Thursday, October 4, 2012

Surfer Girl Survival Guide - The Surf Trip

The Surf Trip

I went on a surf to the Maldives earlier this year. It's always hard to know what to take and what you might need. We were on a boat for a week so needed to make sure I was prepared.


Packing your boards is always a challenge. This year I wanted to take both my longboard and my 5’6 mini Simmons. But two boards meant excess baggage, unless I could get them in the same bag. It’s important to check size/length limitations with your airline too. Some have ridiculous limits like 6 foot. I was almost able to get them both in my longboard bag but it was really tight, which could result in damage. I'd never seen a 9’ coffin bag, so ended up settling on a SUP bag after my travel agent mentioned that other surfers were able to take a SUP on Singapore airplanes. As a bonus, both boards fit in with my smaller one in its own bag. longboard coffin bags are available and totally worth the investment. Get one with wheels.

Remove your fins! Fixed fins are more of a challenge. Cut slits in a chunk of styrofoam and masking tape it in place to support and protect them.

Everyone has a different system for cushioning their babies, I mean boards. At the very least, bubble wrap your rails.

You can put extra things, like towels, in your board bag but I’ve been told you don’t want to make it too heavy. The harder it is to lift, the less gently it will be treated by baggage handlers. Be prepared for a few new pressure dings – and if that’s all – then you’ve been lucky. I guess we get attached to our boards, but at the end of the day, they’re equipment that eventually suffers wear and tear.
All you need for a week on a boat!

Other stuff

Be a responsible traveller. There are a lot of small risks we accept when travelling, and how you manage them can affect your holiday. Take responsibility for your own safety. Just because you’re overseas, doesn’t mean accidents don’t happen. An international driver’s license is a must if you plan to hire a car or motorcycle. (And get the insurance!)

You should have a first aid kit for your group. The travel doctor can provide you with broad spectrum antibiotics, malaria tablets or anything else you may need for the region you’re heading to. If you’re staying at a retreat/resort/boat, confirm what kind of supplies they have so you know you are covered.

Booties. They look kooky, but I know I’d rather have a full week of surf than be nursing reef cuts. In the tropics things just get infected. So treat any cuts and scratches you get.

There’s a useful article here:
Better to take them and not need them, than leave them behind and wish you had them.

Things that were handy

Craploads of sunscreen (it's really expensive in some countries)
Extra blocks of wax
Spare legrope
Spare fins
Aloe/After sun gel
Something for bites and stings


I’m big into photography, so I took my SLR along with a waterproof housing, a waterproof point-and-shoot, my board-mountable GoPro, and a few plastic film cameras. Getting on the plane with all the correct chargers and dongles is minor miracle. CF cards, SD cards, USB cables, apple cables, camera chargers.
I took loads of photos with my SLR and used the GoPro a heap, but didn't end up getting in the water with the housing. In the end I just ran out of time. We also had a surf photographer with us, meaning we had lots of top shots, plus where we anchored tended to be quite rippy, so we didn't do a lot of extra swimming or diving.

I didn't take a loptop, but I wanted to be able to back up my photos onto my ipad while away. Especially as I was using cameras in the ocean. I have a set of adapters that allow you to connect to a SD card or your USB cable straight into your ipad.


you want to be in tiptop shape to make the most of your trip, especially if you're likely to be in bigger surf than you're used to. Set yourself a fitness routine a couple of months out, so that you feel confident and fit in the water. Check out Shesurfs' surf workout circuit for some ideas: Shesurfs stories


As if all the surfing, eating and photo-snapping isn’t enough, I took a few things for the down time. ibooks on my ipad. Plus a little travel diary I’ve made for what we see, do and eat, sketches, notes on spots we surf, and spots for photos after the trip. Everything can blur and I like to be able to look back and remember the details. It all depends on how much surfing you plan to do. We surfed a lot. Sometimes three times a day, usually two. In end, everyone found they barely opened their novels, I didn't even think about sketching anything. We were either surfing, taking photos, eating or sleeping. :)

1 comment:

Bec said...

Oh my god Hannah, the damage baggage handlers have done to my board over the past 6 months. Hawaiian and Taca Air seem to be the worst................