….or how to make sure my surfboard arrives in one piece at my destination.
The long weekend is coming up. Long weekend time = surf trip time and you would not want to leave your favorite board behind. But how to transport your toys without harming them? If you are a seasoned surfer this is a bit of a no brainer but this might be useful for the beginner gidget who is just starting out on her first travel adventures.
Well, the bad news first, if you travel by plane, it’s unfortunately a bit out of your hands. I always feel like signing the life of my board away when I sign “I promise I won’t sue you if you break my board disclaimer” at the check in counter and then wave my board good bye at the oversize luggage belt. All you can do is prep your board as well as possible for the journey ahead.
Always use a board bag (not the woolen ones – the board socks, I mean a real one with a zipper). Most board shops throw one in anyway along with your new board to sweeten the deal if you ask really nicely. It’s usually one of the cheapie board bags and to be honest you don’t need much more when your travel with your board from time to time. (Unless you are a pro surfer and you travel with 6 boards at the time you might want to opt for a more fancy option for added convenience). I’ve got a double board bag for my Indo trips and a single one for domestic trips.
- Take out the fins if you can (don’t forget the fin key, there is nothing more annoying than arriving at a remote destination only to find out that you can’t put your fins back in…).
- Take the leash off
- Wrap the nose in a towel
- Wrap the tail in a towel
- Put the board in the bag
- Voila, that’s all there is to it
If it’s a brand new board, you might consider getting some bubble wrap from the hardware store or ask at your board shop if they have any left over. I used to do that but to be honest, recently I’ve been too lazy and fared quite well with the towel version. I guess if someone puts a suitcase or the likes on your board, you’ll get a dent – with or without bubble wrap and it’s just bad luck.
If I travel by car, the issue is not so much dings through “man-handling”, it’s more the space and trying to fit them. You can get soft roof racks, which fit on any car and are good to have handy at the best of times. You can fit four, five boards easily. Always make sure you put towels in between the boards and tuck the towels in properly otherwise you have floppy noise sound all the way which is rather annoying. You want to stack the boards belly up i.e. fins up with the largest board on the bottom. Nose towards the front of the car and tail toward the pack. Protect the boards from the buckles and straps with towels as well. Oh and wrap the straps around the whole stack at once – not individually. Another hot tip, pack the boot first and the boards last as you might not be able to open it properly once the boards are on top depending on what car you’ve got. Sounds like mission, does not it? That’s why most people try to avoid using roof racks if possible. Especially, for shortish trips. If you pick up three mates say with different size boards (and then drop them off again) it just adds time to your trip and it involves a lot of stacking and un-stacking. So we usually try to fit them inside. Up to 7ft boards even fit into a smallish car usually. The right technique depends on the car but usually it means backseats down and then across the back or through the front seats. Put towels between the boards for protection again. If you are super picky about your board you can put it in a board bag when you travel by car. Usually though the space inside the car is limited so you might want to leave the board bag at home. Here’s when the board socks come in handy because they take up less space and still protects the board. As I said though a towel will do.
Last but not least, I thought I would add another form of transport, that’s quite popular in Indo – the scooter with board racks. Even here you see more people with scooters and board racks. You don’t really need any protection for the board because technically the racks are cushioned. Make sure you check first though. My Bali board has a massive ding on the rails because the padding came off. Also, you may stack it on the scooter or the board racks fall off …I’ve seen it all. So it is advisable to put the board into some sort of protection either bag or sock in case of any unforeseen circumstances.
Alrighty peeps, hope that helps. I’m off to Boomerang now for the long weekend and actually about to pack my bags and boards for the journey.
Happy ‘straya day.