Most surfers like to travel and going on a surf trip is an wildly exciting experience. Whether it is to avoid the crowds, finding perfect waves or simply a change in scenery, surf trips are almost always worth the effort. It is crucial that preparation is involved as to enjoy the trip to its maximum potential. The majority of surfers often take road trips in search of new waves but those who book airline tickets and plan to bring their own personal boards must proceed with caution when packing their surfboard travel bag.
Travel Without Fear (for your boards!)
Arriving to a new destination is a wonderful feeling that should never be ruined by opening up your travel bag to a bunch of mishandled surfboards. There are a number of precautions that surfers need to take to ensure that even the most abused travel board bags have a chance at arriving to their destination in tact.
Surfboards are inherently fragile and I’ve cringed in the past while peering outside of my window seat glass in fear as a giant behemoth of a man tosses my precious pile of foam and fiberglass onto the cargo loading conveyer belt.
While preparing to travel with my sleds on an airplane I take a number of precautions while packing my travel bag. I had intentionally purchased a travel board bag significantly larger than my longest boards for a variety of reasons. The extra room provides space for towels, clothes, wetsuits and other items to travel in the same bag and even offer significantly more protection to the fragile surfboards. Many airlines to not charge by the length of individual bags but instead charge by the number of boards and bags involved on the flight.
The More Protection The Better!
I begin by stripping the wax each of the boards as to keep the other contents of the bag relatively wax-free if it happens to get hot during the trip. The next mandatory step, if possible, is to remove the fins from their boxes. Nearly all boards now have removable fins, glass-on skegs excluded, and removing the fins will free up a significant amount of room in the bag as well as providing a more level foundation for each board to be stacked up the previous board.
Once the wax is removed, the fins taken out and the boards put into place in the travel bag, I immediately throw in all necessary items of surf gear and apparel. I avoid traveling with a huge suitcase and so I aim to put everything that can possibly fit into my board bag around my boards followed by the essentials in my backpack. With the board bag filled to the rim with wetsuits, towels and various other soft articles of clothing, the precious cargo has a significantly higher chance of arriving to your destination unscathed and ready to hit the water.
I hope that these tips help you get from point A to point B more efficiently in the future. Be sure to take great care while packing your board bag for your next surf trip!