Gifts for Surfers (or Aspiring Surfers) and a Poke Bowl Recipe

by Dorothy Reinhold on November 30, 2018

Print This Post Print This Post Gifts for surfers: We're stoked on these charming gifts for the surfer or surfer-wannabe in your life -- a surfer cookbook, arty hat, bamboo cutting board, ukulele dashboard doll and coconut air freshener.

Here at the beach, we’re stoked about the holiday season because it’s a chance to add items to our surfing collection. I’m not talking about wetsuits and boards, brah, but rather items that add to the surfing vibe we live… Nick Reinhold surfing Topanga Shorebreak…and breathe.

Andrew Shaner surfing Topanga

If you have a surfer, or surfer wannabe, in your circle, take a look at these charming gifts. And I have a gift for you, too — a Poke Bowl recipe at the bottom of the list. Don’t paddle out before you print that gem.

Surfing Cookbook

First We Surf Then We Eat cookbook coverFirst We Surf, Then We Eat: Recipes from a Lifetime of Surf Travel,” by Jim Kempton, is the book surfers and those who aspire to the lifestyle have been waiting for. Kempton, a former editor/publisher of Surfer Magazine who has spent his life surfing and traveling, is our guide to surf lore and surfer recipes from Tahiti to Hawaii, the Basque Country to Indonesia, California to Mexico, Peru to Morocco, and more. He’s lived in 30 countries, been director of media at Billabong, director of Quiksilver’s Crossing Project (a boat that searched the world for the best surf breaks), and has run a regional Mexican restaurant in San Clemente, Calif. (Billabong and Quiksilver are huge surf brands, in case you didn’t know.) I’m exhausted just reading his resume, but he’s put his life and adventures all together in this can’t-put-it-down cookbook full of delectable stories and surf breaks and the living legends who ply them, and recipes that make you want to jump up and get in your kitchen. If you think surf food is all fish tacos and burritos the size of a tree trunk, Jim’s book will set you straight. He gives us the seafood soup that’s a national dish of El Salvador, Balinese beef satay, Peruvian quinoa-honey shrimp, Costa Rican Coffee-Rubbed Pork with Marmalade Glaze, Palauan papaya upside down cake…recipes for as many palates as there are people.  My own surfers agree with Jim’s sensibility that there’s nothing better than a day of surfing followed by a feast. This book is inspirational, aspirational, and so much fun, peppered with stories about his exploits with surfing legends like Kelly Slater, Laird Hamilton, John John Florence, Bethany Hamilton… [Be sure to check out the Poke Bowl recipe from it below.]  About $20 at Amazon, with free Prime shipping.

Cool hat

Sunset Surf hat by Abby Paffrath Art-4-AllA cool surfer hat is a must, to keep the sun at bay and your salt-crusted hair contained. I’m in love with this gorgeous batik-inspired creation by artist Abby Paffrath. She uses the wax resist dye technique to create the most striking images from nature. There are fish, mountains, winding rivers, wildlife…but of course, I gravitate to the sea, so the Sunset Surf hat is for us. About $30, at the Art for All website, with some styles available on Amazon.

Sunset Surf hat on a surfer in the garage

Surfboard Cutting Board

Surfboard cutting and serving board by Totally BambooWe’re deep into the surf culture here in beach land, so this bamboo surfboard serving/cutting board is beyond perfect, brah.  It’s made from beautiful bamboo wood with two-tone inlays, and makes a unique server for appetizers or party foods, cheese, or whatever you can imagine! The other night my grom used it to serve sushi, and we congratulated ourselves on the irony.  Bamboo is one of the fastest growing, sustainable natural materials on the planet; it’s durable, lightweight, and pretty, which makes it a good alternative to endangered exotic hardwoods. The surfboard is about 14.5” x 6” x 5/8,” made by Totally Bamboo. We’re amped on it.  About $10 on Amazon, with free shipping.

Ukulele Hula Dude

Ukulele Hula Dashboard DollOK, this Hawaiian Braddah with Ukulele Mini Dashboard Doll will just make you smile, as it does for my teenage surfer, whose very first act as a new driver was to put it on the dashboard of his truck. It jiggles slightly when the car vibrates from driving – the more wiggle in the road, the more he wiggles, and immediately puts you in a good mood. It’s made of polyresin, has some adhesive stickum so it will stay on the dashboard, and is about 4 inches tall so won’t get in the way of your visibility.  If you’d prefer a girl they have those, or even a shark. Can you understand the utter joy that a bobble-head hula boy/girl/shark brings to your life? Get on this one.  About $10.50 from Amazon with free Prime shipping.

Sex Wax Air Fresheners

Mr Zogs Sex Wax coconut air freshenerNot gonna lie. I thought, in theory, these were weird when I first got them for my teenage son. Coconut-scented air fresheners that smell like the famous surfboard wax? Wha…??? But let me assure you they have grown on me quite nicely in 11 months since we first bought them. There is one hanging in his truck, one attached to the portable air conditioner in his room where they air flows, and I put one in the bag of my vacuum cleaner. Yeah, I went there. This pack of 3 has you well covered, and they will last up to a year (in my experience). That’s a lotta tropical ambiance for a little lettuce. About $9 from Amazon, with free Prime shipping.

Make lunch or dinner of Poke

Ono Poke Bowl from First We Surf Then We Eat cookbookWant the best homemade gift? Invite a guest over to eat a bowl of poke at your house! Use Jim Kempton’s recipe from his new cookbook “First We Surf, Then We Eat: Recipes from a Lifetime of Surf Travel,” for a simple, fresh lunch or dinner. Serve it over cooked rice to make a more substantial meal of it.

Ono Poke Bowl

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: Serves 6

Ono Poke Bowl

Poke (pronounced “poh-kay”) is a Hawaiian treat that has become one of the mainland’s trendiest items. Its new popularity has imbued Hawaiian chefs with a little proprietary jealousy, a sure sign of a long-term food trend. A combo of super-fresh high-grade raw fish, dressing and spices served in a bowl, it’s the perfect starter for a meal or a great high-protein, low-calorie filler. It’s fresh, healthy and fast. Already a staple in California and New York, it’s starting to show up on menus around the globe.


  • 1 pound sashimi-grade tuna, cut into jumbo-olive-size cubes
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 small jalapeno, minced (optional)
  • 1 green onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 ripe but slightly firm avocado
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds or Trader Joe’s golden roasted flax seeds (Jim Kempton’s favorite


  1. Combine tuna, cilantro, ginger, jalapeno (if using), green onion, soy sauce and sesame oil in a bowl; toss gently. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.
  2. Just before serving, peel and pit avocado and cut into small cubes. Combine with tuna mixture, making sure avocado is well integrated with tuna. Scoop poke into 6 bowls, sprinkle with sesame or flax seeds, and serve.
  3. Serves 6.


Recipe source: “First We Surf, Then We Eat: Recipes from a Lifetime of Surf Travel,” by Jim Kempton (2018, Prospect Park Books, $29.95). Recipe and photo used with permission.

Mark your calendar!

California Surfing Day Sept 20

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Gifts for surfers or those who wish they were

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Disclosure: Prospect Park Books, Art 4 All and Totally Bamboo sent samples for consideration for this article. All opinions are my own. 

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandra | A Dash of Sanity December 9, 2018 at 10:58 am

I have some surfer friends! These are really great gift ideas!


Dorothy Reinhold December 10, 2018 at 6:42 am

Just source the fish properly, and you are 3/4 of the way there!


Dorothy Reinhold December 10, 2018 at 6:42 am

Thanks! Once you get into the surf culture, you can’t shake it!


Nancy Piran December 7, 2018 at 3:07 pm

This looks like such an awesome cookbook!


Dorothy Reinhold December 10, 2018 at 6:43 am

It is so much fun to read, too.


Amy December 7, 2018 at 8:10 am

These are making me want to start up surfing!


Dorothy Reinhold December 10, 2018 at 6:44 am

You can be a surfer in your mind!


Toni | Boulder Locavore December 6, 2018 at 5:12 pm

These are really great finds! Really helpful for surfers!


Liren | Kitchen Confidante December 6, 2018 at 4:55 pm

Poke bowls rock! And I love all these awesome gift ideas!


Cathy @ Lemon Tree Dwelling December 6, 2018 at 10:57 am

What a fun list of ideas!


Des December 4, 2018 at 2:54 pm

I love all these gifts for surfers. If only I had that talent (or a beach)


Jacque Hastert December 4, 2018 at 2:19 pm

This bowl is easy, healthy, and sounds delicious! I love that you included gifts for the beach boys/girls in our lives.


Maria December 4, 2018 at 10:46 am

I never really thought you could make poke at home, but now I will certainly be giving it a try!


Dorothy Reinhold December 6, 2018 at 3:55 pm

Just source the fish properly, and you are 3/4 of the way there!


Gust si Aroma December 4, 2018 at 7:26 am

I love how easy and healthy this bowl is! I need to make this immediately!


Lora | Savoring Italy December 4, 2018 at 3:38 am

We live in surf culture here too in Fl (not as big waves as in Cali;) so this is great for the surfers I know!!


Dorothy Reinhold December 4, 2018 at 7:29 am

Surf culture is so fun, isn’t it?


Jessica Freimann December 3, 2018 at 6:47 pm

What a brilliant concept for a cookbook- you’re making me want to go on vacation!


Demeter December 3, 2018 at 11:37 am

Loving all of the ideas. I’ve got a few teen age boys to buy for and I know this is their style.


Carrie R December 2, 2018 at 6:39 am

What fun gift ideas! 🙂


Catalina December 2, 2018 at 3:52 am

The perfect healthy lunch bowl for a surfer! So good and healthy!


Dorothy Reinhold December 3, 2018 at 8:19 am

And for us non-surfers, too!


Chrissie Baker December 1, 2018 at 1:15 am

Mmm, I definitely want to try this Hawaiian dish. I love raw fish. I like that it can be make so quickly and easily.


Dorothy Reinhold December 3, 2018 at 8:20 am

Yes, it is surprisingly easy! All you have to do is source the fish. I can find sashimi grade fish at a Japanese market.


Mahy Elamin December 1, 2018 at 12:56 am

This is so creative. I have never tried something like this before. An interesting recipe. I think it’s worth a try …


Brandy O'Neill November 30, 2018 at 5:38 pm

This poke bowl looks delicious!


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