Stab’s 2021 Holiday Gift Guide (For Very Fussy Surfers)
29 surf-related gifts we’d actually want under our tree.
These are always fun to put together.
The brief here from the ads dept was “non-brand related”, which means no money changing hands, no biased towards the brands who’ve forked out for ads/activations and a rare opportunity for the Stab Staff to flick over a few things they’ve flashed the card at recently and a few they’ve been thinking about for a while. It also inevitably ends up as a shameless opportunity to spruik friend’s brands (which is noble and acceptable) and an interesting exercise in seeing who’s got personal contacts at which brands. I don’t have a Specialized contact (yet, hmu!) but here’s an extensive whip ’round of what a bunch of surf dorks (who spend a fair chunk of their time surfing and travelling and dragging gear around the world) would theoretically leave under their own trees.
A Board You “Won’t Be Able To Get Off”, According to a Man Who’s Ridden a Few
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Mikey Feb’s signature CI is the most predictable thing on this list, but bear with us a minute. It was chosen by Michael Ciaramella (the man who’s not technically a pro surfer, but whose job description looks mighty similar), who is actually about as good as it gets when it comes to objective surfboard intel. Think about it: he’s so compromised as a source—having received surfboards free of charge from every known boardbuilder under the sun as the Joyride test dummy—that he’s credible. And, as a die-hard, hi-fi thrusterer, if he’s sliding twin pins across the desk, then it might be advice worth heeding. Mikey F goes alright too.
When You Think About It, It’s Actually A Pretty Good Idea
Surfing’s full of superfluous gimmicks like golf, but this isn’t one of them. Shade at Motion are a grassroots (and somewhat tongue-in-cheek) operation from the Northern Rivers who do one thing and do it well: make hats you can surf in that stop you from getting 3rd degree burns all over your head. Which if you live in the sunniest place in the world—like Stab Senior Creative/guy in the suit Danny Johnson, whose choice this is—comes in handy.
A Worthy New Player in the Audio Space
The waters of the small bluetooth speaker market run a shark-infested blood red. When Soundboks was founded by three high school buddies from Denmark, they weren’t fishing in that space, they wanted to create a “performance speaker”. What the heck is a performance speaker? A speaker with sound quality that can melt the ears off the side of your face, and has the sort of bass that will help you digest meat pies. They’ve got all the tech stuff sorted: Bluetooth 5.0, great battery life (40 hours of playback time at mid-volume, five hours at full volume 126 dB), complete portability, durable design, and If you’re throwing a mini festival you can seamlessly sync up to five together at once. If you’re looking to invest in good sound for your future, we highly recommend.
For the Cold Water Surfer in Your Life
Practical gifts are the best gifts, and if you live anywhere the mercury drops below, 15 celcius (59 fahrenheit)?, then one of these is a game changer. The warm water surfer inevitably blurts “your crazy” when confronted with their cold water counterparts, but spend any time with the strange breed of surfer that inhabits frozen coastlines and you’ll find that they’re full of hacks. Having hot water for warming up your extremities (especially useful for recovering feeling in the fingers which you can then use to pry off wet booties), drinking, melting the ice off your windscreen etc is one of them.
Twin Rudders in a Flattering Shade
I don’t know the first thing about Stab upstart Ethan Davis, but he said this of the above rudders: “As a twin skeptic and someone who still wanted to surf twins high-performance I wanted a set that still had enough pivot to go vert; these bad boys did the trick, not too much length in the back so they can still give the face a sharp pinch,” which means he’s either a good surfer or completely full of shit (Instagram evidence suggests the former). However, young Ethan has landed on one of, if not the, best gift for a surfer: fins. They’re the unwanted ad-on that no one likes buying, and have the tendency to run off and attach themselves to your mates’ crafts. But if gifted by someone else (especially in a tasteful shade of rust like the above) then they quickly enter the canon of “most cherished possessions.”
A Chic Bike you Don’t Have to Pedal (Much)
Do you need an electric bike? There’s no right answer to that question. Southern Californian surfers love electric bikes, no idea why as it seems quite flat, but if you or I had to buy one, then you couldn’t do much better than checking out Helm. The major selling points being that you can pedal it normally (if you like) and the “electric” bit just looks like a water bottle.
Magneto Surf Nut Protector
So we’ve established that hitting your head’s even worse for you than we’d imagined, and that surfing—especially if you like getting barrelled—can be an endless string of micro-concussions. So what you going to do about it? Well, our American contingent (both Mike and Ashton had one of these on the wish list) are trusting their craniums to SIMBA (not that one), who make the futuristic lid above. As yet the jury’s out whether looking like Magneto attracts more waves to you, but at least you can bob safe in the knowledge that your remaining brain cells are nestled safely in your hat.
Sticky as Hell Wax That’s Not Fu
Fu’s great and has received no end of positive affirmation on this here website. It’s also hard to get in Australia and when you do, like all things imported in limited numbers, the price is north of what it should be. So here’s one of my inclusions on this list, chosen because I bought a couple blocks whist chasing a little swell around Cream Hq (South Kempsey) a few weeks back. It’s sticky as hell (not a million miles from Fu) smells good, forms humps, goes on sweet and if someone bought me a carton of it for Xmas I’d be well chuffed.
One Wetsuit to Rule Them All, Apparently
Never worn one, but those who do rave about them. One of whom being Mikey C, who almost tests as many wetsuits as he does surfboards, named Feral as his personal fav of successive Stab Best Wetsuits tests. Whilst it’s easy to throw your weight behind the little guy in a pool full of major surf players, know this: Mike’s an earnest surf nerd and there’s no chance of him waxing lyrical about a surfing product that didn’t work.
Sunscreen That Does Exactly What It Says On The Tin
Surfer/magazine bias aside, I’ve been using this screen for over a year and haven’t burnt once. 250ml lasts forever, it doesn’t clog your pores and give you those weird red micro-pimples, and it’s reasonably priced to boot. Just no nonsense sunscreen that won’t torch the planet (reef safe etc) really.
A Gift Whose Thoughtful Origin Grows In Time
The changing poncho’s been a staple gift for surfers for a good decade, but until now it’s been criminally under-appreciated. Well no more. Shame on all of you who insincerely thanked Nan and then proceeded to use your towelly hood in various carparks around the globe for the next decade. Buy one for your mate, boyfriend, son, but make sure to ram down their throat how damned bloody useful these things are.
A Bag With A Million Uses
Stab filmer Dylan Roberts definitely has a Yeti hook up, but we’ll let him off as one of his Yeti duffles once acted as the perfect beer cooler in the absence of an esky on a particularly pleasant beach day we enjoyed together. Yeti’s inclusion is valid however, not that the need much help flogging outdoor gear at Xmas time or otherwise (bet they made a King’s ransom last year), as they don’t skimp on design or quality. A bombproof, waterproof tote (that looks nice) like the one above is a godsend in the car. Stuff it full of kale at the farmer’s market, jigs, lures and sinkers for a flick, ice and beer for the beach day when you forget the esky… you get the point, they’re useful and a great gift.
The Pinnacle of Surf Luggage
Are you inevitably stuck with the anxiety of transits past whenever you’re within a pip spit of an airport? What about the flushing relief that comes shortly after if/when you realise it’s a work/city/whatever trip and you haven’t actually got any boards? Well, essentially, stuff that! Which is the (non-official) mantra of Db, a Norwegian luggage brand who’ve recently enlisted a stack of surfers and started making boardbags. King of the freebies Ashton Goggins etched DB onto the list, which is fair enough as the dude’s a professional traveller: “4-board coffin is literally in a league of its own as far as ergonomics and durability/protection; attach it to the compatible Strom rollerbag, and you’ll never take a flight without them.”
Hardware Designed by An Expert In Dragging Awkward Shapes around the Globe
Harrison Roach knows how to get around the world with an eclectic and cumbersome quiver, so when he designs a range with Creatures, we listen. There’s a range of boardbags for crafts of varying outlines, but also the board sock above, which is a critical insurance investment for your favourite craft, and also the single best gift for a surfer, perhaps of all time.
These Things Definitely, Maybe, Work
Placebo? Who cares, everything seems just that little bit brighter after four large drops of mushy juice. Preferable with water on an empty stomach.
A Refreshing Drop with A Crafty Hyphen
Simply put, the best canned cocktail in the Australian market. Perfect for the inevitable time over the festive season when you just can’t stomach any more ale, with ingredients you can taste. Also, hats off for the royalty dodging dash.
Good Surfboards Made By Good Bloke/Great Surfer
Neil Purchase Junior doesn’t get half the credit he deserves across the surfing spectrum, not least his contribution to the world of backside tuberiding over the years (man’s a pioneer). You probably know that he makes surfboards (by hand) that are loved by recreational and professional surfers alike (Chippa Wilson slides his orders into the pile and pays cash), and having recently taken delivery of an Apex Twin, you can add us to that list. Fast and lively, turns on a dime, what’s not to love?
Look At Them, They’re Magnificent
Are they are a partner, yes. Did they send us some? Yes. Would we buy some if they didn’t send us some? Yes. Why? Just look at them, boardshorts don’t get much better.
What, You Haven’t Got a Pair Yet?
The rubber boot that changed the way we look at aquatic footwear, and with good reason: fifty years of Vans skate tech crammed into a surf boot, and the stripe, swoon the stripe.
Nothing But Premium Rubber
Buell are relative newcomers in the mainstream wetsuit consciousness, but they’ve done all the right things thus far, primarily in making wetsuits to the highest quality. The Buell Women’s RBZ Stealth Mode 4/3 bends, stretches and insulates with the best of them, so if you or a significant other needs winter rubber, don’t hesitate.
Be the King of Friends
What’s the one thing everyone always forgets for a day at the beach? An esky. But then, whilst everyone thinks all is lost and the best part of the day—cracking those icy tins after fishing/surfing/whatevering until your heart’s content—is ruined, you pull one of these out of the car, a tote that’s specifically designed for ice and beverages, and save the day. Time after time.
When You Think About It, It’s Hardly Nerdier Than Surfing
I saw a Tesla with green P-plates and a $3000 Gato Heroi mal (with a legrope wrapped around it) crudely strapped to the roof last week, so don’t go pulling that “surfing’s cool, lycra’s lame” shit with me. Truth is they’re both mega dorky in their own rights, but that doesn’t mean they can’t also be fun and awesome. Summer’s crowded, humans are painful. Eat a handful of gold tops and take off into the hinterland on one of these and tell me it’s lame.
A Stylish Button-Up With Shades of The Past
Roark are masters of creating bombproof gear with stylish silhouettes and the Wrangler Nordsman shirt above is no exception. A timeless military style constructed with modern materials and techniques = modern classic.
A Range That Backs Itself
Every brand in existence has jumped on the green bandwagon in the last year, but most of it’s fluff. Globe, on the other hand, have re-shuffled their whole business to try and reduce their contribution to the climate crisis. ..And done it in style, as the mm perfect hood above attests.
A Clean Booze Hit With None of the (Undesirable) Side Effects
Beer’s great, but drink too much and it makes you sloppy in the short term, and puffy in the long. The answer? Well, obviously restraint. But if that’s not one of your virtues, try the above. No sugar, no carbs, easy on the guts, and refreshing as anything.
A User-Friendly Everyday Craft That Flies
You can tell how a board’s going to go just from the outline occasionally, and look at the above and tell me it’s not going to work. The Mini Ghost is the lil bro of the best-selling Pyzel Ghost with an emphasis on paddle-ability and spark in the junk.
Give The Gift of Stab Premium
It’ll truly be a Christmas miracle if you make it this far on the list, but if you did and you hadn’t yet joined our ever-growing online community then you should. Or at least encourage someone else to. If you love surfing then you need Stab Premium, the best films, best words, all surf, all the time.
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