Surf Travel is perhaps one of the very best sides to surfing. It is full of excitement, planning, highs and lows, new sights & smells and overall a hope for the best day of the year! I am writing this from a background of pretty consistent annual travel to locations as far flung as the Solomon Islands to just the classic old roady up the coast to explore new reefs and points that Google Earth left too tempting to not strike out for. Hopefully there will be some info for everyone and whether this is your first time packing the quiver bag or your fifty-first maybe you can find some snippets which will make the next trip that much more brilliant.
I have taken 3 Case Studies of the places that I have visited in order to give you an idea of what has worked for me in the past. Most of these can be translated across to your next trip and with some knowledge before you go of the wave types you can choose the perfect board setup for all round perfection day in day out!
As a reference, I am 6'2", 185lbs and surf almost every day.
1) Morocco (Africa) – Pointbreak galore, steep faces, powerful walls, leg aching rides and even longer paddle outs!
Morocco is famed for its laidback hippy culture; European meets Arabic chic and literally endless Pointbreaks. A trip to this northern African gem from November to April can lead to some of the most memorable waves of your life. Imagine paddling a half mile along the edge of a 400 foot cliff only to be met by a pod of killer whales passing by on the outside. Somewhere in the middle of this visceral jungle there just happens to be a double overhead 500 yard long right that reels and fizzles all the way down the headland. Dropping into one of these flawless gems when the wind is low is pure magic and the necessity for a set of boards to deal with this caliber of waves is a total must. I chose the quiver below to make sure that getting in was not an issue, speed was my friend and spending hours in the water did not mean a lay day!
…Lost Driver - Round Tail – Tri/Quad: This was the go to board, from chest high to double overhead; the waves in Morocco have punch. The really nice continuous rocker led to smooth wraps and snaps and the round tail just loves tucking into a smooth steep face. The addition of the Tri-Quad was a must as the waves do change on the tides and go from racy to more top to bottom walls.
My Lost Driver dims: 6’1 x 19.25 x 2.38 (28.9Ltr)
…Lost Sub Driver – Squash – Tri: I spent a month in Morocco over the winter so needed something a little more aimed at the beach break scene and smaller days. The Lost Sub Driver was perfect and complimented the Driver so well. The added tail block width and lower rocker meant that when the beaches were 1-3ft, the Sub Driver was the go to. A little extra width meant that long surfs were no problem and also gave me a great platform to speed through fat sections and still try top turns and airs.
My Lost Sub Driver Dims: 6’0 x 19.5 x 2.5 (31.2Ltr)
Roberts MM16 (Matt McCabe Pro Model) –Swallow – Tri: I never travel without this board. It is my go to great day stick and really one of the best high performance shapes I have found. Robert Weiner shapes this board beautifully with a swallow tail and in every sense of the word it’s a thoroughbred. As soon as the waves started to get hollower or warranted really high performance deep bottom turns and off the lips, this was the weapon of choice. It has a really pronounced rocker line but does not feel like a toothpick to paddle. Anytime we hunted for barrels, this was the board of choice.
My MM16 Dims: 6’2 x 19 x 2.38 (28.6Ltr)
2) Solomon Islands (Oceania, Melanesia) – Coral Reefs, Barrels, Shallow, Steep Drops, Fast Walls and huge power turns.
Replace Solomon Islands with any other South Pacific or Indian Ocean archipelago and the quiver is transferable. Maybe not Cloudbreak, but certainly anywhere from Indo to Tahiti and you are looking at step ups and high performance surf gear. The Solomon Islands consists of 100% Reef Breaks in the known areas and these are fanned November to April by light trades that mean round the clock sessions. The water is gin clear and the marine life in this far flung destination is not far from pristine. The local people are some of the friendliest in the world and the waves certainly warrant epic status!
Roberts MM16 (Matt McCabe Pro Model) –Swallow – Tri: Once again this board has to feature, as the waves in the Solomon Islands typically range from 3-7ft. Most of the waves have barrel sections so the MM16 was a great board to have along!
My MM 16 Dims: 6’2 x 19 x 2.38 (28.6Ltr)
Roberts Black Thumb – When the waves are up, this was the power performer that led to confidence and paddle power all day long. Solomon Waves don’t tend to break any deeper than when it’s small and this is the case on many reefs. Adding length, thickness (+ heavier glass job) and a dedicated round pin meant early entry into barreling kegs and a straight shot for the channel! This board can be laid hard on a rail also!
My Black Thumb Dims: 6’6 x 19.5 x 2.5
Roberts Black Punt – Squash: The Black Punt was basically the back up for the MM16 but by no means was left out. The Double concave in the tail injects speed into the first pump and then you can really race from there. If the waves ever went onshore and more crumbly the Black Punt was always the winner. The slightly wider nose means easier wave catching and if I snapped a board it would still revel in good conditions.
My Dims: 6’1 x 19.3 x 2.38
3) Cape Hatteras, NC (USA) – Barrels, Steep drops, ledges to get over, tiny days, mushy days, variable winds, current, hot, cold, fast, slow…
There are tons of articles, webisodes, shapers and the like who have waxed lyrical about the necessity for a very wide range of boards if you come to surf the Outer Banks. Here are my two cents… If you are driving, bring everything, if you are flying, you need a barrel board, a groveler and all rounder. This stunning stretch of East Coast is home to the most consistent surf anywhere from Florida to Maine and receives swell from a window of over 180 degrees. The swell events are normally of short length and range from crazy hollow drainers to small and perfect sandbars. If you are heading to Hatteras, the best thing you can do is call REAL and ask for a low down on the conditions. Below is my year round Hatteras quiver.
Roberts White Diamond: For any day that the wind is light and waves are small but rampy. The big diamond tail on the WD1 holds so much gas that you can accelerate so quickly. The smaller outline also allows for tight turns in the pocket even when it’s knee high!
My WD1 Dims: 5’9 x 19.4 x 2.4
Lost Sub Scorcher 2: This is my favorite board right now and is plucked from the rack 80% of the time. The board is pretty flat so anytime the tide is in or the waves are having power issues I choose the SS2. Tri/Quad means plenty of variation and the Double wing swallow delivers speed and good grip through turns. A must for any East Coast surfer!
My Sub Scorcher 2 Dims: 5’11 x 19.5 x 2.38
Maurice Cole Hetro: Shaped larger for the deep winter when the neoprene is thick and the water is frigid. This board has beveled rails which stay sharp to the nose. Coupled with the deepest concave I have ever surfed, this board is built for one thing… SPEED! If you are having trouble coming out of barrels, this is the board for you. They are truly amazing to surf and for heavy winter waves, add a really nice paddle element to combat that thick suit!
My Hetro Dims 6’2 x 19.75 x 2.44
Takayama Scorpion: Summer days and summer flatness is no longer a thing to worry about. The Takayama Scorpion paddles like a longboard, catches waves in the same way but behaves more like a shortboard when up and going. I love to ride this board with small fins to do slides and 360s in the small waves of summer. If you have never tried one, make sure you do. It’s a ‘make you stoked’ shape that limits the summer doldrums!
My Scorption Dims: 6’2 x 20.62 x 2.63
Have a great time on that trip of a lifetime. Remember to pack sensibly and always be 100% happy to surf every board you stuff into your bag! It’s more about the way you feel about your boards than anything else. REAL has 500+ boards in stock so if you cannot find one from this selection we can always help you size up the perfect custom. We are open for business 7 Days a week and any of our travel happy REALPros would be only too happy to talk over your next travel quiver and make sure you come home with stories of equipment perfection.