15 Surf Trip Travel Essentials

 REAL Teamrider Josh Mulcoy
REAL Teamrider Josh Mulcoy

Surf travel is one of the most rewarding parts of being a surfer. Warm temps, new spots, and pumping surf are all reasons to pull the trigger and book a plane ticket. Don’t go through all the effort of traveling for waves only to show up and realize you’ve left something crucial out of your travel bag. Follow our guide to Surf Trip Travel Essentials and be sure your first stop at your destination is a surf check, not a trip to the store.

1. Surfboard Travel Bag: If you are going on a surf trip and bringing your boards, you will need one of these. Plan ahead and order it EARLY, so you have plenty of time for it to arrive at your home before you leave for your trip. A little shipping trivia…. these bags are our #1 overnight shipped item and they are big and heavy which translates into EXPENSIVE to overnight ship. Plan ahead and SAVE yourself the extra shipping fees and stress leading up to your trip.

• Read our complete guide to The Best Surfboard Travel Bags
•Use Promo Code REALTRAVEL for FREE shipping on ANY surfboard bag through November 16th.


2. Surfboard Day Bag: A lot of people don’t think to bring a day bag on their surf trip even though they use it at home all the time. The result is your board getting dinged to sh#$%^&*t in the rough and tumble world of traveling. It’s nice to bring at least one day bag per person, especially if you are traveling on boats or piled into tight rental cars. When you pack your travel bag (above), you can put your board in the day bag, and then in the travel bag for even more travel protection.

•Use Promo Code REALTRAVEL for FREE shipping on ANY surfboard bag through November 16th.

3. GoPro Camera and Accessories: It used to be that great surf photos and video were reserved for pros or the rich and famous. Thanks to GoPro, now everyone can come home with epic surf footage. You and your friends can take turns shooting each other and then utilize the myriad of special camera mounts and handles to grab all the POV shots!

4. Rip Curl GPS Watch: This is a new time/tide watch from Rip Curl that also has a GPS built into it. For travel, this watch is absolutely insane! Since it has a GPS built into it, it auto syncs tide/time with the push of a single button. You can also count your waves, measure your paddle distance for the day and record your top speeds! The watch pairs up with your iPhone or PC so you can share all your sessions with your friends back home. Go ahead and rub it in!

5. Sunscreen and Face Stick: When you’re traveling to warmer climates and spending all day in the water, it’s a good idea to invest in high quality, waterproof sunscreen and facestick. The facestick is nice to put on before the session and can also be stored in your boardshorts pocket for mid-session re-application.

6. Wax and Pickle/Wax Comb: Inevitably, you will be traveling from arctic cold weather straight into 85f + degree tropics. This means cleaning all the coldwater wax off your boards at home will be next to impossible. Make it easy on yourself and just do it at your destination with the help of the blazing sun near the equator. Throw your boards on the lawn while you unpack your bag and by the time you get back your old wax will be liquid falling off the board. The Pickle is nice for cleaning old wax residue off the board before you apply the tropical wax. The wax comb that comes with the Pickle is super nice too.

7. Extra Leash(s): It’s a good idea to bring a backup leash in the event you break yours and there are no shops around to buy a new one. If you are charging bigger surf on your trip, it’s also a good idea to bring a suitable bigger wave leash that’s a bit longer and thicker. Cheaper to buy an extra leash than it is to replace your board when it goes up on the rocks or reef.

8. Body Glide: This stuff is magic sauce for armpit or boardshort rash. It looks like a deodorant stick. Rub it on any areas where you are prone to chafe or where its bothering you. Like the name implies, no more friction. Problem solved.

9. Extra Fins: An extra set of fins can help you out in a couple different ways. If you are traveling with a limited quiver, that extra set of fins – in a different template or size – can add more range to your single board or your entire quiver. That extra set can also REALLY come in handy if someone breaks or loses a fin and doesn’t have a backup set. In places that don’t have surf shops, fin sets are like GOLD, so definitely worth packing extra.

10. Board Repair Kit: Check what type of foam blank your board is made from and what type of resin was used to laminate it. Boards made with PU blanks can be repaired with polyester or epoxy resin. Boards made with EPS blanks require epoxy resin. If you use polyester resin on an EPS blank, you will melt the foam. FCS Instant Repair Putty will work on either type of board.

11. Dry Bag/Backpack: There are probably a 100 different uses for a dry backpack, but some of the best are as a backpack on the airplane, a dry bag on the boat, or as a beach bag to and from the beach. You can even fill them with ice and use them as a cooler when you go to a party!

12. Mini Med Kit: Your basics here….Pain relievers, antibiotic ointment, basic bandages, laxatives, diarrhea medicine, cold/flu medicine, antacids, sleeping meds if you need them. You may carry this kit and never need it for 3 years, but boy when you need it, you will be glad for everything you have!

13. Wetsuit Top: Yes you are going to someplace warm, but even so, there will be clouds, wind, sunburns, rain and other things that take the heat out and leave you chilled. A nice wetsuit top packs small and goes a long way on the dawn patrol and sunset sessions, or when the rain squalls pull in and everyone retreats to their cars shivering. Yes, the lineup is now entirely yours. Enjoy.

14. Travel/Nighttime Entertainment: Books, mags, movies, music, etc. Most people load this all on their iPad or phone, or some just go old school and travel with the hard copy then leave it there when they finish it so someone else can enjoy it. A small portable speaker turns any room or outdoor deck into a solid happy hour after a long day of epic sessions. Don’t forget any cords you need to connect or charge these devices.

Bonus #15: A good thermos. You will feel like royalty when you break out hot coffee on the boat at 11am (when you left the beach at 5am) You can also store hot or cold meals in the thermos, or a even a serving of frozen margaritas.

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Have gear, will travel: REAL Teamrider Josh Mulcoy.
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