September Swells have been and gone, October passed in a cloud of rain, November delivered non-stop waves, and now we're suddenly just over two weeks away from Christmas!! Just in case you didn't get involved in the Black Friday Madness and have been too busy surfing the last few weeks to get your Christmas shopping done, we've put together a few ideas to make it that little bit easier for you.
All the companies we've listed here are genuinley inspiring in their own right. Passionate surfers and creators who have had a great idea for a product and gone about making it happen.
Check out what these surf loving innovators do with their time, and grab yourself (or someone else) some cool Christmas gifts.
Gift #1 A Lesson at Unisurfity
How often do you get that feeling that your surfing's stuck in a rut? You're not getting out as much as you'd like, then when you do you never really seem to do anything different. Sure you still have a blast, but wouldn't it be great to be getting those fins out a little bit more, tucking into a couple more tubes, or whatever improving means for you?
Very often it's just a case of a couple of small tweaks here and there. Jez Browning, head coach at Unisurfity and one of only 6 ASI level 4 Master surf coaches in the world is the guy to help you do it.
Jez Browning, head Coach at Unisurfity, refining his lesson plan
His brainchild, Unisurfity offers surfing bootcamps for intermediate to expert level surfers. It's a unique concept, but it really shouldn't be. We all want to improve, and for almost any other sport, expert coaching would be the normal way to do this.
Bootcamps typically last a week, and take place in a number of wave-rich locations around the world, including Maldives, Indo and Portugal. Perfect mechanical waves to really hone your moves. Cheaper, closer to home options are available as well, with weekend bootcamps in Cornwall also on the itinerary.
Current prices on the website are due to rise in the New Year, so to get the best deal possible book now!
Jez is also a professional photographer, and you can buy his surf prints here
Gift #2 Bongaboard Balance Board
There are heaps of ways to train for surfing when you're not in the water, but there can't be many better than balance training. If you've never had a go on a balance board, you're missing out, as they are ridiculously addictive!
It's hard to imagine how much fun you can have on one of these
Bongaboards are handcrafted in Wales using totally sustainable materials. They're durable, and all come with distinctive and very funky designs as well. You can also customise your design.
If you're not sure what to do, their website has some great fitness workout ideas. And once you've mastered your Bongaboard, be sure to send in an entry to their page and add to the '100 things to do on a BongaBoard' collection. Here's our favourite...
Can you beat this...?
All boards come with a free, three-stage workout video and a 'How to' guide for beginners.
Last order date before Christmas is 13th December, so you'd better get a wriggle on!
Gift #3 Build your own Sustainable Surfboard
There aren't many surfers who wouldn't like the chance to build their own board. All the better if the materials they're using are sustainable and eco-friendly (something that can't be said for the majority of boards).
Old Skool style, New World thinking
Otter Surfboards are creating something of a revolution down in their Porthtowan workshop. Not only are their hollow, wooden-skinned boards enviromentally conscious, but they perform great. (Ben Skinner wouldn't have just agreed to tackle the UK's biggest waves on one if they didn't!) It didn't take the guys at Otter long to realise that creating these boards was an intensly enjoyable process. One that any other surfer of a soulful, creative and environmentally-conscious bent might enjoy as well. So they opened up their workshops and have been helping others enjoy creating and riding their own boards ever since. The five-day course takes you through all the fundamentals, and allows you, along with a maximum of two others, to create your own custom board. Could there be anything more satisfying than carving a turn on a board you've carved yourself?
James and the team, creating
They also custom design boards and are developing a great side business in the increasingly popular wave-riding technique of handplaning.
Gift #4 Something for the Girls
If you know a lady who loves the ocean, then you won't have to look much further than the fantastic Pa Pa gallery.
A few examples!
Silversmith Phillipa Davies has spent her lifetime perfecting the art of sea-themed jewelry, with all designs inspired by the shapes, textures and colours of her local coastline, the Gower Peninsula.
Most pieces are made from silver or gold, and all materials are ethically and sustainably sourced.
If you happen to live in or around Swansea then you'll find the gallery in the Gower Heritage Center.
If you don't then check out her website and order online.
Gift #5 A HoStevie GoPro Mouth Mount
You can be damn sure that there are going to be a lot of GoPro cameras being unwrapped in a couple of Thursdays time. If you know someone who's requested (or already has) one, you can't go wrong with this innovative gift idea - the Ho Stevie GoPro mouth mount.
Another great idea, done well
A lot of people have tried to solve the problem of how to best capture decent GoPro footage, but this is by far the best answer we've seen so far.
The comfortable, soft silicone mouthpiece slots in much like a snorkel, and guarantees you won't feel any jaw ache after a session of shooting epic waves.
It's safe, as all the parts around your jaw, face and neck are soft. There'a a leash you can attach to ensure you're not going to lose your camera when the waves get big, and they've also got their own custom floats, which come in a fair bit cheaper than the ones found on the GoPro site.
There's a huge range of colours available as well, so even the most style conscious surfer can accessorise.
What's more, the guys at Ho Stevie have offered all readers of this blog a $5 discount - just go to their website and type the code JOHNNY when you purchase your mount.
Grab one of these, and GoPro shots like this will be yours (provided you can find perfectly tubing waves!!)
Gift #6 Baja Hoodies, Indo Pants and more from the Lazy Turtle Surf Co.
If there was ever an example of how to live your dreams, the Lazy Turtle Surf Company are it. Based in the UK, this enterprising couple have worked hard to create a brand that is sustainable, fair trade, and allows them to travel and surf the world in search of inspiration.
Over the last couple of years they have amassed a very impressive range of gear, from accessories like bags and hats, to kids tees and our personal favourites, the Baja hoodies.
Their unisex Indo Pants are all made in the UK, individually dyed, and are just perfect for those lazy summer days at the beach.
Clothes are always a winner at Christmas. All the more so if you know the garments you're wrapping up are ethically sourced, great quality and infused with a healthy dose of 'the dream!'
Gift #7 SurfEars
We've tried to deny it for as long as we can, but winter's definitely here. And along with ice-cream headaches, too much rubber and minimal surfing hours comes the increased risk of ear infection and the evolutionary quirk known as surfer's ear. Ask anyone who's had that wierd little bit of extra bone drilled out of their ear and they'll tell you it's worth doing everything you can to avoid.
That colour's called Blue Steel
There have been a lot of products over the years that have attempted to stop this. I've shoved moulded putty into my ears, but found it has the reverse effect, trapping water next to my ear drum. Other plugs have been better at keeping water out, but along with that goes the reduction in what you can hear. And being as hearing directly affects balance...
Looks like someone's finally come up with a solution. SurfEars come the closest of all the plugs out there to offering zero acoustic loss. They were designed and tested in the freezing waters of Sweden, so you can be damn sure these plugs are going to be keep the water out of your ears as well. To allow them to do this, each set of plugs can be customised to fit the individual's ear.
A pair of these little beauts this Christmas is sure to go down well
Grab a pair of these for the surfer you love and you might just be saving them a very painful operation down the line. Or at the least, allowing them to have a conversation without shouting in the water!
Gift #8 Something Else for the Girls!
Yep, we know how much trouble us guys have thinking of good presents for the ladies in our lives, which is why we've included a couple of female-focused gift options in this list!
This one's specifically for the female surfer planning a trip to warmer climes.
We all know there's nothing quite like the feeling of surfing in just a pair of boardies, but ask any surfing senorita and she'll tell you a tale of when her swimwear just wasn't up to the conditions!
Sensi Graves was one such surfer, and she decided to create a range of swimwear that would perform at the same level she did.
You can skateboard in them too!
Sensi Graves bikinis are designed to look good, but built to stay put. If there's a lady surfer in your life looking forward to a post Christmas, warm-water surf trip, then look no further!
They're based in the States, but will mail order anywhere. (They're also interested in finding UK retailers - if anyone reading this is a shop owner then give them a shout!)
Don't forget, you can purchase our hand-designed, limited edition Johnny on the Spot T-Shirts for the price of a couple of pints at our online store!
Who wouldn't want one of these for Christmas?
We've also got wax for a quid if you're looking for a cheap stocking filler, and we'll chuck a couple of car stickers into every order!
So that's it - hope you've grabbed a few ideas for your Christmas shopping, and remember, it's not about how much you spend, but how much stoke you spread!