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Surf Travel Tips: A guide to make the best out of your next holiday!

Surf Trips are one of the best ways to travel! Not only do you get to work on your surfing, you also get a serious dose of adventure, culture and loads of fun! It can be a great way to meet new people, perhaps try out some yoga, and even test out the local cuisine!

While the ultimate goal is to have a carefree, happy-go-lucky holiday, some planning before hand comes in pretty handy! Read up surf buddies on some tips to make sure that your next holiday is as relaxed as possible!

Happy surf-tripping!

Choosing The Correct Destination For Your Surf Trip!

This is my favourite part of the planning process!! Combing through surf sites, books, blogs for the perfect spot! Be sure to consider the experience as a whole when you are planning. Are you just after some good waves, or are you also interested in visiting another culture? Are you travelling with likeminded people who will want to do the same things as you or are you looking for a destination that covers a bit of everything?

One of the most important elements to take into consideration is your surf ability. Be realistic and chose your destination accordingly. The last thing you want to do is plan an epic trip only to find that the break is far too powerful for your skill level! Swells and waves shift throughout the year, so make sure you also take this into consideration. A place that is good for learning at one point in the year may be better for advanced surfers at another time. If you are an absolute beginner, I highly recommend trying out a surf camp.

Sort Flights, And Take Care Of Any Necessary Documents

Once we choose the destination the next step on the list is to figure out how to get there. Looking into visa requirements is probably one of the least exciting parts of booking a surf trip, but also one of the most vital! This is particularly important if you plan on staying for a longer period of time (general rule of thumb is 30 days or longer). You don’t want to mess around with visas, this can result in fairly mega fines, or worse still getting blacklisted from the country.

As much as we would like to deny it, sh*t happens! To avoid any potential problems, be sure to get some solid travel insurance. This is particularly important if you are planning a trip to a remote location. World Nomads Insurance offer a very comprehensive travel insurance and cover heaps of activities, including surfing and ocean sports.

Finally, don’t forget to take your passport, driver’s license, and insurance documents! For most destinations your passport will need to be valid for at least six months. Be sure to find out the emergency numbers and let a friend or relative at home have details of your itinerary, including travel dates and accommodation details.

Gear Assessment

Regardless of where you are going, it is always advisable to bring some good all-round surfboards for varying conditions. Again, this is where doing some research beforehand will really pay off. Mother Nature has a tendency to throw curve balls at us, so bring a versatile board and you will never be disappointed.

Before travelling make sure your boards are all in good condition. You will also need a good supply of wax, a spare leash, and even a ding repair kit! Same goes for your wetsuits.

Research Board Bag Fees BEFORE Booking Flights

This is extremely important as it can add some serious costs! It is often the case that the lowest airfare won’t have a board bag policy and you can find yourself paying more than your flights for your board bag!! Always check the cost of board bag fees online and then double check by calling the airline. This is a great guide to board bag fees and gives the lowdown on the best surfboard friendly airlines.

Unfortunately, airlines often don’t have the best rep for treating boards with the utmost care! In order to avoid any disappointment, ensure that you protect your boards with plenty of padding! Put extra padding around the nose, tail and rails. I like to use towels, rash vest, or wetsuits. This adds insulation and saves space in my suitcase!!

Familiarise Yourself With The Culture

Read up on the cultural norms and etiquette before travelling, be a conscious traveller. This is probably even more important for us women. Some countries are not open to women strolling around scantily clad (particularly a number of Muslim surf destinations in Indonesia) so it is always helpful to do your research beforehand and find out how conservative it is. A little word of advice for you guys out there, no catcalls or whistling!! Be respectful to the locals!

Don’t Forget This Stuff

Here are a few easily forgettable things that you should definitely pack:

  • First Aid Kit – reef cuts, dehydration, headaches, and indigestion pain can all be cured with simple medication.
  • Zinc – The tropical sun is no joke. Avoid going home pink! Protect your skin with zinc.
  • Long Sleeve Rash Guard – Whether you need to give your skin a breather from the constant sun or need a little extra heat for the early mornings, a rash guard is a great addition to any surf trip!
  • Loads of Suntan Lotion – Don’t miss the waves because you are too sunburnt. Make sure to bring plenty of good quality water-resistant suntan lotion.
  • Ding Repair Kit – Be equipped to quickly and easily fix small dings.

Final Thoughts

  • Leave your ego at home. You are going to be a guest everywhere you go, so be sure to act like one.
  • Don’t litter!This applies always, wherever you are, at all times!
  • Stay positivein frustrating situations – after all, it’s an adventure!
  • Be prepared for all situations – we aren’t visiting Kelly Slater’s wave pool, so we have no guarantee of good conditions.
  • Share. Surf snacks, suntan lotion, wax, stories, jokes, beers, tips, whatever. Sharing is what has helped to create the surf communities of the world, and it is what keeps them strong for future generations of water men and women.
  • Check out Urban Surfer’s awesome collection. Who doesn’t want some new board shorts for a surf trip!!

Stephanie Contomichalos

Stephanie Contomichalos is a sports enthusiast. She is an avid crossfitter, wakeboarder and has recently qualified as a Level 1 CrossFit coach. She is also an advocate for women’s sport and for using sport as a tool for development. She is currently living in Athens, Greece.

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