With the days getting longer, the water getting warmer, and the waves getting funner, the last thing you want to do is troll through malls in your time off to find suitable gifts for the ones you love.
Not only do you want to avoid the chaos of malls, but if you are like me and use the ocean as your playground - your second home, then you are probably wanting to choose gifts that are not going to end up floating around through our waters, causing harm to marine life and ultimately making our beautiful beaches a cringey haven of commercial waste.
It is important to remember that experiences can be given as gifts too. If you want to show your love ones you care for them, how about getting them vouchers for a massage? Or shouting them a meal at their favourite restaurant? How about offering to take photos of them surfing on your next surf trip together? (Ok, yeah, thats a bit far - you need your own waves too.)
But, like most of us, there are things we need, and products that can really enrich our lives. Christmas is a time for giving, so let's make sure we give with ethics and sustainability in mind.
So! I have done some digging, and have come up with a list of 10 brands and companies that make their products with our environment, our most precious playground, at the forefront of their design.
This brand is an online curated store showcasing unique and gorgeous Home Decor, Jewellery, Bags and Fashion Accessories ethically sourced from Social Enterprises, designers and artisans in South East Asia.
There are a lot of different products in this store, but with my absolute favourite being the sustainable "fake" leather backpacks and laptop sleeves. These bags and laptop sleeves are made from washable paper that is so unique it looks and feels like leather, but with an incredibly light weight element.
Best of all, those natural plant fibres can even go in the washing machine. Incredibly, this material claims to be an ever better sustainable option than vegan leather.
The Ama Life is a brand based around looking after the skin of adventurers. From surfers, to snowboarders to hikers to kite surfers, Ama aims to keep people feeling their best whilst experiencing life in the natural environment.
The Ama range is mainly based around solid moisturizers and balms that use all natural ingredients to assist hydration and repair from the elements that we are under fire from as ocean lovers.
With their packaging being comprised of Rockstock (not paper) that is recyclable, and requires no water, acid or bleach during production, along with sourcing organic ingredients and remaining free from preservatives, it's a sure sign this is a brand worth looking out for. Not just for the environment, but for your skin too.
When going on a surf trip, there is almost nothing more essential for your performance than remaining hydrated, and what better way to do it than by investing in a sustainable, sleek looking bottle that will last.
With their tagline, "refill, not landfill" it's obvious what the mission of this brand is. On a quest to stop the tirade of single use plastic water bottles, Dawny Adventure Club designed these vacuum insulated, stainless steel water bottles with surfers in mind.
These guys are taking a break over Christmas, so if you are wanting a bottle, make sure you purchase one before the 20th of December.
Avasol describes themselves as a "responsible skin care brand" and I can see why. This brand is concerned about 1. Your skin, 2. Using ethical, organic and high quality ingredients, and 3. The impact of their product on the environment.
'Ava' is the Samoan word for respect and 'sol', is for sun. A respect for the sun led this brand to create both barrier sticks as well as refillable pouches of lotion that stay on, without harming you or the earth. From their packaging to their message, Avasol keeps it clear and simple. They don't use wish washy terminology to confuse you into buying - they are straight to the point, and put it all on the table.
Reef safe, water resistant for 80 minutes, clinically tested for allergies and ethically sourced and produced in the USA, it's no wonder Avasol is a fast emerging choice for surfers and water enthusiasts world wide.
A unique gift, but for a surfer, a necessary practice. Post surf stiffness, pain and rigidity is a real thing. Not only does thrashing your body from a long session make you feel worn out, but it also affects your performance for the next session. Those who are serious about getting the most out of each paddle should be looking for tools that can help promote healing and restoration.
Enter - The Shakti Mat, also known as "your personal masseuse." This mat, made from thousands of spikes, works by using acupressure to promote muscular tension release and healthy circulation. All you need to do is place your mat on the floor, or bed, lay on it for 20 minutes and let it work its magic. I warn you however, the first 10 minutes are pretty intense!
The Mats are made ethically, by employing a group of women in India in a working environment providing proper wages, time off for personal events, meals every day and sick pay. The mats are also made with organic cotton, plant based dyes, and use non toxic ABS plastic.
Ethique, which is french for ethical, is a popular brand who's quest to eradicate plastic bottles is going strong. So far they have saved over 1 million bottles from heading to the landfill with their cleverly created solid shampoo and conditioner bars.
Not only do they make hair cleansing products, but they also make solid moisturizers, shaving bars, facial scrubs and body washes. As surfers, we are constantly getting dried up (and fried up,) so these products can be pretty beneficial if we are wanting to keep our hair and skin nourished and radiating.
All of their products are plant based, cruelty free and contain absolutely no palm oil.
Ethique is a proudly certified sustainable business, obtaining the highest scoring Bcorp, offering carbon neutral shipping and paying the living wage to their employees. To put their money where their mouths are, each year 20% of their profit goes to charities fighting to protect the planet.
Drawn from a lifetime chasing long period swells, Salt Gypsy is a women's sustainable surf wear company that celebrates female surf athleticism, diversity and style in the lineup.
Their garments are made from a 100% regenerated nylon yarn called ECONYL® which is a longer lasting, more durable recycled nylon lycra.
Not only is the fabric of these unique pieces made from recycled, abandoned fishing nets, but Salt Gyspy also packs and ships sustainably, with biodegradable packaging. Wether you simply like to cruise on your longboard, or are a performance shortboarder, these rash guards, bottoms and one pieces have you covered.
La Luna Rose is a jewellery and beachwear/ fashion company that sells beach and surf inspired pieces. Wether you are looking for a fancy or casual jewellery piece you can find it here, as their necklace range in particular is incredibly beautiful.
La Luna Rose leaves nothing to waste. If some of their jewellery doesn't sell, they melt it down and reuse it again for the next collection.
They use plant based dyes in their travel clutches, sandels and bags, and they also sell charity tee's that go towards 3 For The Sea, a non for profit focussing on education of the plastic crisis that we are in. Pretty cool idea I reckon!
This brand has dedicated their mission to making travel beauty and body products sustainable with their "just enough" packaging slogan. With all of their packaging being recyclable, Linaka aims to keep their remains out of the landfill, and back into the circle of production.
Linaka chooses to source their natural products from micro-enterprises that obtain the same values as them, ensuring products are high quality, ethically sourced, and helping to create an environmental and economical benefit for the community.
A smaller New Zealand Business, but one that does not lack in thought and values, these products, both large and small are perfect for that surfer who is always on the go.
This company is founded by avid surfer and adventurer Shay that, on her mission to find the next best wave in the most remote part of the world, began to notice the overwhelming effects of human consumption.
Shay found it hard to ignore the small pieces of plastic littered within the light, bright sand of the world’s most isolated islands and beaches. Bottle caps, plastic straws, fish nets - they were always there.
Upon returning home, Shay decided that she could in fact make a difference and launched CaliWoods - a collection of stainless steel (and bamboo) reusable straws for smoothies, cocktails and well - basically anything else you can drink from a straw with. Extra bonus? CaliWoods has a plastic free shipping policy.
So there you have it. 10 sustainable gift ideas to get that surfer friend of yours (or yourself) for Christmas. Choosing gifts that are sustainable and recyclable is a great start in your quest to make a change, however the best thing you can do for the planet is to buy things that you will really use. Before making purchases, ask yourself, will I (or the person you are gifting) genuinely use this product? If the answer is 'yes', go ahead.
It is through our own honesty, awareness and dedication that we as humans can make a change for our planet and our oceans. Thank you for reading this article and considering alternative gift ideas that support the movement towards a healthier environment.
* For your piece of mind I should mention that The Surf Box gains no commission off these products. They are featured because I believe in them, and their message.