Surf Travel

6 airline surf baggage tips for traveling surfers

Quick Tips for Traveling Surfers

Sunscreen? Check! Wax? Check! Surfboard? Check! Packing for your epic surf trip is only half the battle! The other half? Dealing with the airlines and luggage! I asked our expert travelers for helpful hints on traveling with your boards! [click to continue…]

Words: John Noris
Photos: Michael Barrus www.michaelbarrus.com
With bad weather forecasted in Southern California for a couple of days, Michael Barrus and I decided to make our way up to Santa Cruz for a couple of days to try and score some waves and visit some friends.

Day One:
We decided that with a little bit of south in the water we’d try and score The Wedge in Newport Beach but with unfavorable winds, Ended up surfing 54th street. I struggled to even catch a wave, but Daniel Shea here found some big ramps and took advantage. I had to stop at the Brazilian Consulate in Los Angeles to try and get my visa for an upcoming trip and from there we drove up to Michael’s parents house in San Mateo County for the night.
Daniel SheaDay Two: We met up with our good friends Matt Myers and Noah Wegrich at a wedgy wave in the Santa Cruz area for some punt ramps and sharky vibes! Although none of us said anything in the water, when we got out we all mentioned that we had seen shadows in the waves but didn’t want to scare each other by saying so. I guess it’s just part of surfing up here. We ended the day with a quick session at pleasure point followed by Matt Myers’ hot tub just blocks away.
Suiting up at one of my favorite waves north of Point Conception.And finally getting to surf it for the first time since October!
John Noris
John Noris
John NorisI was able to boost a couple but my homie Matt Myers showed me how to really surf the wave… here are some pictures of him BOOSTING some sick airs!
Matt Myers
Matt Myers
Matt Myers
Santa CruzDay Three: Noah and Matt had obligations for the day so it was just Michael and I on a mission to score a couple of waves. The swell had dropped a lot but we were still able to get a couple of fun waves in Mid-town, Santa Cruz.
The Rivermouth.The RivermouthDay Four: With Michael having to get to LAX tomorrow evening, we decided to start making our way back down to SoCal, but not before hitting up one of San Mateo County’s fine skate parks. We had a fun skate session with some of the locals and made our way down to San Luis Obispo to visit some friends for the evening.
John SkateparkDay Five: Hung out at the house in SLO on Kentucky street with the homies, dropped off Michael at LAX for his flight over to Bali, and just got home a couple of minutes ago. It was definitely a fun weekend with some fun waves and good times with friends!

Surfboard Bag

Nearly all dings and cracks to your surfboards likely happen in transport, especially if your the type that throws a bare board in the back of your pickup truck. Protect your investment and save money on repairs by using a surfboard bag! Whether your heading down Voltaire street to sneak a barrel in OB or your planning a trip to Indo, South Coast has your board bag needs covered.

Day Trip Surfboard Bag:

When a quick coastal day trip is in order, the day bag has you covered. Coming in at a more affordable price than the world travel bags, day bags offer around 3-6mm of foam padding and sometimes a reflective side to keep your board from cooking in the sun and melting all your wax (hint: Don’t leave your boards cooking in the sun). Most day bags come in either single or double board capacities and are very lightweight and easy to fold up and stuff in the truck while you rip it up at that secret point break just south of the border. Padded adjustable shoulder straps are standard and a definite must for long hikes. Day bags are a needed step up from the board sock for everyday surf trips to your local break, as the added protection will keep unnecessary dings at bay and your rip stick in prime working order!
Dakine Surfboard Bag

World Travel Surfboard Bag:

When it comes to packing your precious boards away to hand over to the airline luggage destroyers, you have to have ample padding and rugged construction. A good world travel surfboard bag will have at least 10mm padding and some extra bulk in the nose and tail. Many of the larger “coffin” type bags that carry 3 or more boards will also come with padded dividers and internal tie downs so everything stays exactly the way you put it when you arrive at your tropical destination. For the minimalists out there, single board travel bags are available, but chances are you’ll hit a point in your trip when you wish you had extra boards when your single stick snaps on a reef or a possessive local. One of the greatest options available on the world travel bags is the rollerblade wheels making for super easy transport around the airport. Combine this with upgraded padded adjustable straps and you have one super mobile, ultra protective board traveling machine. (hint: A wheelie travel surfboard bag tends to be more reinforced in the tail section to support the rolling feature, offering your boards a much greater level of tail protection)
FCS Surfboard Bag

Surfboard Bag

Packing your surfboard travel bag is an art. I’m not really sure how airlines manage to ding boards the way they do, but I’m pretty sure the ground crew gets pay raises for jamming blunt objects into surfer’s boardbags. Getting on the plane with the unknown of whether or not you’ll open your travel bag to freshly dinged boards is an unavoidable thought process for every traveling surfer.

Add in the ridiculous baggage fees airlines are imposing these days, along with the tanking American dollar that declines in value as it’s sitting in your wallet, and you’re arriving to your favorite surf destination with a sour taste in your mouth… And you’re not even out of the airport yet!

Not a good way to start a surf trip. The last thing you wanna do is spend time fixing dings in your board when you know you could have packed your boardbag better.

Reference the opening scene of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective for a visual of the way your boards will probably get treated once you check them in. (general idea)

Have no fear, South Coast has your back. Now view how we can all pack our surfboards for maximum protection against Ace and his co-workers: