Surfing has become a very popular sport over time, and surfers travel all around the world in search for the perfect wave. Airlines are now more than ever, aware of what a surfboard is, and that it needs to be handled with care. However, there are still horror stories of precious boards being damaged on flights. This is every surfers worst nightmare! Can you imagine arriving to your destination after long hours of travel, only to find that your board was destroyed?! The airlines most likely won’t be reimbursing you for the damage caused. We have created a list of tips for traveling with surfboards, so you can hopefully avoid this from happening.
Check the airlines surfboard policy
First things first. Before you even buy your ticket, make sure to check the airlines surfboard policy. Each airline has different rules and regulations on sizes, amount of boards, costs, etc. You definitely don’t want any surprises when you get to the airport! For example, recently in 2018, United Airlines decided to wave surfboard fees for anyone flying in and out of the state of California! Go United! Now, just the regular checked bag fee is applied. This went from costing around $200, to just around $35. Check out this guide to airline board bag fees as of 2020.
Choosing the right board
Where are you traveling to? What size are the waves, during the season you will be there? What is the swell forecast predicting? These are all things that are important to take into consideration before packing your board bag! It makes your trip that much better, if you have the right board to enjoy the waves.
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have the right travel board bag! I used to travel around the world, with a double board bag, 1 board and all of my clothes, shoes and belongings packed inside of it. This definitely made for a heavy piece of equipment to lug around. However, I will highly recommend this to someone who only wants to travel with simply a backpack and board bag. This way you don’t need to worry about an extra suitcase to roll around.
When going on a short surf trip, packing a simple board bag is great. I always opt for the double board bag, even if you are only bringing one board. This leaves extra space to package it safely or share the bag with your travel partner’s board!
Safely packaging the boards
You have probably heard of board socks, bubble wrap, card board, and the list goes on. There are many different ways I have packed my board over the years..always hoping that I did a good enough job to get it safely to the next destination. However, it would cause me tons of stress leading up to my flight! Now, I have discovered a safe, easy, and eco friendly way of packaging the boards. Checkout Flexi-Hex. They have created sustainable boardsport packaging for boards of all sizes and shapes. It’s as easy as slipping on multiple sleeves, taping it together, and throwing it in the board bag!
Packing the rest
We recommend throwing in a set of straps for car roofs. These will definitely come in handy wherever you go. Don’t forget your leash, wax, fins, fin key, and anything else you may need! Throwing some clothes and towels in your bag are definitely a good idea for some extra padding. Even distribution really helps once you are actually carrying everything!
Time to weigh your board bag! Make sure the weight is something that you can carry, and is within the airlines surf board guidelines and restrictions.
Extra tip! If you’re packing a board with glass on fins…build up an extra layer of padding between the fins with some foam or polystyrene then wrap some extra padding around this whole area. Pillows, wetsuits and towels work well.
Hopefully this list of tips for traveling with surfboards help you have smooth and easy transportation to and from your destination. Get those boards there in one piece, so you can surf your dream waves!