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What to pack for a surf trip

surf trip

When the surf trip that you’ve been planning finally comes around, you don’t want to be scrambling to pack at the last minute. Being well prepared will make your trip so much more enjoyable. The last thing you want is to reach your remote island destination, only to realize you forgot to pack fins for your board!

We’ve put together an essential packing list for your next surf trip. Make sure that all of these items are ready before you embark on your adventure. And you you haven't tried them before luggage cubes are a great way to economize on space.



Of course, the most important thing to pack for any surf trip is your surfboard. Choosing which boards to take, and how many to take, is always a tricky decision. You want to make sure you’ve got a backup board in case your board snaps, and you also want to have suitable boards for wherever conditions you might face. 

The more boards you bring, the more trouble you’ll have carrying them around and flying with them. For most surfers, two boards are perfect for any trip. Bringing your go-to shortboard, and a fish or groveler is a good combo. 

Make sure you understand your baggage allowances for your airline. Often, you will get charged extra for more than two surfboards in a bag. 


Surfboard bag

If you want your precious boards to arrive at your destination in one piece, then you need a good surfboard bag. Your board bag should be well-padded and snugly fit your boards. Your boards should not be squeezed in too tightly, but they shouldn’t be too loose either. 


Surfboard fins

You don’t want to end up losing a fin on your trip while you’re in a remote area far away from any surf shops. Packing a few extra fins won’t take up much space, and it could save your trip. Packing two extra sets of fins is a good idea for any tip. Don’t forget your fin key!

surfboard fin


Bringing along a spare leash or two is always a good idea. They will hardly take up any space and can be a lifesaver in case your leash snaps. Having two backup leashes is more than enough. Consider bringing a thinner and thicker leash for different conditions. 



Make sure that you’ve got plenty of wax to keep your boards nice and grippy throughout your trip. Bring along the appropriate water temperature wax according to your destination.


Ding repair kit

A simple ding repair kit is always a good thing to have on a surf trip. If you’re stranded somewhere remote with a badly dinged board, you’ll be really grateful to have a repair kit at hand. 



If you’re traveling to reef breaks that you’ve never surfed before, then you’ll need a pair of booties. Booties will protect your feet from sharp reefs and rocks, making your surf trip a lot more fun. The last thing you want is to get your feet all cut up after your first day in the water. If you are going to be surfing in very cold water then neoprene gloves are also advisable.


Rashguard and wetsuit

This depends on where you’re going and what the water temperature will be. If you’re heading to warmer waters, then make sure you bring a rash vest along. This will prevent rashes with each long surf session, and it will offer some good sun protection.

If you’re going somewhere cold, then remember your wetsuit. Make sure it’s the right wetsuit to match your conditions. 


Ear plugs

Nobody wants to end up with surfers ear halfway through a holiday. Earplugs don’t take up any space, and they make sure that you’re protected. This is important for both cold water conditions, as well as protecting your ears from any possible infections from surfing in new waters. 


Beach towel

A good beach towel is one of the most important things to bring along on any surf trip. Make sure your towel drys quickly because you don’t want to pack damp towels into your bag. You also want the towel to be thin and light for easy packing.


Surf changing mat

A surf changing mat is one of the most useful thighs to bring along on any surf trip. Firstly, it makes it way easier to change out of a wetsuit in any place. Secondly, it stops you from bringing unwanted sand into your bag. Thirdly, you get a convenient dry bag to store your wet wetsuit while you travel between destinations. 


Surf poncho

Wherever you’re going on your surf trip, a surf poncho will be one of your favorite items to bring with you. These soft, wearable towels give you a fully portable and private changing station. You can easily get changed anywhere, use the surf poncho to dry off, and just wear it when you’re on the beach.

packing for a surf trip

The right bags

It's always important to pack light when you’re traveling with surfboards. This is why you will need a bag that's easy to carry. Duffel bags or hiking backpacks are convenient because they are easier to carry over beaches and take on boats. A backpack is also always necessary, for carry-on plane luggage or easy access to boardshorts, towels, water, and sunscreen while you’re out on surf missions.



A bad sunburn on your first day will completely ruin your surf trip. Always pack plenty of sunscreen no matter where you’re going. It’s generally easier to bring sunscreen with you than to find it at your destination. 



There will be other things that you’ll want to bring along, like sunglasses, heated socks, or an action camera, but the items listed above are all of your essentials. Make sure that you go through this list when you pack for your next surf trip. Being well prepared will make a huge difference!



Will the airline charge me to take my surfboard?

This depends on the airline you’re flying and how much other baggage you’re bringing. Be sure to check this with your airline in advance. Some airlines may charge around $100 each way for a surfboard, and others will include it in your allowable baggage (as long as it’s not overweight).