Beach boy baby names fit in perfectly with our love of so many great, inventive nature name choices.
They’re perfect picks for the lazy, hazy days of summer. Or if you love the ocean and the coast, they could be just right any time of year.
While certain categories of nature names, like flowers and even birds, tend to go to the girls, beach boy baby names make for quite a lengthy – and wearable! – list of masculine possibilities. And this is just the beginning.
Famous surfers, like Taj, Duke, and Slater, work. So do the names of famous beaches. When it comes to inspiration, the ocean offers so many possibilities. Most of these are popular as baby boy names, but there’s no reason many of them wouldn’t work as baby girl names, too.
Read on for sunny, summery surfer boy names!
In the US, Ariel has been far more popular for girls in recent generations. Credit goes to the enduring popularity of 1989’s The Little Mermaid. Except Ariel is rightly considered a unisex name, with Hebrew roots. It means “lion of God” … except for most people today, it’s all “under the sea.” That versatility might make it the right choice for parents seeking something beachy, but also literary – Shakespeare used the name – and traditional, too.
A color name, a type of window, and another word for howl, Bay makes this list thanks to yet another definition: an inlet of the sea. With River continuing to rise, it makes sense that beachy Bay would attract some notice. An earlier ABC Family television series gave the name to a female character, but a bay is a body of water, like gender netural River and Ocean. It should work equally well for a daughter or a son. And from San Fransisco to Oakura and everywhere in between, famous Bays abound.
Beyonce and Jay-Z gave this name to a daughter, but Blue remains the color most associated with boys. Other blue-hue names include Indigo and maybe even Cerulean. Cher named her son Elijah Blue all the way back in 1976; Dylan Lauren’s son is Cooper Blue; Jamie Oliver’s youngest is River Rocket Blue Dallas; and model Lucky Blue Smith is dad to daughter Gravity Blue. Maybe it’s best in the middle spot, a bold, unisex option more intriguing than William or John. But if girls are Ruby and Scarlett, then I still think that boys could easily be Blue, too. Sure, the blues are a bummer, but you can also be true blue, and I think that puts this one in the modern virtue name category, too. And the connection between blue skies and the ocean blue? That’s why it makes this list of beach boy baby names.
1991 favorite Point Break gave the world Patrick Swayze as a surfer – and criminal – and Keanu Reeves as a rookie FBI agent – and surfer. Keanu played Johnny Utah while Swayze answered to Bodhi. This spiritual name was new to the US back then, but in the years following Point Break it slowly made its way into the mainstream. A 2015 remake of the movie kept the character name, but by then, Bodhi was already an established favorite.
A reader mentioned this one years ago, and I’ve loved it more as time has gone by. There’s a sharpness about Cove that makes it a promising nature name possibility for a son. Speaking in beach boy baby names terms, a cove is a small inlet. It’s worth noting that cove also refers to a person. It’s more outdated than fellow or chap, so I don’t think it’s a dealbreaker.
It’s a rather grand title, a nickname for John Wayne, and the name of a storied North Carolina university. But when it comes to all things sea and sand, Duke is Hawaiian surfer Duke Kahanamoku. He first made his name winning Olympic medals for swimming in 1912, 1920, and 1924. As he toured the world following his wins, Kahanamoku also introduced the Hawaiian sport of surfing. He’s known as the “father of modern surfing,” and the very first professional competition was named in his honor.
Sure, there’s a hint of science fiction about this name, thanks to the best-selling novels by Frank Herbert. But the large, protected piles of sand are also familiar sights to any beach-goer. They’re not exclusive to the coast; in fact, Great Sand Dunes National Park is found in Colorado, and they’re common in deserts, too. But that doesn’t take away from their beach boy baby names quality.
By far the most popular of the beach boy baby names, Dylan doesn’t immediately connect to the sea. Instead, it has a Welsh origin, and brings to mind legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. But it comes from Welsh elements meaning “great tide,” or more romantically, “son of the sea.” What’s certain is that Celtic legend gives the name to a character closely tied to the sea. It’s the choice for parents after a mainstream choice with ties to the beach.
At first glance, Finn is another name from myth – Irish in this case, as in Finn MacCool. But fish – and sharks and dolphins – have fins. The name and the word aren’t related, but it’s easy to think of Finn as a sea-faring name. In fact, The Hunger Games gives us the heroic Finnick, who fought with a trident and nets to represent his home, a fishing district. Goldfish crackers gave the name Finn to their mascot. Like Dylan, it’s a mainstream favorite. But it also claims a close connection to the ocean.
The concept of shelter and protection is an appealing one. A harbor protects ships from rough waters. That puts Harbor in the company of modern virtue names, like Journey and Sage. It reads unisex, though perhaps the popularity of literary surname Harper is pushing the sound-alike Harbor slightly to the girls’ side. Still, this name remains rare and makes an appealing possibility for a son or a daughter.
Hurley comes from Murley, a Gaelic name meaning sea tide; it’s cousin to the equally marine Muriel. As fate would have it, Bob Hurley became an outstanding surfboard shaper in California back in the early 1980s. He helped bring Australian surf brand Billabong to the US, and eventually founded his own label, Hurley. The company is owned by Nike today, but still makes all manner of surf apparel and such. If you love Riley, but feel it’s too familiar, Hurley might make a logical substitute with the ocean ties as a bonus.
A generation of Kyles and Tylers smoothed the way for Kai. While it claims international roots, it’s most familiar as the Hawaiian word for the sea. Though given the connections between the fiftieth state and the ocean, nearly any Hawaiian name feels at least slightly at home on among the waves.
Koa seems a lot like Kai, except the meaning is different. It means warrior in Hawaiian, and Koa is the name of a tree. Except the wood from that tree was routinely used for surfboards in Hawaii. That makes Koa a natural fit for this list.
When it comes to surfer baby names, Laird tops the list. That’s because of legendary surfer Laird Hamilton, known for riding famously big waves while combining his love of the sport with modeling and acting. Among other roles, he was Pierce Brosnan’s stunt double in 2002 James Bond movie Die Another Day.
Surfer Layne Beachley is another Aussie surfer with numerous titles to her name. Yes, her name – while this is a list of beach boy baby names, the surfing world is packed with well-named women athletes. No reason they can’t inspire a son’s name, too. The seven-time world champion also has a surname that feels custom-made for a surfer: Beachley.
At first glance, there’s no connection between Luca and beach boy baby names. Except for, well, Luca, the Disney-Pixar movie from 2021 about a sea monster who can walk on land, and longs for nothing more than a normal life among humans. Shades of The Little Mermaid, right? But Luca, and the fictional village of Porto Rosso, made quite the impression on parents, and now it’s racing up the popularity charts.
We’re not using Mariner as a given name, but maybe we should! It comes directly from the Latinmarinus – sea. The feminine Marina has a long history of use. Now that Maren ranks in the girls’ Top 1000, Mariner might make a more masculine choice, as well as a wholly unexpected one.
This surname almost certain claims Old English roots, a place name that has more to do with the woods than the ocean. But Mar is easily associated with the sea. And music legend Bob Marley, known for popularizing reggae, ties his name forever to Jamaica and a certain image of the Caribbean.
Strictly speaking, Mavericks is the California location famous for legendary winter wave conditions, due to the unusual sea floor conditions. It’s just one more reason this white-hot word name might appeal to even more parents.
We tend to associate Morgan with tales of King Arthur. But it’s also a Welsh name with a beachy meaning: mor means sea.
Another Irish surname, Murphy brings to mind cozy pubs and, of course, fictional newscaster Murphy Brown. But it means sea warrior. That makes Murphy right at home with beach boy baby names.
File this one somewhere between Blue and Mariner. It’s rising in use for our children, especially our daughters. That’s probably because color names tend to trend feminine. (I’m looking at you, Ruby and Scarlett!) But since the Navy is a military branch, there’s something rather capable about this name, too, and I think that keeps it just on the right side of unisex.
Roman god of the ocean Neptune is well known. It’s seldom heard as a given name, but it has potential, as does Neptune’s Greek equivalent, Poseidon.
Three-syllable Océane has made waves in the French-speaking world for girls in recent years. (Pronounce it oh say AHN.) But that doesn’t mean Ocean is out for boys. Oceanus featured in Greek myth as one of the Titans, the father of the many deities who guarded rivers and springs and other bodies of water. Oceanus Hopkins was the only baby born aboard the Mayflower on its journey to the New World. Actor Forest Whitaker named a son Ocean Alexander, and environmentalist and food activist John Robbins gave the name to his son, too. (Ocean Robbins is now all grown up and has two boys of his own, named River and Bodhi.)
The beach means summer, and summer means the rays of the sun. Or, perhaps more literally, stingrays. The name Ray isn’t related to any of these things at all. It’s most often short for Raymond, with Germanic roots. Spell it Rey and it’s the Spanish word for king, as well as Star Wars’ newest heroine. Still, Ray works as a cool, retro, and casual, beach-ready boy name.
In simplest terms, a reef – often composed of coral – is a natural formation found in shallow water. They tend to be amazing habitats, homes for all sort of ocean life. On sound alone, Reef seems like a promising name possibility. When you picture the energy of divers exploring reefs, it seems even more appropriate for a child.
Ryder fits for lots of sports, but the term “surf rider” makes it especially right for this list. From music to coastal restaurants and resorts, Surf Rider – one word or two – is common. The environmental advocacy group, the Surfrider Foundation, spells it as one.
Maybe Sailor Moon deserves credit for helping parents see this as a given name instead of an occupational title or aspirational hobby. Or perhaps Sailor picks up on our long-running love of Taylor. (After all, Saylor-with-a-y ranks in the current US girls’ Top 1000, a mark that Sailor has missed.) Either way, Sailor feels like an on-trend name that could easily appeal to parents inspired by the sea.
It’s conventionally feminine, at least for a generation of Baby Boomers who grew up Sandra. But Sandy started out as an Alexander nickname, and still works as one. But it’s also an effortlessly beachy boy name.
Way back in 1998, former model Kelly Bensimon named her daughter Sea Louise. It didn’t catch on, even after Bensimon appeared in a few seasons of The Real Housewives of New York. There’s an elegant simplicity to Sea, and yet it’s not exactly a simple name. The image is boundless. It also brings to mind initials-as- names, like Kay and Jay and Bea, as well as mini names like Mae and Kai.
Perhaps the greatest professional surfer of all time, Kelly Slater’s first and last names fit on this list. But if Kelly brings to mind all things Irish, Slater feels like the sportier of the two, the one more likely to signal a love of the sea.
Aussie surfer Taj Burrow puts this brief name on this list. It means crown in Arabic.
We love Atlas and Orion and so many names from Greek myth, why not a god of the sea? Poseidon and Nepture are the best known, but Triton works, too. He’s the son of Poseidon, usually pictured as half-man, half-fish. And The Little Mermaid borrowed the name – and the look – for Ariel’s regal merman father. Triton sounds something like Tristan and Tyson and Colton, making it quite wearable.
Like Marley, mentioned above, Waverly doesn’t mean anything related to the ocean. Except that first syllable makes it sound like a beachy name, perfect for a little surfer. And if Waverly seems too long, just Wave could work, too.
Do you have any favorite surfer boy names? How ’bout beachy boy names?
Originally published on June 29, 2012, this post was revised substantially and re-published on June 25, 2018; August 12, 2019; June 6, 2020; May 26, 2022; and June 1, 2023.