburnsA handwoven Turkish style towel at the beach is handmade by Minna and sold by Thread Spun

Organic and all natural sun paste or sunscreen by Manda is reef safe and kid safe

Beach Accessories

First things first. Don't head to the beach without a solid reef safe sun screen to protect your face and body. At SPF 50, MANDA Organic Sun Paste sunscreen is formulated for outdoor lovers by surfers and athletes to stay on longer and protect against wind, water and sweat. This is our family's favorite sunscreen because Manda utilizes only the highest quality, food grade, all natural and organic ingredients. And if you happen to spend a little too much time in the sun or at the beach, make sure to apply Urb Apothecary's Sun Worshipper oil in the convenient Pot of Gold. This buttery soft face balm is specially formulated for sun lovers and worshipers, repairing sun damage, brightening dark spots, soothing sunburns, healing wounds, and improving overall skin health and tone.

You may not need the Sun Worshipper if you protect your dome with a fair trade Guatemalan palm sun hat by West Perro. These hats are a best seller wherever they go, not just because they are ethically-produced but also because they are beautiful and durable enough to accompany you on any adventure. They provide great sun protection for the sun conscious surfer, and look amazing paired with a handwoven beach and bath towel made in Guatemala and designed by fair trade brand Minna. These ethically-made towels get softer with each and every wash, ahhhhhhh.


A surfboard fin by Captain Fin features a design by artist Thomas Campbell and is sold by Atacama Surf Shop

A Nixon waterproof watch is a great holiday gift for any surfer or beach goer

This Vans tee shirt is a collaboration with artist Yusuke Hanai and is inspired by mid-century modern design and illustrations

Surf Accessories

If your loved one is like my husband, they will need a great waterproof watch to remind them of when it's time to get out of the water and pick up the kids. Our holiday gift guide for surfers recommends the reasonably priced Nixon Regulus as the go-to, digital adventure watch with excessive functions and 100 meter waterproofing. This is a long-lasting, durable watch that can hold up in rugged environments, whether in the ocean or the mountains. 

For the lover of surf culture and art, pick them up a new fin, but make it unique. Industry expert Captain Fin collaborated with artists Thomas Campbell and Tanner Prairie to create a functional surfboard fin featuring Campbell's trademark patchwork print pattern. Works great with any mid-length board. Any art lover is also sure to love the Vans x Yusuke Hanai collaborative tee shirt inspired by modern mid-century details and illustrations. 

Changing Tides Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charity based in Southern California that is working toward ocean conservation and environmental preservation and bringing surf to rural areas

Changing Tides Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charity based in Southern California that is working toward ocean conservation and environmental preservation and bringing surf to rural areas

Photos courtesy of Changing Tides Foundation 

Give Back

Whether your surfer has everything they need or they've got an extra large heart, a donation to an ocean or surf-related charity makes a unique gift. This holiday season, consider the ultimate gift for your surfer, a donation to local charitable organization, Changing Tides Foundation. Changing Tides Foundation is passionate about protecting the oceans, reducing plastic use, and bringing surfing to underserved communities to create change. A donation to Changing Tides will positively impact social, environmental, health and safety conditions in marginalized communities around the world.
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