Skip to Content

Thanksgiving Traditions with Salt Life

Here at Salt Life, we start thinking about Thanksgiving as soon as the Halloween decorations come down. There’s nothing better than hanging out in the kitchen with your loved ones, watching a football game, and sharing a fantastic meal together. 


We chatted with a few members of the Salt Life Team to ask them about the Thanksgiving traditions that their families look forward to each year.

Lana and Ryder Walding

Lana and Ryder Walding are two of Salt Life’s youngest team members. This superstar sibling duo live in beautiful Santa Cruz with their parents and spend their weekends fishing for everything from snook to tuna in the chilly Pacific waters near the Bay Area. 


Because the Dungeness crab season opens just before Thanksgiving, the Waldings usually opt for crab instead of turkey. Last year, however, things didn’t quite go according to plan—the season didn’t open due to whale entanglement issues. Fingers crossed that the Waldings will be back to setting traps and catching crabs this Thanksgiving!

Cameron Kirkconnell

Cameron Kirkconnell has been a member of the Salt Life family since 2009. He’s one of the most accomplished spearfishing pros in the world and one of our favorite guys to chat with about all things salty. Cameron spent his early life in the Cayman Islands, where, as you can imagine, turkey are few and far between!


These days, Cameron lives in Florida with his family, where they spend the day before Thanksgiving catching stone crabs. Come Thanksgiving Day, they have a huge cook-up and pour them all out on the table for their family and friends to enjoy. Of course, sometimes their guests need a little help cleaning the crabs. However,  it’s a quick learning process that ends in melted butter, so everybody leaves happy.

Kris Hopkins

Kris Hopkins is a Texas native and pro surfer who spends as much time as possible near the ocean with his family. The Hopkins Family’s Thanksgiving traditions are pretty typical—but instead of an early morning Turkey Trot, Kris always tries to squeeze in a morning surf.


A big Texas family means they enjoy Thanksgiving at Kris’s parents house with 25 of their nearest and dearest. And of course, football reigns supreme—there’s always one football game showing in the living room and another one happening in the backyard.

Capt. Rick Thompson 

In Captain Rick’s family, Thanksgiving is equally as festive as Christmas. Salt Life Team member Captain Rick Thompson spends Thanksgiving in Southern Louisiana with his in-laws. For many generations, the Alexander family has gathered for a traditional New Orleans-style feast including turducken, mirliton dressing, oyster dressing, and, of course, file gumbo.


Before dinner is served, the family gathers around the table, joins hands, and prays. They then pass a “Bread Box” of small cards bearing scriptures of thanks. Each person reads a card aloud and tells everyone what they are most thankful for.


Music is also a big part of the celebration. The Alexander family patriarch, Jerald Alexander, sang professionally as a member of the popular 70s group The Enticers, and the whole family follows his lead in singing hymns to celebrate their time together and honor the holiday.


Finally, as you can imagine, they watch football! They’re always either cheering for the New Orleans Saints or complaining that the Saints aren’t playing. The Alexanders love to spend the rest of Thanksgiving Day laughing together about times past, playing games, and enjoying each others’ company. 


The Alexander family looks forward to Thanksgiving each year and comes together from far and near to uphold their beautiful traditions. Each year, they welcome new family members and remember those that they’ve lost along the way, while expressing gratitude for their family and faith.

Final Thoughts

We’re so thankful for all of the Salt Life Team members who share their passion with us every week as we explore what it means to be close to the ocean. We hope you enjoyed reading about the Thanksgiving traditions that keep our team members connected with their loved ones.


To keep up with the Salt Life Team year-round, be sure to subscribe to the Above and Below Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Stay Salty!