Magicseaweeds Top Ten Surf Travel Essentials

You might be the top goal scorer for your 5-a-side team but the chances of you playing at Wembley are pretty slim, one of the beautiful things about surfing is that anyone with the ability and inclination can surf at the best spots in the world. Indonesia, Hawaii and Australia are only a plane ride away from any surfer on the planet.

If you are about to embark on the trip of a lifetime or even just a last minute deal to the Canaries or Morocco you will want to make sure you're prepared, here is our run down of the top ten essential items everyone should include on their packing list.

1: Sun Protection

Being sunburnt is no fun, if it means you can't surf head high perfection for a whole day or get a good nights sleep it's a nightmare. Not all sun screens are created equal, relying on the airport branch of Boots to have a surfer friendly sun block is not a good idea, get something seriously waterproof, a gel is thicker and will stay on longer, lotion is easier to apply but easier to wash off and a zinc based sun block will give you the best protection for your face, and also accelerates your bodies wound healing process if you pick up an injury.

MSW Staff Tip - Apply sun cream as soon as you wake up so you're protected all day and it's soaked in by the time you get on your board.

2: Guide Books

If you're not lucky enough to know the area you're travelling to a guide book is essential for planning your trip and making sure you make the most out of it once you're there. Some areas have dedicated books which are updated regularly like Indo Surf and Lingo, and you can't go to many places which aren't covered by the Stormrider Guides. Stormrider guides are available as an app for your smart phone and in e-book format so you can pick up the book for the planning and reminiscing and still travel light with all the information you need at your fingertips.

3: Ding Repair

Dings happen, if you're flying long haul and have to deal with a few transfers you might even have some repairing to do before you hit the water, once in the surf the possibilities for damaging your surfboard multiply exponentially with the extra hours in the water surfing decent waves. An epoxy repair stick is ideal for quick fixes on minor dings, you can use it on any type of surfboard and it doesn't need any special treatment when packing.

Two part resins are often on the airlines prohibited list, so if you're going to be heading away on a trip it's better to play it safe with some one part sun cure resin. Stick some cling film in your bag too so you can cover the resin and give it a clean finish to sand back, in most popular surf destinations major dings can be repaired by a local expert for a reasonable price.

4: Luggage

Get your gear packed safely and conveniently with a decent back pack which doubles up as hand luggage on the plane and a day pack when you've reached your destination. With the security measures now in place it's convenient to have a separate padded laptop pouch so you can easily remove it without unpacking your bag.

Hold luggage can usually be stashed in your surfboard bag, but if you are planning on renting boards at your destination or just need the extra space going for a roller pack will make it easier and relieve some stress when navigating through airports and cities.

MSW Staff Tip - "Always pack a roll of duct tape, it's perfect for emergency repairs to bags, boards or even strapping up wounds. It was even used during the Vietnam War to repair helicopter blades!"

5: Surf forecast

Depending on how long you're travelling for you should be able to get a decent report for the first few days of the trip before you go, if you're a magicseaweed Pro subscriber you get a 16 day forecast which can be really helpful for last minute trip decisions.

MSW Staff Tip - "Always pack a roll of duct tape, it's perfect for emergency repairs to bags, boards or even strapping up wounds. It was even used during the Vietnam War to repair helicopter blades!"

6: Surfboard Bag

If you're flying long haul get a heavyweight surfboard bag, if you're taking more than one board get a double, don't try and make do, the chances are any savings you make by scrimping on a board bag will be undone by clumsy baggage handlers or extra fees at the airport.

We've seen people take boards on Easyjet flights wrapped only in a thin layer of bubble wrap, letting the baggage handlers know what it is they're handling might be a good way to make them think twice but we wouldn't recommend taking your travel quiver away without decent protection.

MSW Staff Tip - check out the full surfboard bag guide post on the blog for lots more advice

7: Surf Wear

A full on surf trip means spending much more time in the water than you would do normally, you want to be comfortable, protected and you need to look good for your new Facebook profile picture. A super stretchy pair of technical boardshorts might seem like a luxury but you'll probably find yourself wearing them all day every day and the performance benefit is just as welcome out of the water as in it.

8: Spare Hardware

Don't count on being able to get hold of the basics when you're travelling, even if the area is known for surf you might not be able to get simple things like a leash, wax or a set of fins.

The bottom line is, if you need it to surf, you need to pack at least two of them.

9: First aid kit

Many organised boat trips will insist that you bring a first aid kit with you onto the boat, even if you are not planning on being too far away from civilisation everyone should consider picking up the essentials: dressings, antiseptic cream or wipes and even a sterile needle kit will offer peace of mind at the least and could be a trip saver.

10: Step up board

One of the main reasons to go on a surf holiday is to push yourself and surf waves that you can't at home, if you want to take on bigger, hollower waves than you have in the past you'll need a board that can take you there.

Here Tom Butler uses his Fourth Charge to tackle some bigger than average waves in Ireland.

Your classic step-up board or mini-gun will be a good 4-6 inches longer than your regular shortboard, a pin tail for good hold in hollow waves and the volume to get you in nice and early. The Lost Tube Pig,is a perfect example, with a tried and tested template it will give you the confidence to get out amongst the best waves you've ever surfed

MSW Staff Tip - take a larger set of fins as a spare if you can, if the waves get bigger you can swap them in for extra hold.

That's our top ten surf travel essentials so make sure you're packing all of these so you can make sure you have a dream trip.

The staff at the Magicseaweed store have surfed all over the world from Indonesia to Ireland, Morocco to Mexico and most places in between so if you'd like some friendly, expert advice on any of the travel items here or for anything else related to your trip you can reach us by e-mail on or by phone on 01548 800567.