Photo: Alex Laurel.
If it looks like this when you’ve finished packing – you’ve done it wrong.
Before you start, get hold of a good board cover. As the saying goes, “Buy cheap, buy twice…” While we normally shy away from recommending specific brands, when it comes to board covers and general surf acessories, Dakine make the best gear money can buy. This is the 7’0” Dakine World Traveler.
1. Boards. Obviously you want all the rockers going the same way. Put your most precious board in the middle. Some people wrap them in bubble wrap, cardboard, polystyrene and they still get dinged, others sling ’em in as they are and don’t get a scratch. If you do want to wrap them more than the protection provided by the cover, bubble wrap is a good option.
2. Wetsuits, boardies, rashies. Use wetsuits to pad out rails, between fins. Always bring more shorts and rashies than you need (virtually no extra weight), if you’re going to Indo or almost anywhere there’ll always be crew you can buff. Stoke em out with some trucks or lycra if you can.
3. Footwear. Booties, slaps and trainers all make good padding for the sides where the flat sole make a decent barrier against impact.
4. Fins. Take at least one extra set, and several fin keys (stashed in different places). Always keep them in the pockets designated or they can cause dings, all decent boardbags have a designated fins area.
5. T-shirts. Chuck in as many as you can fit to pad out vulnerable areas, as well as to buff out crew. Giving surf tees to a needy local grom is a time-honoured tradition of the surf traveller, and provides an interaction with locals most ‘mainstream’ travellers wouldn’t be part of. In addition, surf tees, boardshorts etc can be used as currency to barter when funds are low.
6. Towels. Lay em flat between boards, or down the sides as padding. Depending on room try to bring two, one for surfing/beach, the other for washing/showers.
7. Duct tape. A universal cure-all for anything from cuts, gashes and dings to broken aeroplane propellers, duct tape has so many useful applications that you’re bonkers not to chuck in a good-sized roll or two.
8. Swim fins. Body whomping is heaps of fun, great exercise and really manly.
9. Wax, leashes, sunblock. Leashes should go in a designated pocket or flap to avoid damaging the boards. Bring at least one leash for every board you take, and a couple of spares if you have em. In times of real need, they can double as roof-rack straps, shark attack wound tourniquets… Bring extra wax but keep it stashed, only bust out one block at a time. As a general rule, clean your boards and re-wax with wax for your destination before you depart so that should it pumping as soon as you arrive you don’t have to fanny about looking for a wax comb and white spirit.
– Get a board bag with wheels. If it’s a triple or more and doesn’t have wheels, you’re only lying to yourself.
– Get the weight fairly even. Expect it to fall from a great height, and if greatly heavier at one end, it will smash into a thousand pieces. Even weight also means less strain on carrying strap attachments prolonging their life, and makes it way easier to lug about.
– ALWAYS stick a pair of boardies in your hand luggage if going somewhere hot. There’s nothing worse than your bags not coming and you being forced to sweat like a large promiscuous lady in a discotheque in your jeans, or trying to surf in ill-fitting borrowed trunks. Don’t forget: when they ask you at check-in, ‘Did you pack this bag yourself, sir?’ Reply, ‘Yes I did, but Surf Europe helped…’