But in order to have a fulfilling surfing trip, you need to be adequately prepared. This will help you make the most of your surf lessons, enjoy your time spent with fellow surfers and travelers, and truly immerse yourself in the local culture. Here are some useful tips to take into account when you plan your next surfing trip:
1. Choose Your Surf Destination Wisely
With so many great surfing spots available for you to choose, it is important to start doing your research early. This will allow you to check out the pros and cons of visiting a particular place at a given time of the year. You may check the surf forecasts with Google Earth or any other service online to know where you can get a fairly good swell.
If you are an absolute beginner, you can go on a surf camp. Once you have some experience under your belt, you may choose to go solo. Here are some of the best surf spots around the globe that you should definitely add to your bucket list, regardless of your skill level:
- Asia: Sri Lanka, Maldives
- The Americas and Caribbean: Costa Rica, Hawaii
- Europe: Portugal
- Africa: Morocco, South Africa
2. Take Care of Documents and Paperwork
Make sure you take your international passport, driver's license, surfer insurance documents and the details of the contacts you want to visit. Your passport should be valid for at least six months or more with space for additional visas, where necessary. Make sure you have 24-hour emergency assistance contact numbers and travel insurance. Let a close friend or relative at home have details of your itinerary, including travel dates and accommodation details.
3. Take Enough Money
You will not be able to survive for long if you run out of cash. Find out how much you will need on a daily basis. If you go on an organized surf camp, you can ask your tour guide. If not, you can ask people who have gone to the same destination, or do your own online research.
Arrange for some local currency at the airport that you can carry around, and conceal your cash safely so it does not attract thieves. Make sure your ATM card or credit card is in a safe place.
4. Protect Your Surfboard
Keep your surfboard as safe as possible while in transit. For this purpose, getting the right type of surfboard bag is critical, especially when you will be taking more than one surfboard along. You need to get a bag with a padding that is at least 7mm thick. For a big trip, choose one with 10mm padding.
Choose a bag that has add-ons, which can protect your surfboard. For instance, some bags have tail or nose inserts to protect the parts of your board that can easily be damaged during a long flight. Others have built-in board separators that will serve as a padding between the two boards.
Take off all wax from the boards before packing them into your bag. Pack extra items like your trunks, wetsuit and towel into your board bag and use them as a padding for your board. Never forget to label the internal and external parts of your bag with all your contact details.
5. Take Additional Accessories for Emergencies
Always take extra accessories when you are going on a surf trip. You could break leashes and fins could get damaged. So take extra leashes, leash strings, fins, fin keys and wax for your trip. If you get stuck and your leash strings break, you wouldn’t want to use your shoelace to replace it. Take a roll of duct tape and surf stickers to help you perform emergency repairs.
Apart from accessories for your board, you also need to take some first aid items for yourself. No matter how experienced you are, a few unexpected things could happen while surfing. So pack a small first-aid kit. This is particularly important when you are going on a solo surf trip. It is good to have sun-cure to treat sunburn and sunscreen to protect your skin, as well as some antibacterial ointment.
6. Enjoy the Company of Surfers at a Camp
At popular surf spots, you will find surf camps located within 500 meters or a little further from the beach. These camps usually offer hostel-type accommodation with dormitory or private rooms. They are budget-friendly and they provide good food, surf guidance and even tuition. You can also rent surfing equipment from well-established camps.
7. Choose the Right Type of Camping Gear
It is important to decide in advance whether you would like to spend the night at a hostel with other surfers or camp on the beach.
If you are going on a solo trip and are looking to have a nice time on your own, you will need to make a decision about camping gear, such as using a hammock vs. a tent, and where to set up camp.
If you decide to create a makeshift camp, you may consider taking along one of the best pop up canopy models you can afford. Most of these are lightweight and you can easily carry them along with your surfing board.
8. Pick a Convenient Mode of Transportation
On each surf trip, you will need to arrive at the beach by road trip or boat trip. If you are a really daring surfer, you will love the latter. On a boat trip, you will be on the ocean all the time, which means that you can reach spectacular offshore surfing spots. Some boats also serve as "floating hotels" so you can return to them and stay on them throughout your trip.
Surfing road trips are meant for people who love to explore the beach for long hours in a 4WD by riding to remote locations through parks and conservation areas. They are equally exciting when you are going with a group and they can easily integrate you as a solo traveler. It is also one of the cheapest means of exploring various surf spots.
Michael shares his camping and travel experience, as well as outdoor gear reviews, on his blog, Rainy Camping.
Are you ready to embark on your next surfing adventure? A budget surf holiday might be just the thing for you!