Packing for a Surf Trip

December 30, 2014

It’s officially Summer and that means small waves in the Northern Hemisphere and surf trips to the Southern Hemisphere. Warm water waves and tropical conditions awaiting your arrival for the surf trip you’ve been planning for the past few months. The flight and accommodation reservations are made, now you need to pack and start the hard part of deciding what to bring and what to leave at home.

The easy things first, it's a surf trip, so the boards are coming along. Make sure to get a travel surfboard bag, either a coffin or a funboard bag that incorporates high-density cell foam padding, preferably 10mm and up. Packing your boards is an important task and if not done correctly those airline noids will put more dings in your board than a Pipe wipeout. There are many ways to pack boards, one thing that works for me is putting each board in a day bag that has a small amount of high-density cell foam padding, this gives you double the protection when packed in your main travel bag. I don't stop there for protection, I then carefully wrap towels around the tips of the boards just to make sure that the pointed ends of the boards do not standalone, since any pressure on them can cause them to snap. I also do the same on the ends of the boards since they are also vulnerable to banging into other luggage or objects. It also doesn't hurt to add a FRAGILE sticker on your bag as well. You can also view this helpful video that I found that gives you step by step instructions to pack your boards:

Make sure you don't forget the following:

-Base coat
-Wax comb
-Rash guard
-Fin key

The boards are done, now pack some clothes! I won't get into this area too much, just make sure to be minimalistic here, don't over pack, you can always wash your clothes on the trip with some camping laundry detergent or if you have a washing machine, go that route. Forgot something? You can usually pick up that extra shirt, toothbrush, etc. while on your trip, most of the time it will be cheaper than U.S. prices, depending on where you are travelling. I usually take a backpack that is about 2200 cubic inches in size, it's more than enough room to pack all my stuff. The key to maximizing your luggage space is to roll your clothes like a burrito, it's a huge space saver.

Now we get into the added extras that should be considered "must have's" depending on who you talk to. A first aid kit is something we obviously take on all of our surf trips since we do make them. This wasn't always the case and became a thought to bring on our first to trip to Bali. We did the research, wrote the manual and built our own. Your basic first aid kit should contain the following supplies:

- Fabric bandages
- Alcohol wipes
- Gauze dressing pads
- Gauze rolls
- First aid tape (3m transpore works well in wet/humid conditions)
- Butterfly wound closures
- Elastic compression bandage
- Antiseptic cleansing wipes
- Povidone iodine wipes
- Aspirin or non-aspirin
- Antihistamine
- Anti-diarrhea tabs (you really never know how your body will react to the bacteria in the water/food in different countries)
- Tweezers
- Scissors
- Electrolytes of some sort, either in tab form or powdered sports drink
- Cold compress
- Antibiotic ointment (we prefer colloidal silver first aid gel)
- First aid manual - Download ours for free from iTunes: Click Here

That would be a basic first aid kit to bring. The quantity depends on how many people and the duration of your trip. Take it a step further to customize for surfers and extreme situations and add some rash cream for board and boardshort rash, surfers salve for sun burns and bug bites, suture/syringe kit, water purification tabs, oral rehydration salts, ear plugs, you get the idea.

Lastly, I've composed a list of some items to take on your surf trip, some are miscellaneous (customize as you would like):

- Insect Repellant
- Tie-downs
- Sunscreen and spf lip balm
- Insulated water bottle, preferable with built in filter
- Travel guide book
- Wet/Dry Bag (multiple uses such as transporting wet clothes and to keep your gear dry on boat trips)
- The Pickle (look it up, an easy eco savvy way of taking the wax off your board for transport and easily fits in your board bag)
- Leash nylon
- Headphones
- Playing cards
- Copies of Passports
- Visor or Boonie hat
- Notepad to log your sessions
- Multi-tool (like a leatherman)
- Ding Repair kit or a tube of Solarez
- Duct Tape, because you never know.
- Phone charger
- Camera (GoPro, etc.)
- Cash or travellers checks (I've found that travellers checks are increasingly more of a pain in the ass in comparison to cash and they charge you extra fees on top of it for the conversion in most countries. Cash in my opinion is hassle free, just keep it in a safe place.)

Now pack it all up, try to get your boards past the ticketing agent free of charge (here's an updated list of the airlines board bag fees from Wave Tribe) and have fun on your surf trip.

This is the first part of our travel series that we will be doing on a consistent basis, offering tips, helpful information and more on everything travel related. We hope you find it helpful. If you have any tips you would like to share please send them over to and we may include them in one of our travel write-ups.

Also be sure to download our FREE Surfers First Aid Manual on iTunes: Click Here


Shop Global Odyssi for Surfers First Aid Kits!

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