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Christmas Gift Guide | Present Ideas For Surfers, Skaters, and Snowboarders

This Christmas, get the action sports enthusiast in your life a gift they'll actually appreciate

Christmas, the yearly environmental disaster held in Jesus’ honour, is fast approaching. And that means Christmas presents, along with one or two awkward questions for outdoor enthusiasts and anybody who might be buying a present for one. What should you buy? What should you ask for? Is Xcel’s new Channel Flex neoprene as stretchy as O’Neill’s TechnoButter? Ought we actually to boycott the whole sordid extravaganza?

Let’s turn to our spiritual guide and mentor George Monbiot, who said this on the subject of presents: “For God’s sake stop trashing the planet to tell someone you care. All it shows is that you don’t.” And: “They seem amusing on the first day of Christmas… By the twelfth they’re in landfill.”

With that in mind, if you do plan on dipping into the Christmas present market, buy something good, something worth keeping. The Mpora staff scoured Surfdome and came up with a few gift ideas for surfers, snowboarders, skaters, and adventure fiends in general.

EQ Seals Balance Pro Ear Plugs

RRP: £57.95

Even taking into account the sad decline of popular music and the general increase in unwelcome background noise, ears are still pretty good. You don’t really appreciate them, though, until they stop working.

And if you surf at all regularly during the winter, or even during the summer, they will at some point stop working. “Surfer’s ear” is a silent assassin. Actually it won’t kill you, that’s a lie, but it will be quiet about it, and accompanied by infections and other unpleasantness. Good ear protection is just the sort of thing a surfer will put off buying for themselves until it’s too late, making these EQ Seals ear plugs an ideal Christmas present idea.

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Mizu V7 360 Everyday Kit

RRP: £57.95

As well as doing all the other things a regular water bottle can do, the V7 360 Everyday Kit by Mizu features a cylindrical filter cage, which is able to remove 99.99% of contaminants. It literally filters as you sip, using nanotechnology to soften the water and improve taste at a flow rate of 1071ml per minute

Now we know what you’re thinking: Can you piss in it then drink it? No is the official answer (but nobody’s gonna stop you trying… unless you’re in public, maybe). Think more along the lines of tap water you don’t quite trust. Perfect for that idiot in your life who insists on buying bottled water because the tap water tastes “funny”, or because their worried about their precious bodily fluids being impurified by water fluoridation.

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Hydro Flask 16oz

RRP: £29.95

Speaking of filtration and infiltration, another flask brand has successfully infiltrated the action sports world. You or your subconscious may have seen their logo on your travels – a spiky-headed, elasticated stickman, arms aloft and legs akimbo. Hydro Flask is their name, and everyone from Jack Freestone to Asher Pacey is supping from their double-walled, vacuum-insulated, stainless-steel receptacles.

This one’s designed with hot drinks in mind: it’ll keep your coffee piping hot for 12 hours (or your gin ’n’ tonic ice cold for 24). The flip lid’s easy to use and seems to be leak-free – chief product tester Wilson has been using it daily and it’s held up fine.

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Ocean Pacific Dawn Surf Skateboard

RRP: £149.99

Ocean Pacific! Remember those guys? For anyone who retains mental snapshots of Tom Curren in his pre-Rip Curl days, the initials “O” and “P” will evoke a quasi-religious sense of awe and longing. Once the world’s biggest surfwear brand, they fell on hard times in the early ’90s and filed for bankruptcy in 1992. They’re still plugging away though, and with their new range of skateboards have signalled a return to their roots.

This one’s a “surf skate” cruiser, distinguished from their standard cruisers by the laterally-rotating front truck, which results in a looser, more “carve-y” feel and thus a closer imitation of the surfing sensation. As a training aid, low-maintenance mode of transport, functional piece of sun-kissed nostalgia, and/or symbol of the dangers of surf-industry over-expansion, it would make probably the best Christmas present ever.

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The Whitelines Annual

RRP: £12.99

 

Does your prospective gift-recipient own/have access to a coffee table, or failing that a toilet? Are they partial to feats of alpine daring on carpets made of ice crystals, and stunning imagery thereof? They will almost certainly appreciate the 2019/20 Whitelines Annual, a beautifully bound, 240-page return to the print format from the WL crew.

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Patagonia Planing Roll Top 35L Backpack

RRP: £109.95

“We must not divide things off, must not compartmentalise,” wrote Doris Lessing in the introduction to her classic 1962 novel The Golden Notebook. Clearly she had never gone for a pre-work surf on her way to the office, weed in her wetsuit, then put it in the same bag as her writing materials. (Unless that’s how she got the golden notebook?)

Well we have, and can confirm that wet wetsuits and laptops, clothes, manuscripts, etc. don’t mix. We can also confirm that the Patagonia Planing Roll Top 35L backpack will keep them safely apart. It’s what’s known by industry types and gear geeks as a wet/dry pack, and features a front mesh pocket for your wet stuff and a TPU-film laminate that locks out water from the main compartment. Also great for fishing gear, muddy clothes, and so on.

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Smith Holt 2 Ski Helmet

RRP: £59.95

It’s cool to be safe, these days… especially when it looks like this. Keep your brain circuitry in good working order with the Holt 2 helmet, available in logo-less matte charcoal: full stealth mode. The so-called Bombshell construction absorbs shock for piste and park riders alike, while the brim shape on the helmet pairs perfectly with Smith goggles for a seamless fit. Fourteen fixed vents increase the airflow, allowing you to keep a cool head in warmer temperatures. For days when you’re cruising along on your own line, use the audio compatible ear pads to turn up the tunes (Smith tech audio kit sold separately).

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Smith Range Black Snow Goggles

RRP: £69.95

Classic but contemporary in style, the Range goggles feature a full frame, a cylindrical lens, and airflow lens technology that provides active ventilation to reduce fog. They’re designed for men and compatible with the majority of helmets on the market, making them a great gift for any guy heading out to the mountains this winter. A VLT rating of 17% means they’ll excel in bright and mid-light conditions; they also have an anti-scratch coating on the outside to keep them looking fresher for longer.

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Piss Off Wetsuit Detergent

RRP: £9.99

Proper wetsuit hygiene is the key to extending the lifespan of your neoprene. A good rinse with a dose of Piss Off after every saltwater sesh is the wetsuit equivalent of a morning constitutional, or giving up smoking and hard drugs. Also, it’s called Piss Off, which is highly banterous. Perfect for that special someone who smells of wee whenever you give them a lift back from the beach.

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Xcel Infinity 1mm Thermal Rash Vest

RRP: £89.99

A new winter wetsuit would be a welcome surprise under any cold-water surfer’s tree, but a good one will require a significant outlay – £250 plus to make it a worthwhile purchase. A decent hooded thermal rash vest is a crafty cheat option, instantly converting a 4mm wetsuit into a 5mm, or giving a knackered old wetty a new lease of life. It also makes the whole hooded thing a more streamlined and comfortable experience (obviously it won’t work with a wetsuit that’s already hooded). This one from the ever-reliable Xcel is 1mm thick in the body (which is lined on the inside with their super-soft Thermo Lite fleece), and 2mm thick in the hood (lined with the new Radiant Rebound material).

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Salomon Trigger Snowboard Bindings

RRP: £54.99

Bindings are one of the most important pieces of hardware you can own – they’re what create a connection between you and your board. These all-black bindings by Salomon feature a Blaster baseplate, basically a dynamic suspension system that absorbs chop and enhances control for a smoother ride. The Trigger would suit an all-mountain snowboarder who prefers a subtle look. They’re optimised for comfort, with a padded, ergonomically shaped highback, canted footbed, EVA padding, and an HB filter to reduce foot fatigue. Suitable for use with both disk mounting systems and channel systems.

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Rip Curl Rubber Soul 3mm Wetsuit Boot

RRP: £54.99

The “liquid-dipped” Rubber Soul by Rip Curl is a minimalist’s dream. Split-toe design and supple sole maximise tact and control underfoot; there’s no strap, which arguably makes sense in a relatively thin boot such as this; the inside is lined with the famously quick-drying E5 Flash fleece material.

At 3mm thick, it’s a great boot for shorter sessions or water in the 10-14 degree range, allowing a far greater range of sensations than 5mm or 7mm equivalents. Top marks for the Beatles reference, major style points for the smoothskin finish and stealthy, uncluttered design, 10 out of 10 for lightweight warmth and rapid drying times.

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Stance JJF Voyage Socks

RRP: £12.99

Socks are the Christmas present par excellence. So few people seem to have enough of them. They grow thin underfoot, develop holes, are eventually (after much procrastination) discarded – and who will bother to replace them if not you, the uninspired Christmas-present-buyer?

John John Florence is the modern-day seafarer par excellence. Supreme navigator of turbulent waters, close bosom-friend of the foamball, etc. These leg-ends have his blessing. They are decorated with sea creatures and sailing boats and other imports from his imagination.

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FCS Freedom Leash

RRP: £39.95

This is going to sound like one of those weird cheese-induced dreams, but chief product tester Wilson swears that a few weeks ago he ran into hipster icon Alex Knost in a Spanish nightclub, and got into an argument with Knost’s girlfriend about wearing leashes. She said: “Laaame” (this was her main argument). He said: “Quite convenient, though? And a good way of preventing life-threatening structural damage to surfboards and people? And have you seen the new FCS Freedom leash?”

Being lame just received a major upgrade. The PU cord is braided over with high-tensile nylon yarn – a radically different construction that’s lighter, thinner and stronger than a conventional leash. Meanwhile the strap is less cumbersome round your ankle thanks to the minimalist design and reduced profile. Tangle-free and highly streamlined, the Freedom leash is so sleek you barely know you’re wearing it.

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Salomon Sight Snowboard

RRP: £299.99

Give the ultimate gift to a snowboarder this Christmas with the Sight snowboard, an all-mountain board with an emphasis on freeride, suitable for beginner riders all the way through to advanced. The profile blends camber and rocker to give the board pop and response, plus float in the powder, while the sturdy core is enhanced with rubber at the pressure points to absorb impact. If you pick up a couple of dings along the way, the extruded base is easy and cheap to repair.

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MOB Krux Kitties Skateboard Griptape

RRP: £11.99

Cats on skateboards. It’s all the rage, apparently. Novelty gifts are generally speaking a force for evil, but here the novelty is integrated into something of genuine practical value. Every new deck needs a griptape; this one is by MOB, makers of probably the grippiest griptape on the market. It features three adorable kittens on a clear background, the rest of the grip being see-through (but no less grippy).

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Primitive Cloud Skateboard Griptape

RRP: £14.99

Hate cats? Or love them so much you couldn’t bear to see them kicked at and stamped on all day? This cloud-print griptape by Primitive Skateboarding, brainchild of Paul Rodriguez, retains an element of colour but the results are a little more low-key. It will provide the softest of cushioned landings, or at least the illusion thereof.

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Ricta Clouds 92a Skateboard Wheels

RRP: £34.99 | Surfdome Price: £26.45

It’s surprising how many skaters seem not to give their wheel choice the consideration it deserves. Standard-issue hard wheels are fine when traversing the marble-smooth sidewalk of California, say, but the rough-hewn streets of urban Britain, a softer, more versatile wheel is often called for. Ricta’s Clouds are designed to smooth over the cracks of such terrain, but retain the smaller diameter of trick-oriented wheels.

These ones measure 92a on the durometer, and enjoy most of the same performance benefits as harder wheels. They also come in 86a and 78a, which are still good for tricks and ideal for rough spots, filming, and getting from A to B.

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