The Harmonious Blend of Surf Culture and Hippie Culture

Scott Smith Sep 22, 2023
35 People Read
Ocean Beach, San Diego, Hostel

Title: The Harmonious Blend of Surf and Hippie Culture

Banner is a psychedelic-painted youth hostel in Ocean Beach, San Diego, a town that represents a perfect blend of hippie culture and surf culture.


Surfing and hippie culture, seemingly distinct worlds, have experienced a fascinating intersection over the years. Both cultures are characterized by a love for freedom, a connection with nature, and a relaxed, laid-back attitude. Regarding their choice of clothing and accessories, there is a remarkable overlap, particularly in the realm of Mexican Bajas and Mexican blankets. In this blog post, we will explore how these two cultures converge, the products they both cherish, and the subtle differences that make each unique.

I. The Common Ground

Connection to Nature

Surf culture and hippie culture share a profound connection with nature. Surfers immerse themselves in the ocean, harmonizing with the rhythm of the waves. Hippies, too, gravitate towards nature, often residing in communal spaces close to natural landscapes. Many hippies love to gather, for example, at outdoor music festivals where nature and music come together. Both groups value environmental consciousness.

Boho Aesthetics

Bohemian aesthetics are central to both cultures. Surfers and hippies embrace a laid-back, boho-chic style. This is where Mexican Bajas and blankets play a pivotal role. These items effortlessly blend comfort, warmth, and an earthy, handmade feel that appeals to both cultures.

Embrace of Alternative Lifestyles

Both surfing and hippie culture eschew mainstream ideals. Surfers often pursue alternative lifestyles, prioritizing their passion for waves over traditional career paths. On the other hand, hippies champion countercultural ideals, advocating for peace, love, and perhaps communal living.

II. Shared Wardrobe Staples

Mexican Bajas Jackets ( Bajas for Short)

The Mexican Baja jacket is  also known as a Mexican Baja hoodie, Baja sweatshirt, or a "drug rug."  Most hippies that I've ever known simply call them Bajas. This spacious jacket lends itself oh so perfectly to the traditional thick textured Mexican fabric known as Jerga.  I love the feel of having one on and the casual way it fits and moves. This garment typically boasts a spacious front pocket and side vents for added comfort and a place to cross your hands together and rest them. Bajas often showcase decorative patterns. These patterns typically include horizontal stripes adorning the sleeves and hood, while vertical stripes run along the rest of the jacket's body. Notably, the drawstrings on Baja jackets tend to be flatter and more rectangular than those found on most conventional jackets, consistently matching the jacket's material.  Bajas are perhaps the quintessential symbol of the convergence between surfing and hippie culture. These pullover sweater hoodies are not only practical for keeping warm after a surf session but also exude the bohemian vibe cherished by hippies. The vibrant colors and intricate patterns of Mexican Bajas appeal to both cultures, making them a sought-after wardrobe staple.

Mexican Blankets

Mexican blankets, with their rich, woven textures and vibrant hues, are highly prized by surfers and hippies alike. Surfers often use them as beach towels or picnic blankets, while hippies use them for yoga sessions, meditation, or home decor. These blankets are emblematic of the cultures' shared appreciation for handmade, artisanal craftsmanship.

Flip-Flops and Sandals

Footwear is minimalistic and functional in both cultures. Surfers often wear flip-flops for easy transitions from the beach to the board. Hippies, too, opt for simple, comfortable sandals that align with their natural and carefree lifestyle.


Tie-dye clothing is a colorful emblem of both surfing and hippie culture. The vibrant patterns and DIY spirit of tie-dye capture the essence of free-spirited expression cherished by both groups. T-shirts, dresses, and even swimwear are adorned with tie-dye designs.

III. Differences That Define

Origins and Influences

Surfing culture has deep and storied roots, with its origins traced back to the sun-soaked beaches of California and the pristine shores of Hawaii. This coastal heritage is steeped in a rich tapestry of history and tradition, shaping the very essence of what we now know as modern surfing culture.

In Hawaii, where surfing is believed to have been practiced for centuries, it wasn't merely a sport but an integral part of their way of life. Hawaiians revered the ocean and the art of riding its waves as a spiritual and cultural practice. Surfboards were often handcrafted from native woods, and the sport was intertwined with ancient Polynesian customs and rituals.

California's contribution to surfing culture resulted from early 20th-century innovations in surfboard design and the introduction of a more widespread beach lifestyle. The Golden State's beaches became a playground for wave enthusiasts, fostering a burgeoning surf scene that later spread globally.

This blend of Polynesian and Hawaiian traditions, combined with the influence of California's beach towns, laid the foundation for today's contemporary surfing culture. It encompasses the pursuit of epic waves and a laid-back, carefree lifestyle deeply connected to the natural world, making it a culture that reveres both the ocean's majesty and the thrill of the ride. Hippie culture, in contrast, emerged as a countercultural movement in the 1960s, driven by anti-establishment sentiments and a rejection of consumerism.

Spiritual Practices

While both cultures share a reverence for nature, hippie culture often incorporates spiritual practices like meditation, yoga, and holistic healing. Surfing, although a deeply spiritual experience for many, is not inherently tied to these practices.

Fashion Accents

Surfing culture, characterized by its action-oriented ethos, often gravitates towards sportswear elements that enhance performance and comfort in the water. Surf enthusiasts commonly don board shorts, designed for agility and quick drying, and rash guards that provide sun protection and minimize chafing. These practical clothing choices reflect the surf culture's commitment to mastering the waves and staying active in the ocean environment.

In contrast, hippie culture places a more significant emphasis on individuality and unique self-expression through fashion. Hippies embrace a style that often incorporates one-of-a-kind pieces, showcasing their love for creativity and authenticity. They commonly wear vintage garments or thrifted items that tell a story and exude a sense of nostalgia. These clothing choices allow hippies to make a statement about their anti-consumerist values, advocating for sustainable fashion practices while embracing diverse textures, colors, and patterns.

This distinction in fashion preferences reflects the core values of each culture. Surfing culture prioritizes function and performance, aligning with the demands of the sport, while hippie culture values self-expression, sustainability, and a rejection of mainstream consumerism. While these fashion paths may diverge, they both contribute to the rich tapestry of human expression, reminding us that individuality and the freedom to choose one's style are fundamental aspects of both surfing and hippie culture.

Social and Political Activism

Hippie culture has a stronger association with social and political activism, particularly in peace, civil rights, and environmentalism movements. Surfers, while advocating for ocean conservation, may not be as deeply involved in broader societal causes.


The overlap between surfing and hippie culture, as exemplified by their shared love for Mexican Bajas, blankets, hoodies, and related products, is a testament to the enduring allure of a carefree, bohemian lifestyle. Both cultures prioritize a connection with nature, an alternative way of life, and a relaxed fashion sense. Yet, their unique origins, influences, and accents differentiate them, adding depth to the tapestry of human expression. Whether you're riding the waves or finding inner peace on the shore, these two cultures remind us that embracing life's simple pleasures is a universal joy.