Being an extensive and experienced world traveler and surfer I am here to share my advice and a list of what to pack for a surfing trip. This surf travel checklist focuses on surfing equipment, for everything else you need to take please read this list of what to pack for your trip.
What You Need On A Surfing Trip
The obvious choice of what to take with you on a surfing trip. Make sure you research the waves you will be surfing on your trip and take the right surfboards with you
Think of the airline companies as your enemy and pack your surfboards with as much padding and protection as possible. I cannot stress enough how important a good board bag is, you've spent a lot of money on your trip and your boards so make sure they make it there in one piece, the best on the market are the DaKine World Traveler and Ocean & Earth Heavyweight Coffin.Make sure your fins are out (if removable), and use clothes, wetsuits or bubble wrap for extra padding around the nose and tail. A good idea is to buy some pipe insulation, cut it down the middle and fit it around the rails of your surfboards.
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Find out the water temperature of your destination. Maybe you are heading somewhere tropical and have the luxury of not needing a wetsuit, maybe you can get away with just a short arm / leg or maybe you will need to don a 5mm wetsuit with boots and gloves. Pack accordingly.
If you are heading to a tropical surf destination remember your board shorts, you don't want to be stuck surfing naked or in your underwear. Lightweight, flexible, rash free ones are the best.
If you are going to be surfing in the sun without a wetsuit you will need something to protect your back and shoulders in the mid-day sun. Most people just wear a t-shirt these days because they look cooler but a rash vest is the traditional and comfortable option.
Fin Control Systems (FCS) are a blessing in surf travel, taking a good selection of fins with you will allow your surfboard to perform well in a wider range of conditions. This may allow you to cut down the amount of boards you have to travel with, saving you money and weight. For everything you need to know, here is what surfboard fins to get.
If you are using a Fin Control System, whatever you do, do not forget your FCS key! Forgetting this little item will severely destroy your surf trip.
Another easy to forget yet essential thing to pack. Forgetting this will also wreck your trip. Take the right wax for the water temperature and a wax comb.
Leashes can snap easy in powerful waves, be sure to pack more than one and make sure they are designed for the waves you intend to surf, small wave leash, big wave leash etc. Remember to take some spare leash string with you.
Surfboard Repair / Ding Kit
If the airline doesn't get you, the other surfers, reef, rocks or something else probably will. Take a little repair kit with you. If you're unsure how to do it, this is how to repair a surfboard while on a surf trip.
If you are going to be surfing over reef I recommend taking some reef socks with you to protect your feet. Even if you don't like wearing them it's a good idea to wear them for the first few surfs at a new spot until you suss out the safe entry and exit points. Although everyone does enjoy watching somebody do the 'reef dance'.
We all know that the sun is magnified and does a lot more damage to your skin while you are in the water. Take a high factor and make sure its waterproof.
Reef Cut Treatment
Whether you've just been impressing people with your reef dance or you messed up your last take-off and left parts of your back on the coral, chances are you will get cut by the reef. Reef cuts need to be treated as coral contains bacteria and toxins that transfer into your wounds. Make sure to take along an antibiotic / antiseptic ointment with you such as Bacitracin.
You don't want all your 'pushing the limits of surfing' to go unseen do you? Capture all the footage of your trip in HD with the magnificent HD Hero 2 Surf Camera, the most widely used camera by pro surfers and pro surf filmmakers around the world. An essential on the list of what to pack for a surfing trip!