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Best Surf Gifts for Mom

9 May

With Mother’s day coming up, we thought we would give you some ideas for that mom surfer in your family.

For you kids who have no money at all

How about you make up a certificate for one peaceful surf day where you promise to go to the beach with mom, let her surf as long as she wants, and not cause her any hassles? No whining, no complaining you’re bored, no begging for money for ice cream. Mom would really appreciate that.


Or you could offer to scrape the old wax off of her board, and put down a nice clean coat of wax for the summer. You can even get a bar of wax for about a buck and wrap it as a gift. Everybody hates re-waxing boards, that’s why they always look so grungy. And with summertime here, that old soft cold water wax is gonna get awfully drippy in the summer sun.

For the kids who have a couple of bucks to scrape together

CafePress has some cool low cost gifts for your surfer mom. From bumper stickers for about $4.00 to t-shirts for about @20, there’s a good selection of surf mom stuff. My favorite is the baby diaper cover.

Bumper Sticker Diaper Cover Mom Hangs Ten Bumper Stickeruntitled

For the super stylish hot mom who wants to turn heads on the beach.

On the other end of the spectrum, Time Magazine has a post on some pretty expensive but chic gifts. Pret-A-Surf rashguard, $210, available at Barneys New York, and bikini, $300, available at Net-A-Porter. Bumble and Bumble Color Minded Polish $28, and styling balm $28, offers UV protection for color-treated locks. Available at

Everybody loves a new wetsuit.

Face it, the old one smells like old shoes. A new one fits snug and makes you look and feel great.

G0005REA has a great selection online. Or better yet, go support your local surf shop. Prices range from $70-$400 depending on how cold it gets where your mom surfs. And make sure to get a gift receipt, as she might have to exchange it. They all fit very differently from one another.

The future is so bright, Mom needs some new shades.


Photo courtesy Kaenon

You can pick up a new pair of shades anywhere. I personally love Oakleys. Make sure whatever you get is polarized. That glare off the water can make for a killer headache. You can also buy all kinds of brands from Toms. And they have the same buy one give one program that sends a pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair you buy.

Make Mom a Star of her own surf videos

Personally, I think everyone should have a GoPro. The new GoPro 3 is a vast improvement over the past models. It takes amazing pictures and video. It has a wide variety of attachments, including a new underwater housing. Features include:

  • Professional 1080p 30 fps, 960p 48 fps, and 720p 60 fps and WVGA 240 fps video capture
  • 11MP photo capture with 10 frames per second burst
  • Wi-Fi built-in, and compatible with Wi-Fi remote (sold separatly) and GoPro App (free)
  • 197-Feet / 60m Waterproof Housing
  • Basic mounts and hardware included for attaching to helmets, gear, and more

Get it here at Amazon for between $199-$399 depending on the model. GoPro HERO3: Silver Edition

And don’t forget these cool accessories

GoPro product shoot

Surfboard mount from GoPro

The Bobber – Floating Hand Grip for GoPro® HERO Cameras

Best Surfboard Bag Review – Destination Surf

4 Mar

I met the Destination Surf team at the Sacred Craft Expo in Del Mar last fall. Good group of guys. I was hunting for a board bag company that would stand by their product.  I’ve had countless board bags, and the weak point is always the zipper. Most companies (yeah you XM), use crappy, cheapass zippers.  And when they fail, you are hosed.  The labor of tearing off the old zipper means replacing it at a local shop costs as much as a new bag.  So you throw it away. Great, more crap in the landfill.

There are some companies that stand behind their product with lifetime warranties (Dakine), but they tend to be pricey, and I’ve tested Dakine’s warranty on a surf pack and they declined to fix the zipper.  Soooo, what’s a warranty worth if the company won’t honor it.

Enter Destination Surf.  Down in Encinitas, a surf town.  Owned by a second generation surfers, Aaron and Katherine Smith.  Husband and wife team.  How much better can it get.   I trust them and I trust their product.  They offer a lifetime warranty on zippers and seams. When you call the company, you’re talking to someone who cares.  Not a call center.  You can buy online, or at one of my favorite surf shops, Stewarts Surf Shop in San Clemente, CA.

They have both day bags and travel bags. If your buying this as a stocking stuffer next Christmas to go with that surf tour to Indo, then get the travel bag.  It’s more expensive but holds multiple boards and protects that fragile fiberglass from the airline apes loading baggage.  

If not, and it’s just for getting boards safely from home to local surf spot, save some money and get a day bag. They run between $90 and $120, the cost of two professional ding repairs.  

Who’s it for?

Any surfer that has their own board, and doesn’t want to spend all their spare time or money fixing dings.

Surfer’s who like to travel with their own boards, and bring that back in one piece.

What’s it cost?

Daybags between $80 and $140 depending on size and capacity.

Travel bags up to $400 depending on size, capacity and features (wheels, etc).

Where to get it?

Online at Destination Surf – they offer free shipping on orders over $150.

And you should follow their blog at  They surf, travel and look like they’re having a blast.

GoPro vs ContourHD

20 Feb

While GoPro invented the genre of a surfboard mountable surf cam, they’re no longer the only company to manufacture wave-worthy cameras.  While I have an early model GoPro, which I really like (with a handful of notable exceptions), we’ll be reviewing a couple of possible options for you.

Mountable cams are not just for expert surfers who want to brag about their biq-wave prowess.  They actually make great (and humbling) training tools.  When I first went checked out the video I shot with my GoPro, I was appalled at how bad my foot work was.  It got me instantly focused on foot placement and improved my surfing immediately.

I’ve since gotten some fun videos of myself in waves ranging from knee high to scary overhead.  It’s fun to post them on Facebook, and you can get awesome screen grabs of still shots without needing a floating photographer in the water, or hiring a helicopter, or being Laird Hamilton.

Both the cams listed here are available with a waterproof housing and surfboard mounts.  They all come with other mounts as well, that allow you to use the cam in all kinds of activities like skydiving, rock climbing, snowboarding, mountain biking…you name it.

First off, either of these cameras, equipped with the right mounts, will make your surfer happy.  I can pretty much assure you of that.  It’s also the type of gift most surfers won’t buy for themselves, unless they’re flush.  So you’ll be doing your favorite surfer a favor by getting him or her something they truly want, will use, but likely didn’t want to buy for themselves. This is the type of gift that says you care about their passion; it’s thoughtful and even a bit romantic.

The GoPro and Contour, while essentially fulfilling the same function, are very different products.  Even their look is different.  The Go Pro is a box and the Contour is a cylinder.  They seem to have gone out of their way to differentiate.  The video quality is fantastic on both.  They both come with waterproof housings that are safe to at least 60 meters.  Any surfboards go that deep and nobody’s thinking about their video footage.    The Contour has two big advantages in its mount over the GoPro.

The Contour swivels up to 180 degrees.  This means when you are in the water, and a pod of dolphins swims by, you can swivel the cam to capture the front view.  This has happened to me a couple of times with the GoPro and I had to get off the board, rotate the board and try to aim while floating in the water.  Needless to say I got squat when it came to dolphin footage.

The second feature is the laser line.  Yeah, the Contour has lasers, which beyond just being cool, allow you to accurately aim the camera for the correct height.  Both cameras have identical very wide angle lens so it’s not really necessary, but lasers are always nice to have.

The Contour has a magnetic slide on/off switch, while the GoPro has a big button.  The GoPro gets the heads up in really cold water if your surfer is wearing gloves, as its going to be easier to push the button than slide the switch with your hands buried in 3MM neoprene.

Neither cam has a built in LCD screen to view your footage, but the GoPro has both an adapter for hooking up directly to a TV monitor, and an accessory LCD that snaps on the back of the camera.  The Contour offers neither of these options.

Both cameras sport fullHD resolution @ 1080P.  The GoPro uses standard SD cards for memory, where the smaller Contour requires microSD, which are a little more expensive and a little harder to come by in a pinch, like when you’re in Bali on that surf trip and forgot your memory card.

So which camera gets the nod?  It’s a close race, and you really can’t go wrong with either one.  But I am going with the Contour.  I love the fact that the mount swivels.  Most people are going to view footage on their computers, so the available (and expensive) LCD screen for the GoPro winds up being moot.  And the microSD cards are so small, I’ll just pack a couple extra in my bag when I go to Bali next time.  

As of this posting, the ContourHD ROAM sells for $265 when you total up the camera, waterproof housing and the surfboard mount.

The GoPro HD Surf Hero is $195 with free shipping, including everything needed to mount and get wet.

There is a new GoPro model out now (Hero2) but the features just don’t justify the extra $100 in my opinion.

Below are links to the best online pricing at

ContourROAM Hands-free HD Camcorder (Newest Model)

Contour 3330 Waterproof Case for ContourROAM

Contour 3555 Surfboard Mount

GoPro HD Surf Hero

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