Packing for a surf trip
Updated: Aug 21, 2020
Your surf trip is booked and the departure date is coming (like our Bali Ladies Surf Getaway trip end April!). What do you pack for your trip and how to make sure you’re prepared for all surfing conditions and potential accidents?
Pack the right equipment for the waves you are surfing. After doing your research about the destination you should now know what surfing equipment and hardware to pack for your trip: pack suitable boards for the type of waves you will be riding.
If you’re planning on getting a new board for the trip: I highly recommend chatting to your board shaper or shop about your board/s you are taking for the trip as there are so many factors other than length that contribute to choosing the correct board.
If possible it is always a great idea to pack more than one board as this allows you to be equipped (prepared?) for surfing waves of different shape, size and power. Generally for short board riders not wanting to tackle waves too big this would mean packing their everyday board for smaller surf and a larger step-up board for when the surf picks up in size. Having an extra board also comes in handy if you snap or badly damage one of your boards. Unfortunately snapped boards can be a common occurrence on a surf trip.
Leg ropes: pack a couple of spare leg ropes designed for different wave sizes including a longer and thicker version for if the waves jump up in size and in case you snap one (check out Smart Leash Co for repairable leashes and parts)
Fins and fin key: to get the best performance from your board in all conditions pack a few sets of fins designed for various wave sizes and also as a backup for if you damage or snap off a fin on your board
Packing Tips for your surfboard(s)
It’s really up to you how much effort you put into packing your surf board bags. I highly recommend putting in that little bit of extra effort. Here are some tips for you to choose from that help prevent damage during your travels and have your board/s arriving to your destination in one piece.
Remove all wax as you will need to apply suitable wax for the climate you are traveling to. Remove wax easily by softening it prior to scraping. You can do this by briefly laying your board face up in the sun or using a warm hair dryer.
Remove your fins and leg rope. Wrap rubber bands around your set of fins when you remove them so you don’t lose any while packing. Also if you can’t leave your screws in your board safely than put them in a small sealable bag and tape them securely onto your set of fins.
Use pipe insulation (hollow soft foam tubing), or something similar as a way to protect the rails of your board. Simply cut a slit down it lengthways so you can wrap it around the rail of your board. Once it is in place, use packaging tape to keep it there. Bubble wrap your board focusing on the nose and tail area the most or wrap your board with any towels you are taking or place your board in a board sock cover (material sock cover) as added protection.
Throw in some clothes and padding for that extra bit of protection, especially around the tail and nose or any ding prone areas.
If you’re packing more than one board, lay the largest board on the bottom with the other boards facing the same direction and with the rockers all running the same way. Place towels between each board.
Tape the boards together to reduce any movement within the board bag.
Place your board/s in a firm fitting travel board bag. Most board bags come with straps attached inside the bag. This allows you to strap your boards securely together so there is no movement between the boards.
Do not place leg ropes, fins or anything sharp or hard in your board bag (put them in your luggage bag). These items can cause ding, dents and creases if they are pressed into your boards during travel.
Finally mark your board bag with a ‘fragile item’ label.
Surf wear and accessories
Booties: cold water booties to keep your feet warm if the water is icy and warm water booties for surfing reef breaks and protecting your feet from cuts.
Wax: pack the wax designed for the water temperature you will experience.
Ding tape or ding repair kit.
First Aid Kit: this might not be classified as surfing equipment but it is a definite must. Make sure it includes Betadine if you’re surfing reefs. Also bring some eye drops and aqua ear if you’re prone to getting water in your ears. Nothing worse than an ear ache on a surf trip!
Sunscreen, zinc, high SPF sunscreen, moisterising lipbalm with SPF and after sun lotion (like aloe vera)
Dry bag: for storing your belongings during boat travel.
Travel Documents and immunisations
Give yourself plenty of time to get these organised before your departure date and don’t leave home without them
Photocopy of your passport (kept separate from the original)
Visas if needed
Travel insurance including emergency medical evacuation
Vaccinations required for entry into the country you are visiting
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