For most of us, our love for surfing gets us going to places where the surfs are worth going on a long drive to. Sure, the local surf spot is an excellent place to surf, but sometimes, our adventures call us to far beaches.
Surf trips are fun, and nothing spoils it better than leaving something behind – your sunscreen, the jar of wax, or sometimes even your surfboard. So ditch your forgetfulness and bookmark this surfing checklist so you won’t forget about anything on your next surf adventure.
Your Surf Travel Bag
Before we go to the detailed list of what you need to bring, it is important to think through the bags you will put those things into. After all, it is where your most valuable goods will be kept.
The best bags for a surfing trip is waterproof or water-resistant. The last thing you need is for your bag to leak and for what’s inside to get moist or drenched.
Bear in mind that even a bag designed to repel water may not be able to handle getting submerged entirely. You can protect your essential items in these situations by putting them in dry bags or Ziploc bags.
Surfing Checklist – What To Bring Surfing
Packing for any trip gets anyone excited. The items you have in your luggage are pretty much based on how you picture the place you are going – the things you will do, the spots you will go. But, sometimes, the excitement gets the best of us that we forget some of the important stuff.
Whether you are the last-minute packer or the meticulous ahead-of-time packer, you want to be sure you have everything you need for your surf trip. Most especially, if it’s a remote location you are going to, where there aren’t neighborhood surf shops to run to.
The dilemma about surfboards always lies in how many you should take on a trip. Most of the time, surfers get too excited about the surf they’re traveling to that they come up with reasons to need to bring more than one surfboard.
In reality, two to four boards are too much. Moreover, airlines will tax you for stuffing two boards in a bag. So if you are traveling by air, be sure to read the airline surfboard bag fees to know what to expect.
Soft Surf Racks
If you travel independently to a surf camp, a soft rack is a handy essential you shouldn’t forget. Unfortunately, most modes of transportation in popular surf destinations won’t have options to tie your boards on the roof. Some may even convince you to rent a van to fit your boards instead.
A soft rack will let you take a normal-sized cab to strap your boards to the roof safely.
Fins And Fin Keys
At least two pairs of fins will do just in case something happens, and you are in a remote area where you can’t quickly get replacements. Pack your fins along with fin keys in a fin wallet.
Leashes may break, so be sure to pack in back-ups—a thinner 5mm leash for smaller days and thicker ones for bigger swells.
A couple of blocks of your favorite wax should be tossed into your luggage, too, as they might not be readily available on your trip. Be sure to know the water temp at your surfing destination to know which kind of wax to bring.
Ding Repair Kit
Getting our boards dinged can be frustrating. But, there is something more annoying – dinging your board and not being able to repair it. A ding repair kit ready can be helpful.
Your feet might be able to handle the sand, but they may not be able to endure the unknown reef breaks. Reef booties may not look cool but you don’t want to injure your foot along the way.
Wetsuit, Rash Guards, and Long Johns
The soft tropical water may feel lovely on your skin, but sometimes, our skin needs a break. A rash guard is a good relief if you get rashed or need a bit of warmth for your breezy ride. A cotton shirt may do, but rashguards dry faster and don’t become soppy after your surf session.
Mask, Fins, and Snorkel
Sometimes, surf just might not cooperate. A good dive or underwater exploring is always a nice alternative so it won’t be bad to pack a few diving gear, too.
Never leave home without the essential documents you will need to board a plane o cross a border. Suppose you are traveling to another country, research important details like required vaccinations and stuff. And, do not forget to make photocopies of these documents.
- Address book
- Emergency Contact
- Credit card company
- Contacts for the area you are visiting
- Photocopies of prescriptions, passports, license
- Spare passport photos
Personal Hygiene and Clothing
While most hotels include toiletries with your accommodation, it is still better to be ready with your own.
- Toothbrush, toothpaste & toothpicks
- Small Towels
- Sewing Kit
- Toilet Paper
- Vaseline or diaper rash
- Zip locks
If you aren’t sure what clothing to bring, think of what you would want to wear before and after your surfing session. Here’s a list of clothing items to get you started.
- Walk shorts
- Collared shirts
- Long-sleeve tees
- Long, lightweight pants
- Hat or cap
- Socks, light cotton
- Flip Flops
- Hiking boots or slip-on shoes
Don’t waste a lovely day at the beach just because you don’t have a bandage to cover your cut with. Getting bruised and scraped is always bound to happen. So be sure to have antiseptic wipes, saline solution, an assortment of bandages, waterproof tapes, etc.
- Eyeglasses/contact lenses
- Contact lens solution
- Antibiotic / Cortisone Ointment
- Gauze pads and surgical tape
- Pain relievers
- Medicine for hay fever, other prescriptions
- Ace Bandage
- Meat Tenderizer – good for ant stings and some jellyfish stings
Not Necessary But Nice To Have
This list may not be necessary but is sure fun and safe to have. As most would say, it’s better to have it and not need it than not have it and need it.
- Phone & adapters
- Digital camera (lenses, memory sticks & charger)
- Tripod or monopod
- Bug Repellant
- Waterproof Bags
- Plastic garbage bags
- Water bottle
- Clothes Pins
- Mosquito net
- String or cord
- Reading material
- CDs or Videos
- Radio and batteries
- MP3 Player
- Fishing gear
The key to a great trip is preparation. But, don’t fret too much if you forgot about a thing or two. As long as you have your surfboard and boardshorts, it will still be a fun surfing trip. And, please – we didn’t mention this on the lists but don’t forget to bring money!
G’day, my name is Rach Taylor and I’m the proud Founder of Surf Hungry. I am a former Australian Olympic athlete and Australian representative surf sports athlete. I’ve worked in the surf industry and lived at many of Australia’s best surf spots, sparking a life-long love of the ocean and a passion for surf sports which also rubbed off on my two young sons! I am also lucky to spend a lot of ocean-time in my favorite second home, Indonesia. In addition to SurfHungry I have founded several other websites in my areas of passion, namely coffee and rock climbing, and am also a regular rowing content contributor.