Holiday Gift Guide: Staff Picks with Evan Gambetta

  • 04.16.2021

Born and raised in Santa Barbara, CA, Channel Islands surf shop manager Evan Gambetta got his first CI surfboard, a Flyer F, at 14 years old. Now standing 6’3 215lbs, his passion for surfing and knowledge of surfboards doesn’t go unnoticed in or out of the water. Since his first day working at the shop in 2012, his firsthand experience has helped countless surfers find the proper gear for their needs. Naturally, he has some great recommendations for the holiday season.


Stock 6’2 X 19 ½ X 2 9/16. The Happy is the best board for great waves. I really like how responsive the board is, it handles late drops with ease and turns on a dime. The tail is pulled in and foiled to perfection so it has an insanely quick responsive feel. Also, I am a big fan of the lower entry rocker and increased width under the chest, it paddles great for a high-performance shortboard. This is my go-to board when the waves are good, without a doubt!


Stock 5’10 X 19 7/8 X 2 9/16. I was in love with the original model and the Neckbeard 2 is even better. The single concave made the board faster while giving it a more lively, loose feel. If you surf in the pocket or above the lip this board will suit your style. The chopped tail has increased hold when the board is leaned over and a nice easy release when flattened out. I’ve even surfed it in head high plus waves without a problem.


I’ve tried every fin under the sun, but the Al Merrick template is the only design I’ve found to work on every board in every condition. For me, the large FCS II Performance Core fins have plenty of drive and pivot and release when you need it. Tight turns, drawn-out turns, it can do it all! I think I have 6 sets of AM fins total varying between different constructions and fin manufacturers.


I have always been an arch guy, and when Mixed Groove 3 Piece Arch Pad was released, I was hooked instantly. It’s insanely grippy whether you wear booties or not. The material is soft to the touch, so if your surfing in trunks, it won’t tear up your knees. Also, the silhouette is perfect, fits great on wide and narrow tail boards. I have one on my Neckbeard 2 and Happy


I’ve relied on the CI Hex Cord Comp Leash for 7 years and I haven’t had an issue, and that is what I look for in a leash. Velcro is strong, cuff is comfortable!


The Feather Light Day Bags come at a great price point. They’re light, simple, and insanely durable! I have been running the same set for the last 4+ years with minimal signs of wear and tear.


I think the CI Fin Wallet is something a lot of people overlook but an item I use every single time I surf. It helps keep my surf stuff organized, and vs. digging through the back of my truck and backpacks I know exactly where all my accessories are. I haven’t lost a set of fins since I invested in one of these.

Check out the Holiday Collection for more gift ideas.

  • 04.16.2021