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A Be-prepared Checklist of What to Pack for a Surf Trip

What to Pack for a Surf Trip
Surfing trips are very different from other kinds of holidays primarily because of the nature of such trips. To save yourself from investing in overpriced gear, paying excess luggage fees, or being underprepared for medical emergencies, it's of importance to know what to pack for a surf trip in order to steer clear from the aforementioned and other unforeseen problems.
Neha Joshi
Last Updated: Dec 09, 2017
Surf High!
If you are traveling to a destination to learn surfing on higher waves, it is advised you carry a longer board.
Packing for a surf trip depends largely on whether you are a pro at it or a complete novice. If you do already know how to surf, this checklist will help you reevaluate your packing essentials, remove what you really don't need, and add what you've forgotten. However, if you are going to try out surfing for the first time on this trip, this ThrillSpire article will help you to understand the essentials of packing for a trip with a specific purpose such as this. This article will not only help you pack, but also help you travel lighter and smarter. First, understand where you're going; if it's a town, you're safer. In remote villages, you need to be extremely sure of not having forgotten anything. The climatic conditions of your destination also plays an important role in determining the must-have items. Before we move on to the checklist, we'll take a look at some tips to help you pack appropriately.

The most obvious thing to carry on your surfing trip is the surfboard. It is advised you carry two in case you damage one beyond repair or it gets lost/stolen. If you're not an expert, you might as well rent a surfboard for your first trip. See how much you enjoy this sport and then make further investments. If your destination is located in a remote area, you have no choice but to carry your own surfboards. Packing the surfboards properly is equally important. Don't just get a surfboard bag, use bubble wrap for more protection.

Yes, light clothes should be your first choice. Shorts, sarongs, tubes, bikinis, etc., are the most preferred type of clothing taken on a surfing trip. However, also carry some long-sleeved shirts in case there are too many mosquitoes, cool nights, spine-chilling air conditioning, or intolerable sunlight. If you're staying at a hotel, carry less clothes; they can be laundered. If you're camping, carry more.

If you are taking your car to a surfing destination near you, you need a rack to safely secure your surfboards. Inquire for racks available on rent if you're an amateur; remember the tip regarding investment. If you're a regular, you might as well buy a rack that you can install on the car and use as a stand at the beach at the same time.

Sunblocks are your saviors. Buy a good, albeit expensive, sunscreen for your body and face. Use a lip balm or some petroleum jelly on your lip that provides sun protection. Make sure the sunscreen lotions are waterproof and sweat-proof. However, I'd suggest that you use rash guards. In all certainty, your sunscreen will come off in 2-3 hours.

Vaccination Certificates
The best thing you can do to protect yourself from potential health hazards in a new environment is to consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Tell them where you are going, during which time of the year, why, and for how long. They'll guide you with the medication you need to take, the vaccinations you need to take prior to your departure, and several repellents that might be useful during your stay.

For international travel to most destinations, you need a passport that is valid for a minimum of 6 months from the day of your departure. Also, you need to keep one page in the passport completely blank for authorities to attach your visa. Carry a minimum of two photocopies of your passport.

First Aid Kit
If you're traveling in a group, it's okay for just one person to carry the first aid kit. A first aid kit for a surf trip should include basic essentials, such as BAND-AID®, Ibuprofen, mosquito repellents, cotton, and DETTOL®. Along with these, include everything that CDC suggests.

*Click the checklist to print it.


☐ Air Ticket
☐ Passport (if traveling abroad)
☐ Medication
☐ Credit Card
☐ Cash
☐ Surfboard
☐ Fins (if removed)
☐ Fin Key
☐ Wax (appropriate for established water temperature)
☐ Wax Comb
☐ Leash
☐ Ding Repair Kit
☐ Duct Tape
☐ Other Hardware
☐ Contact Lenses and Solution
☐ Sunblock Lotion/Sunscreen
☐ Clothes
☐ Trunks
☐ Wetsuit
☐ Washcloths
☐ Beach Towels/Sheets
☐ Sunglasses
☐ Surfboard Racks
☐ Surfer Hat
☐ Flashlight
☐ Rash Guards
☐ First Aid Kit
☐ Reef Boots (if needed)
☐ Camera
☐ A Book
☐ Energy Bars
☐ Tide Chart
☐ Toilet Paper
☐ Notebook
☐ Pens
☐ Trash Bags
☐ Chargers
☐ Toiletries
☐ Rain Jacket/Umbrella

There, with this checklist you now know exactly what to pack for a surf trip. Buy all the essentials a month in advance. You don't want to waste time shopping for important items before you leave for your trip.